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It is recommended that you use these ointments for the first 3-5 days of getting your tat, when the skin is at it’s most vulnerable and prone to infection. Some balms can be used as a multipurpose item for other skin issues such as cuts and scratches, chapped lips, or cracked heels, which is particularly handy if you only have a small tattoo and end up with most of the pot left over!
Balms and salves usually appear in small sized pots of around 30 ml, due to the fact you need only use a very thin layer at a time, but those with larger ink may need to grab a container of 50 ml and above. Because of their shine-inducing oil and wax based ingredients, they can also be used as a tattoo brightener later down the line.
They can seem like a splurge if you know there are regular fragrance-free soaps available, but do check with your tattooist to see which are suitable. However, if you’re not completely sure and would prefer not to take the risk, these specially designed cleansers are a good option. You’ll need to wash or shower with one for the first 2-3 weeks, so it’s up to you.
They are really intended to moisturise rather than heal, so you should switch to a lotion after the 3-5 day period of using a balm or salve, when the skin becomes hard and dry and starts to peel. They should be free of fragrances or perfumes, especially if you are prone to skin allergies or reactions to cosmetics.
As with balms, lotions can double up as a tattoo reviver when your skin is fully recovered, or for older ink you have that suddenly doesn’t look as impressive next to your latest piece!
Being oil-based, they will still moisturise the area, and will play their part in the healing process if they include the right vitamin-rich oils. But their main skill is enhancing the saturation and brightness of your tattoo, and will especially appeal to those with colourful or heavily shaded ink as it will really make it come to life.
To get a bit more bang for your buck, you can also look for oils that are suitable for your other beauty and grooming needs, such as smoothing and softening your split ends or facial hair.
And finally, those looking for vegan or cruelty-free aftercare will find natural products to be their best bet, although it’s worth checking the brand’s information as ingredients like beeswax and lanolin pop up a lot in balms and salves.
Choosing aftercare products with these vitamins not only assists the skin in its recovery, but can ward off infection and scarring and protect the skin cells from environmental damage. Sounds good to us!
They can be found in many an ingredient, most notably jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, orange and aloe vera in aftercare, but if you’re not a botanical expert just look out for mention of them in the product description.
That’s why it’s so effective at stopping your lips getting chapped, but it’s a different matter when it comes to your ink.
On a vulnerable new tattoo, or any cut for that matter, this means that oxygen cannot get in either, which is a vital part in the healing and rebuilding process. We’d therefore advise looking for aftercare free of petroleum for a safe and speedy recovery.
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1. Hustle Butter Deluxe
For Every Stage of the Inking Process
2. After Inked Vegan Tattoo Aftercare Lotion 2 Pack｜2 pack
Artist Approved Multi-Use Lotion
The Beard and the Wonderful
6. The Beard and the Wonderful Tattoo Aftercare Balm
Totally Natural Handmade Healing Balm
8. Woody’s Beard and Tattoo Oil
A Nourishing Blend of Healing Oils
9. TattooMed Cleansing Gel
Very Gentle Vegan Soap
10. Nourish Ink Tattoo Aftercare Balm
Soothing Moisturiser Rated by Professionals
Very much so! Tattooing leaves your skin open to attack from external environmental stressors which could lead to infection or scarring. Caring for your tattoo is also an investment into its longevity. So if you want it to always look its best, treat it as you would any other part of your body.
The healing time of your tattoo will vary, but it could be anywhere from a few weeks to half a year. Of course, the larger and more detailed your tattoo, the longer it will take to truly heal. Consult with your tattooist afterwards for a rough estimate.
The process begins as soon as you take off the bandage. Your skin needs to be hydrated and kept away from harm such as the sun or chlorine in swimming pools. Applying aftercare should be done often with morning and evening good times to do larger applications and lunchtime for a small buffer.
Dry skin happens to the best of us, so it's good to keep on top of things with a good moisture-locking product. We all have our preferences; whether it's a balm, oil or lotion, each offers different textures and levels of moisture. And not forgetting the guys out there who want something extra to soothe a freshly-shaved face. Take a look at our top picks for balms, body oils and lotions to get that baby soft skin!
Author: Natasha Dziubajlo
No. 1: Hustle Butter ｜1. Hustle Butter Deluxe
No. 2: After Inked ｜2. After Inked Vegan Tattoo Aftercare Lotion 2 Pack｜2 pack
No. 3: The Beard and the Wonderful ｜6. The Beard and the Wonderful Tattoo Aftercare Balm
No. 4: Woody’s ｜8. Woody’s Beard and Tattoo Oil
No. 5: TattooMed ｜9. TattooMed Cleansing Gel
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