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​Fake Two-Week Tattoos Are the Future of Dumbass Self Expression

A Toronto company is letting people design their own realistic-looking tattoos that only last a couple of weeks. Hello, Justin Timberlake on my arm.

Love you JT. Photos via Tagwa Moyo.

This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.

I often look at people with questionable looking or questionably-placed tattoos and think, You're going to regret that in 20 years. Whether it's an ill-planned homage to Drake, or a randomly-selected tat from a vending machine, the thought of living with a tattoo that loses its cultural significance after just a few years (or in the case of Harambe, months) is an absolute nightmare. And in our society full of impulsive decision makers and dumb trend-lovers (god love y'all), there are tons of people living that nightmare today (proof here and here).


But at the same time, tattoos are the most beautiful, personalized outlets for self-expression, so who am I to judge you for that "pussy eater" tat on your face?

I don't have any ink, but I'm definitely drawn to the sense of originality and creativity that the good ones provide. However, I'm incredibly indecisive—I can't even recall the last time I actually wore the first outfit I tried on in the morning.

And according to a Harris Research Poll last year, 23 percent of Americans regret some of the tattoos they got for a slew of reasons like, they were too young when they got it, their personality changed and it doesn't suit them anymore, or it was poorly done.

So earlier this year when I discovered Inkbox, a temporary tattoo company that's tailored for irritatingly sensible people like me, I was eager to try. Founded by Tyler and Braden Handley, two brothers from Toronto, Inkbox is perfect for the person who wants to express themselves but doesn't know WTF they want. And since the tats look super realistic and last you just a couple weeks, the only question to ask yourself is, why not?

To summarize exactly how this sorcery works, the Inkbox tattoo formula consists of a bunch of natural ingredients that sink into your skin through a 15-minute application process (which is pretty much like the regular temporary tattoo process).

Ingredients of Inkbox freehand ink at their secret lab. No, that's not cocaine.

While customers can only buy Inkbox tattoos from a catalogue of stencils at the moment, the company is in the middle of testing out a new software that lets customers design their own tats.


A couple weeks ago I attended an exclusive session where 50 people were able to try out this new design software. When it's officially launched, [CREATE], as it's called, will allow users to upload their own designs or images, or pull from an iconographic database to put together an original design. It will then be printed in their Toronto office and shipped out to you.

During the design process, I still couldn't decide what I wanted so I just went for the obvious: Justin Timberlake's face. I mean, who knows if I'd get another opportunity to brand my arm with my favourite celeb and the man who brought me "Bye Bye Bye" at the tender age of four?

When I went to the Inkbox office to pick up my tat, I spoke with co-founder Tyler Handley about the new technology.

"Our product is unique in the sense that it's actually a part of you for several weeks. It's not like a T-shirt, where you just drape it over your body and put it in the laundry after a day of wearing it," Handley said. "Our ultimate goal here is allowing people to wear any tattoo they can possibly imagine, non-permanently. The software is the first step in doing that."

The Inkbox team helping me apply my tattoo.

Handley says this software will allow people to test out designs for tattoos that they are thinking of getting, or will simply allow a new level of self-expression for people who don't want the real thing.

"We're trying to expand the market for people who might not want a tattoo for, lets say, religious reasons, or a skin condition, or they develop blood regularly, or they just don't like pain. Or they fear it's a tattoo that they will regret," Handley said.

After applying my tattoo, it took between about a day to fully develop, and when JT's mysterious gaze greeted me the next morning I was showered with everything but regret.

Right now the [CREATE] software is still in the works, but will be released to a private beta list of customers (which you can still join here). Handley says they're hoping to fully release it in the new year.

In the meantime, I'm pretty proud of my first tat but still it seems that no one really gives a shit about it except for me [editor's note: same goes for real ink]. And those who do notice it think it's Elvis ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Anyways, I'm just counting down the days for this software to launch so I can get hottie Trudeau next.

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