What is the best tattoo balm?
The answer depends on what you need. Are you looking for the best aftercare product for a new tattoo?
Or are you searching for a lotion that makes old tattoos stand out?
To help you find the answer, let’s discuss how to care for tattoos.
The best tattoo aftercare
In a nutshell, tattoo aftercare means two things: keeping it clean and moisturizing it.
When you leave the studio, the artist will apply an ointment and wrap the new tattoo in a bandage. Hopefully, they will give you instructions on how to care for it. Here is a general overview.
Leave the bandage on for a few hours. It will soak up excess ink and blood and protect the skin from dirt and friction from clothes.
Before removing the bandage, wash your hands. Every time you touch your tattoo until it’s fully healed, do it with clean hands only (1).
If the bandage is sticking to the skin, don’t pull on it. Dribble lukewarm water over it until it loosens.
Please don’t soak the tattoo in water or hold it under a running faucet. This could flush out the ink.
Wash it with antibacterial soap and lukewarm water. Don’t scrub – just use your fingers to gently remove any residue.
Pat it dry with a clean paper towel. Cloth towels might leave fuzzies behind. Use a clean towel every time you wash to avoid contamination.
Then, it’s time for tattoo balm. Smooth on a thin layer.
For the first few days, you might prefer ointment. Some artists recommend Aquaphor, while others prefer non-petroleum products. In any case, avoid artificial fragrances and chemicals to prevent irritating the skin.
Best Tattoo Balm in 2023
We’ll begin the reviews below with tattoo balms that promote healing. Later, we’ll cover the tattoo creams that keep the ink bright.
Sanibalm Tattoo Aftercare Roll-On Balm
With this roll-on applicator, you don’t have to touch your tattoo to moisturize it. It keeps things sanitary, and your hands don’t have to get greasy.
The featured ingredient is sea buckthorn. It’s an excellent source of Omega-7 for rapid skin repair.
There are no parabens or artificial preservatives in the formula. It’s safe for sensitive skin and can be used for first-aid purposes on cuts and burns.
Reviewers say the balm cuts healing time in half. If you’re not pleased with how well it works, the manufacturer offers a refund.
H2Ocean offers a variety of tattoo aftercare products, including antibacterial soap and lotion. The Ocean Foam provides benefits from both categories.
It’s a gentle moisturizer that forms a liquid bandage over a new tattoo. It prevents pathogens from infecting the skin and reduces scabbing.
It’s the best choice if you hate greasy moisturizers but still want to protect the ink.
Hustle Butter Deluxe
Hustle Butter is an all-purpose tattooing product. You can use it to prep the skin before tattooing, as a lubricant during the process, and as a moisturizer afterward.
It’s vegan and cruelty-free. It contains no parabens or petroleum. Instead, the creamy texture comes from rich natural ingredients like shea and mango butter, coconut oil, rosemary, and green tea.
The botanicals provide the nutrients the skin needs to repair itself without scarring. They relieve itching, redness, and swelling. Happily, they won’t interfere with the color of the ink.
Barker Goods Organic Tattoo Balm
This simple and effective tattoo balm has only 5 ingredients. It blends organic carnauba and beeswax with coconut oil and olive oil and adds a dash of vitamin E.
Warm up a dab in your hand before applying it to the tattoo. It will soothe itchy, red skin.
The balm is manufactured in the USA and packaged in a recyclable tin.
Ora’s Amazing Herbal Tattoo Balm
Instead of purchasing an ointment and a lotion for tattoo aftercare, this salve can do it all. It protects sensitive skin as it contains no petroleum, lanolin, gluten, or synthetic ingredients.
You can use it from day one to infinity because it takes good care of new tattoos as well as old ones. It only takes a thin layer to help the skin heal and keep it moisturized.
Herbal ingredients like grapeseed oil, calendula, and thyme calm inflammation and ward off infection. They don’t interfere with the ink – instead, they make it look brighter.
Badger Tattoo Balm
Badger’s original product was an herbal balm created to fix chapped and cracked skin. Years later, they developed this potent tattoo balm that expands upon the original formula.
It has certified organic and Fair Trade ingredients like tamanu oil, beeswax, myrrh, and calendula. It’s naturally soothing to wounded and irritated skin. Moreover, it’s packed with nutrients that encourage cellular regeneration.
Mad Rabbit Tattoo Balm
Furthermore, it enhances the tattoo’s appearance no matter what color the inks are, or your natural skin tone is.
Tattoo Goo Original
Tattoo Goo makes balm and lotion. The balm comes in a metal tin that slips into a pocket. What are its benefits?
First, it’s antimicrobial to reduce the risk of infection. Second, it’s rich in antioxidants that are crucial for skin repair. Third, it increases blood circulation. And fourth, it’s an excellent moisturizer.
It’s a dermatologist-tested product developed in collaboration with pharmacists. The balm is 98% natural, with ingredients like lavender, cocoa butter, and olive oil. The only con is that you want to warm it up with your fingers before spreading it on the skin. Make sure your hands are clean.
Redemption Tattoo Care Aftercare
Redemption Tattoo balm was the first USDA-certified petroleum replacement made for artists. But it’s not just a lubricant. It’s also outstanding for aftercare.
Unscrew the lid, and you might think it looks like Vaseline. But it’s made with organic plant oils, herbs, and beeswax. There are no chemicals in it.
It only takes a dab to seal in moisture and provide healing nutrients. With calendula, arnica, and rosemary, your new tattoo will cure in no time.
Original TAT WAX Tattoo Soothing Balm
Tatwax does indeed contain beeswax, but there’s a lot more going on inside the container. It features everything the skin needs to stay healthy: vitamins, aloe, plant oils, and glycerin, for starters.
Use it to diminish inflammation, swelling, and redness. It’s free of petroleum, lanolin, and alcohol to prevent irritation.
It revives old tattoos to bring out the color, too.
Ink Scribd Tattoo Aftercare Healing Balm
This popular tattoo balm claims to accelerate healing, allowing you to enjoy your new tattoo in “a week or so”. A quick glance at the label reveals that it’s packed with nourishing ingredients.
For example, it covers all the bases from almond and avocado oil to moringa, rosehip, and vitamins. There’s even neem, a healing herb used in Ayurvedic medicine. Yet, the balm is chemical-free with no artificial preservatives.
What’s nice is the manufacturer offers a 365-day guarantee with the promise of a full refund.
Fisticuffs Tattoo Balm
Here’s a balm that smells like peppermint. It soothes new tattoos and moisturizes the skin with essential oils and Vitamin E.
It also contains antibacterial ingredients like tea tree, frankincense, and lavender.
Viking Revolution Tattoo Care Balm
We had to dig a little deeper to find the ingredients in this balm. It’s a best-seller, but Viking Revolution doesn’t provide much information upfront.
They say that it speeds up healing, smells appealing, and works on old tattoos as well as new. Plus, they offer a satisfaction guarantee.
Reviewers say it has a tropical scent like coconut with vanilla. Coconut oil is one of the ingredients, so that’s not surprising. Other components include grapeseed, beeswax, German chamomile, marigold, and more.
Black Rose Tattoo Care Ointment
Why do some tattoo artists warn against lanolin and petrolatum in aftercare products? Lanolin triggers allergic reactions for some users. Then, petrolatum may keep the skin from breathing because it forms a barrier. Moisture and bacteria may get trapped underneath.
This product has both ingredients. Oddly for a tattoo balm, it also lists perfume, which gives it the aloe scent. Artificial fragrances are another problematic ingredient that can cause irritation.
Although the European-made balm reportedly meets standards for cosmetics regulations, we wouldn’t recommend it for new tattoos, which are open wounds.
Yet, if you try it, at least they offer a satisfaction guarantee.
Tattoo Care Classic
The same manufacturer makes an unscented version of their tattoo ointment. It still contains the other awkward ingredients like petrolatum and lanolin.
Melao Tattoo Butter
The downside to any tattoo butter that comes in a tin is that it requires effort to massage it into the skin. It never feels good on a new tattoo, which is an open wound. That’s why creamy ointments and liquid lotions tend to be more popular for new ink.
Thankfully, this one melts pretty fast. It’s based on seven natural ingredients, including shea and cocoa butter.
After Inked NPJ Non-Petroleum Jelly
This delicious jelly isn’t for eating, but your skin will find it appealing. It’s based on grape seed oil, which is excellent for repairing the skin and moisturizing.
Artists can use it to lubricate during tattooing. It’s also good for healing new tattoos as it keeps the skin soft and hydrated.
After Inked Tattoo Moisturizer
It’s not a balm; it’s a lotion. Since it’s one of the most-recommended aftercare products, we couldn’t ignore it. This is a moisturizer you’ve probably seen on tattoo reality shows.
Dermatologists have cleared it for sensitive skin, plus it’s been clinically tested. It has no artificial fragrance, gluten, petroleum, parabens, or animal derivatives.
Use it on old and new tattoos to keep the skin healthy and the ink vibrant. It absorbs in moments and doesn’t feel sticky or greasy.
Tattoo Goo Aftercare Lotion
Tattoo Goo makes balm and lotion. The lotion is dermatologist-approved for healing new tattoos and preventing scabs.
It contains panthenol and olive oil with vitamins A and D (just like that famous diaper rash ointment). The ingredients revive dehydrated skin without clogging pores. The formula is even mild enough to use on the face.
H2Ocean Tattoo Aftercare Lotion
H2Ocean’s lotion goes head-to-head with Tattoo Goo and After Inked. The only reason you might choose one of the other two products is that this contains parabens.
Otherwise, it’s a gentle moisturizer with no artificial fragrance and soothing ingredients like allantoin and jojoba oil.
H2Ocean Aquatat Moisturizer
If you like Aquaphor ointment but would prefer something oriented toward the tattoo industry, check out Aquatat. It has the same active ingredient: petrolatum. Still, it’s not sticky or greasy.
It’s fortified with vitamins A, B, C, D, and E to speed up skin regeneration. Plus, there’s no mineral oil, dyes, or artificial fragrance.
INK the original Tattoo Brightener Stick
How can you make old tattoos look new again? Try a moisturizer like this one. It comes in an easy-to-swipe stick.
It’s fortified with rich moisturizers like shea butter and olive oil, yet it’s not greasy. It also has vitamin C to brighten colors. Finally, there’s resveratrol and green tea to keep the skin young.
Australian Gold SPF 50 Tattoo Stick
This tiny but mighty stick of sunscreen will protect your tats from fading. Do not use it on new tattoos.
It has both mineral and chemical sunscreen filters for broad-spectrum protection against UV rays.
The portable size and convenient format mean you never have an excuse to expose your ink to damaging radiation. Apply it 20 minutes before tanning or going outdoors.
We hope we helped you find your new favorite tattoo balm. It’s smart to keep both new and old tattoos hydrated.
The right balm will provide the nutrients the skin needs to repair itself. Then, healthy skin will make that ink look fantastic.
Check back again soon to see reviews of the latest and greatest tattoo products.
1. https://www.wikihow.com/Care-for-a-New-Tattoo co-authored by Michelle Myles, updated November 17, 2020, accessed January 15, 2021
2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17722522/ The influence of essential oils on the process of wound healing: a review of the current evidence, by A C Woollard, K C Tatham, S Barker, in Journal of Wound Care, published 2007 Jun;16(6):255-7, accessed January 15, 2021