We Asked Jonny Hall Questions You’ve Had About UV Tattoos

UV tattoos
Discover the mesmerizing world of UV tattoos with Jonny Hall, the pioneer of the genre. Explore the hidden artistry that comes to life under blacklight.

UV tattoos are gradually getting the traction they deserve, and you only need a blacklight lamp to see why. But there are dozens of myths and hundreds of people who are skeptical about the new trend. We really wanted to explore this topic, so we reached out to Jonny Hall, a UV tattoo pioneer and the most well-known professional in the field.

Jonny told us about his journey in the industry, explained why UV tattoos are as safe and lasting as any other, and debunked many popular misconceptions you would see on Reddit or in the comment sections. A carefully crafted collection of UV ink designs is a cherry on top. Stay tuned, as getting a UV tattoo is much cooler than you might expect!

What Are UV Tattoos?

UV tattoos, sometimes perhaps a bit inaccurately called glow-in-the-dark tattoos, are performed with a special type of ink, which contains compounds that glow when exposed to black light. Ultraviolet (UV), or blacklight, is electromagnetic radiation of shorter wavelengths, that makes it invisible to the human eye. In daylight, these inks don’t glow and are either invisible or look just like regular color inks. We’ll discuss the physics of fluorescence a bit later when we explain why UV tattoos are completely safe.

The black light ink radiates with neon-like brilliance, seemingly hovering just beneath the skin’s surface. This striking effect creates a mesmerizing appearance, making UV tattoos a unique and attention-grabbing choice for those who want their body art to shine under the party lights.

How Did Jonny Hall Get Into Black Light Tattooing?

Jonny Hall of Sydney, Australia

Jonny Hall of Sydney, Australia

On his way from apprenticeship to mastery, Jonny Hall tried several tattoo styles before sticking to black and grey. Eventually, it led him to an accidental discovery, what he calls UVealism—a stunning combination of realistic black and grey design with striking UV-reactive ink details. “It was just a lightbulb moment for me when I realized that I could put UV and black and gray tattoos together. How cool would that be, especially when nobody has done it before?” Jonny says.

It has been almost 3 years since the public saw the UV-inked tattoo by Jonny, and the numbers have been rising steadily. He doesn’t plan to stop there and keeps refining his craft with great diligence.

Pros and Cons of Getting a UV Tattoo

A great tattoo has two parts to it: rich meaning and stunning visuals. UV ink can add value to both aspects and make an already good tattoo even better. Let’s see what exactly can a UV tattoo bring to your outlook and whether there are any potential downsides.

What Is So Good About Them?

🎨 Striking, neon-like color palette

The first reason people go for UV tattoos is the pure aesthetics of it. While skilled realism artists can come very close to replicating the vibe of a night street full of neon signs, they are still restrained by their palette, vivid but not exactly glowing. Blacklight inks push the creative boundaries, allowing the artist to overcome established technical limits. The look of sheer surprise and thrill on the client’s face when they see just how bright the tattoo is, brings joy to the artist as well.

The essence of the approach Jonny Hall chooses is exploiting the dramatic contrast between classic black and grey details and colored parts of the tattoo highlighted by the UV ink. You can see how masterfully he achieves this contrast in the tattoo collection we crafted.

What Is So Good About Them

The party’s attention is all yours

You need a black light to make the tattoo glow, right? If you enjoy nightlife and know all clubs, raves, or neon parties nearby, UV tattoos are a perfect choice. UV lights are almost always there, presenting the crowd with the opportunity to appreciate your taste. Tattoos are the perfect conversation starters, and the mesmerizing look of your ink piece will certainly intrigue people around you.

🤫 You can conceal the message if you want to

Some UV inks are practically invisible in the daylight, which can be a very cool feature if you want to hide the tattoo message or add a second meaning to it. You can conceal the text, elements of the design, or even the entire piece. You can keep the meaning a secret or get a tattoo together with your significant other—both options can work really well.

What Are the Potential Problems?

🔦 You need to keep the lamp nearby

Actually, there are not so many disadvantages to UV tattooing. However, the fact that UV tattoos are only glowing under black light can be both an advantage and a downside. It means enjoying the full potential of the ink piece requires you to keep the black light lamp next to you. Such a lamp is not too expensive, but constantly carrying it around your place can be a bit annoying. It also doesn’t mean that the tattoo looks bleak without UV light—many of Jonny’s tattoos look like any other high-profile realistic tattoos, and UV ink adds a cherry on top.

As you can see, the tattoo looks stunning even without the UV light
As you can see, the tattoo looks stunning even without the UV light

🤷 Not so many artists perform UV tattoos

While not an issue with UV tattoos themselves, the lack of availability often leads people to settle with more traditional options. It is possible to add UV ink to an existing tattoo, so you can get a usual tattoo and add UV elements later. On the other hand, many artists, including Jonny, are not really comfortable with changing the original pieces and prefer working with new, authentic designs.

We asked Jonny what he thinks about the overall state of the industry, and he believes in the upward trend of the industry, “Time will tell, of course. All I know is that it’s getting more and more traction. More high-profile artists and high-profile clients are reaching out to me. Watch this space, as you might see me traveling a lot more this year.”

InkMatch is a place where you can find a skillful artist in the nearby area and finally get the bold design you wanted for years. With hundreds of artists represented, you can definitely find your creative tandem!

Also, there are still many misconceptions about UV tattoos, and debunking those would help the industry quite a bit. We had many questions before the interview: “Are UV tattoos safe,” “How long do they last,” “How much do UV tattoos cost,” and many more. Jonny had great answers, and we invite you to explore them in this section. But before we dive deep into the technical stuff, let’s appreciate the magic a maestro can weave using UV inks.

Pushing Creative Boundaries: a Collection of Glowing Designs

Jonny knows how to shape neo-traditional or geometric styles with UV inks, but his trademark works are performed in realism. In our collection, there are some of the finest art pieces in the UV tattoo industry. Jonny uses blazing blue ink, but you can also see glowing orange and green elements and combinations of colors. Notice just how stark the contrast between grey and UV inks is.

Jonny Hall Dispels Myths About Fluorescent Ink

Are UV Tattoos Safe?

Many people are afraid that UV tattoos are toxic or cause cancer. So, this was the first question we asked. It turned out that the aspect that causes so much confusion is that UV and glow-in-dark inks are actually not the same at all. Some inks that used to be on the market contained phosphorescence, which caused tattoos to glow in the dark (not under the UV light).

While there is no academic conclusion on the topic, the safety of these inks was indeed questioned. However, inks that are on the market today are UV-reactive. “UV reactive inks have zero phosphorescences and zero hard metals and are completely safe. The black light charges up fluorescent particles in the ink and causes irradiation. And that’s what lets up the crazy glow. But as soon as the black light is gone, it doesn’t glow anymore,” Jonny explains. 

How Long Do UV Tattoos Last?

Another point often brought up on the internet is that UV tattoos don’t last long. Well, this is not exactly correct. “I’ve noticed that invisible UV inks tend to fade a bit quicker compared to black and gray in certain body areas, depending on the skin type and sun exposure. If, after two years, the invisible ink fades a little bit, and a client asks for a free touch-up, I’ll do it with no problem,” says Jonny. Also, factors that can extend the lifetime of any tattoo include proper aftercare and quality ink brands with high pigment lightfastness.

Are UV-reactive Inks Rare?

An interesting insight Jonny shared is that fluorescence is, sometimes, characteristic of the inks that are not even labeled as UV-reactive. In fact, quite a few things in our daily lives are UV-reactive, for example, tonic water or certain olive oils. So, the answer is that UV-reactive inks are not all that rare. 

There is one more cool insight from Jonny, “Funnily enough, three of my best colors that hold perfectly in the daylight are not even UV inks. So they’re being sold as regular color tattoo inks. You can buy them on the website, and they don’t even mention that it’s UV-reactive!”

Finally, let’s discuss the subtle differences UV tattooing has compared to the regular process.

UV inks Jonny Hall uses

UV inks Jonny Hall uses

How Are UV Tattoos Different From the Usual Ones?

✒️ Technique

While the differences between doing a regular and UV tattoo are minor, the artist has to be aware of them and have experience with the ink. UV-reactive inks tend to be thinner compared to the usual tattoo inks. This detail means that an artist has to use slower hand movement to avoid damaging the skin and adjust the tattoo machine settings. “Inks can have different thicknesses. Some are easy to work with, and some require more precision. I’ve learned by now what inks hold best in each body part,” says Jonny.

😴 Aftercare

Again, the differences are not dramatic, but because of the specifics of the ink, Jonny recommends using Second Skin and general tattoo balms for the first five days. Also, use sunscreen if you’re under direct sunlight.

💵 Price

“How much do UV tattoos cost?” is obviously a question people often have, but it also depends on a number of factors, like size, complexity of the piece, and the artist’s hourly rate. It is worth noting, however, that the addition of UV-reactive inks brings a relatively small price increase. The artist’s expertise and time cost a lot more, anyway. The good news is that you can use our tattoo price calculator to get a close estimate.

UV tattoos


UV tattoos are a breath of fresh air in the tattoo industry. Getting a large realistic piece with glowing elements or just a small UV tattoo can be a great choice for tattoo enthusiasts, party-goers, or people who want to keep the meaning of a tattoo a secret. Jonny Hall stands at the forefront of the genre, and we are glad he agreed to share his priceless expertise with us.

We discussed how UV-reactive inks work and debunked the popular misconceptions about the genre. Jonny explained why UV tattoos are safe and how long you should expect your UV tattoo to last. And also, you could enjoy a stunning collection of UV tattoos by Jonny Hall.

We hope this article was inspiring, and we also want to say a big thank you to Jonny for sharing his exclusive knowledge with us!


🧐 Is It Safe To Get a UV Tattoo?

Yes, UV tattoos are safe. Tattoo inks that are on the market today are UV-reactive, which means that they contain no phosphorescence or heavy metals. Jonny Hall confirmed to us that adverse reactions to UV tattoos are extremely rare.

🕰️ How Long Do UV Tattoos Last?

Usually, UV tattoos last just as long as color tattoos. The lifetime of a tattoo depends on the placement, skin type, proper aftercare, and other factors.

💰 Do UV Tattoos Cost More?

The UV inks are not very rare but slightly more expensive. That being said, the price of a UV tattoo is mostly defined by the complexity of the piece and the artist’s hourly rate.

❌ Can UV Tattoos Be Removed?

It is possible to get rid of a UV tattoo eventually, but it is not as easy as with a regular one. It is essential to consult a dermatologist to know whether your brand of ink should be removed by laser.


Was this article helpful?

Stay Tuned

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive new guides, ideas, and useful tips for tattoo artists and fans first.

You may also enjoy these articles: