Want to get inked but not ready for a lifelong commitment? Temporary tattoos are not only inexpensive and ouch-free, but they also fade into nothingness in a matter of days. For those who want something a little less transient, there’s Inkbox, a Canadian startup that claims to have created a formula that lasts up to 15 days. Even better, the inks are 100 percent organic, derived from fruit that grows in the jungles of the Darién Gap in Panama. Inkbox donates a percentage of its sales to the Darién Initiative, a nonprofit that protects the interests of the local Embera-Wounaan and Kuna peoples. “These tribes have been dyeing their skin with the pulp of the Genipa americana fruit for thousands of years,” Inkbox notes on its Kickstarter campaign page, where it’s taking preorders. “It’s where we got the idea for Inkbox and it’s where the ingredients for our formula come from.”


Based in Indiana, the Darién Initiative has been working with the natives for the past 30 years. Its contributions include purchasing agricultural equipment and teaching the locals how to use them, reforesting clear-cut areas in the Darién Gap with Genipa americana trees, building a town center for local children to go to after school, and assisting with disaster relief.

As Inkbox notes on its website, the Darién Initiative “ensures that we’re sustainably harvesting their fruit and giving back to their community.”

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Inkbox’s application process is a smidge more complicated than the wet-sponge treatment you get at the carnival. A typical kit comprises four parts: a reusable adhesive stencil, a sliver of cotton with the company’s patent-pending formula, a second wedge of cotton to protect your hands from staining, and a fourth layer that “holds it all together, like a hug,” according to Inkbox.

The inking itself takes 10 minutes, but it needs a further 12 hours to “set” by reacting with organic compounds in your epidermis, “effectively turning the structural proteins in the top layer of your skin black,” per the company.

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The resulting tattoo is safe for your skin and safe for all ages, Inkbox says. “We could have made our formula synthetic,” it adds. “But we took the hard road. We’re committed to building you a natural product that’s safe for your skin.”

There are 300 designs to choose from, none of which look like it came from a box of Cracker Jack. You can even submit a custom design if you pledge $47 or more.

Whether you want to seal the deal with a trip to the tattoo parlor is completely up to you.

+ Inkbox Tattoo $15 and up on Kickstarter

+ Inkbox