How Long Do Stick and Poke Tattoos Last? Really?

The art of hand-poked tattoos dates back to ancient Egypt times. Tattoo marks were found etched on the skin of mummies. So, does this answer the question of “how long do stick and poke tattoos last?”

Stick and poke tattoos last a lifetime; the same applies to machine-made tattoos; it all comes down to maintaining the quality.

However, the real question is how long does the visual quality of hand-poked tattoos last? The ink quality is one thing. The skills of the artist are another factor. Where the tattoo is located also contributes to the longevity of the tattoo. 

Hand-poked tattoos aren’t so typical for the general public.

The underground scene mainly desires them. The punks, skaters, graffiti artists, and the likes are the leading followers of hand-poked tattoos.

Although there’s not much difference between machine tattoos and stick and poke tattoos visually, the raw process of hand-poked tattoos makes them truly unique.

how long do stick and poke tattoos last

Hand-Poked Tattoos VS Machine Tattoos

Machine tattoos are ideal for specific designs. Due to the more straightforward process of doing it, machine tattoos can do art pieces that hand-poked artists may find challenging. Not to mention very time-consuming too!

What Works Best For Machine Tattoos?

  • Big tattoos with intricate details.
  • Bold tattoos in black and white. 
  • Large tattoos in grayscale or colored designs.
  • Small pieces with fine details.
  • Tattoo designs with clean lines in bold colors. 

What Works Best For Stick and Poke Tattoos?

  • Small pieces with minimalist designs.
  • Black and gray tattoos with minimal colors.
  • Tattoos are designed with an imperfect aesthetic.
  • Tattoos are placed at crannies such as fingers or ears.

Hand-poked tattoos and machine tattoos share almost the same outcome. Hand-poked tattoo designs are pretty limited, yet the experience is almost equal.

Both techniques are basically done in the same way but with different devices. Thus, it is safe to say getting either hand-poked or machine tattoos hurt.

The level of pain, though, differs. How? Read on.

Do Stick and Poke Tattoo Hurt?

strong male model with no shirt and with many body tattoos

Hand-poked tattoos hurt, but not as much as machine-made tattoos. The pain is less intense. therefore, it is easier to endure.

The downside, however, is that the process takes longer in contrast to machine-made tattoos. So, you are going have to be a little patient!

The needle and ink used in stick and poke tattoos are similar to machine tattoos. So, in terms of healing, they somehow share the same process.

On the other hand, hand-poked tattoos require touch-ups. In some instances, stick and poke tattoos don’t penetrate well into the skin. Thus, most hand-poked tattoo artists offer retouches after a few weeks. 

How To Do Stick and Poke Tattoos?

Stick and poke tattoos are done with random tools, often makeshift.

Typically, hand-poked tattoo artists use needles or sharp objects to inject ink into the skin. Anything with sharp ends are can be used to do hand-poked tattoos.

Thus, it is infamous for amateurs and prison tattoos. 

Hand-Poked Tattoo Review

There is a common misconception that hand-poked tattoos do not look sophisticated.

It is due to the perspective that hand-poked skin art is not done by a professional. That is not the case, however.

Professional artists do refined hand-poked tattoos. Sometimes, they even look more polished than machine-made tattoos. It all depends on the expertise of the artist you choose. 

Stick and poke tattoos exhibit unique and special appeal. It has become self-expression that is deeply rooted in the artsy community. The rawness of its process makes it even more vogue.

Thus, hand-poked tattoos aren’t just a mere skin art.

The art of creating stick and poke tattoos is extraordinary. 

pretty girl with sungalsses on and multiple neck and hand tattoos

Are Hand-Poked Tattoos Permanent?

Hand-poked tattoos are much like machine tattoos. The only difference between the two is the process. The technique, on the other hand, is similar. The sharp object is used to transfer the ink to the dermis layer. When the ink reaches the dermis, it is likely to remain. 

On a different note, the longevity of stick and poke tattoos can be relatively shorter than machine tattoos. It is due to the less sophisticated device used to make them. Hence, most hand-poked tattoo artists offer retouches if ever the skin art is not as vivid as expected when it heals. 

How Long Do Hand-Poked Tattoos Last?

The duration of hand-poked skin art depends on how well the artist etched the ink into the skin. Some only last a few years. While some stick and poke, tattoos can last for over ten years. The aftercare also impacts the longevity of hand-poked tattoos. 

The same goes with machine tattoos; hand-poked tattoos also require thorough aftercare. Not only during the healing period but also after it heals. Additionally, the ink used also matters. If you choose tattoo ink with mediocre quality, then it is likely not to last as long as quality ink.

What about fading?

Do Stick-and-Poke Tattoos Fade?

Just like machine tattoos, hand-poked tattoos fade. It is possible for it to lose its vivid image after a few years. It could be enhanced because of the wrong ink placement or improper aftercare too.

Some stick and poke tattoos, in addition, result in tattoo blowout. Tattoo blowout happens when the ink is either injected too deep or too shallow. Thus, swelling and premature fading occur.

Tattoo blowout usually happens when someone does the tattoo with little experience. Be it machine tattoos or hand-poked. Not to mention, if aftercare is not done correctly, it can significantly affect the visual quality of the tattoo.

Swelling, infection, and inflammation may also occur, which can contribute to premature fading.

A professional artist knows how to do it right on the bright side. It is highly recommended to choose an experienced artist in the first place to avoid future problems and to ensure that it’ll last. 

cool guy with chest and hand tattoos

How to Make Hand-Poke Tattoo Last Longer?

Several factors affect how long hand-poked tattoos last. One of which is the skills of the artist. On top of that, there are other aspects to consider. 

What To Do Before Getting Stick and Poke Tattoo?

  • Hand-Pick Your Stick and Poke Artist
  • Exfoliate and hydrate the skin the week before getting the tattoo
  • Keep your body ultra-hydrated by drinking plenty of water
  • Choose the Location Wisely
  • Look for an Ideal Design For Hand-Poked Tattoos
  • Make sure top quality ink is used
  • Always follow an aftercare routine

What To Do To Make Hand-Poked Tattoos Last Longer?

So what can you do to give your tattoo the best chance of looking great for longer? Read on.

Pick an Ideal Location for Stick and Poke Tattoo

Where to put your tattoo is a crucial decision. There are areas of the body that are not ideal for tattoos in general. The palms, feet, fingers, and armpits are not the best place to put your hand-poked tattoo. 

Pick a body part that is not often exposed to sunlight. Also, body parts that often experience friction from clothes and get wet and sweat often are not recommended. The ideal place to put your hand-poked tattoos are the thighs, biceps, and abdomen. Better yet, ask your stick and poke tattoo artist!

Look for an Expert Hand-Poked Tattoo Artist

The artist plays a vital role in having a hand-poked tattoo that lasts longer. A professional hand-poked tattoo artist makes all the difference. The technique in creating the art must be precise.

Hence, only an expert artist can successfully achieve it. 

Another important thing why you should choose a professional is safety. A professional hand-poked tattoo artist follows the safety protocols. On top of that, you will be able to fetch the proper aftercare guidelines from their experience.

Do the Proper Aftercare Hand-Poked Routine

The same goes with machine tattoos. Aftercare routine is equally important. A new tattoo is basically a wound. Thus, it is only best to treat it as one. New hand-poked tattoos undergo the same healing stages. For each stage, proper care is required. 

Healing Stages of Hand-Poked Tattoos
  • Redness and Oozing (Week 1)
  • Itching (Week 2)
  • Scabbing/Peeling (Week 3-4)
What To Do During the Healing Stages of Hand-Poked Tattoos?
  • Don’t expose it to direct sunlight.
  • Hydrate always.
  • Use loose clothes to avoid friction.
  • Don’t go swimming.
  • Keep it clean all the time. 
  • Use mild soap only.
What To Do After Getting a Stick and Poke Tattoo?
  • Cover the tattoo with a bandage.
  • Keep the skin clean without excessively scrubbing it. 
  • Never scratch when the scabs appear.
  • Prevent direct exposure to sunlight.
  • Moisturize the skin using fragrant-free and alcohol-free ointments.

Use the Best Aftercare Products for Stick and Poke Tattoos

The aftercare products you use can contribute to the visual quality of your tattoo. Using harsh soaps, ointments, and moisturizers may cause skin irritation. Thus, avoid petroleum-based products.

The ideal tattoo aftercare products are alcohol-free and fragrant-free. Better yet, opt for organic or vegan options.

As previously mentioned,hand-poked tattoos are much like machine tattoos. The image it portrays flaunts a unique kind of appeal.

Remember, stick and poke tattoos exhibit a raw technique that has been used in the past, it is the traditional way of tattooing. 

Back when machines were yet to exist, stick and poke tattoo techniques were used by our creative ancestors. They depict the history of the art of tattooing.

However, nowadays, the process can be quite different due to modern inventions; hand-poke tattoos bridge a strong connection from our past. 

tattoo artist preparing to put a tattoo on a clients shoulder

Conclusion – How Long Do Stick and Poke Tattoos Last?

The bottom line is that stick and poke or hand-poked tattoos are for the old souls. They are tattoos for the ones who want to share the same experience with our ancestors.

With the correct pre-tattoo and after-tattoo care mixed with the skill of a talented artist, stick and poke tattoos will last a lifetime.

Happy Tattooing!