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Best Tattoo Aftercare Product

Best Tattoo Aftercare Cream Lotion Ointment Spray Soap 2018

As you already learned in our Ultimate Tattoo Care and Tattoo Aftercare Guide, improper care of your tattoo leads to infection, tattoo fading, or even allergic reactions. In the world of tattoo aftercare, the brand you pick makes a huge difference in the overall health of your tattoo. This page goes into much more depth about the best tattoo aftercare products for your specific needs. Whether you need a natural tattoo aftercare lotion, vegan tattoo aftercare soap, or simply the best tattoo aftercare product, I cover everything you need to know and more.


Best Tattoo Aftercare Products 2018

Product NameProduct TypeWhere to get it
H2Ocean Ultimate Tattoo Care KitTattoo Aftercare Kit
Tattoo Goo Aftercare KitTattoo Aftercare Kit
Hustle Butter DeluxeTattoo Aftercare Lotions
H2Ocean Ocean Care Tattoo AftercareTattoo Aftercare Lotions
Tattoo Goo - The Original Aftercare SalveTattoo Aftercare Lotions
Ora's Amazing Natural Tattoo Aftercare Treatment SalveTattoo Ointments
Aquaphor Baby Healing OintmentTattoo Ointment
A+D Original OintmentTattoo Ointment
H2Ocean Blue Green Foam SoapTattoo Soap
Tattoo Goo Deep Cleansing SoapTattoo Soap

Starting with new tattoo aftercare and reaching into continued tattoo aftercare, the ingredients of tattoo products make them more desirable than their regular counterparts. In example, dial antibacterial soap sounds like a wonderful thing to wash your tattoo with, but it actually scrubs away at the color of your tattoo. As a result, your awesome tattoo now looks like a coloring book soaked in water. Similarly, other easily available and reputed brands provide little to no support during aftercare. Tattoo lovers, I want to help.

With years of experience in the tattoo world, I undoubtedly discovered some ‘flops.’ Clients used these flops without knowledge of the harm they could cause. Listing the number of flops out there takes far too long, so I want to focus on the things that work. All of these products provide amazing tattoo aftercare, guaranteed. Most of them even come with tattoo aftercare information sheets, just to keep you informed. They contain no harmful ingredients for your tattoo, promote healing quickly, and even ensure your tattoo stays vivid for many years after initial use.

So, ready to find the best tattoo aftercare product for you? Let’s go!

In a hurry? Don’t have time for the full article? No worry I got you covered, here are my most favorite tattoo care products for all stages of the healing and care prozess:

My Favorite Tattoo Care Products

HUSH anesthetic – Tattoo Numbing Gel

Made specifically for use during the tattoo process, Hush anesthetic saves you a ton of pain. This topical anesthetic also works great for tattoo removal, piercing, and waxing. Hush Anesthetic penetrates your skin and temporarily numbs your nerves. It lasts for up to four hours—enough to get through at least a medium-sized tattoo. It contains no products that affect your tattoo ink—such as alcohol or petroleum. Hush just focuses on ingredients needed for pain relief and gets the job done. To apply, rub a small layer of the tattoo pain cream over the affected area. Wait a few minutes for certain compounds to break down before the tattoo process begins.


Read More => The Best Tattoo Numbing Products in 2017


Hustle Butter Deluxe

One of my favorite tattoo products, Hustle Butter Deluxe provides a lot of care for a single lotion. Use it before your tattoo to work as a moisturizer and a glide. The tattoo lotion keeps your skin nice and smooth, without affecting the stencils your artist made. During the tattoo healing process, apply it to reduce scabs and relieve that crazy itching sensation. After your tattoo heals, continue using it as an amazing moisturizer. No other tattoo lotions, soaps, or ointments provide such versatile care. As a cherry on top, it only uses vegan ingredients, and no animal testing went into the making of this product.


Coppertone Tattoo Guard Continuous Spray SPF 50

From the top sunscreen brand (and I say that with certainty—anyone who hasn’t used this at some point in their lives has never gone to the beach) comes Coppertone Tattoo Guard. At 50 SPF, it offers incredible protection for the better part of your day. Because of its hypoallergenic and photostable ingredients, it offers protection for all skin types. With a tattoo-specific formula, it provides a clear layer of sunscreen that doesn’t damage your tattoo or cover it in a milky white layer. All this, in a convenient spray form! I highly recommend it for people from all walks of life.


Read More => The Best Tattoo Sunscreen in 2017


Best Tattoo Care Kits

For beginners, I always recommend a tattoo aftercare kit. The best tattoo aftercare kits contain soap, moisturizer, and sometimes, even sunscreen! The sunscreen bit actually plays a huge role in tattoo aftercare, but you can check out the details on that on our Best Tattoo Sunscreen page. Anyways, you benefit from an aftercare kit’s excellent instructions. They tell you exactly how to use each product, and these particular kits last for the duration of your tattoo’s initial healing stage.

On top of that, none of these products contain petroleum. Aside from alcohol, petroleum causes the most damage during tattoo aftercare. Petroleum forms a layer of gel over your tattoo that some believe ‘keeps the germs out.’ In actuality, your tattoo represents a huge open wound. Germs inevitably get into your tattoo, so a layer of petroleum seals them in, prevents your skin from breathing, and hinders your immune system. Combine all of that together, and you end up with an infection.

You usually know a good brand because they measure the recommended dosage of lotion, foam, or otherwise in drops, not teaspoons. The product spreads across your tattoo easily, sets quickly, and provides a somewhat permeable layer that your tattoo airs out through. They last forever because of this trait. Even if you end up with extra lotion or soap, they work for lots of other things.

Anyways, I digress. Tattoo care kits serve as a once-and-done purchase that provides optimal care for your tattoo. These particular brands give you everything you need for a fast and smooth healing process. No need to scour the ingredients list of hundreds of store brands, only to find that nothing in the store works—these kits cover you.

H2Ocean Ultimate Tattoo Care Kit

H20cean represents the pinnacle of comfort and technology in the tattoo world. The H2Ocean Tattoo Aftercare Kit provides an easy-to use soap for your initial healing stages, then follows up with two different types of moisturizers. Use the foam moisturizer on the days your skin feels sensitive—or, just after your wound closes. Then, when you feel an itch begin in the area, use the heavy artillery, and slather the moisturizing lotion on your tattoo. Or stick with the H2Ocean Spray until your tattoo heals. Entirely up to you!

With over one hundred 5-star Amazon reviews, this stuff really works. Of course, I told you that first, but a hundred extra, separate opinions helps out. Clients love this stuff because it leaves no greasy residue behind. On top of that, a lot of them return and say their tattoo looks even more vibrant than the day their artist inked it!


Tattoo Goo Aftercare Kit

Tattoo Goo lacks the elegance of H2Ocean’s packaging, but it works all the same, and includes a wider variety of aftercare products for different situations. For the first week (or more, if you want to keep your tattoo squeaky clean), use the deep cleansing soap for cleaning your tattoo. It fights germs, without resorting to alcohol or petroleum ingredients.

Similarly, the quick penetrating lotion only uses the best ingredients for tattoo aftercare. It works to moisturize your damaged skin and scabs, repairing it over time while leaving your ink intact. The tattoo salve both cleans and enhances new and old tattoos. Lastly, the Color Guard sunscreen fights against the rays of the sun (sunlight does the most damage to tattoos over time).

Just like H2Ocean, a little of this stuff goes a long way. Your aftercare kit will last for the full duration of your first tattoo healing stages. Tattoo Goo leaves no grease behind and spares your clothes and sheets from typical new tattoo stains.


Best Tattoo Aftercare Lotions

For more experienced tattoo wearers, purchasing individual products that cater to your personal needs works better than using the beginner kits. By now, you probably know a few brands, but I want to bring some products to your attention in case you don’t already use them. I also want to point out the difference between tattoo lotion and tattoo ointment, so you know which suits your skin more. In the second stage of tattoo healing—when your tattoo stops bleeding or swelling, and scabs start to form—lotions work best to speed up healing. Along with that, continued use of lotion keeps the tattooed area soft and bright.

Using tattoo care lotion takes little skill or technique. Simply squirt a few drops on the area, softly rub it into a thin layer on your tattoo, and then reapply as needed. Never go over the recommended limit the brand gives you. Not only does that save you lotion in the long run, but if you use too much lotion on tattoo work, you seal up your tattoo. If you worry about over-applying, just stick to small amounts and periodically re-apply when it feels like your body fully absorbed the lotion.

Both lotion for tattoo healing and lotion for tattoo pain relief exist. For more information on numbing products, check out our respective feature. For now, I focus on lotions that relieve itching sensations and protect the tattoo during its crucial healing stage. Whether you’re looking for the best lotion for tattoos, the best lotion for new tattoo care, or maybe the best natural lotions, check out this in-depth list of the very best lotions.

Hustle Butter Deluxe

Unlike most tattoo lotions, Hustle Butter Deluxe works at every stage of a new tattoo. As the best lotion for tattoo aftercare, artists start using it before they even ink your tattoo! Hustle Butter works as a glide—something that makes it easy for artists to maneuver their tattoo gun. Just like it stays away from tattoo ink, it also leaves stencils intact. On top of that, with no petroleum build-up, it starts the tattoo healing process instantly. This soothing tattoo cream hastens the tattoo process and allows your artist to provide you the best care.

But what about after you ink the tattoo? Well, Hustle Butter provides continued support for a new tattoo. The tattoo cream moisturizes your skin and gives your tattoo a wonderful shine…all without damaging your tattoo! Hustle Butter Deluxe also uses 100% vegan ingredients, no artificial scents, no paraben preservatives, and no animal testing. Due to its natural ingredients, it gives off a light and pleasant smell for a few minutes after application.


H2Ocean Ocean Care Tattoo Aftercare

As I already mentioned, H2Ocean offers the best protection during tattoo aftercare. Well, surprise, surprise. They also make one of the best tattoo lotion aftercare products. Also available in their starter kits, this unscented lotion for tattoo aftercare includes vegan-friendly ingredients and uses water—rather than petroleum—as its base ingredient. Unscented lotions for tattoos cause fewer allergic reactions and skin irritation. Plus, using a scented lotion on tattoo wounds creates an overwhelming smell. Since you apply it frequently, that incredible smell may hinder your day-to-day life. H2Ocean Ocean Care solves that with its unscented lotions for tattoos, of course.

Ocean Care works best just after your tattoo scabs over. You may apply it before then, but I advise against it. The antibacterial properties cause a stinging sensation when used too early. For the first healing stage of your tattoo, take a look at our tattoo soaps further down on this page.


Tattoo Goo – The Original Aftercare Salve

Moving on to the only salve on this list, this tattoo aftercare cream works to quickly heal your tattoo. Tattoo Goo includes tons of natural ingredients known for their healing properties. With no petroleum, lanolin, or even mineral oil in its ingredients, this tattoo care cream breaks ground in the natural healing scene. Along with fresh tattoos, Tattoo Goo heals all types of damaged skin. This includes chapped lips, small scrapes, and even sun burns! It leaves no stains or sticky residue behind, allowing your tattoo to breath well.

This stuff lasts for ages—even longer than the other lotions on this list—since they really packed in the ingredients. Some clients even return, asking why their tattoo never scabbed over ‘properly.’ In truth, the correct use of Tattoo Goo keeps the tattooed area so soft that your scabs barely feel different from the rest of your skin. Tattoo Goo includes this healing cream in their aftercare kit.


Best Tattoo Ointments

If you read our Ultimate Tattoo Aftercare Guide, then you already know the difference between lotion and ointment. But, just in case, let me explain the benefits of each. Tattoo lotion contains less oil, which makes application simple. Ointment for tattoos contain much more oil, so you need much less of it. People with sensitive skin will want to try both types. Sometimes—especially with dry skin—the oils of an ointment moisturize the skin far better than its lotion counterpart. On the other hand, people with allergies or eczema could react to those same oils, so you need to test both types thoroughly.

So, what kind of ointment do you put on tattoos? The best ointments for tattoos take advantage of their moisturizing properties to deliver relief to deeper layers of your skin or scabs. At the same time, they avoid ingredients that can harm your tattoo—especially alcohol. Alcohol not only breaks down your tattoo ink, but it can also erase chunks of your tattoo with frequent use! Sticking with tattoo-specific ointment prevents you from wearing a blotchy tattoo for the rest of your life.

Generally, you want to use ointments or lotions, but not both. They serve the same function for your skin. Only try a mix of the two once you know all about which products work best on your skin. Switching between the two every few days works fine, as long as you don’t apply both at once. Anyways, let’s get back to the topic of the best ointment for tattoos. While many people start off with lotions, ointments seem to work very well. In particular, I love using the Aquaphor ointment for all sorts of things! Check out all of my recommendations below.


Ora’s Amazing Herbal Tattoo Salve

Without a doubt, Ora’s Amazing Herbal Tattoo Salve represents the best natural tattoo aftercare ointment in tattoo shops. They even leave out synthetic ingredients and make them in small batches! Oddly enough, this represents the only gluten-free tattoo salve on the list. Other products use wheat germ oil as an alternative to petroleum, which works spectacularly, but causes reactions for gluten-sensitive people and people with Celiacs. This salve works for regular cuts and bruises, too. The scents they chose for this salve also double as active ingredients.

On top of all that, this stuff lasts ages. You only use half of it for a large tattoo. Plus, you only need a tiny bit to feel relief. Simply reapply as needed. This represents the best candidate for anyone needing a natural tattoo aftercare lotion; however, I want to include one last piece of advice. Due to all of the natural ingredients, people with intense allergies should test it out on a small piece of skin away from the tattoo. Doing this, you know whether or not the salve gives you an allergic reaction.


Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment Advanced Therapy

Aquaphor healing ointment shows you the real difference between a regular product and one that works properly on tattoos. Unlike Eucerin lotion, Aquaphor cream contains no harsh ingredients that irritate your skin, clog up your pores, or damage your ink during tattoo aftercare. Aquaphor uses petrolatum—an alternative to petroleum—to ensure your tattoo breathes. Aquaphor ointment also works for scratches, scrapes, burns, rashes, and dry skin. Using Aquaphor for tattoos ensures your tattoo stays moisturized. While labeled as a baby product, Aquaphor tattoo care works very well. The Aquaphor lotion helps you baby your skin, just like you need to!

I personally use a lot of this stuff. The soft ingredients prevent my sensitive skin from drying out while my tattoo heals. Since I have eczema, keeping it at bay while my tattoo sets in proves challenging without a little bit of Aquaphor! Along with soothing ingredients, Aquaphor also includes something called Panthenol, which works a little bit like Vitamin B. It helps assist healing by nurturing your skin from its core.

Aquaphor Pic1


A+D Original Ointment Jar

At some point, a tattoo artist will undoubtedly recommend A and D ointment to you. Like Aquaphor, this classic brand treats a multitude of issues and appears in lots of medical recommendations. A&D ointment ingredients include vitamins A and D, which both promote healthy growth and healing. And, just like Aquaphor, this ointment originally covered the needs of children. Because A&D ointment uses ingredients that care for sensitive baby skin, rather than adult skin, it stays away from tattoo ink and targets your healing scabs. Ultimately, A&D ointment for tattoos prevents infection and provides a breathable barrier around your tattoo.

Unlike other ointments, A&D works best for the first healing stage of your tattoo. This means you use it during the first three or four days after your artist inks the tattoo. Once scabs begin to form, switch to another lotion or ointment for optimal healing. The scent smells…interesting, to say the least, but it provides excellent care.


The Best Soap for Tattoos

Of course, writing this article, I need to provide you with the best soap for tattoo aftercare. I actually know two that work spectacularly! Both of these soaps go inside the two aftercare kits I recommend, but you can purchase them separately if you want to mix and match. These soaps help wash away the initial grime of a tattoo and keep your wound clear. A clean tattoo scabs over nicely—ideally, in a solid, transparent layer!

Tattoo aftercare soap helps during every stage of healing, but especially during the first stage. During the first stage of healing, germs easily infect your tattoo. That makes it all the more crucial that you use tattoo aftercare soaps. When selecting a soap, think about your personal needs. I provide two different kinds of soaps—a foam soap and a regular soap. The foam soap goes on quickly, you can easily see where it covers, and it dissipates fairly quickly. On the other hand, the regular soap proves more potent and lasts just a bit longer.

To use tattoo soap, start with a few drops and then spread it carefully around your tattoo. A little rawness and sting is normal. After that, gently wet a clean towel with water. Strain as much excess water out as possible. Dab—not scrub—the soapy area with the damp towel. When you finish, a layer of soap remains on top of the tattoo. For more in-depth directions, check our section on application down below.


H2Ocean Blue Green Foam Soap, 1.7 Fluid Ounce

This unscented, antibacterial soap from renowned brand H2Ocean goes easy on your skin. It contains no paraben preservatives that sometimes damage skin. On top of that, the formula works for vegans, so you can use the soap guilt-free! The aloe vera helps sooth your itchy skin, especially as your tattoo begins to scab. The earlier you use it, the less inflammation you deal with. However, make sure not to peel off your bandage too early to apply this precious soap, even if it feels great. One bottle lasts through a small or medium tattoo, but you might need two bottles for large tattoos.


The foam soap helps when you need to apply it in a rush. A quick spray and a few seconds to rub it in and—voila!—you finish cleaning your tattoo. If you work while your tattoo heals, it works better to grab the foam, rather than the regular soap. Regular soap takes up too much time during your breaks to warrant using it over a fast foam.


Tattoo Goo Deep Cleansing Soap for Tattoos

The primary function of Tattoo Goo is to remove dead skin cells and dirt. The grime of a new tattoo promotes bacterial infection, so removing it ensures your tattoo breathes and heals properly. While not necessarily antibacterial, it does provide a germicide solution. The germicide kills off unwanted germs and leaves healthy bacteria and your immune system untouched. Basically, it drops all the unnecessary ingredients of typical soaps and helps out the natural healing process of your body. Those with sensitive skin or allergies, rejoice! You only need a small drop to lightly coat the tattoo, so this bottle lasts forever.


This tattoo aftercare soap provides more in-depth protection than an equivalent amount of foam soap, but it takes longer to apply. Tattoo Goo instructs you to use this product with moisturizer—otherwise, your skin dries out. Even if you forego the Tattoo Goo brand moisturizer, ensure you stock an alternative.



How to Use Lotions, Soaps, and Ointments on New Tattoos

More than anything, I want your tattoo to heal wonderfully, so that you can live life normally again, wearing a spectacular new tattoo! Without any kind of instruction on how to use this stuff, how will you find any use out of these products? Misusing even the best tattoo aftercare lotion results in a sub-par tattoo. Too much washing waterlogs your tattoo and fades your color. Carefully adhere to these directions for optimum results.

Prevention Measures

  • Avoid water whenever possible. Keep your tattoo away from water during a shower. Avoid scrubbing your tattoo with harsh surfaces. Use your hands to rub in soaps and lotions, and a towel to dab it dry.
  • Do not pick your scabs. Your skin still attaches to those scabs, and if that skin contains ink, you can easily pull off a chunk of your tattoo. Allow scabs to flake off naturally for optimal results. Six weeks after you ink your tattoo, a layer of scar tissue forms, creating the illusion of a faded tattoo. Use sunscreen and moisturizer to keep that skin healthy, and when the scar tissue fades, your colors gradually start to shine.

Medical Answers

  • Apply a small amount of any product on an unrelated part of your body—your wrist or ankle will do. Wait thirty minutes and see what kind of reaction occurs. Most allergic reactions occur within thirty minutes, so if you find no reaction, go ahead and use the product. If you do notice swelling, itchiness, or blistering, then put some Neosporin on it and quickly look for some hypoallergenic lotions for your tattoo.
  • Consult your doctor for any health-related questions, especially when you notice strange symptoms around your tattoo. It could be the ink, it could be the lotion, or it could be anything else. Swelling, oozing, and bruising is normal for the first few days, but excess pain is not. If you see red or black lines reaching out from your tattoo, that’s a sign of acute infection and requires immediate medical attention. We are not doctors. Consult doctors for medical advice.
Tattoo F.A.Q.


Is Vaseline good for tattoo aftercare?

A: Many artists recommend Vaseline on tattoo aftercare. In the past, Vaseline for tattoo aftercare was the only option, and artists tend to stick with what works. Vaseline on tattoos hardly compares to tattoo-specific after products. In fact, Vaseline can damage your tattoo with its high amounts of petroleum! As you already know, petroleum is a huge no-no for tattoo healing. I recommend using products with no petroleum, which includes everything on this page and any product labeled specifically for tattoo use. For the same reason, I suggest you avoid Eucerin lotion, Dermasil lotion, and Lubriderm lotion for tattoo aftercare.

Is Bepanthen good for tattoos?

A: No. Bepanthen contains high amounts of lanolin, which causes reactions in sensitive skin and blocks pores around the tattoo area. With no way to drain excess ink or plasma, your tattoo ink starts to wander. Instead, decide on the best cream for tattoo aftercare using this guide.

Is Aquaphor good for tattoos?

A: Absolutely. Not only did we review it above, it’s also the best lotion for tattoos after it’s healed, next to Tattoo Goo Color Guard sunscreen and Cerave healing ointment. Check out our sunscreen article for more information on how to care for a tattoo after it heals.

What are the best tattoo aftercare product brands?

A: Without a doubt, H2Ocean and Tattoo Goo are the best tattoo aftercare product brands. I recommend using any of their products. JWOWW tattoo tanning lotion also works great, but that’s less about aftercare and more about upkeep.


Best Tattoo Aftercare Product Wrap-Up!

For more information on the benefits of tattoo aftercare, check out our Ultimate Tattoo Care and Tattoo Aftercare Guide. Hopefully this guide helps you on your quest to find the best lotion for tattoos. Aftercare takes a lot of thought, and maybe I saved you some trouble. If you need more help finding the best lotion for a tattoo of your own, feel free to ask questions below!

May your tattoo always shine,


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