Halloween is the one time of year when kids and adults are given free rein to take on new identities, and everyone’s like, “Cool, here’s some free candy.” No wonder we all love Halloween!
Tattoos are one of the many ways you can tap into your creative side. For the needle- or commitment-phobic, tattoos are uncharted (read: dangerous) territory, but 2022 is a new era of gorgeously realistic temporary tattoos. And what better time than Halloween to rock that tattoo sleeve for serious shock value with zero regrets?
“Temporary tattoos are great because they let you test the waters,” says special effects and beauty makeup artist Sadie Mars. “I have real tattoos, but sometimes I like to live with a temporary design for a couple of weeks. That way, I don’t get a permanent tattoo I wind up hating later.”
Mars explains that temporary tattoos can be airbrushed (the same process as airbrushing makeup) or drawn with body markers: “These are the most realistic but require either drawing ability or special equipment. That’s why transfer tattoos are the easiest and the most familiar to people.”
Meet the Experts
Sadie Mars is a special effects and beauty makeup artist.
For realistic and long-lasting results with transfer tattoos, Mars makes these recommendations:
- Make sure the skin is clean of oils and products. You can use 99% isopropyl alcohol to clean the skin.
- Don’t place tattoos on areas with too much body hair. For the best results, the skin needs to be hair-free for the tattoo to adhere.
- With transfer tattoos, cut as close to the design as possible so you can see the shape and control its placement.
- Use a thoroughly soaked paper towel so the paper design gets completely wet. If the paper is totally wet, it slides right off, and the transfer tattoo won’t stick to the paper and ruin your application.
- To make transfer tattoos look more realistic, lightly spray with a setting spray like Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray. “It’s like hairspray for your makeup, and it takes the shine away from the tattoo, so it looks more real,” says Mars. Set with a light layer of your favorite powder, but not too much, so the tattoo gets dull.
- Remove tattoos with baby oil or exfoliation.
As for some of the best temporary tattoos, here are our favorites:
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