A new tattoo is technically an open wound, and you don’t want to let it dry or form scabs on the ink.

Investing in a protective ointment, salve, or tattoo-friendly lotion is crucial to keep your tattoo moisturized, free from infection, and promote healing.

However, the products may vary for every person because they depend on climate, skin type, and/or you may also have your own favorite products.

In this guide, I picked and reviewed the 9 best lotions for tattoos so that you can pick the best one for you. I also guide you on buying the best lotion for you and the proper timing to apply them to your tattoo.

Quick List: Best Lotion for Tattoos

  1. Best Overall: Aquaphor Healing Ointment
  2. Best Drugstore: Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion
  3. Best Vegan: Hustle Butter Deluxe Tattoo Balm
  4. Best for Color: Mad Rabbit Tattoo Enhance Balm
  5. Best Natural: After Inked Tattoo Moisturizer and Lotion
  6. Best Salve: Tattoo Goo Aftercare Salve
  7. Best Soothing: Mad Rabbit Repair Soothing Gel
  8. Best for Sensitive Skin: Marlowe Body Lotion 
  9. Best Oil: Nutiva Virgin Coconut Oil

For this article, I’ve talked to/asked several experienced and certified tattoo artists, and they gave me their best advice and recommendation about choosing the best lotion for your new tattoo.

So stick to it for the best possible advice.

What to Look For in a Tattoo Lotion

When choosing the best tattoo lotion, you should check out the following things to get the best products that are safe and suit best to your skin and tattoo type. 

Ingredients

Generally, we tend to (and should!) look for ingredients before buying any products, and it’s not an exception for tattoo lotion.

And it’s become more critical, especially when you are gonna use it on your fresh ink, which is basically an open wound.

The products with naturally-derived ingredients tend to have anti-inflammatory and healing properties that are healthier for your tattoo — promoting a safe and quicker healing process.

On the other hand, non-organic products tend to contain synthetics and chemicals. Using them may cause irritation and unpleasant feelings, leading to infection and prolonged healing.

So, you should always go for lotions with natural ingredients means they’re rich in vitamins and antioxidants and avoid any products that have fragrance and other irritating chemicals.

Formula and Packaging Type

Although I’m writing this for the best tattoo lotion, you’ll see several other formulas in this category: creams, balms, and salves. All are great options to heal your tattoos and keep the color vibrant.

So, it is up to you to pick the one for you. You can check out our top-picked tattoo products to find the best one for you.

If we look at the packaging, we can see the products come in tubes or dispensers.

A dispenser (or a squeezable tube) might get an edge because you don’t need to continuously dip your finger into it, which completely eliminates the chance of getting bacteria from your hand.

However, it doesn’t mean you should avoid balms and creams that come in a pot.

Just ensure you thoroughly wash your hands with soap and warm water every time before scooping out or applying lotion to your tattoo.

Keep scrolling to find the 9 best tattoo lotions, creams, balms, salves, and oils below. 

9 Best Lotions for Tattoos in 2022

9 Best Lotion for Tattoos (Experts' Recommended)

As I mentioned earlier, everyone’s skin type is different, so it’s wise to go with one that suits your skin and/or you’re comfortable with because you have to wear it on your skin every day.

Here’re the 9 best tattoo lotions that promote healing and prevent colors from fading.

1. Aquaphor Healing Ointment

Overall Best Lotion for Tattoos

Key Highlights:

  • Item Form: Semisolid
  • Active Ingredients: Petrolatum
  • Skin Type: All
  • SPF: None
  • Cruelty-Free: No

The Aquaphor Healing Ointment is water-free and soothing, creates a protective barrier that allows oxygen and keeps fluid out — creating an ideal environment for your tattoo healing.

As it is a simple, unscented, and gentle formula, Aquaphor is a go-to choice for most artists since it’s super effective in soothing and moisturizing fresh ink.

What We Like

  • Keep the skin hydrated.
  • Ideal for tattoo healing.
  • Prevent germs and bacteria.
  • Helps to keep tattoos vibrant.

What We Don’t Like

  • Small tube.

2. Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion

Best Artist-Approved Tattoo Lotion

Key Highlights:

  • Item Form: Lotion, cream, oil
  • Active Ingredients: Dimethicone
  • Skin Type: All
  • SPF: None
  • Cruelty-Free: No

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion is an expert-approved tattoo product, and its gentle formula (no fragrances or irritating chemicals) is the top reason for that.

The Aveeno lotion is made of oatmeal and rich emollients, which are clinically shown to help moisturize and create a barrier to the top layer of your skin, meaning it’s excellent for soothing and relieving dryness of the tattoo.

You can also use this lotion rest of your body.

What We Like

  • No fragrances and chemicals.
  • Protect and soothes skin.
  • Non-greasy.
  • Helps relieve dryness and itching.

What We Don’t Like

  • Not cruelty free.

3. Hustle Butter Deluxe Tattoo Balm

Best Vegan Cream for Tattoos

Key Highlights:

  • Item Form: Cream
  • Active Ingredients: Mango, papaya, coconut, shea, and aloe butter
  • Skin Type: All
  • SPF: None
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes

Hustle Butter Deluxe is a great cream to use throughout your tattoo stages — before, during, and after. It’s a vegan product and free from paraben and petroleum, minimizing the chance of irritation.

The Hustle Butter is made of natural ingredients, helps promote quicker healing and soothes your skin. It’s also effective to prevent your tattoo from fading and reviving the color of the old tattoos.

What We Like

  • Natural ingredients.
  • No paraben and petrolium.
  • Smell great.
  • Hydrate and soothes skin.
  • Protect and revive tattoo color.

What We Don’t Like

  • Small bottle.

4. Mad Rabbit Tattoo Enhance Balm

Best Tattoo Lotion for Color

Key Highlights:

  • Item Form: Balm
  • Active Ingredients: Shea butter, sweet almont oil, and cocoa butter
  • Skin Type: All
  • SPF: None
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes

The Mad Rabbit Balm is one of the best lotions to enhance and maintain your tattoo color. It hydrates, forms a protective barrier on the skin, and promotes a healthy and vibrant tattoo.

Mad Rabbit Tattoo Enhance Balm is made of natural ingredients means it’s free from petroleum and synthetic fragrances.

You can also apply this balm to your sensitive skin.

P.S: You can also check out the Billy Jealousy Tattoo Lotion, a great alternative to Mad Rabbit Balm. It’s made of all-natural ingredients and works wonder to make your tattoo vibrant.

What We Like

  • Enhance and maintain tattoo ink.
  • Natural ingredients.
  • Smells great (cucumber).
  • Free from irritating chemicals.
  • Great for sensitive skin.

What We Don’t Like

  • Need to dip your hand.

5. After Inked Tattoo Moisturizer and Lotion

Best Natural Tattoo Lotion

Key Highlights:

  • Item Form: Cream
  • Active Ingredients: Grape seed oil
  • Skin Type: All
  • SPF: None
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes

After Inked Tattoo Moisturizer and Lotion is made of natural ingredients and suitable for all skin types. It works wonders for moisturising skin, relieving itching, and preserving the color of your tattoos.

This non-petroleum based product is very healthy for your skin since it’s free from paraben, gluten, and fragrances.

What We Like

  • Paraben and fragrance-free.
  • Relives itching and preserves color.
  • No petroleum.
  • Helps to hydrate and soothe skin.
  • Won’t stick with clothes.

What We Don’t Like

  • Slightly expensive.

6. Tattoo Goo Aftercare Salve

Best Salves for Tattoos

Key Highlights:

  • Item Form: Salves
  • Active Ingredients: Olive oil, cocoa butter
  • Skin Type: All
  • SPF: None
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes

The Tatoo Goo Aftercare Salve is very effective in healing since it allows the skin to breathe and helps to soothe the tattoo.

It is a well-known tattoo aftercare product and recommended by many artists and approved by Dermatologists. It promises to keep your tattoo moisturized and prevents scabs.

What We Like

  • Promote tattoo healing.
  • No petroleum.
  • Helps to soothe the tattoo.
  • Pleasant natural smell.

What We Don’t Like

  • Small bottle.

7. Mad Rabbit Repair Soothing Gel

Best Tattoo Aftercare Soothing Gel

Key Highlights:

  • Item Form: Gel
  • Active Ingredients: Aloe Vera, Allantoin and Bisabolol
  • Skin Type: All
  • SPF: None
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes

After getting a tattoo, you have to go through some sort of unpleasant feeling and pain, but using a soothing gel can help you cool and relax your red and inflamed skin.

The Mad Rabbit Repair is one of the best soothing gels you can go for. It’s made of Aloe Vera, Allantoin and Bisabolol, which help you feel calmer, less itchy and less irritable.

What We Like

  • Instant cooling sensation.
  • Soothes redness and skin irritation.
  • Contain vitamin C.
  • Lightweight hydration.

What We Don’t Like

  • It might be a little sticky.

8. Marlowe Body Lotion

Best Tattoo Lotion for Sensitive Skin

Key Highlights:

  • Item Form: Lotion
  • Active Ingredients: Passionflower fruit extract, green tea extract, willow bark extract, deep-sea algae extract
  • Skin Type: All
  • SPF: None
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes

Whether you need an extra boost of moisture or struggle with dry and sensitive skin, the Marlowe Body Lotion infused with aloe helps you reveal smoother and more nourished skin.

It’s a lightweight and non-greasy moisturizer that helps to hydrate, soothe and protect your skin. It’s a vegan product and doesn’t contain irritating chemicals like paraben and phthalate.

What We Like

  • Super hydrating lotion.
  • Non-greasy formula.
  • No paraben and phthalate.
  • Great for sensitive skin.

What We Don’t Like

  • It’s a scented lotion.

9. Nutiva Virgin Coconut Oil

Best Oil for Tattoos

Key Highlights:

  • Item Form: Oil
  • Active Ingredients: Coconut oil
  • Skin Type: All
  • SPF: None
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes

Yes… It’s not a lotion. If you want a completely organic product, try out pure coconut oil.

Besides its infinite number of uses, coconut oil can also be a perfect tattoo aftercare product since it contains wound healing properties and helps in skin irritation.

Nutiva’s coconut oil is one of the best organic cold-pressed virgin oil you can own.

Tip: You can alternate the coconut oil with your favorite tattoo lotion for extra benefits.

When applying coconut oil, ensure that you’re using a clean utensil (or wear gloves) to avoid your fresh ink exposing to harmful bacteria.

What We Like

  • Pure coconut oil.
  • Multipurpose product.
  • Non-GMO.
  • Cost-effective.

What We Don’t Like

  • No special ingredients added.

When to Start Using Lotion on Tattoo

After completing the tattoo, your artist will put an ointment and wrap it with a bandage or plastic and may suggest leaving it for at least 2-4 hours.

Your new tattoo is essentially an open wound, and after removing the bandage (that was done by your artist), you’ll see some fluid (mixture of blood and ink) come out.

You should wash your tattoo with mild soap and lukewarm water and gently pat it dry with a clean paper towel. Don’t take a long bath or swim in that phase.

Instead of using ointments, creams, or lotions right away, you just let it heal in the open air.

Once your tattoo starts to dry, which typically takes 1-3 days, you should begin moisturizing with a good moisturizer 2-3 times per day. Be sure to clean your tattoo with antibacterial soap and lukewarm water before applying moisturizer.

You should continue moisturizing your fresh ink until it gets hydrated.

The Final Word

A fresh tattoo is basically an open wound. Besides a proper aftercare routine, using organic lotions rich in vitamins and antioxidants will promote healing and prevent unwanted situations.

But you should avoid products that contain synthetics, chemicals, and fragrances that can cause irritation and delay healing.

So… We’ve crushed it: Best lotion for tattoos.

Now I’m curious to know, which lotion suits your skin best?

If you have any questions regarding tattoo lotion or finding the best one, drop them in the comment section below. I will be glad to help you out! 

FAQs

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

The Aquaphor is the go-to option for most artists, and it’s also experts’ favorite moisturizing ointment to put on the fresh tattoo for both the initial healing and afterward.

It’s super effective in soothing and moisturizing healing tattoos.

What are the benefits of tattoo lotion?

Moisturizers or lotions help lubricate the skin and prevent scraping, picking, or peeling, leading to less risk of infection and proper healing.

They are also great for making your tattoo vibrant and maintaining and reviving old tattoo colors.

How often should you use tattoo lotion?

You should apply lotion to your tattoo 2 to 3 times per day during healing. Although this number could vary from person to person, listening to your body is crucial. Ensure that your tattoo is hydrated correctly throughout the day for at least 2-4 weeks. (1)

Proper skin care is always essential, and many tattoo enthusiasts prefer to moisturize their tattoos daily for life.

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