Elizabeth Gilbert just got a white tattoo. Here's what you need to know before you do the same.

Image: Elizabeth Gilbert (Getty)

If you’ve ever thought about getting a tattoo, but felt it’d be too, well, loud and obvious, you might be interested in this trend.

Author Elizabeth Gilbert is the latest celebrity to embrace a white tattoo, having the words ‘Stubborn Gladness’ inked onto her wrist.

RELATED: You can tattoo your eyeballs now. But that doesn’t mean you should.

“Tattoo day! I just got these lovely words tattooed in white ink… These words I live by. Now they will be part of me always,” the Eat, Pray, Love author explained on Instagram this weekend.

The phrase is from a piece by a favourite author of Liz’s, Jack Gilbert (of no relation apparently) called A Brief for the Defense.

Actress Lindsay Lohan and singer Rihanna both have white tattoos — Lindsay's is the word 'Breathe' — while insiders claim Kate Moss has a line of hearts tattooed down the side of her body in white ink.

RELATED: Cara Delevingne now has a white tattoo

Meanwhile, supermodel Cara Delevingne jumped on board the trend last year, having the words 'Breathe Deep' tattooed on her bicep. She also has a white tattoo of a dove on one of her fingers. Reportedly, both of Cara's tattoos were done with a specialised ink that makes them glow under UV light.

Cara Delevingne's white tattoo

Is it just us, or do white ink tattoos sound a little bit like the grown up's version of invisible ink?

Like their darker counterparts, white tattoos are created using a tattoo gun, which injects ink under the skin. The final results can differ dramatically, though — white ink is thicker than that used for coloured designs, which means the tattoo generally appears more raised and produces a more visible scar on the skin (as you can see with Elizabeth Gilbert's).

RELATED: Suffering from tattoo regret? This is the news you’ve been waiting for.

However, there are several things to keep in mind before you drop in to your nearest tattoo parlour.


Firstly, the effect of white ink can change dramatically from one skin tone to another, and is best suited to very fair complexions. In an interview with Cosmopolitan magazine, Australian tattoo artist Marc Pinto explained why these tattoos don't work as well on very dark skin.

Just imagine how cool these matching tattoos would look in white ink... [post continues after gallery]

"[O]n pale skin with little pigment, like Lindsay Lohan’s, a white tattoo will show through the skin nicely. However, darker skin tones block white ink from showing through,” he said.

White tattoos are also known to dull and fade quickly, especially through regular exposure to sunlight. Of course, all tattoos fade, but white ink can go completely AWOL, meaning regular touch-ups are recommended.

RELATED: Getting a matching tattoo with your mate? Don’t stuff it up.

As with any permanent procedure, do your homework and make sure you have your ink done by an experienced tattoo artist. As Buzzfeed explains, some inexperienced tattooists use blue stencil ink, which can mix in with the pure white ink to produce a greyish tattoo that won't fade. 'Bloodline' is the technique you should insist upon.

Experts also recommend you don't have a white ink tattoo added to your skin in close proximity to any existing coloured versions, as it may not blend well with other colours under the surface of your skin. In some people, white ink can provoke skin reactions — swelling, itching and oozing among them.

Finally, if you're the kind of person who's prone to regret, it's worth keeping in mind white tattoos are apparently more difficult to remove than coloured ones, despite their tendency to fade.

RELATED: My wedding day decision divided everyone. But I did it anyway and I don't regret it.

Do you have a white tattoo? Would you ever get one?

00:00 / ???