Temporary tattoos – the ‘try before you buy’ of the tattoo scene

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temporary tattoos
Some can look very realistic

TEMPORARY tattoos are a great idea if you’re thinking of getting a permanent tattoo but you’re not yet sure what or where to get one.

While the first thing that might come to mind upon hearing ‘temporary tattoos’ might be the type that most of us have used as children, the truth is that there a wide variety of temporary tattoos available nowadays. They can last anything from a few days to a few month depending on the type that you choose.

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Press-on tattoos

The most common type of temporary tattoos are the press-on kind. These are popular with children, but they can also be used by adults and they are easy to find, even some tattoo studios sell them and these are of better quality than any you might find in a corner shop, so they will generally last longer and look more realistic.

There are several sites where you can get press-on tattoos and have them personalised with names or dates. This means that if that is the style of tattoo you would like, you can see how it looks before making up your mind.


Henna tattoos

Henna tattoos have been used as a way to create temporary designs on the skin for centuries in different cultures and are particularly popular for weddings. They were adapted for the western world and have become very popular with all sort of different designs, from the geometrical and botanical patterns of their origins to simple shapes like moons, stars, dolphins, etc. They can last several weeks, but take care when getting one or doing one yourself that you first do a test on a small patch of skin. There are types of henna which are mixed with other substances which have been known to cause serious irritation and even burning which can leave permanent scars on the skin. Black henna is not recommended so although you may prefer the colour, the more natural, ochre/brown colour henna is better.

Airbrush tattoos


These are gaining popularity and are similar to body paint. They can create attractive and colourful designs and are easy to remove. However, the person who does them will need to be quite skilled with the airbrush and preferably use a stencil.

Pen tattoos

There are lots of pens about nowadays that are specifically designed to create temporary tattoos and can be used freehand or with a template. Anyone who can do a decent drawing should be able to do the same with a pen, and you don’t even need to get the special tattoo pens either, you can use a ballpoint, a ‘sharpie’ or even eyeliner, but with the latter you will need to cover it with hairspray to prevent smudging. With ‘sharpie’ tattoos you also need to put some talcum powder on before applying the hairspray. A ‘sharpie tattoo’ if carefully looked after, can even last up to a month.

Ink tattoos

Some companies sell kits of stencils and ink which can be used to create temporary tattoos that last about two weeks. They are easy to use, waterproof and look very authentic. If you don’t trust yourself to create a tattoo freehand or with a stencil, you can create your design online and it will be send to you readymade, in a similar format to a press-on tattoo.

Six-month to one year tattoos

Some tattoo artists claim they can create six-month temporary tattoos by only injecting ink in the top layers of skin or by using inks that fade. This is not really true. You may end up with a tattoo that fades, but it will still be there. However, one company has created an ink which can be removed more easily than others with laser treatment, so that’s a start.


If you want to get a tattoo or body piercing on the Costa del Sol and you are looking for a reputable studio to advise you and do great work, then check out Jaganath Tattoos and Piercing, Calle Ramon y Cajal 42, Fuengirola

Jaganath tattoos and piercing Costa del Sol

See designs by Jaganath Tattoos on Facebook and Instagram.

Jennifer Leighfield, born in Salisbury, UK; resident in Malaga, Spain since 1989. Degree in Translation and Interpreting in Spanish, French and English from Malaga University (2005), specialising in Crime, Forensic Medicine and Genetics.Published translations include three books by Richard Handscombe. Worked with Euro Weekly News since November 2006. Well-travelled throughout Spain and the rest of the world, fan of Harry Potter and most things ‘geek’.

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