Lotions, which have a higher water content than creams, are part of Tattoo Aftercare 101. With a lighter and most comfortable consistency, slathering on some lotion to quench your thirsty tattoo is essential; you get hydration to your tattoo while it heals, while also ensuring you’re not adding a bothersome layer to your already irritated skin.
With endless lotions on the market to choose from, finding the one that’s best for your new tattoo can become an overwhelming venture. Lucky for you, we’ve got you - and your ink-covered.
Quick glance at the best tattoo lotion:
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After Inked tattoo lotion is one of those special products that are just worth the little extra investment. Not only can they boast that they are clinically and dermatologist tested, non-irritant, and non-allergenic, they also are completely vegan and cruelty-free. In addition to those factors, they’re also non-petroleum based, paraben-free, completely fragrance-free, and gluten-free, for our sensitive friends.
Enriched with grapeseed oil, this formula is patent protected proving just how strongly they stand by their unique moisturizing product. The lotion won’t stick to your clothes once applied, absorbing quickly upon application, and you’ll immediately feel a cooling itch or irritation relief from the many nourishing ingredients packed within this tube.
Did we mention that this product was featured on tattooing reality television shows, and comes in post-consumer recycled packaging?
We can’t stop bragging about all the boxes After Inked lotion checks. And neither can customers, with one saying, “Holy Grail product, Batman! This is the best after tattoo product I've ever used! And I've tried everything [. . . ] I spread this on and magic happens! My tattoo doesn't stick to clothes that night, it doesn't crust, it doesn't seep gooey stuff all over your bed either! [. . . ] it saved me from so much itching, scratching, stains on my clothing, sticking to my clothing, and infection since it didn't rip open and have anything foreign get into it. [. . . ] I will forever swear by 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).
We love Aveeno. It’s a safe, fragrance-free, dermatologist tested lotion that can be found almost anywhere you look at a very affordable price. The added colloidal oatmeal is especially beneficial to a fresh tattoo because it helps restore the skin's normal pH balance, while simultaneously soothing irritation and locking in moisture to protect the skin. With a non-greasy formula that glides on gently, it’s a perfect addition to your tattoo aftercare routine.
Aveeno is also non-comedogenic, which means it will not block pores when applied. Blocked pores can result in breakouts or your tattoo having difficulty breathing. This can cause distortions in your art and could lead to infection.
If your tattoo is extra itchy or dry, you can try Aveeno’s Skin Relief Lotion which has a triple oat complex and a higher dimethicone percentage for an extra dose of hydration.
One reviewer wrote, “I first started using Aveeno based on the recommendation of the head of a University Medical School burn unit where I was being treated for a severe scorching that required extensive skin grafts and a long stretch of therapy. That was almost twenty years ago and I still find Aveeno to be the best thing available. I think other folks might find it a great product for treating dry, sensitive (and damaged) skin. Let me recommend that you not go to extremes to discover its benefits. ” A tattoo is a wound and requires the best and safest hydration; Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion will do the trick.
Ingredients: Active Ingredient - Dimethicone 1. 2% (skin protectant) Inactive Ingredients - Water, glycerin, distearyldimonium chloride, petrolatum, isopropyl palmitate, cetyl alcohol, avena sativa (oat) kernel flour, benzyl alcohol, sodium chloride
Eucerin has many variations of its dermatologist-recommended lotions, but this particular one is formulated specifically for compromised skin to give the ultimate boost of hydration. It provides immediate relief to the area and helps repair the tattoo by strengthening the skin’s natural moisture barrier.
On top of that, it’s fragrance and paraben-free, non-comedogenic, and has no dyes or additives. Unlike its counterparts, this version also doesn’t include glycerin, which can have adverse effects on sensitive skin and can even cause dehydration.
Owner of Nice Tattoo, Robert Boyle, says that Eucerin is a great aftercare choice because, “There are currently quite a few products entering the market that purport to make tattoos last longer, but the science is (for the most part) shaky, and we avoid encouraging our clients to buy them; that doesn’t mean we think they’re bad, we just don’t have any reason to recommend any particular product. ”
Ingredients: Water, Mineral Oil, Isopropyl Palmitate, Sorbitol, Propylene Glycol, Diisostearoyl Polyglyceryl-3 Dimer Dilinoleate, Polyglyceryl-4 Diisostearate/Polyhydroxystearate/Sebacate, Cetyl Palmitate, Magnesium Sulfate, Aluminum Stearates, Phenoxyethanol, Lanolin Alcohol, Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate.
Loved by the tattooed likes of celebrities like Justin Bieber and Zoe Kravitz, Dr. Woo’s tattoo aftercare lotion is sure to be a luxury on your fresh ink.
It has some pretty formidable ingredients including shea butter which we know to mend and revive skin, chamomile to soothe the inflammation and calm the skin, and vitamin E and sesame seed oil which contain antioxidants and have antibacterial properties.
Woo also has a specialized water breaking technology which they state, “Encapsulates and removes excess water while maintaining optimal hydration of the skin. This is achieved by encapsulating large amounts of water within a skin-similar matrix. When the product is applied to the skin, the matrix collapses, forcing water out into the upper epidermis. At the same time, the collapsed matrix develops an occlusive layer, which traps moisture into the skin. ”
Formulated specifically for freshly tattooed skin, this product moisturizes and creates a barrier of protection for your ink. It’s also fragrance free, paraben free, and cruelty free, to boot.
Tattooed users of Woo love the lotion too, saying, “This product is great for tattoo aftercare. I recently got a half sleeve done in one session and used this product on it a couple days afterwards and it works great! 5 stars from me all day.”
Ingredients: Water (Aqua) (Eau), Methylsilanol Mannuronate (and) Styrene Acrylates Copolymer, Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide, Ubiquinone (COQ10) and Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Lecithin, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Alpha Lipoic Acid, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Nannochloropsis Oculata Extract, Glycerin, Diglycerine, Ceramide NG, Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Passiflora Incarnata Seed Oil, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Shea Butter, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Silybum Marianum Seed Oil, Porphyra Umbilicalis Extract, Commiphora Mukul Resin Extract, Matricaria Chamomilla, Rosa Multiflora Fruit Extract, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Sodium Chloride, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Potassium Sorbate, Dipropylene Glycol, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Sodium Citrate.
Lubriderm is what we like to refer to as ol’ reliable. You can find Lubriderm in almost every store that sells beauty products, and it’s been a trusted and dermatologist developed and recommended brand for years. But did you know that it’s also the #1 recommended brand by tattoo artists for tattoo aftercare?
Clinically proven to lock in moisture for 24 hours, fragrance free, and formulated with vitamin B5 which nourishes and creates a locked-in barrier of hydration for your skin, Lubriderm is a favourite for many. It also absorbs in seconds, so it won’t have you feeling greasy upon application.
Users also love Lubriderm for their tattoos, saying, “My go to when I’m healing tattoos. I hate unscented lotions, because they have a weird smell to me, but this one works so well! Especially when healing large pieces. This keeps your skin moisturized for quite a while without a mess! ”
Ingredients: Water, Mineral Oil, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Stearic Acid, Cetyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Carbomer, Ceteareth-20, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Citrate, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Citric Acid, Ethylparaben, Panthenol
Although this product lists “cream” on the packaging, due to being water based, it’s actually considered a lotion. Despite this confusion, we knew it had to make our list.
H2Ocean is formulated specifically for tattoos and in a way that is adaptable for all skin types. It’s fragrance free and free from petroleum, while also being a vegan friendly product. In addition, it’s certified by dermatologists and professional tattoo artists.
You only need a thin layer of this product in order to feel the difference it makes on your new tattoo. It absorbs quickly and with Vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, you know your fresh ink is getting the nutrients it needs in its most vulnerable period.
Users use H2Ocean in their aftercare regimen for new tattoos, saying, “This is my go-to for new tattoos. It's a lot cheaper than some competitors and I've never had a single issue. I am fairly tattooed, and have been using this stuff for years. It's very thick, doesn't really have much of a scent, and my tattoos always heal far faster with this stuff than they do with any type of drug store lotion. ”
Ingredients:Purified Water. Stearic Acid (coconut), Glyceryl Stearate, PEG 100 Stearate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin (Vegetable), Dimethicone (Silica), Jojoba Oil, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Rose Hip Seed Oil, PEG 8 Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Aloe Vera Gel, Triethanolamine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Allantoin, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Scierotium Gum, Sea Salt
It’s hard not to love After Inked, and it took us a while to even narrow down a con for this aftercare lotion. And with an 84 percent five-star rating from tattooed users around the world, it’s clear that other professionals agree with us.
From an ingredients list that not only boasts an all-natural line-up that is completely vegan and cruelty-free, to no added fragrances and nourishing oils and vitamins added for an extra boost of healing and protection, After Inked nails it in the lotion game.
As if that wasn’t enough, they’re also dermatologist and clinically tested, and certified non-allergenic and non-irritant, which is great for those with sensitive skin, and even better for your sensitive and vulnerable new tattoo.
After Inked states that they are a premium brand used and recommended by world-renowned professional tattoo artists, and it’s likely that you’ve seen their packaging sitting on shop shelves. We love how hydrating this lotion is, without being greasy, and we love the fact that our new tattoos heal brighter and faster due to this wonder lotion. It’s worth a few dollars more because it’s powerful stuff.
The health of your new tattoo is our priority. So when it comes to making our list of favourites, there are a few things we keep in mind.
Did you know that parfum or fragrance is a scent that is made up of hundreds of chemicals? Within that concoction of pretty smells could be so many triggers that cause an allergic reaction, or worse, an infection, on a wound like a new tattoo.
It’s for that reason that our list is fragrance-free. There are too many excellent choices on the market to risk slathering on a lotion with an added scent; save those for your healed tattoos, not your tattoo at its most vulnerable stage.
Ultra Moisturizing Ingredients
Your tattoo requires the most moisture during its first two to three weeks of healing. This helps prevent large scarring, cracking, and excessive peeling. We looked for lotions that, despite being water-based, contained a multitude of nourishing vitamins or impressive ingredients ensuring the hydration of your fresh ink.
Products that block your pores are troublesome for a few reasons: it could cause a breakout on your new tattoo, or it could trigger a reaction or infection due to your skin not breathing properly. We specifically looked for lotions that advertise their non-comedogenic formula, as this ensures that while you are putting a protective layer on your skin, you’re still allowing your new tattoo to breathe.
Paraben free, dye free, petroleum free; we tested items that we knew you would trust, as well. Even if an item had an extensive ingredient list, we made sure that everything within the formula was a benefit to skin. We want the best for our skin, so we want the best for yours too.
Backed By Professionals
We can’t help but love products that others rave about, as well. We like lotions that are clinically tested, dermatologist recommended, and used by tattoo artists and professionals around the world. We know that if they’re tried, tested, and true by the best in the skin business, then we can slather that stuff right onto our fresh ink, as well.
Finding the lotion that works best for you and your needs is a matter of trial and error. What tops our list may not work for your specific skin or even your body’s healing methods. We’re not saying to go out there and get a new tattoo, testing each lotion on each one - but we are not not saying that either! It might be the best way to figure out your favorite.
We always recommend that with any new product you perform a 48 hour patch test prior to using the product on fresh ink. Though the products on our list are dermatologist tested to be non-allergenic, it’s much better to be safe than sorry.
Remember that lotion and moisturization is an essential part of tattoo aftercare. It not only leads to a brighter and more hydrated tattoo, but it helps soothe the itch that hits around week one, and speeds up your healing time. Find a personal favorite, and share it with us!