Finding the perfect tattoo product for every stage of your aftercare routine can be an exhausting and daunting task. With so many products on the market, knowing what will keep your ink safe and healthy can be a challenge.
Lucky for you, we’ve done all the work so you don’t have to. We’ve compiled a list of the best aftercare products that you need to stock up on.
Quick glance at the best tattoo aftercare products:
Table of Contents (clickable)
Okay, so this isn’t an aftercare product but a pre-tattoo product. Before you dive into that artist’s chair, you’re going to want to grab some NumbSkin. Apply it to the spot being tattooed, wrap it up in some saran wrap for thirty minutes, and enjoy a pain-free tattooing experience. It topped the charts as our very favorite tattoo numbing cream.
NumbSkin is formulated with the largest non-prescription amount of lidocaine (five percent) and the effect of their cream lasts for nearly four hours. The average for most numbing creams sits at around the two hour mark, so you know this is some powerful stuff.
NumbSkin is also a 100 percent cruelty free product. It also is formulated with aloe vera which is known to combat inflammation and is medically proven to be an antiviral, antibacterial, and an antifungal agent.
Tattooers love this product as well, saying: “This product works amazingly. Applied and wrapped a little more than an hour before my session. Sat 5 and a half hours straight with no issues! ! Will be using [it] again and again as I add more tattoos! ! ”
Ingredients:Lidocaine 4%, benzethonium Chloride 0. 25%, Allantoin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Benzyl Alcohol, Glycerin , Lauramidopropyl Betaine, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Menthoxypropanediol, Phenoxyethanol, Selaginella Lepidophylla Extract, Sodium Hydroxide, Water.
Hibiclens has been trusted by doctors and healthcare service workers for over 40 years; they need a powerful soap that combats bacteria and germs, reduces infections, and doesn’t dry out their skin from frequent washing. It’s for that reason that it topped our charts as the best antibacterial soap for your tattoo.
Hibiclens is antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antibacterial. The active ingredient in its formula, chlorhexidine gluconate, can kill bacteria, germs, and fungi on contact. It continues to work even after you’ve washed and rinsed your new tattoo, creating a protective barrier on the skin. Their claims are all backed by academic and clinical research reports, and the product is pharmacist and dermatologist recommended.
For the cost, the efficiency, and the protection, Hibiclens is our favorite antibacterial tattoo soap.
Ingredients: Active Ingredients: Chlorhexidine Gluconate Solution 4. 0% W/V. Inactive Ingredients: Fragrance; Isopropyl Alcohol 4% W/V; Purified Water; Red 40; And Other Ingredients In A Nonalkaline Base.
Hustle Butter Deluxe topped our list because it’s an ointment, a soothing pre-tattoo cream, and a lotion all in one. It can be used at absolutely any stage of your tattoo healing journey because it’s full of ingredients that pack a powerful punch.
Finding a 100 percent vegan ointment is difficult, but Hustle Butter Deluxe is exactly that. It has an all-natural ingredient list that includes shea and aloe, which are known to reduce inflammation and promote skin healing, coconut bran, which has antimicrobial properties, rosemary oleoresin, which is known to have antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, and ingredients that soothe inflammation, such as green tea, vitamin E, and peppermint essential oil. Many ointments contain petrolatum and lanolin, which can be irritating for some users, or cause reactions. Hustle Butter Deluxe includes those two items while still acting as a powerful ointment alternative.
With over 17 thousand global 5-star reviews, Hustle Butter Deluxe is a magic product that you want on your shelf, and one that you can continue using even after the first few vulnerable weeks of your new tattoo.
Tattooers sing the praises of Hustle Butter Deluxe, saying, “I'm not sure why this isn't the industry standard. It's natural, nourishing and smells good enough to eat. Before, during and after the tattoo process and even on everyday knicks, scrapes and dry skin. This stuff is fantastic! ”
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.
We love After Ink’s tattoo lotion for a variety of reasons. Firstly, they’re clinically and dermatologist tested with tattoos in mind. It’s a non-allergenic and non-irritant product. Secondly, they exclude a lot of the nasty stuff in their products; they’re paraben free, non-petroleum based, fragrance free, gluten free, and stress that their product is vegan and cruelty free as well.
The formula of this lotion is patent protected, with grapeseed oil providing many of the nutrients and hydration that your tattoo needs. It’s non-greasy and absorbs quickly when applied, and won’t stick to your clothes. Professionals use this as their tattoo lotion go-to and it’s been featured on many tattoo reality television shows.
With 84 percent global five-star ratings, it’s easy to see why this is a favorite tattoo lotion choice for many. People rave about it, saying, “I have never given a product 5 stars ever. I have tried other tattoo aftercare products. . . This is by far the best product out there. I had two sleeves done. I used another product on one arm. That arm itched like crazy. I think this is worse than getting the actual tattoo. The pain from the tattoo is brief, but the itching afterwards seems like forever! ! I used After Inked on the other sleeve. I had no itching whatsoever. I did not think this was even possible! I will be using this product on all my future tattoos. I recommended this product to all my friends. You will not be disappointed with this product. ”
Ingredients:Aqua (water), vitis vinifera (grape) seed oil, glycerin (veg), stearic acid (veg), butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), synthetic beeswax, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, cetyl alcohol (veg), citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) oil, benzyl alcohol & dehydroacetic acid (natural preservative).
La Roche-Posay’s Cicaplast Balm B5 is one of those creams that can really do it all. With it’s convenient size, you’re going to want to throw it in your bag and have it at the ready for on-the-go tattoo hydration. This therapeutic cream that is recommended by doctors and dermatologists speeds up the healing time of abrasions while also providing a barrier of protection on your skin.
There are so many things that we love about this cream, starting with the fact that it can be used at any stage of your tattoo journey; whether it’s a new or old tattoo, the moisturizing benefits are extensive. It’s also formulated with dimethicone and ceramide-3, which are skin protectants that stop the loss of hydration by creating a barrier over the wound that is similar to a second skin.
It also contains La-Roche Posay thermal water which is known for its natural antioxidant benefits, and is formulated with madecassoside which helps soothe the irritation caused by a new tattoo, which you’ll feel immediately upon application. We also love that it contains SPF 50 which is crucial protection for your fresh ink.
Though the bottle looks small for the cost, it’s absolutely worth every penny. This is undoubtedly a holy grail product that you need in your aftercare arsenal.
Ingredients: Active Ingredient - Dimethicone (1%). Inactive Ingredients - Water, hydrogenated polyisobutene, dimethicone, glycerin, butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, panthenol, aluminum starch octenylsuccinate, butylene glycol, propanediol, cetyl peg/ppg-10/1 dimethicone, trihydroxystearin, zinc gluconate, madecassoside, manganese gluconate, silica, aluminum hydroxide, magnesium sulfate, disodium edta, copper gluconate, citric acid, acetylated glycol stearate, polyglyceryl-4 isostearate, tocopherol, pentaerythrityl tetra-di-t-butyl hydroxyhydrocinnamate, sodium benzoate, phenoxyethanol, chlorhexidine digluconate titanium dioxide.
We are very picky about the sunscreen that we put on our tattoos, new and old. Too many tattoo websites recommend products that are full of ingredients that are harmful for aquatic ecosystems but especially for your health. Many standard brand and tattoo branded sunscreens include homosalate and oxybenzone, two chemical ingredients that can cause hormonal issues or, worst of all, have been known to cause cancer. When choosing our favorite tattoo sunscreen, our health and your health was at the forefront of our mind.
La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios 50 Mineral Sunscreen checked all of our most important boxes. It’s a broad spectrum sunscreen that you can begin to use immediately after your tattoo stops weeping. It’s especially helpful during the first week because it provides a cooling sensation upon application.
It also contains Cell-Ox Shield Technology which acts like an umbrella over the skin that also has antioxidant properties. Formulated with La Roche-Posay thermal water, you are also getting additional antioxidant benefits from this sunscreen.
We don’t recommend choosing a higher SPF than 50 from this line of sunscreens, as the ingredient list changes and begins to introduce items we aren’t very fond of. Simply reapply when necessary, and this sunscreen will keep you and your tattoos protected.
Ingredients:Active Ingredients - titanium dioxide 6%, zinc oxide 5%. Inactive Ingredients -
water, dimethicone, isododecane, c12-15 alkyl benzoate, undecane, triethylhexanoin, isohexadecane, nylon-12, caprylyl methicone, butyloctyl salicylate, phenethyl benzoate, styrene/acrylates copolymer, silica, tridecane, dicaprylyl carbonate, dicaprylyl ether, talc, dimethicone/peg-10/15 crosspolymer, aluminum stearate, pentylene glycol, peg-9 polydimethylsiloxyethyl dimethicone, alumina, polyhydroxystearic acid, phenoxyethanol, magnesium sulfate, propylene glycol, caprylyl glycol, peg-8 laurate, disteardimonium hectorite, triethoxycaprylylsilane, diethylhexyl syringylidenemalonate, tocopherol, propylene carbonate, cassia alata leaf extract, maltodextrin, benzoic acid, peg-9.
We put very careful consideration into what makes our “best of” lists. We investigate ingredients, we go deep into reviews to ensure we aren’t being biased, and we test the items ourselves. Because of the meticulous thought process and research that goes into our roundups, you can be sure that what you’re reading here is a step safer than what you may find on another tattoo website.
There are a few important factors we consider for the products that we select for our best tattoo aftercare.
Did you know that added fragrance, or parfum, can contain hundreds of chemical compounds? These chemicals can cause health problems, such as cancers or respiratory illness, or asthmatic reactions. Your skin is your largest organ, and when products are applied to your skin, they’re absorbed into your bloodstream. On an open wound like a new tattoo, this process happens a lot quicker and more absorption occurs.
It’s for that reason that we like to keep products off our list which include added fragrance or parfum, and if this item is listed in the formula, we highlight it as a con. Our most favorite tattoo aftercare products are all with no added fragrance or parfum.
Since we are on the topic of ingredient lists, we like to check, double check, and then check a third time as to what is in the products we are putting on our tattoos. We like items that are paraben free, and we always double check what we are using through the INCI Decoder website.
We also like to offer our audience a variety of options when it comes to the products they choose for their skin, whether it’s all-natural, vegan friendly, or containing medicinal ingredients. We love products that contain a nutrient-packed formula that accelerates healing time, protects the tattoo from bacteria, soothes inflammation, and provides antibacterial, antimicrobial, or antioxidant properties.
We know that all skin is different and heals differently, so we consider these factors when it comes to choosing what we think might be the best for your tattoo.
Products that are backed by professionals in the tattoo industry, clinically tested and recommended by dermatologists, and used by healthcare service workers, are all products that we trust and want as a part of our aftercare regimen. Products that have academic research papers to back up their claims are an additional bonus.
All skin is unique, and tattooed skin, which is exceptionally vulnerable, should be treated with even more caution and care. A thorough aftercare routine following your new tattoo is essential to maintain the quality, brightness, and longevity of your ink. It takes many steps, requires an additional financial investment, but it is absolutely worth it for the health and beauty of your art.
While we do put careful care and consideration into the products we recommend to you, you should always do a patch test on the inside of your elbow to make sure the product doesn't cause you any adverse reactions. This should be done and monitored for 48 hours, prior to being used on your tattoo. And you can always run by any item with your tattoo artist to ensure it’s best for your skin and their work.