Thursday, October 30, 2014

Changes in Intenze Tattoo Ink Packaging

 I use a mix of tattoo inks from a number of trusted manufacturers.  One of those companies is Intenze, the ink I used while learning to tattoo.  What I like about Intenze is its consistency (a word that will make or break a tattoo artist, as those who read my posts have probably noticed), you can count on Intenze to consistently deliver quality, long-lasting ink.  Their reputation is so well known that counterfeit inks have found their way to the market.  The situation is bad enough that Intenze felt it necessary to respond with a video advisory.

 A legitimate bottle of Intenze Ink has several things that separate it from imitators.  The bottle cap is clear with a black base.  The bottle itself is made of a hard plastic that is difficult to squeeze.  The bottle has a letter "M" (Mario Barth's logo, one of the pioneers of tattoo ink manufacturing) stamped on the bottom.  Most importantly, the bottles have a protective foil seal letting you know the ink has not be tampered with since the bottle was produced.

 The last six bottles of Intenze that I had purchased all came this way, so I was surprised when I received a bottle of Dark Purple Intenze Ink which had none of these earmarks of legitimacy.  The bottle has an all black cap, is far softer than the other bottles of Intenze, has no "M" stamped on it, and (most disconcerting), has no internal foil seal.

 I had received this bottle from a trusted supplier, Element Tattoo Supply, who I had nothing but positive exchanges with in the past.  In fact, they are on the Intenze List of Authorized Dealers, so it was more than odd to receive a product that everything told me was a fake.  When I reached out to them, they informed me that Intenze was changing over to this new bottle.

 I found that hard to believe.  This bottle was everything that Intenze warned us not to trust, or so it seemed.  I immediately reached out to Intenze about the bottle, and had some exchanges with Christine Brown, who informed me that Intenze was in fact switching to a new bottle.  She herself was not certain of all the details, but she promised to have someone to reach out to me.

 The person who finally clarified all of this was James McLaughlin, Marketing Director of Intenze.  James confirmed for me the change to the new type of bottle which is based on feed-back from other artists, and relieved my greatest concern about the bottle lacking an internal seal.

 The new bottles are improved in a couple of significant ways.  They are softer, which makes them easier to squeeze.  This is important when the bottle gets about half-full and you are in the middle of a tattoo trying to squeeze the ink into an ink-cap while wearing cloves.  The other improvement is the cap.  The bottle lacks on internal safety seal, but now has a cap with two built-in seals.  The entire cap comes off after breaking one seal, while the funnel opens after break the second.  The seals are similar to those found on quarts of milk, but made of a far sturdier plastic that cracks open when the cap or funnel is twisted. 

 The roll-out of the new bottle appears to be gradual, meaning that for a time both types of caps will be available on the market.  Along with the new cap, always check the bottle's ingredients (no phosphates are used in Intenze ink), confirm that it has the Intenze address, no bar code, and that you are purchasing the ink from an authorized dealer.  It is always worth the effort to verify the source of your supplies, both to protect your customers and yourself.

Jason Sorrell is a writer, tattoo artist, satirist, artist, and generally nice guy living in Austin, TX.  He loves answering questions about tattoos.  Shoot him a message at


  1. I bought a black ink bottle from an authorized distributor in Costa RIca (already check in the Intenze web page), and it has an low quality label look... and the letters are like low quality printing... that make me really uncomfortable, im lookink for more info, can you give me some more info about the labels?? THANKS!!!

    1. When I had questions about the new bottle and cap, I reached out to Intenze directly. The were most helpful alleviating my concerns. If you are not confident in the product sent to you by the dealer, I would recommend reaching out to Intenze directly.