Anyone who’s bought a box of Cracker Jacks is familiar with the unsightly tatters of a faded temporary tattoo. Those who have invested in an airbrush tattoo have the same problem, while henna tattoo users have to deal with fading. With the proper attention your fake tattoo, regardless of type, can last much longer.
General tips to keep in mind when applying a fake tattoo: make sure the area of application is clean and dry; do not expose the area to any more water than necessary; avoid scrubbing the tattoo or covering it with rough fabrics; stay out of the pool, since chlorine will erode the design; and don’t apply lotion directly to the design.
Temporary rub-on tattoos are popular with kids, so they’re the most prone of the three types to rub off due to physical activity. The easiest way to help these tattoos last longer is to apply baby powder to them at least once a day to absorb bodily oils that erode the tattoo and cause it to flake.
Airbrush tattoos, found at amusement park kiosks and other such attractions, are a quick and colorful way to temporarily decorate your body. They’re advertised as lasting for at least a week, but the usage of baby powder on a daily basis lengthens that period, as does covering the tattoo with vegetable oil before bathing. The oil allows the water to slide off of the tattoo without taking any color off. A quick-fix for sealing airbrush tattoos is hairspray, which can also be applied to temporary rub-on tattoos; just make sure you allow the hairspray to dry before covering it with any type of clothing, since otherwise the cloth will adhere to the spray and take the tattoo with it.
Henna tattoos are the best of the bunch when it comes to longevity. The ink is absorbed into your skin and can last up to two weeks without any care. Avoid powdering these tattoos, as it will lighten the color. However, the vegetable oil method before bathing is a useful way to keep the tattoo from fading. Vaseline is a great substitute for vegetable oil if you have it available to you. Keep the tattoo out of direct sun exposure as much as possible to avoid rapid fading. Henna tattoos are also the easiest to replace - since they are absorbed into your skin instead of on top of it, there’s still an outline on your skin when they fade, creating a perfect design to be re-traced if you so desire.