A colour patch test is a small and subtle application of various tattoo inks, with the intention of seeing how each colour heals. Today we'll be reviewing my coworker Aaliyah's CPT and how it's healed over the first 5 months.
We chose to do the CPT on Aaliyah's outer ankle. She was just starting her tattoo journey at this time, and had already a colourful piece on her outer forearm. The CPT was completed in July 2023, and follow up photos were done 3 months later in October, and again in November.
You can see that most of the colours look bright and very readable. The red and orange are especially vibrant, but even the lighten colours like yellow and pink are holding their own.
The biggest change is notable in the white. White ink never stays white forever. Even in the least melanated skin, white will generally heal to a colour a bit soften then the person's natural skin tone, and take on a look not unlike a scar. It's generally used in highlights and small details.
But the story doesn't end there!
Aaliyah and I decided to experiment further by touching up all of the original colours. This was done by simply tattooing over the original CPT with the exact same colours. In general, touch ups are a great way to add vibrancy and longevity to a piece, particularly when the colours did not heal perfectly the first time around.
We also adding the first Grey Scale Patch Test!
In the following picture, the black at the top is mixed with a few drops of very dark purple (a tip I was given to ensure a 'blackest black' look on melanated skin), the second is black, and the four underneath are black mixed with progressively more and more white. The final dot is white, just like in the CPT.
The photo on the right is our touched up CPT and Grey Scale PT four months later, both holding up beautifully.
(As for the 'purple in the black' trick, I don't think it worked here. To me, the second dot from the top, the just black ink one, reads as darker then the top one.)
And then just for fun, I thought I would include the following photo from November, right after we did the touch ups and added the Grey Scale. In this picture, each ink is painted directly on the skin, next to its freshly tattooed counterpart so that everyone can see how the ink looks 'out of the bottle' vs in the skin.
Overall, it was an awesome experience! And though Aaliyah moved away and is not longer my coworker, I look forward to seeing her tattoo collection grow over the years!
I currently offer free colour patch tests to Black folks, Indigenous folks, and People of Colour (BIPOC) in exchange for photos of their healing tattoo over time. My intention is to share these images in this blog as a public resource.
If you would like to be a part of the study, please apply here!
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