Tattoo ointment is a moisturizing product that you can begin using on day one of your new tattoo. Unlike traditional lotions or creams, tattoo ointments are created especially to be used on an open wound and to assist with infusing your tattoo with the necessary nutrients it requires to heal, while simultaneously nourishing and protecting it. We’ve compiled a list of our top seven favorite tattoo ointments to get your art healed quicker.
Quick glance at the best tattoo ointments:
Table of Contents (clickable)
Hustle Butter Deluxe is one of those, “Seriously, what can’t it do?” products. Not only is it a nourishing ointment that you can begin to use after you’ve cleaned your tattoo on day one, but you can continue to use it throughout your entire healing process.
It’s hard to narrow down what exactly we love about this product, because there’s so much to choose from. It’s 100% vegan which is difficult to find in the ointment industry, and is certified cruelty-free. It contains a completely all-natural ingredients list that includes items that are rich in antioxidants, reduce inflammation, create a barrier of protection over the wound, moisturize, and promote healing. It’s also got a consistency where a little goes a long way, and this makes it smooth and easy to apply. And did we mention it smells amazing - with no added fragrances, either!
Tattoo professionals love this product, and tattoo fanatics rave about it too, saying, “Hustle Butter. Holy. Crap. [. . . ] it's better than I imagined. Within hours my tattoo was feeling and looking much better. I haven't lost any ink, save the inking that always happens a few days post tattooing. It looks incredible. It keeps my arm moisturized without a greasy film or transfer onto my clothes[. . . ] It also has brightened up older sections of my arm which are colored. I'll never use anything again. Hustle Butter, you've got a lifetime customer now. ”
Ingredients:Shea, mango and aloe butters, coconut bran, sunflower and rice oils, rosemary oleoresin, green tea, vitamin E complex and Arvenis peppermint essential oil. With essence of papaya and coconut.
Aquaphor made our list for a few reasons. First, it’s one of the most widely used and easily accessible brands of healing ointment available out there. Second, most other ointment products are merely a variation of the Aquaphor ingredient formula. And finally, tattoo professionals swear by it, such as the owner of Three Kings Tattoos, Matt Marcus, who says, “Aquaphor absorbs the skin’s natural wound exudates, keeping the wound moist to promote healing. ”
Aquaphor has a unique formula that creates a protective barrier over the wound which still allows the flow of oxygen and excess fluids, such as blood, plasma, and ink during the weeping stage of a tattoo, while simultaneously combating any factors that might be detrimental to the healing of the wound. This creates an ideal healing environment for the tattoo.
Aquaphor also absorbs quickly in the skin and does not leave a greasy residue, and contains vitamin B5 which helps promote healing.
Ingredients:Petrolatum (41%), Mineral Oil, Ceresin, Lanolin Alcohol, Panthenol, Glycerin, Bisabolol
CeraVe is an extremely trusted and reliable skincare brand that is often recommended by dermatologists and allergists, and tattoo professionals trust it as part of their tattoo healing regimen. This particularly hydrating ointment contains the active ingredient petrolatum which not only helps to heal minor wounds but also creates a protective barrier that is especially good at combating environmental damage, such as wind, cold air, and pollutants.
This product is also non-comedogenic which means it won’t clog your pores. Since allowing your tattoo to breathe is especially crucial during the first two weeks of healing, non-comedogenic properties are important in an ointment.
CeraVe also has a Seal of Acceptance from The National Eczema Association which means it’s gentle on even the most sensitive of skins, and provides immediate soothing relief to skin irritations, such as new tattoos.
Users refer to this product as an occlusive, meaning it bandages the wound and protects it, saying, “Amazing occlusive. It seals in everything I layer underneath. It's greasy, but not horrifically so. . . It's insanely moisturizing and protects your skin the entire day. ”
Ingredients: Petrolatum, Paraffinum Liquidum / Mineral Oil / Huile Minerale, Paraffin, Ozokerite, Dimethicone, Aqua / Water / Eau, Ceramide Np, Ceramide Ap, Ceramide Eop, Carbomer, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Proline, Cholesterol, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Panthenol, Pantolactone, Phytosphingosine, Xanthan Gum, Ethylhexylglycerin
Tattoo Goo is a trusted aftercare option in the tattoo skincare game. Their aftercare salve is formulated in an ointment format in order for ease-of-use after your first cleaning.
Tattoo Goo stresses that they do not use lanolin, petroleum, and are mineral free to provide you with a more natural option for your ointment care. It’s ingredient list is small and impressive, and includes items such as olive oil which is known to have antibacterial properties, and vitamins that combat inflammation and provide healing properties to the tattoo while simultaneously allowing it to breathe.
In salve format, you just need to scrape out a little bit with a tool such as a spoon, and the product will turn oily in your hands with body heat. The formula is smooth and non-greasy, leaving no residue on clothing, but provides a thin layer of moisture that you can feel long after applying the product.
Reviewers love Tattoo Goo, stating, “Although the product contains 3/4oz, a little bit of it goes a long way. [. . . ] Since your new artwork is tender to the touch, it definitely helps. Ointments and healing lotions like Lubriderm, Aquaphor, etc. . . . In my opinion, [are] too thick to apply on big pieces such as quarter sleeves, full sleeves, you get the idea. The area is just too tender and sensitive to apply such thick products. [. . . ]The aroma of it is actually calming. ”
Ingredients:Olive oil, beeswax, cocoa butter, wheat germ oil, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), lavender oil, sunflower oil, rosemary extract, DandC green 6.
Ink-Eeze is developed by tattoo professionals and used by some of the best in the business, including Rick Walters, Carlos Torres, Eric Gonzalez, and Antonio Macko. They come in various formats - Green Glide, Pink Glide, Purple Glide - allowing you to pick an ointment that is customized to your particular needs.
Not only are these products often used during the tattoo process by artists themselves, but they’re also meant to be used as day one aftercare, acting as a healing agent that also safeguards your skin. All products are formulated with essential A, C, and E vitamins that combat inflammation and help increase healing time.
A quick search and you’ll find many artists who sing the praises of this ointment, especially for their clients who are allergic to petroleum. Reviewers loved it too, saying, “This was my 1st time purchasing this product as referred to by my tattooist, and it is AMAZING!! I've used A&D Ointment for years for all my tattoos, and I am now making the switch to Ink Eeze for GOOD for all of my future tattoos! Not super greasy, leaves the tattoo looking fresh!!”
Ingredients: Green Glide - Petrolatum, Zemea Propanediol, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin-A), Ergocalciferol (Vitamin-D), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin-E), Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf (Green Tea) Extract, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin-C), Polysorbate-20, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Fruit Extract, D&C Green #17, BHT.
Pink Glide - Carthamus tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Beeswax, Synthetic Beeswax, Fragrance, Calophyllum Inophllum Seed Oil, Tamanu, Royal Jelly Extract, Propandiol, Propolis Wax, Red 7.
Purple Glide - Safflower Oil, Beeswax White, Tamanu Oil, D&C Violet Nº 2 K7014, Actiphyte of Royal Jelly, Propolis Zea Botanicals, Lavender Oil.
We can’t mention Ink-Eeze Ointments without also mentioning their new hemp formula, which also goes by the name of CBD Glide in some regions. While this one may be a bit harder to find in your local tattoo shop or online, depending on your State laws and regulations, it is definitely worth considering for your aftercare process.
The benefits of this ointment alternative speak for itself. Ink-Eeze state, “After years of development, along with increasingly positive results regarding the benefits of HEMP, we felt that now is the best time to release our HEMP glide. This is a non-psychoactive extract of hemp. When used topically, HEMP offers many benefits: pain relief, reduced muscle soreness, and lessening of inflammation. It is also a powerful antioxidant that encourages recovery for skin and balance due to homeostasis from the interaction with CB2 receptors in the skin. ”
Tattoo professionals using this product on their clients have seen positive results from this new ointment, stating, “Used this on the fourth or fifth session of a multi-session half sleeve. My client reported faster healing time and less irritation than any previous session. ”
Ingredients: Candelilla Wax, Shea Butter, Sweet Almond Oil, Grape Seed oil, Geranium essential oil, Chlorophyll, Cannabidiol (250MG).
A+D are a skincare company that have been producing ointment products for over 80 years. They are most well known for their diaper rash ointment, but A+D Tattoo Moisturizing Ointment is unique in that it is clinically tested on and for tattooed skin. It is produced solely with tattoos in mind.
It helps tattooed skin look and feel its best through its formula that includes ingredients such as beeswax, almond oil, and pro-vitamin B5. The additions of petrolatum and lanolin offer a breathable hydration that also create a protective barrier on a fresh tattoo. A+D Tattoo is also hypoallergenic, non-irritating, and free of fragrances.
People especially like that this intensive ointment seems to calm the new tattoo itch, saying, “This works amazing!! Soothes the first day pain/soreness, and the 7 day itch. I love A&D already, but love this thicker product. [. . . ] I'll definitely use this for after care moving forward.”
Ingredients:Water, lanolin, mineral oil, petrolatum, panthenol, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, beeswax, cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, ozokerite, glyceryl oleate, lanolin alcohol.
Tattoo ointment is a step that is often missed in tattoo aftercare. People usually neglect to use this product because they don’t understand what it adds to the healing process, they don’t know what to look for, or they think it’s just another unnecessary cost in an already expensive procedure.
Hustle Butter Deluxe Tattoo Aftercare Ointment was our number one pick for a handful of reasons, but we especially loved that it’s something you can turn to during the tattoo, directly after the tattoo, and along your entire healing journey. This is not only a cost-saving (and space saving) option for your aftercare routine, but it means that Hustle Butter ointment can be trusted with your healing tattoo.
While you should be cautious of the ingredient list if you have any specific allergies, it’s all-natural formula that is vegan and cruelty-free is quite impressive. A breakdown of the ingredient list gives an idea as to just how powerful this stuff is:
On Amazon, Hustle Butter has over 17,153 global 5-star reviews, and it’s easy to see why. This product reduces healing time, has a non-sticky formula that is a pleasure to apply (and doesn’t irritate a sore tattoo during application), it smells great, and it lasts a lot longer than some of the other ointments on our list.
Ointment, not to be mistaken with lotions or creams, offer your tattoo the necessary nutrients that your tattoo needs during its most vulnerable healing time. While most people start with lotions on their third aftercare day, ointment can be added on day one, right after your first cleaning of your brand new tattoo. Ointments are not a necessity, but they are definitely a powerful tool to have in your aftercare backpocket.
Since your tattoo is most at-risk for bacteria or infection during these first few days, we put careful consideration into what ointments make our list. Here are a few factors we keep in mind when choosing our favorites.
The purpose of an ointment is to speed up the healing time while simultaneously providing the wound with a barrier that protects any bacteria infiltration that may cause infection. We have chosen ointments with impressive ingredients that boast various inflammation reducing, antioxidant, and antibacterial benefits, and nourishing additives that kickstart the healthy healing of your new tattoo.
Ointments that are accredited by professionals or professional organizations, or those which are backed with rave reviews, are ointments we consider worthy of our top tattoo ointment list. We especially love products that are tested by dermatologists to be hypo-allergenic or non-comedogenic, as both allergy symptoms or blocked pores on a fresh tattoo may have adverse reactions on how your art looks following your healing process.
While we love the soothing and protective benefits of the ingredients lanolin and petrolatum, we know that some people simply don’t like them. It’s for that reason that we included a wide variety of ointments with very diverse ingredient lists and healing experiences.
Our top choice of Hustle Butter doesn’t contain either of these ingredients and still gets the job done.
Ointments are oily, and that’s difficult to avoid, but we chose products we thought were not only easy to apply but also felt great on our skin. We wanted all the nourishment and moisturization without the extensive slip-and-slide feel that a lot of ointments have. While some people may disagree with our choices due to their own discomfort level with specific ointments, all of the ones on our list impressed us upon application.
As with any step in your aftercare routine, it’s important to discuss your ointment usage plans with your tattoo artist or with a tattoo professional first. In addition, it’s important that you do a patch test of 48 hours for any product you intend to use on your new tattoo. This can be done on the inside of your elbow. If you experience any reaction, don’t use the ointment on your new tattoo.
It may take a little bit of experimenting when it comes to finding the tattoo ointment that provides you with the most impressive healing time and protection as everybody’s skin and experience are different. Our favorite may not be exactly what you need, but you can be sure that one ointment on our top list will get the job done and have you showing off your healed ink in no time.