Preserving a temporary tattoo
May 8, 2011 8:24 AM   Subscribe

As part of a stupid bet, I need to preserve a temporary tattoo on my face for as long as possible. The tattoo is the kind that little kids get as party favors and it comes on a piece of paper that you wet with water and stick on yourself. What things can I do to ensure that the t-rex on my face lasts the longest?
posted by martinX's bellbottoms to Grab Bag (21 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Paint over it with liquid bandage?
posted by gnutron at 8:38 AM on May 8, 2011

Do you get to choose where to put the tattoo? I would put it on my forehead as opposed to my cheek, because forehead skin doesn't move or bend as much. Bending = tattoo cracking.
And, uh, don't move your eyebrows much?
posted by Gordafarin at 8:38 AM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

You may just be out of luck -- as a parent I can tell you that sometimes those tattoos come off 5 minutes after you apply them. For sure they disintegrate quickly -- you may be able to keep some remnants on for a long time but the design as a whole tends to go fast.

Definitely try to choose some section of your face that moves the least. I don't think the forehead is great, but I don't think there's a really great spot on your face at all. Maybe your temple? Make sure your skin is dry and clean, and without lotion or any other product on there.

In my experience the only thing that made a tattoo last for a long time was true drama: My son broke his tattooed arm. When we went back to get his cast off 6.5 weeks later the guy at the orthopedist remembered that there were tattoos under there...and they were still there. (However, these were the slightly fancier airbrushed kids' tattoo.)
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:43 AM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

When my daughter was 2 I gave her a temporary tramp stamp that lasted for about a week. Pure win.

These things come off really easily with rubbing alcohol and/or mineral oil. Perhaps, if you have to wash your face, don't use anything alcohol or mineral based? Maybe gently blot with a soft cloth and some water.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 8:53 AM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

I mean, have you thought of cheating and just getting lots of the same tattoo and reapplying at night?
posted by darkgroove at 8:55 AM on May 8, 2011 [9 favorites]

Pick the least oily part of your face. Wash only with a splash of water. And +1 to darkgroove.
posted by Addlepated at 9:08 AM on May 8, 2011

Makeup sealer? In the past I've used it on people I've airbrushed.
posted by the_artificer at 9:15 AM on May 8, 2011

Be sure to remove any dead skin from your face before applying so the tat doesn't slough off with the dead skin cells. One way to do this is to (GENTLY) scrub the area with a baking soda/water paste.
posted by quiet coyote at 9:20 AM on May 8, 2011

Clear nail polish? It can't be great for your skin, but I bet it would work.
posted by vincele at 9:21 AM on May 8, 2011

If its part of a stupid bet, and the terms are to preserve the tattoo "as long as possible", maybe just apply it normally and then when it wears off, consider yourself successful in satisfying the terms of the bet?
posted by lazaruslong at 9:30 AM on May 8, 2011

Like everyone else has said, if you have not yet applied the tattoo, try to put it on an unmoving area - maybe the side of your cheek, near your jaw? Or your temple? And before you put it on, make sure your face is washed, scrubbed, completely dry, and doesn't have much oil on it.

Try to avoid getting it wet, and of course don't touch it much. Every day, and after each time it gets moist, apply baby powder or setting powder with a makeup brush, sort of patting the powder into the tattoo. Let it sit for a bit then gently brush it off.

I would NOT put nail polish or liquid bandage or anything like that over it, because it will dry up and flake off and take the tattoo with it.
posted by ohsnapdragon at 9:41 AM on May 8, 2011

Response by poster: The tattoo was already on my face (on top of a bunch of sunscreen and a sunburn that might be bad enough to peel) when the bet was made. The bet is a contest among 5 of my frisbee teammates to see who can keep it the longest and luckily we're all in pretty much the same situation when it comes to how the tattoos were applied. I'm going to look into the liquid bandage and makeup sealer to see if I can get mine to hang on for a little longer than everyone else's.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 9:41 AM on May 8, 2011

Carefully blot any oil with a tissue. Makeup sealer sounds pretty good, or acrylic hairspray.
posted by theora55 at 10:27 AM on May 8, 2011

You should tape some gauze over it when you sleep so it doesn't rub off on your pillow.
posted by phunniemee at 10:29 AM on May 8, 2011

Try not to move your face.
posted by hermitosis at 11:04 AM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Since you are supposed to remove them with baby oil, I would guess that you should try to keep your face as oil-free as possible. I would try a little loose powder. If you want to go the extra step, you can get anti-perspirant powder at costume shops, meant to set face paint/makeup.
posted by radioamy at 11:19 AM on May 8, 2011

Keep it dry and pat it with powder or cornstarch. Cover it when you sleep.
posted by wandering_not_lost at 3:01 PM on May 8, 2011

Paint it with superglue.
posted by pompomtom at 4:10 PM on May 8, 2011

Go to a good tattoo parlor and have them recreate the design as accurately as possible in the exact same spot. Boy, will you win.
posted by mreleganza at 4:23 PM on May 8, 2011 [4 favorites]

3M Tegaderm Transparent Dressing is very comfortable -- you won't know it's there -- and the tattoo would remain intact until you took it off, and the Tegaderm will stay on pretty neatly for a long-ish time. From my experience with it I think there's some chance it might leave the tattoo on you when you took it off, but, not totally sure.
posted by kmennie at 8:42 PM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Aquanet. Put on goggles before applying.
posted by WeekendJen at 9:41 AM on May 9, 2011

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