So you’re just not sure, huh? Well there’s no shame in that. Getting a tattoo is a huge decision. You only get one chance to pick just the right design and just the right place to put it before you’re stuck with it for the rest of your life. You’d be stupid to rush into something like that. It would almost be like marrying someone on your first blind date; only divorcing a tattoo usually requires surgery and leaves scar. Fortunately, you have the option to test drive a tattoo before you commit to it for life. Think of it as speed dating for your skin.
Temporary tattoos have been around for decades. You baby boomers probably have fond, childhood memories about Cockamamies, those fun little tattoos that used to come in Cracker Jacks and boxes of breakfast cereal. You just wet (usually by licking, right?) the back of the transfer paper to loosen the design and stick it to your skin and you’d have a tattoo for the day. You probably felt it made you look tough, like your dad and his service tattoo.
You say you’d be embarrassed to wear a fake tattoo? You’re friends will give you a hard time about not going for the real thing? Well consider that word, “real” for a minute. If your tattoo exists, then it’s real, right? It’s certainly not a figment of your imagination. Just think of it as a similar, but separate option.
Just like permanent body art, temporary tattoos have continued to evolve over the years, into a much more sophisticated product with many more options to choose from. The film industry helped push along the development of the product, because shooting movies that involved heavily tattooed characters, such as bikers, gangsters, or Ray Bradbury’s Illustrated Man, took so long to shoot. The makeup crew would invest a lot of time and effort into meticulously painting each and every detailed tattoo on the actor by hand, only to have their work quickly melt off under the intense heat of the stage lights.
Chemist, Dr. Samuel Zuckerman has an impressive list of accomplishments to his credit. He’s responsible for the Estee Lauder’s Origins line, the stripe in Aquafresh toothpaste and he’s the father of temporary body art. He invented the first skin friendly, authentic looking tattoo for the 1981 film by the same name. The film drew overnight attention to his invention and the amazement of the tattoo and makeup industries.
A few years later, Zuckerman and his son set about mass marketing the product. Today the Temptu company caters to the rich and famous as well as the average individual. They’ve added products like body glitter and stick on jewels, stencil-only stick-ons that let you fill in the color yourself, and even airbrush tattoos, which are applied by applying a stencil to the skin and painting over it with a special spray paint. Tempu products have been used on some of the most famous fashion runways, as well as on the big screen in films like Xmen 2, Rent and The Mummy Returns. It’s also decorated the stars of HBO’s mega hit The Sopranos.
Prices are fairly reasonable, even for the most elaborate designs. There are varying levels of application graces required, depending on your choice of products. Surely just about anyone can easily apply the stick on tattoos, but if you choose the paint on kind, you may want to enlist the help of one of your more artistic friends.
You don’t have to feel like a fake for opting to go temporary with your body art. Just think of it as an extension of the rest of your cosmetic lineup. On your average night on the town, no one will know if your hair is colored, if your bra is padded, or if your tattoo is permanent unless you tell them.