Jagua Tattoo: Exploring its popularity and artists
Join NUR SYAFINA BINTE IMRAN in an insightful conversation with renowned Jagua tattoo artists, Eileen Lim and Cassidy Ong, as they share their perspectives on community and experience.
Nur Syafina Binte Iran
Editorial Admin Manager
Hype Issue #57
September 19, 2023
A Jagua tattoo designed by Cassidy Ong, Artist of No-Pain Cool-Stain. Photo by Nur Syafina Binte Imran.
In place of henna, Jagua tattoos are the current popular non-permanent alternative for those wishing to trial a design before committing to a permanent tattoo.
You might wonder, how did Jagua tattoos become the preferred option for temporary body art, surpassing the ever-popular henna?
In contrast to decades ago, the concept of body tattoos has become increasingly appreciated and accepted in society, especially amongst youths. A 2018 article by ThinkHouse highlighted that Gen Z (those born from 1997 to 2012) view tattoos as a means of self-expression rather than as an act of rebellion. As self-expression is one of the key principles of Gen Z, it could be a contributing factor to the rising popularity of Jagua tattoos.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, influencers embraced lifelike Jagua tattoos that went viral on platforms such as Instagram for their authentic look. However, obtaining these products locally often entails high shipping fees.
When Jagua tattoos were introduced to Singapore, youths went crazy over them thanks to the power of social media marketing. Credit is given to Ng See Min, founder and artist of Henndrawn, for allegedly introducing Jagua tattoos to the local community. Besides her, there are other talented artists in Singapore who draw temporary tattoos with Jagua ink in their own unique way.
Artist of The Little Jotter, Eileen Lim, doing a Jagua tattoo on hand model. Photo by Nur Syafina Binte Imran.
Introducing Eileen Lim, 28, the creator and artist behind The Little Jotter which was established in 2018. Driven by a lifelong passion for the arts, she pursued the business while at the same time juggling studies in Commerce.
From her experience as an artist, she shared her views on the reasons for the rise in popularity of Jagua tattoos.
“Youth today value authenticity and self-expression, and Jagua tattoos offer a striking yet temporary way to embody these values. Furthermore, the Jagua ink is vegan and made from all natural ingredients, making it safe for skin application,” Eileen said.
Moreover, Eileen shared that Jagua tattoos offer a “true-to-life tattoo for a limited period” which grants her clients the freedom to embrace different designs over time. This symbolises the ever-changing nature of life and art, and shows that Jagua tattoo is the perfect choice for those who don’t want that lifelong commitment of a permanent ink tattoo.
Cassidy Ong posing with his tablet which he uses for designing. Photo by Nur Syafina Binte Imran.
Meet Cassidy Ong, 25, the owner and artist of the popular Jagua business No-Pain Cool-Stain which has operated since 2019. He decided to pursue his love for art through Jagua inking for the fun of it after years of studying Chemical Engineering.
He believes that the popularity of Jagua tattoos will remain steadfast, primarily due to the ongoing demand from individuals who are unable to get permanent tattoos. Cassidy emphasised that Jagua artists play a crucial role in addressing this societal need.
“There are always people that cannot get tattoos for certain reasons. Even though, now, society kind of accepts (tattoos) but maybe due to their personal reasons, or maybe because of religion, their jobs, they cannot get [one],” Cassidy said.
Eileen consulting a client on the design choice before the inking process. Photo by Nur Syafina Binte Imran.
A pre-designed template created for the hand model by Cassidy prior to the appointment. Photo by Nur Syafina Binte Imran.
The process of getting a Jagua tattoo is also relatively similar to getting a permanent tattoo. Clients start out with ideating with the artist on a design they’d like to get, either by a prior consultation or during the inking appointment.
Cassidy using a white pen to map out the design on the skin. Photo by Siah Yue En Charis Joy.
From there, the artist will map out the design using a white pen before going in with the Jagua gel.
Eileen using the Jagua gel straight onto the model’s hand. Photo by Nur Syafina Binte Imran.
Though , depending on the artist’s preference, they can even go straight in with the Jagua gel without the need of the white pen as a guide.
The final look of the Jagua design by Cassidy once the gel has dried and washed away. Photo by Siah Yue En Charis Joy.
The duration of the inking process varies depending on the complexity of the design, ranging from a few minutes to several hours. Either way, the wait is definitely worth it as once the Jagua gel is washed away (after letting it dry for at least four hours), a beautiful natural-looking masterpiece will be revealed.
The best part is Jagua tattoos last up to two weeks, no matter where the gel is placed on the body, unlike henna which can range from just a few days to two weeks depending on where the ink is placed.
Eileen recounted her most memorable Jagua work, while Cassidy reflected on the artwork that consumed the most time — a five-hour endeavour. In both cases, the results were nothing short of breathtaking.
Eileen freestyled this tattoo on a client who wanted a design which encapsulates his personal journey of hardship. Photo by Eileen Lim.
Cassidy worked on this design for five hours which features Tanjiro and Nezuko, characters from popular Anime series, Demon Slayer. Photo by Cassidy Ong.
Whether it’s the allure of temporary body art, the opportunity for self-expression, or the chance to embrace the ever-changing nature of life and art, Jagua tattoos offer a unique and intriguing experience.