tattoo shading

Can You Fix A Tattoo With Too Much Shading?

Tattoos are permanent things; this is not new information – but is there a way to fix aspects of a tattoo that you are not happy with? What happens if you get a tattoo with too much shading in it and it does not look right? Can you fix a tattoo with too much shading?

Shading in a tattoo will usually not be able to be fixed. Shading is a very difficult thing to try and fix in a tattoo; it is usually done in dark color ink and is spread throughout a large part of the tattoo, making it a difficult aspect to change once done.

tattoo shading
Shading on a tattoo

Because tattoo shading can go wrong quite quickly, it has often ruined an otherwise beautiful tattoo – this has led many people to ask if only the shading in a tattoo can be removed or fixed?

Can My Tattoo With Too Much Shading Be Fixed?

Your tattoo with too much shading may be able to be corrected in several different ways, but you will not be able to take away from the shading that is already in place

If done well, tattoo shading adds a beautiful depth to a tattoo, and if done poorly, it can end up making it just look very dark and badly done.

If you are looking to remove the shading from a tattoo altogether, the only way who will be able to do this will be with tattoo laser removal.

There are upsides, and there are downsides to getting your shading removed via tattoo laser removal:

You can add some geometric shapes to your too shaded tattoo to make a background for it
One of your options to fix too shaded tattoo is add some shapes or lines to create a new pattern (one of my works)

The upside 

Getting only shading removed with tattoo laser removal will go a lot quicker than it usually would take if you were getting a full tattoo with lines and details removed

The downside

The downside to getting the shading of your tattoo removed with laser tattoo removal is that the lasers can only be accurate to a certain point, which means that often other parts of your tattoo that are close to the shading will end up being removed as well.

Other sections of your tattoo being removed alongside the shading will not be too big of an issue, though, as you can get these sections retouched and added to once the area of skin is fully healed.

If you are not interested in having the shading of your tattoo removed entirely, there are other ways that you could fix your shading; however, this will usually include you adding more to your existing tattoo.

How Can I Make My Tattoo Shading Better?

There are ways that you can add to your tattoo shading in order to make it look better without completely removing the shading. Some of these ways are as follows:

Tattoo Cover-Up

Cover is a good option to fix too shaded tattoo
Tattoo cover made by me

If you are unhappy with your tattoo as a whole now due to the poorly done shading, you can find a tattoo artist who specializes in tattoo cover-ups and see if they would be able to assist you in covering up the entire piece with a new tattoo. 

Sometimes this is not possible if there are very dark sections of the tattoo that can not be worked around, but more often than not, you will be able to come up with a new design that will cover up the old tattoo well. 

Adding Geometric Patterns To Make A Background

If the bad shading is around the outside of the tattoo, you could find a nice geometric pattern that you could have added to the shading to make the tattoo look as if it was layered on top of a cool background.

You will need to find a tattoo artist who is skilled in this style of geometric patterns, though, because if you have an artist who is not familiar with these patterns, attempt this, it may make your tattoo look even worse than it did before. 

You can cover your too shaded tattoo by another tattoo
You can make another tattoo on tattoo with too much shading – one of my projects

Adding Color Where It Is Possible To Have A Watercolor Tattoo Effect

If you have a light grey shading surrounding your tattoo that is making it look weird, and as if it has been put in a block, you may be able to add some watercolor style shading around it to give the tattoo a new style and bring it to life a bit.

If you have an artist who can do this, they will be able to blend the color or colors in with the grey and make this tattoo pop with color instead of looking stuck inside a grey cube.

These are just a handful of ways that you could try and make your tattoo shading look better – and a good tattoo artist is always crucial.

Can I Put White Ink Over Black Shading?

You can put white ink over black shading; however, there is no guarantee this is going to help or make any difference to your tattoo shading.

White ink can lighten up the darkness of a tattoo, but how well this works entirely depends on the tattoo, the client’s skin, and the skills of the tattoo artist.

The effectiveness of fixing too shaded tattoo with white ink depends on several factors
The effectiveness of lightening the tattoo with too much shading depends on several factors

If your shading was light enough, your tattoo artist might be able to lighten it even further by adding some white ink to the darker color and bring the tone of the color up a notch.

This, however, is not guaranteed to work, and it may, in fact, make your tattoo look a whole lot worse if your tattoo artist does not know what they are doing during this process – they could end up making a really densely packed grey area on the tattoo instead.

Can Tattoo Shading Be Lightened?

Aw was said at the beginning of this article, a tattoo is a permanent thing, and once it is there, it is not going anywhere – unfortunately, this means that you usually will not be able to lighten the shading of your tattoo.

Generally, as your tattoo heals, the colors will naturally lighten up, which means that it will not always look as dark as it does the day you get it

This will happen with the shading on your tattoo as well. 

As it heals and as time goes on, the tattoo will naturally lighten up, so before you get worried or decided to take measures into your own hands if you feel that your tattoo shading is too dark, try to giving your tattoo a few weeks to heal, and then see how the shading looks. 

No matter how frustrating your tattoo’s shading may be, do not go and try out techniques that you have found on the internet or do things that a friend might have told you about to try to lighten your tattoo. Things such as not taking the proper steps in your tattoo’s aftercare intentionally to try and make the ink scab and fall out, or leaving your tattoo exposed to the sun without any sunscreen on it, or using a bath loofa to scrub at your tattoo.

These actions can cause some serious repercussions that can be very damaging to the entire tattoo, and if it leads to an infection, it can even hurt your health.

Before you worry about your fresh tattoo, check how it will look like once it has healed
Check how your tattoo with shading looks after healing – maybe it is no reason to be worried (one of my works)

Never try and force a tattoo to fade, rather take good care of it in every way that your tattoo artist tells you to, and once it is healed, you can look at what your options are and decide on your next step.


Getting a bad tattoo is one of the greatest pains that life can throw at you, and unfortunately, there is more often than not very little that can be done about it – this is why it is so important to find a good tattoo artist that you know is skilled and will do the job well.

If you are unfortunate enough to have a tattoo that has too much shading on it, there are many different things that you can do to try and rectify the problem, and it will all start with finding a new, skilled tattoo artist who will be able to help guide you on the next steps you should take.

So, even if your brand new tattoo looks like the shading is too dark, take great care of it, making sure that it heals well, and give it a chance to first lighten up a bit naturally before pursuing any big changes to try and get rid of the shading.


Similar Posts