7 Best Lotions for Tattoo Aftercare: Save The Ink in 2024

man applying a tattoo care lotion on arm

Looking after your new tattoo is as important as choosing the right design. Get either wrong and you’re left with a permanent reminder of the bad choices you made. Or, you end up searching for cover-up products and removal creams.

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you whether to get a sailor, skull, or snake, but I can point you in the right direction of the best lotions for tattoo aftercare. Whether your ink is a tribute to the high seas or a nod to the serpentine mysteries of life, ensuring that it heals properly is a universal choice we can all get behind.

Continue reading as I navigate the world of tattoo lotions, creams, balms, and salves—keeping the crust at bay and your body art thriving.

Key Takeaways

Selecting the best lotions for tattoo aftercare is the easiest way to ensure the longevity of your body art. This is why I sought help from my personal artist and hundreds of newly tattooed guys who have tried the products first-hand.

By weighing up the pros and cons of each, I have been able to pull together a list of seven essential options, from After Inked’s bestselling formula to Tattoo Goo’s budget-friendly option, that are proven to promote proper healing, prevent infections, and preserve the vibrancy of new ink.

shirtless man with tattoo taking a mirror selfie
jeremy_wilde / Instagram

Top of the line in the best lotions for tattoo aftercare: After Inked Tattoo Lotion

Why it’s great: My go-to lotion, it’s a must-have for anyone who is getting a new tattoo or who already has one.

Providing a nourishing blend that amplifies ink vibrancy and alleviates skin dryness, this best of the best lotions for tattoo aftercare is highly absorbent, non-sticky, and filled with powerful antioxidants. It’s fragrance-free for optimum comfort, and it has a silky texture that instantly soothes that stingy sensation.

Who this is for: A do-it-all lotion, it can be used on various skin types, whether your tattoo is fresh or faded. It’ll help retain your skin’s natural moisture and the tattoo’s vibrant appearance (particularly if it has color).

Flaws but not deal-breakers: Thick and creamy, it can take a while to rub in if you apply too much. A little goes a long way, so start by squeezing out a dime-sized blob and add more if necessary.

Scent: Unscented | Form: Cream | Size: 3oz | Skin Type: All | Active Ingredient: Shea butter

Tattoo Goo Aftercare Lotion

Why it’s great: If Tattoo Goo were playing aftercare lotion bingo, they’d be celebrating a big win. Ticking every box required, this simple formula is unscented, petroleum-free (essential for allowing your ink to breathe), and enriched with all the skin goodness needed to soothe and nourish recently tattooed skin.

Better yet, you can use it on old tattoos to enhance the color, and it’ll even help relieve the urge to itch.

Who this is for: Suitable for healing and healed tattoos, this lotion penetrates all skin types with deep moisture to avoid dryness and keep tattoos vibrant. It’s one of the cheapest options around but does as good a job as any.

Flaws but not deal-breakers: The cream has quite a runny consistency, so be careful when you first squirt it out of the tube (which is quite small, by the way). Squeeze too hard, and it can be easy to overuse.

Scent: Unscented | Form: Cream | Size: 2oz | Skin Type: All | Active Ingredient: Vitamin B5

Mad Rabbit Replenish Tattoo Body Lotion

Why it’s great: A lightweight, long-lasting moisturizer that’s non-greasy and anti-aging, this lotion stops skin from drying up while healing new tattoos and helping old ink bounce back to life. It also has one of the most aesthetically pleasing bottles I’ve come across—so it’ll look great sitting next to your Aesop hand wash.

Who this is for: Backed clinically by dermatologists, it’s designed for guys with or without ink, so you can use it on all areas of your body (not just those that have been tattooed). It’ll help hydrate, replenish, and promote healthier-looking skin. That alone gets it on to this list of the best lotions for tattoo aftercare.

Flaws but not deal-breakers: Compared to some of the other options on this list, it’s quite expensive. However, the bottle is bigger (and cooler), so it should last twice as long.

Scent: Unscented | Form: Lotion | Size: 9oz | Skin Type: All | Active Ingredient: Vitamin A

Hustle Butter Tattoo Aftercare Balm

Why it’s great: Made with natural ingredients like shea, mango, and aloe butter, Hustle Butter’s aftercare balm is a great moisturizer to use before, during, or after you get your skin tattooed. It enriches your skin with healthy nutrients, speeds up the healing process, and adds vibrancy to older ink.

Who this is for: Not only does it help with healing, this lotion for tattoo aftercare also prevents fading and revives color in older tattoos—making it suitable for ink newbies and veterans alike. If you tend to find lotions a little too runny, you’ll prefer the paste-like consistency.

Flaws but not deal-breakers: Initially, it feels a bit greasy, but it doesn’t take too long to absorb.

Scent: Tropical | Form: Balm | Size: 5oz | Skin Type: All | Active Ingredient: Coconut oil

Lubriderm Daily Moisture Lotion

Why it’s great: Want to know a secret? Your average unscented moisturizer can help new tats heal, too. In my experience, anyway. And this one from Lubriderm is an excellent everyday option.

Housed in a generously sized 16oz bottle (it’ll last for sure), it’s formulated with pro-ceramide and glycerin that effectively penetrate the skin’s surface to restore its moisture barrier and give you a healthy glow.

Who this is for: This hydrating, fast-drying formula can be used on new and old tattoos (plus all skin types). It’s ideal for guys looking for an everyday moisturizer that doubles up as one of the best lotions for tattoo aftercare.

Flaws but not deal-breakers: I noticed that a number of reviewers say they find it rather watery. So, be careful not to apply too much at once. It could get messy.

Scent: Unscented | Form: Lotion | Size: 16oz | Skin Type: All | Active Ingredient: Vitamin B5

Brickell Element Defense Moisturizer

Why it’s great: Nothing fades a tattoo quicker than the yellow guy in the sky. This is why it’s super important to invest in a proper lotion for tattoo aftercare that protects your ink from harmful UV rays.

This one from Bricknell gets the job done while soothing, strengthening, and replenishing skin. Bonus points are awarded for its all-natural ingredients and easy application.

Who this is for: Take it on vacation or apply it generously whenever your tattoos (new or old) are going to be exposed to the sun.

Flaws but not deal-breakers: The texture is quite thick, so you’d be smart to start with a small amount first and apply more if needed.

Scent: Unscented | Form: Cream | Size: 8oz | Skin Type: All | Active Ingredient: Vitamin E

believa Tattoo Aftercare Butter

Why it’s great: 100% vegan with no nasty scent, believa’s lotion is full of rich, natural ingredients and free from petroleum, parabens, silicones, and coloring agents. Produced in a butter form, it’ll gently soothe and heal your new ink while providing UV protection and giving your skin all the essential minerals it needs.

Who this is for: This lotion for tattoo aftercare is formulated for use before, during, and after tattooing, so it’s a great option for tattoo artists and those in the chair (especially if you have sensitive skin).

Flaws but not deal-breakers: Though all-natural, it does have a slight coconut smell. It’s certainly not overpowering, but you’ll notice it for sure. Some will love it, others might prefer no fragrance at all.

Scent: Natural | Form: Butter | Size: 3.38oz | Skin Type: Sensitive | Active Ingredient: Shea butter

shirtless man with body tattoo holding a bottle of skin moisturizer
inkeeze / Instagram

Buying Considerations for The Best Lotions For Tattoo Aftercare


The best lotions for tattoo aftercare will have gentle, nourishing ingredients. Look out for things such as vitamin E, shea butter, and natural oils. These will all aid in healing your new tattoo without causing irritation.


Although slightly scented options are available, most tattoo artists recommend using a fragrance-free lotion. Skin is especially sensitive when your tattoo is fresh, so you should do whatever you can to minimize the risk of skin irritation or allergic reactions.


To make sure you’re getting enough bang for your buck, take note of the size of the lotion container and how much lotion it holds. It’s also a good idea to find out how much product you should apply. If a little goes a long way, a big bottle of lotion for tattoo aftercare might not be entirely necessary (especially if you don’t plan on getting any more tattoos).

a tube of after inked tattoo after care lotion on top of rocks
afterinked_uk / Instagram

How We Chose

Every man and his dog claim to have the best lotions for tattoo aftercare. But guess what? Very few live up to the hype – which is why I took it upon myself to filter through the fluff and draw up a list of products that aren’t all bark.

Brand Reputation: Only the top lotion for tattoo aftercare brands were considered. I meticulously examined the histories of well-known lotion manufacturers, giving precedence to those with a long-standing dedication to producing high-quality, enduring products.

Customer Feedback: I turned to the experiences of tattoo enthusiasts, scrutinizing numerous customer reviews, both commendatory and critical. This offered deep insights into the actual effectiveness and reliability of each lotion on tattoos.

Price Range: By evaluating lotions across various price brackets, I managed to include a wide array of choices that accommodate different financial plans without sacrificing quality.

Why Trust Us?

As a seasoned writer for FashionBeans, Billy Webb has established himself as an authority in grooming and fashion through his in-depth articles and expert advice. His work covers a broad spectrum of grooming topics, demonstrating not just a passion for the subject but a commitment to offering practical, sustainable solutions.

Moreover, Billy’s review of Beardbrand products showcases his ability to delve into brand philosophies and product specifics, offering readers a comprehensive understanding of what makes each product stand out??. His detailed analyses and personal insights ensure that readers receive well-rounded advice grounded in experience and research.

By consistently delivering content that combines grooming expertise with an awareness of sustainability and product quality, Billy has become a reliable source for those seeking guidance in their grooming routines, including the selection of the best lotions for tattoo aftercare.

All in all, his work reflects a deep understanding of the grooming industry, making his recommendations a trustworthy resource for readers.

Final Verdict

You can’t beat the feeling of getting a new tattoo. Even if it is served up with a side of pain (there’s numbing cream or spray for that, y’know). So don’t go killing the mood with poor aftercare.

For the best of the best lotions for tattoo aftercare, choose After Inked’s lotion, and your fresh ink will be in safe hands. Affordable, effective, and suitable for all skin types, it’ll alleviate dryness, amplify vibrancy, and keep your art looking awesome for longer.


    • Some artists may push you towards certain specialist lotions, and they typically are your safest (and most effective) bet. However, I’ve always found a fragrance-free moisturizer can usually get the job done just as well.

      • Always keep the freshly-inked area clean, moisturized, and protected. When washing, use a mild, fragrance-free soap to cleanse the tattoo, pat it dry gently, and apply a tattoo aftercare lotion with healing ingredients. It’s important to avoid exposing the tattoo to direct sunlight, chlorine, or abrasive materials during the initial healing weeks.


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