Oct 4, 2022 - Things to Do

Made-to-fade tattoo parlor comes to Houston

Photo of a lobby with chairs and coffee tables.

Ephemeral Tattoo has 14 private tattoo studios at its Montrose location. Photo: Shafaq Patel/Axios

A new tattoo parlor recently opened in Montrose — except this place only offers ink that will fade within roughly a year.

Why it matters: Tattoos are usually permanent. But Ephemeral Tattoo wants to change the game so people who would not have gotten a tattoo because of their cultural or religious backgrounds or out of fear of regretting it have the opportunity to rock artwork on their bodies.

Driving the news: Ephemeral opened its Houston location on Sept. 12. It's their fifth location in the U.S., following Brooklyn, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Atlanta.

  • The company says it chose Houston because of the city's diversity.

Between the lines: New-concept ideas like Ephemeral often either remain on the coast or skip over Houston and head straight to Austin.

  • "We didn't want to be stuck in our coastal echo chambers. Meanwhile, I think Austin has lost a little bit of the soul that Houston very much still possesses," CEO Jeff Liu says.

What's happening: Since the tattoos fade in nine to 15 months, millennials and Gen Zers are getting fun and goofy tattoos, Liu says. They're also getting tattoos in previously "taboo'' places, like the lower back, without the worry of wanting laser removal in the future.

  • More than 70% of their customers had never gotten a tattoo before and a majority are women and people of color.

How it works: The process is the same — you book an appointment, work with an artist and get tattooed. But the ink, using bioabsorbable polymers, naturally breaks down over time.

What they're saying: "Tattoos that can be made to fade in nine to 15 months allow you to show the world who you are, even if that person who you are might change over time," Liu says.

Where: 1665 Westheimer Road.

  • Ironically, the Montrose location is across the street from a traditional tattoo parlor.

Of note: Just because the tattoos are temporary doesn't mean they're less painful or cheaper.

  • Subtle tattoos start at $195 and more complex ones start at $350.

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