Best Lotions for Tattoo Aftercare

When it comes to caring for your tattoo, it is best to take into consideration one vital fact; a new tattoo is basically an artistic and, oftentimes, significant wound. You will need to care for it as such. This might sound a bit complicated at first, but there are a lot of good tattoo lotions available designed specifically for aftercare.

In this article, we will be diving into the best lotions for tattoo aftercare. We will be discussing the important factors to look for in a quality lotion for tattoos as well. Using lotions specifically made for tattoo aftercare is key if you wish for your body art to remain in good condition as well as prevent any sort of skin problems that might arise after the tattoo artist has finished their work of art.

The Best Lotion for Tattoos

Hustle Butter DeluxeHustle Butter Deluxe (BEST CHOICE)

One of the highest-rated and recommended lotions for tattoo aftercare, Hustle Butter Deluxe provides a soothing experience over the area while simultaneously prompting quick healing and rehydration. It has a cooling property that helps soothe itching during the healing period of the tattoo.

It can also help prevent scabbing over the tattooed area, which is why most tattoo artists advise their clients to apply this lotion immediately and regularly. Hustle Butter Deluxe contains all-natural ingredients that promote healthy skin and speed up the healing process.

Hustle Butter Deluxe contains the following ingredients: aloe butter, organic shea, green tea, mango, vitamin E complex, Sunflower oil, rice bran oil, Rosemary Oleoresin, organic coconut, mint parvenus essential oil with the essence of papaya, and coconut. It does not contain any petroleum.

The Hustle Butter Deluxe is one of the most reliable tattoo lotions for aftercare available. It is mild, which makes it a good choice for every skin type. As it uses all-natural ingredients, the risk of having an adverse reaction to the ointment is slim to none.


  • Quick soothing properties for those who suffer from excessive itching
  • Promotes quick healing
  • Keeps tattoo perfectly hydrated


  • Can leave stains on fabric. Better place a towel on your bed before sleeping.


After Inked Tattoo Moisturizer and Aftercare LotionAfter Inked Tattoo Moisturizer and Aftercare Lotion

This American-made tattoo aftercare lotion is also among the most popular in tattoo aficionado circles. It has been clinically tested and proven to help speed up recovery while keeping the tattoo moisturized throughout the healing process.

After Inked has a thick consistency to it and might feel a little heavy when applied to a freshly tattooed body part. However, the lotion is quickly absorbed by the skin, which is a huge plus as you won’t need to worry about it sticking to your clothes or other fabric.

It contains a formula based on non-allergenic ingredients. The lotion is also scent-free, which means it does not contain any parabens and does not utilize petroleum. Ingredients found in After Inked lotion includes shea butter, beeswax, jojoba, orange, and grape seed oils. This combination of natural ingredients gives it a combination of soothing and moisturizing properties, perfect for a healing tattoo.


  • Quickly absorbed by the skin
  • Keeps the tattooed area moisturized longer
  • Reduces the itchiness during the healing period
  • All-natural ingredients


  • Several customers complain about the lotion giving them skin irritations. Check with your dermatologist first.


Lubriderm Daily Moisture LotionLubriderm Daily Moisture Lotion

Here is a product that is not specifically designed for tattoo care but does an amazing job in that category. Lubriderm is a great aftercare lotion for first-timers and old hats alike.

Lubriderm contains glycerin, which helps maintain moisture in the skin, as well as vitamin B5, which promotes faster healing, two important factors needed in lotions used in tattoo aftercare. Lubriderm is also quite affordable, which is always a plus.

Lubriderm’s formula also gives it soothing properties, and the lotion is smooth on the skin. It can be quickly absorbed by the skin, which is good news since you can wear their clothes without having that sticky feeling.

I do have to point out that Lubriderm contains mineral oil. Some would prefer to avoid applying anything that has mineral oil on their tattoos due to certain opinions of it being harmful to the skin. Data is still being collected by the scientific community on this point. If that is a deal-breaker for you, then you can skip ahead to the next entry in this list.


  • Extremely affordable
  • Quick skin absorption
  • Soothing properties


  • Contains mineral oil.


Billy Jealousy Marked IV Tattoo CareBilly Jealousy Marked IV Tattoo Care

Billy Jealousy Tattoo Aftercare Lotion is one of the most prominent brands used by tattoo enthusiasts. It is designed to help heal the tattoo while making sure the skin remains hydrated and clean. Billy Jealousy contains essential oils along with shea butter, green tea leaf extract, jojoba, olive oil, sunflower seed oil, and wheat germ oil.

If you are not familiar with wheat germ oil, it is a nutrient-rich substance that contains vitamins A, B, D, and E. It also has fatty acids and antioxidant properties. While Billy Jealousy lotions come in lavender and rosemary oil fragrance, I highly recommend you always stick with the scent-free variation.

Billy Jealousy Aftercare Lotion is designed specifically for taking care of your tattoos. It also comes in a tattoo aftercare kit bundle that comes with all the essential ointments to guarantee your tattoo heals up nicely.


  • Comes in a mild yet fragrant lavender smell that does not cause any irritation to the skin
  • Bundle includes a salve designed to soothe
  • Kit includes all essential tattoo care products


  • A bit expensive.
  • The lotion has an oily consistency that might feel weird.


Ora’s Amazing Herbal Tattoo SalveOra’s Amazing Herbal Tattoo Salve

Ora’s Amazing Herbal Tattoo Salve is another all-natural ingredient tattoo aftercare ointment. The formula does not utilize synthetic fragrances, mineral oil, food coloring, aloe, parabens, lanolin, and gluten.

The herbal formula used in this salve helps promote faster healing and keeps your skin moisturized. It uses anti-microbial capabilities that should help lower the risk of infection during the healing process.

Ora’s Amazing Herbal Tattoo Salve is also recommended for use as a daily ointment. The manufacturer states that you can use the salve for tattoo skincare to ensure your ink will stay highly detailed and in great condition for a long time.

This herbal salve contains the following ingredients: grapeseed oil infused with organic calendula, organic coconut oil, beeswax, vitamin E and essential oils of rosemary, organic St. John’s Wort, and many more beneficial herbal extracts.


  • Can be used early in the tattoo healing process and long after
  • Contains anti-microbial properties to combat infection
  • Quick soothing


  • Thick and oily consistency. May stick on clothing and other fabrics.


tattoo goo original aftercare lotion healing salveTattoo Goo Original Aftercare Lotion Healing Salve

Tattoo Goo is a popular aftercare lotion in almost all tattoo aficionado circles. In fact, most tattoo parlors will most likely recommend this to you after you get inked.

There is a good reason why Tattoo Goo is popular amongst tattoo artists and clients alike. The fact that it contains only a handful of ingredients greatly reduces the risk of side effects.

Its primary ingredients include cocoa butter, wheat germ, beeswax, and olive oil, to name a few. It is petroleum, mineral oil, and lanolin-free, so you won’t have to worry about it causing any unwanted side effects upon contact on the skin.

Keep in mind that this is a balm and, as such, will take a bit longer to apply properly when compared to lotions. The salve also has soothing properties and should prevent the tattoo from being too itchy during the healing period—a must-have for people with relatively sensitive skin.

Another advantage of using Tattoo Goo is that it is designed not to stick to clothes and fabric. The Salve quickly dries and is absorbed by the skin within minutes. It does have a touch of herbal scent due to it containing lavender and rosemary oil. To some, this is a non-issue, but there are others who would prefer a fragrance-free tattoo aftercare ointment. Application of the balm will leave your tattoo looking brighter and with a visible sheen. This is natural and will disappear after a while, so no need to worry.


  • Quick skin absorption to prevent it from sticking to clothes and other fabric
  • Helps improve and maintain tattoo quality
  • Pleasant and mild scent
  • Soothes skin irritations quickly


  • It tends to wash off quickly. Make sure it has been properly absorbed by the skin before washing to prevent constant application.


Anjou Coconut Oil LotionAnjou Coconut Oil Lotion

Another highly recommended tattoo aftercare lotion that utilizes the amazing benefits of coconut oil, Anjou Coconut Oil Lotion will help keep your new tattoo in tip-top condition. Coconut oil is great for treating wounds and other skin irritations, which is why it is also a good choice for tattoo aftercare. Anjou Coconut Oil Lotion is USDA-approved and is an all-natural skin care product.

Its use of all-natural ingredients also means a lower risk of side effects. Just be sure to check with your dermatologist first before using this as your go-to tattoo aftercare product. While relatively more expensive compared to other entries in this list, it does a great job in making sure your tattoo heals up nicely while also giving some measure of soothing relief from itchiness.


  • 100% coconut oil and all-natural ingredients
  • USDA-certified product
  • Does not leave a greasy residue on the skin


  • You might need to apply this lotion a couple of times per day to your tattoo.


Fisticuffs Tattoo BalmFisticuffs Tattoo Balm

The Fisticuff Tattoo Balm is somewhat of an ‘underground’ tattoo aftercare ointment in that it is quite obscure in tattoo enthusiast circles. That being said, Fisticuff Tattoo Balm has steadily made a name for themselves as one of the most reliable tattoo aftercare products available.

Fisticuff Tattoo Balm does not contain any chemicals like petroleum that may cause irritation to the skin and damage the tattoo quality. This balm is also designed to help facilitate the healing process and also offers soothing properties that should help those who experience severe itching after getting a new tattoo.

The balm also has some anti-inflammation properties, which should offer relief from swelling and pain during the healing period. It also has anti-microbial capabilities that can prevent infection from developing around the tattooed area.


  • A hidden gem when it comes to tattoo aftercare products
  • Speeds up the tattoo healing process
  • Keeps the ink color bright
  • Relieves and soothes itchiness in a matter of minutes


  • Has a Vaporub-like (without the lemon scent) smell that some customers didn’t like.


ink scribd premium aftercare healing balm

Ink Scribd Premium Aftercare Healing Balm

Ink Scribd Premium Aftercare Healing Balm is a highly-rated tattoo healing ointment ideal for those who are aiming for fast-healing with all-natural ingredients. The reviewers on Amazon are positively raving about this product; our only reservation is that the ingredient list is absent. The ingredients are advertised as anti-inflammatory, a key element in expediting tattoo healing, and as all-natural and herbal. Anti-inflammatory ingredients will also help reduce itching and, therefore, the desire to scratch and pick during the healing process. An easy way to have pieces of ink missing from your tattoo is to remove a scab.

The package comes with 2-ounces of product, which should be enough to heal multiple small tattoos or very large tattoos. You can also use this lotion once your tattoo is healed to keep it looking shiny and bright. Adding some extra shine to tattoos is something I love to do, especially in the summers when my skin is a bit tanner, and I want my tattoos to pop!


  • Portable
  • Anti-inflammatory ingredients
  • Suitable for healed and healing tattoos


  • No ingredient list provided


ed hardy ink tattoo & color fade moisturizer

Ed Hardy INK Tattoo & Color Fade Moisturizer

If you spend a lot of time in the sun or tanning, Ed Hardy INK Tattoo & Color Fade Moisturizer is an excellent choice for protecting your tattoos. Sun exposure over time breaks down the ink in tattoos and can fade them. Additionally, as you are tan or as your skin darkens and lightens, you’ll notice this will change your tattoo’s look, especially if you have color in your tattoos. I have a watercolor sleeve and regularly cake it in sunscreen during the sunny summer months! White ink tattoos are especially prone to fading or discoloration with sun exposure. If you aren’t ready to give up the tanning bed, you’ll need to protect your ink.

Ed Hardy INK moisturizer is loaded with shea butter and other skin-nourishing butter to bring moisture back to your skin and your tattoos. This product is a tan extender and specifically nourishes the skin to protect tattoos from fading and discoloration. Other skin-friendly ingredients include lotus extract as well as vitamin C and E. This lotion is also hypo-allergenic, so it is suitable for a wide variety of folks, even those with sensitivities.


  • Sun-protection
  • Skin-nourishing ingredients
  • Hypo-allergenic


  • Suited for use after a tattoo is healed
  • Contains fragrance


cannasmack ink guard tattoo sunscreen & ink fade shield stick

CannaSmack Ink Guard Tattoo Sunscreen & Ink Fade Shield Stick

Sun protection, healing lotion, and mess-free application? Sounds like a great combo to us! CannaSmack Ink Guard Tattoo Sunscreen & Ink Fade Shiel Stick is a hydrating, healing tattoo lotion in a stick form.

No more icky fingers or other dirt getting into your fresh tattoo. When applying lotion, you want clean hands before you get started, but this product takes that out of the equation. You might need a few fingers to rub it in, but for keeping germs out of your tattoo, we like this approach.

Ink Guard is bursting with nourishing ingredients like hemp seed oil, aloe vera, and beeswax. This product is not a vegan tattoo lotion, but it is excellent for your skin and great for animals, as this product boasts a Leaping Bunny cruelty-free seal. You won’t find any parabens, gluten, colors, fragrances, or sulfates in this product, meaning it’s suitable for a wide variety of people and unlikely to irritate the skin.

As if this product wasn’t already exceptional, it also boasts 30 SPF for additional sun protection for your tattoos, especially if it’s too hot to keep them covered. This product isn’t just for healing either; it is excellent for use long after your tattoo is healed or anytime it needs a pick me up.


  • Fragrance-free
  • No-mess application
  • Great for sensitive skin
  • Contains SPF
  • Great for use anytime
  • Water-resistant
  • Portable
  • Leaping bunny approved


  • May not be enough product for healing large tattoos 


piper cove color stay aftercare lotion for tattoo

Piper Cove Color Stay Aftercare Lotion For Tattoo

Tattoo artists tend to know the ins and outs of aftercare pretty well, so we are willing to bet that any product developed by a tattoo artist is likely exceptional. Joey Zuleta is a professional tattoo artist who developed the Piper Cove Color Stay Aftercare Lotion For Tattoos. The recipe for this product boasts organic African shea, cocoa, mango butter, and vitamins A, B, C, D, E, F, K, and trace minerals. That’s a lot of goodness in one little package. The high protein content of organic Australian hemp is especially skin-nourishing and hydrating.

This product is multi-faceted and can be used before your tattoo appointment to prime the tattoo landing site, after your appointment for expedited healing, and once your tattoo heals for maintaining color, keeping skin healthy, and giving your tattoos a chance to shine. The lack of fragrance means it won’t agitate your skin, but you should do a skin test if you have nut sensitivities. Lastly, four ounces of the product means you’ve got plenty to heal whole arm tattoos or lots of small ones.


  • Fair-trade and organic ingredients
  • Designed by a tattoo artist
  • Suitable for use before and after a tattoo as well as once healed


  • Thick consistency


Lotions for Tattoo Aftercare Buying Guide & FAQ

Features to Look for in Lotions for Tattoos

Ingredients – My personal rule of thumb is to avoid ingredients you can’t pronounce. While this is my rule of thumb, not everyone is on board so let’s talk about some ingredients first. You should generally avoid any after-tattoo lotion or ointment containing lanolin, parabens, or petroleum. These ingredients can damage the ink in the healing process, and petroleum-based products like paraffin oil can give the appearance of healthy, hydrated skin but block your skin’s ability to release moisture and suffocate it. This suffocation creates a prime environment for bacteria and viruses to fester inside your freshly healed tattoo.

In the past, folks fresh from under the needle have been told to use A&D Ointment or Aquaphor, we know better now, and you should avoid these products because they are petroleum-based.

Now that you know what to avoid, let’s talk about the good stuff. Generally, you’re going to want to look for ingredients that calm redness and irritation. Lavender, aloe vera, and honey are great additions. You’ll also want to look for moisturizing ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, olive oil, jojoba oil, and other butter and oils that will provide thin layers of moisture for your fresh ink! Hopefully, this goes without saying, but be sure you aren’t allergic to your new tattoo aftercare lotion, do a spot test on a different part of your skin before slathering your new inky beauty.

Consistency – Consistency of your chosen post-tattoo lotion is a personal choice. Some folks want something thicker. Others, like myself, opt for something thinner. The first key is getting something that lines up with the consistency of your current skincare products, so your skin is used to it.

One other consideration is to make sure your product isn’t so thick that it suffocates the skin. Thin, consistent, and frequent layers of your favorite healing lotion are vital to maintaining a healthy environment in your skin while your tattoo heals. Your tattoo needs to remain moisturized at all times to avoid scabbing, itchy sensations, and damage to your new work of art.

SPF – Your tattoo aftercare product may include SPF, which is okay but not a requirement. While in the healing process, your tattoo shouldn’t be in direct sunlight. It’s critical to keep your tattoo covered from the sun as much as possible while it’s healing. If there just isn’t any way to avoid sun exposure, then a healing lotion with SPF is alright. However, don’t put sunscreen on your healing tattoo.

Sunscreen and products with SPF are great for protecting your tattoo from damage via sun exposure. You shouldn’t apply sunscreen until your tattoo’s entire healing process is complete, at least six weeks after you get it. Until then, SPF as part of your chosen healing lotion is up to you!

tattoo artist applying tattoo lotion

Coverage – The coverage of your tattoo lotion will vary. If you have a small tattoo, you shouldn’t have to worry about this too much. If you’ve got a large tattoo, ensuring the product you purchase will last and provide ample coverage for the entire length of your tattoo’s healing process (four to six weeks) is crucial.

When thinking about coverage, keep in mind that your healing tattoo lotion should be applied in thin layers regularly for the best healing. A little should ideally go a long way when you’re applying your lotion. Thick coats of ointment can and will suffocate your tattoo and use excess product.

Skin Type – For most folks, thinking about skin type when choosing a tattoo lotion isn’t terribly crucial. However, it is best to choose a lotion with similar ingredients and consistency to your current skincare products for an easy transition. Additionally, certain skin types may want to take extra care when selecting a tattoo lotion.

If you have dry or sensitive skin, choosing a tattoo aftercare lotion may take some additional forethought. If you have generally dry skin, choosing something very moisturizing is crucial as that lotion will take the place of your regular lotion for the time being. Additionally, if you have sensitive skin or particular allergies, you should take a closer look at the ingredients and make sure your lotion doesn’t have any potential irritants. If you’re at all concerned about an adverse reaction to your chosen product, do a test spot on another area of your body before applying it to your fresh ink.

Absorption Capabilities – If your lotion isn’t absorbing into your skin well, you’ve got a problem. A thick coat of ointment will sit on your tattoo and suffocate it, making it a breeding ground for nasty bacteria. Too thin a layer or absorbing rapidly means you might be applying more regularly, which isn’t a bad thing but an essential consideration if you’re unable to pause your day and care for your tattoo.

Your tattoo lotion should easily absorb into your skin and keep your tattoo moisturized for at least a couple of hours. Avoid thick coats of lotion, and don’t be afraid to switch to a different lotion if your current one isn’t working out for you!

tattoo artist using healing lotion for tattoo

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best lotion to put on a new tattoo?

This answer depends on your skin type, tattoo, and personal preferences. It’s also the reason we put together this list and buying guide. The question of which tattoo lotion is best is one for you to answer, but we’re here to help.

As you read through this guide and our products listed, consider your personal preferences and needs. Is your skin already really dry? Are you trying to avoid aloe vera? All these things matter!

What lotions are bad for tattoos?

Generally, lotions that are petroleum-based or have excessive perfumes and fragrances. Your favorite warm vanilla sugar body lotion should stay in the cupboard for this one. We’d recommend avoiding anything that is not moisturization-focused, has excessive fragrances, or a lot of ingredients you can’t pronounce.

Lotions that are too thick or come with a petroleum base can clog pores. Excessive fragrances in lotions like a candy apple or Japanese cherry blossom can irritate the tattoo and don’t provide enough moisture. You’ll also likely feel an intense burning sensation if you try this. Look for simple ingredients and nourishing butter and oils.

What does a lotion do to a tattoo?

Lotions or healing ointments nourish and moisturize a tattoo. Similar to when you scrape yourself, your body forms a scab to protect the open wound; your tattoo will attempt to do this too. Keeping your tattoo moisturized keeps it from scabbing and keeps it healthy.

Skin-Nourishing and hydrating ingredients can keep your skin healthy as well as speed up your tattoo healing process. The less your tattoo scabs, the less it will itch, and the less you’ll be tempted to scratch or pick at it!

female tattooed hand using healing cream

Can I put Vaseline on my tattoo?

We’re going to recommend you don’t do this. Vaseline is petroleum jelly, and while it has many powerful applications, tattoo healing isn’t one of them. We’ve mentioned this above, but you should avoid petroleum products.

Petroleum-based products like Vaseline coat your tattoo in a thick layer of moisture that clogs the pores and suffocates them. This trapped moisture creates a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi — not things you want in your new tattoo.

How many times a day should I moisturize my tattoo?

There’s no concrete number here, but likely many. If your tattoo begins feeling or looking dry, add another thin coat of your chosen healing lotion. You shouldn’t be slathering on thick coats each time, as this can suffocate your tattoo and clog pores.

You should always keep your tattoo healing lotion handy in a pocket, purse, or backpack. If your chosen product is large, consider grabbing a travel size too so it can easily go everywhere you do. Without fairly consistent access to your healing lotion, your tattoo will be lacking in moisture.

What happens if you put too much lotion on a tattoo?

Too much lotion on a tattoo, either applied in too thick of a coat or too thick of a lotion in general, is not healthy for your tattoo. Both of these ways of using too much lotion will clog your pores, suffocate your tattoo and allow it to become a breeding ground for infection. Infected tattoos usually don’t heal well.

What happens if you don’t moisturize a tattoo?

If you don’t moisturize a tattoo, be ready for some serious discomfort. Without moisturization, your tattoo will develop tight scabs and will do so fast. When this happens, moving the recently tattooed area will be difficult, and an extensive range of motion could rip a scab and cause other potential issues.

A scabbed tattoo is an itchy and uncomfortable one that leaves the wearer of said tattoo itchy, irritated, and potentially in pain. If your new tattoo is on a body part that needs to move consistently, you’re going to need to moisturize consistently, and dry-healing is not an excellent option for you. As scabs rip out and pull with movement, they can take pieces of ink with them, leaving you with a blotchy tattoo in need of a touch-up.



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