A semi permanent tattoo, also called a temporary tattoo, has the appearance of a real tattoo but without the long lasting effects. This type of body art can be used as a way of gauging how a permanent design will look, as well as being central to some religious festivals. Semi permanent tattoos are also used in film and theatre to give an actor the appearance of having a genuine tattoo.
Early temporary tattoos came in the form of ink transfers. These patches remain in circulation and are easy to apply, requiring just water and pressure. However, these temporary tattoos do not last long and can be rubbed off easily. Temporary tattoos can also be applied with an airbrush and a semi permanent tattoo pen. The ink used in these methods is comprised of ink and glue. Pens allow freehand creations while airbrushing requires a stencil. These temporary tattoos typically last around one week. Henna, which when crushed and mixed with a mild acid such as citrus juice, can also be used to stain the skin, with the effects lasting up to two weeks.
Although temporary tattoos fade naturally over time, the removal process can be sped up. One way to remove a transfer tattoo is to apply sticky back plastic to the tattoo which, when lifted off, takes with it the transfer. Ink tattoos can be removed with the application of hot water and soap, baby oil and olive oil can also be used. A luffa sponge can be used to accelerate the rate at which a henna tattoo fades.