Tattoos that disappear look like science fiction, a quirk from the wizarding world, or, to be more realistic, a poorly done tattoo. Growing up, if you wanted a tattoo that you wouldn’t take to the grave, you needed a bundle of temporary tattoos from the nearest Walmart or one of those 25-cent vending machines where each toy. comes in a plastic egg. At Ephemeral, what was once science fiction has become a reality, and a damp cloth or sponge is no longer needed to get the temporary tattoo of your dreams.
Ephemeral Tattoos in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is the premier tattoo studio of its kind, offering clients beautifully designed tattoos by real tattoo artists with no long-term commitments. You read that right, real tattoos designed to disappear on purpose. This studio could be the collective dream of all parents.
CEO Jeff Liu and co-founder Josh Sakhai designed the studio to combat the taboo nature of the tattoos they grew up with in their homes. “This company stems from a real desire to bridge the gap between conventional ink and temporary tattoos, making art more accessible,” Liu said. However, it was watching the painful ordeal of seeing a team member have their tattoo removed that ignited Ephemeral’s flame. “What if tattoo ink was made to fade?” Full tattoo experience minus permanence? “
“The concept was based on a microparticle encapsulation technology that had already been researched a lot, so we thought we could bring our vision of fade tattoos to the world,” says Sakhai. Two of Ephemeral’s five co-founders hold doctorates in chemical engineering from NYU and began work on the formula in 2014. After six years of research, 50 different formulations, and hundreds of tattoos, the ink was finally ready.
What makes traditional tattoos permanent is your body’s inability to remove large ink particles from the skin. As soon as you get a tattoo, your body begins to fight the ink because it sees it as a foreign object. With traditional ink, the molecules are too large to be broken down by the body, your body effectively “rinses” the area, and the ink stays in place. Ephemeral ink is designed to break down over time due to the smaller ink particles that work with the body’s natural elimination processes. Ephemeral ink is made from medical grade, bio-absorbable and biocompatible polymers with high quality pigments that are commonly used in food and cosmetics.
“Temporary tattoo ink particles break down over time and become small enough to be eliminated by the body,” explains Sakhai. “The rate at which this happens varies from person to person.” The average fade rate for a temporary tattoo is currently nine. at 15 months and depends on a large number of factors: skin type, location, size and care.
The studio fully embraces the “nothing lasts forever” mantra that Gen-Z has relished in recent years, proudly displaying “nothing to regret” on its storefront and website. Even the name “Ephemeral” itself is linked to the fleeting nature of tattoos, as the word means short-lived.
“We see Ephemeral as an opportunity to celebrate our travels through beautiful works of art that fade as we unfold,” said Sakhai. “If there’s one thing we’re sure we’re going to change. Hairstyles, clothing choices, musical tastes, jobs… everything changes as we move forward in our own lives. ”
Prices for tattoos range from $ 175 to $ 450. Right now, Ephemeral only offers small to medium sized tattoos, and the only color available is black. However, there are plans to add color inks in the future. “Temporary tattoos are applied by real tattoo artists with real tattoo machines,” says Liu. “Like traditional tattoos, temporary tattoos are applied through an intrusive process in which ink is applied to the dermis layer breaking up the skin.” Customers are encouraged to design their parts, and Ephemeral offers one-on-one consultations to customers who need help making a decision. “The whole Ephemeral experience centers around an authentic tattoo experience without any intimidation or pressure.”
“We take tracking seriously and have done extensive research on the supplies and processes for better tattoo healing,” Sakhai said, “some of which are used in conventional tattoo tracking.” At the end of their appointments, clients are given gift bags containing products designed to ensure their tattoos heal beautifully within about four to six weeks, roughly the same time it takes. to a traditional tattoo for healing. Like the traditional tattoo, clients can expect some redness, irritation, and itching as their skin heals.
Sakhai sees Ephemeral as the stepping stone clients can borrow before deciding to get a permanent tattoo and a way to try on parts before making a definitive commitment. “For most of our clients, Ephemeral is the first introduction to the tattoo experience,” he says. “One thing we hear commonly in the studio is, ‘wow, I would love to have it permanently. “This is one of the ways Ephemeral benefits the tattoo industry by attracting new clients who never would have had a permanent tattoo before – we are effectively breaking the seal of the tattoo.”
Liu and Sakhai are incredibly proud of the inclusiveness their space provides for clients new to tattooing. “The whole ephemeral experience is all about giving an authentic tattoo experience without any intimidation or pressure,” says Liu. “Ephemeral was an opportunity to address this issue and reorient the future of the tattoo industry by creating a new category of tattoos – expanding the industry to make it more inclusive and accessible to all, including including those who were previously put off by the idea of permanence. ”
In the era of COVID, Ephemeral has ensured that the health and safety of its artists and clients is their top priority. “Our team goes beyond CDC recommendations and government guidelines to ensure we provide a safe experience for everyone,” Liu said. In addition to regular deep cleanings, the studio is currently working with a model by appointment only, and tattoos take place in private booths. Ephemeral artists are regularly tested for COVID. Customers are required to sign a COVID contract and exposure form prior to their appointment with a temperature check upon arrival. Masks are also worn at all times.
“Now more than ever, the world needs authentic forms of self-expression and inspiring experiences,” says Liu. “We have observed that being able to step into a new world for an hour or two to experience something as deeply personal as getting a tattoo is the retirement many people dream of. And unlike merchant retail, selling in service detail cannot be met with digital. “
Although the studio has only been open since March, Liu expects many clients to return for more tattoos in the future. Whether it’s ink made to fade, amazing artists, inclusive culture or beautiful space, we are grateful to be the first to bring ink made to fade to the world. ”
As their tattoos fade, Ephemeral is anything but temporary. The team plans to expand beyond their Williamsburg location in the future, looking at their customers’ requests to find their next locations based on where customers are placing their reservations. “We see Ephemeral as a global brand,” Liu said. “And we are determined to realize our vision of a world where everyone is a canvas for unlimited self-expression.”