Gloves for Tattoo Artists

5 Best Gloves for Tattoo Artists: Everything You Need To Know + Best Brands

Even though tattoo shops differ so much from the doctor’s office in every possible way, they do share one thing in common; cleanliness. A tattoo shop needs to be as clean as any room in a hospital, and it needs to be free from any type of contamination as well. The same, if not especially, goes for tattoo artists and other employees at the shop.

The reason tattoo shops are so strict about the cleanliness and the hygiene of the employees lies in the very process of tattooing. During the process, a tattooist basically creates an open wound or a tattoo. So, to avoid any bacteria, viruses, and other unwanted particles in the client’s bloodstream, everything, from the tattooist to their equipment and workspace needs to be CLEAN!

One of the main ways the tattooists protect the client, and themselves, from any bacteria transmission, are the gloves. These ensure the tattooist can touch the client’s skin and use the equipment without the fear of transmitting dirt, bacteria, viruses, and unwanted particles. Otherwise, an infection or inflammation of the tattoo would occur in an instant.

So, without further ado, let’s get into the world of gloves for tattoo artists. Here, you’ll learn everything about these gloves, and we’ll recommend you some excellent brands to buy from.

Tattoo Artist Gloves – Everything You and Your Tattooist Need To Know

Tattoo Artist Gloves – Everything You and Your Tattooist Need To Know
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First Of All – Why Do Tattooist Need To Wear Gloves?

As we mentioned in the intro section, tattooists are creating an open wound during the tattooing process. For the tattoo to turn out good, they need to touch and stretch the tattooed skin, and in the process, get in touch with the client’s skin, blood, etc.

So, to protect the client and themselves from any potential bacteria or virus transmission, they need to wear a new pair of gloves with every single client.

In a case a tattooist is not wearing gloves during the tattooing session, here are all the risks they’re exposing their clients, and themselves, because of such a choice or practice;

  • Transmission of HIV, and other similar viral diseases
  • MRSA skin infection
  • Transmission of infection-causing bacteria
  • Cross-contamination of the whole work area
  • The risk of the tattoo getting infected, which can be incredibly dangerous
  • The risk of the tattoo not healing, or taking incredibly long to heal
  • Getting the ink on their hands, and their equipment

In a case, a tattooist is reported for not wearing gloves during a tattoo session, and because of that causing a client to experience a serious infection, inflammation, or disease transmission, the tattooist can be sued and lose their license and potentially their job. Not to mention that their reputation as a tattooist will be ruined, and they will lose customers for sure!

Are There Different Types of Gloves, Or…?

Yes, there are different types of gloves tattooists usually wear. For example;

  • Latex gloves – these are medical-grade gloves intended for use in the medical community for different procedures. They are low cost and are generally quite thin. However, they are rather well resistant to any puncture and damage.

But, because it is very easy to develop a latex allergy when wearing these for too long, many tattooists avoid wearing latex gloves during work. Not to mention that tattooists cannot use these gloves in case a client has a latex allergy as well.

  • Vinyl gloves – these, unlike latex gloves, are much thicker and more resistant to exposure of any kind. However, because of the thick and heavy vinyl material, the gloves make it hard for the tattoo artist to work. There is a hindrance in hand and finger flexibility and movement, which can be a major problem for the tattooist. Overall, these gloves are not recommended for use in the tattoo community.
  • Black nitrile gloves – these gloves are the best for tattoo artists. They are thin but still stronger than latex or vinyl gloves, and they provide exceptional freedom of movement without compromising safety.

These gloves are designed to withstand the longest sessions and ensure that the tattooist, or the client, experiences an allergic reaction. These gloves are disposable, but because they’re so resistant to chemicals, they can be cleaned as well.

So, Which Gloves Should Tattooists Wear?

Black nitrile gloves are the main choice for this type of work! Let’s be straight and simple, these gloves are surely the best, as we’ve just mentioned in the previous paragraphs. They offer the best protection and safety, and they are thin but still able to withstand hours of continuous work. These gloves are non-allergic and they’re overall just great.

Professional tattooists swear on these gloves and these are generally recommended for use in the tattoo community!

Black nitrile gloves are so good, they’re not only used for tattooing, but also protection against chemicals, biohazards, abrasions, and teras. They can be even used around the house or for catering and food preparation.

If you want proper protection, use black nitrile gloves! And, if your tattoo artist is not using these gloves, ask them politely to use the gloves during your tattoo session!

Black nitrile gloves are the main choice for this type of work
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How Should Tattooists Choose and Wear Gloves?

Tattooists should choose gloves based on the following criteria;

  • The gloves should be thin but damage-resistant
  • The gloves should not be made of any allergy-causing materials (like latex)
  • The gloves should be new and disposable
  • The gloves should be puncture-resistant
  • The gloves should fit properly and be comfortable

When it comes to the overall wearing, the tattooists should pay attention to the following details;

  • The tattooist should only wear gloves that fit their hands properly; there should be no need for taping or stringing the gloves.
  • If the gloves do not fit beyond the wrists, then tattooists should not wear them
  • If the gloves obstruct or hinder proper finger and hand movement, then tattooists should not wear them

How Should a Tattoo Artists Handle Gloves?

Tattoo artists need to always wear purpose-designed, disposable gloves. Even if the gloves are high quality and can be washed, they should not be reused. The tattooist should use gloves not only during the tattoo session itself but also when handling any of the potentially contaminated items, like the needle, for example.

However, no matter how reliable the gloves are, the tattooist also needs to focus on general hygiene. So, frequent hand washing, clean and sterile equipment, and a clean tattooing environment are of the utmost importance.

Overall, a tattooist should;

  • Never touch tattooed skin without gloves!
  • Never touch the equipment without gloves!
  • Never touch items that are not tattooing-related without gloves!

Many people, tattooists not excluded, tend to use their phones during their work. But, in the case of tattooing, if the tattooist answer their phone during a session, the contamination can occur even with the gloves on. So, it is essential to never touch anything that hasn’t been sterilized and that is not intended for tattooing use.

In case a tattooist needs to use something unrelated to the tattooing process, they need to remove the gloves, dispose of them properly, and then wash their hands and use a new pair of gloves.

Otherwise, they increase the risk of contamination and bacteria transfer when they continue the tattooing!

The Best Gloves For Tattoo Artists – Our Top Choices for 2021

Infi-Touch Heavy Duty Nitrile Gloves – Amazon Best Seller

Infi-Touch Heavy Duty Nitrile Gloves 
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  • Product Highlights – Beaded cuff, latex-free, textured fingertips, tactile sensitivity, puncture free, high chemical resistance
  • Product Info – The Infi-Touch nitrile gloves are designed to stay strong and comfortable during the most demanding tattoo sessions, and other heavy-duty work. The gloves are disposable and powder-free. They are also latex-free, so there are no allergy concerns, as well as chemical resistant and safe. The gloves come in size Medium.
  • Use – The gloves can be used for tattooing by professional tattoo artists, for hair dyeing by hair styling, during maintenance and cleanup, during automotive work, and for industrial use.
  • Price Range – $$ (cheaper when bought in bulk)

Microflex Black Nitrile Gloves – Best Overall

Microflex Black Nitrile Gloves
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  • Product Highlights – Confident and steady grip, designed to easy handling of wet surfaces and objects, latex-free, allergen-free, available in a broad range of sizes, advanced protection
  • Product Info – The Microflex nitrile gloves are one of the best on the market. These gloves are designed to protect against certain chemicals or ink and remain steady and comfortable during any kind of work. For tattooing purposes, these gloves ensure a steady grip and do show ink stains even after hours of work. They are latex-free, chemical-resistant, and overall safety for long-term use, even by those with sensitive skin.
  • Use – The gloves can be used for tattooing, cleaning, automotive work, mechanics work, industry use, hair dying and hairstyling, etc.
  • Price Range – $$ (cheaper when bought in bulk)

Gloveworks Black Nitrile Gloves

Gloveworks Black Nitrile Gloves
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  • Product Highlights – Latex-free, powder-free, several sizing options, puncture and damage resistance, polymer coating, textured fingertips, excellent grip for wet surfaces and objects
  • Product Info – The Gloveworks nitrile gloves are exceptional; they are a bit thicker than the standard nitrile gloves, but still provide proper finger and hand movement. These gloves are strong and durable, despite the fact that they’re disposable. Each pair of gloves is made to withstand puncture, damage, and hours of tattooing or any other mechanical work. The gloves have textured fingertips for a better grip, and are latex-free.
  • Use – The Gloveworks gloves can be used for tattoo application, mechanic and automotive work, industry work, handling chemicals, hair dying and hairstyling, overall cleaning, etc.
  • Price Range – $$ (cheaper when bought in bulk)

ASAP Black Nitrile Gloves

ASAP Black Nitrile Gloves
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  • Product Highlights – Strong puncture resistance, powder-free, latex-free, beaded cuff, full-hand texture, black and resistant to staining of chemicals and ink, 4 mils thick, different sizing options
  • Product Info – These are probably the best gloves tattoo artists can use. Originally designed for examination purposes, the ASAP gloves have proven incredibly useful during the tattooing process. The gloves provide exceptional protection against ink and prevent bacteria transmission between the client and the tattoos. They are also latex-free, so they won’t cause any allergic reactions in those who are allergic to materials like latex.
  • Use – The gloves can be used during tattooing sessions, lab work, and even medical examinations and low-grade medical field tasks.
  • Price Range – $$ (cheaper when bought in bulk)

Barber DTS Black Nitrile Gloves

  • Product Highlights – Latex-free, powder-free, strong puncture and damage resistance, black and resistant to staining, made from high-quality nitrile, different sizing options, comfortable to wear for long tattoo sessions
  • Product Info – The Barber DTS gloves are specially designed for tattoo artists and their clients who have a latex allergy. The gloves are 100% latex-free and minimize the risk of contamination during the tattoo process. These gloves ensure everything’s clean and sanitary during tattooing, which further minimizes the risk of infection and inflammation of the client’s tattoo. The gloves come in several different sizes and are made fort comfortably and tightly.
  • Use – These gloves are specifically designed for tattoo artists and their intended use is only during the tattooing process.
  • Price Range – $$ (cheaper when bought in bulk)

The Bottom Line

Personal protective equipment in the form of gloves is of the utmost importance for every single tattoo artist. If you come to a tattoo shop, and a tattooist is not wearing gloves, we strongly recommend you leave. If they do not pay attention to such an important detail, then they probably do not pay attention to cleaning the equipment or the shop itself.

For tattooists, it is essential to understand the risks and consequences of cross-contamination, and clients should be aware of the risk as well. So, for clients, always ask your tattooist if everything’s been cleaned and disinfected before you continue with the tattoo. Ask them to wear a new pair of gloves as well. Or, simply leave and go find a truly professional tattoo artist.

For the tattooists; remember that your lack of hygiene and cross-contamination awareness can have people end up in hospitals and suing you for personal injury. In such cases, tattoo shops are closed and tattooists lose their license.

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