So you’re a guy with tattoos. It might come as a shock, but you’re not alone. As of 2019, it’s said that three out of 10 Americans have at least one tattoo. That’s around 30% of the U.S. population. The trend is only growing as tattoos become more acceptable amongst professionals. As tattoos become increasingly popular, keeping your tats in with the best tattoo lotion is essential.
For tattooed folk, it’s no surprise that tattoos begin to fade after a while — especially for those with colored tattoos. It’s just something that comes with the gig. But you use a moisturizer on your face — why not extend the same kindness to your ink with a lotion for tattoos? You don’t want your favorite tat looking like a blob of mud down the road.
Thankfully, there isn’t just one best tattoo lotion. Depending on your skin type, kind of tattoo and ingredient preferences, there are loads of tattoo lotions to choose from. No matter what you prefer or need in terms of your tattoo lotion, it exists and will keep your tattoo looking as fresh as the day you were inked. Remember that all of the best tattoo lotions are (for the most part) completely fragrance-free. You do not want to be lathering any scented lotions on your tats because that might mess with the ink — and nobody wants that.
As likely the most tattooed member of the SPY team, I’m happy to make it my duty to help steer you in the right direction. I’ve been getting tattooed since I turned 16 and even have a couple of stick and poke tattoos, so I’ve tried several tattoo soaps and lotions over the years. While researching tattoo aftercare products for SPY.com, I’ve also spoken with dermatologists, tattoo artists, and even tattoo soapmakers to make sure I’m only recommending the best possible products. Personally, I’m sure my tattoos would be nothing without the best lotion for tattoos.
Without further ado, check out the best tattoo lotion to keep that ink looking crystal clear.
1. Lubriderm Daily Moisture Hydrating Unscented Body Lotion
It should be no surprise that Lubriderm is at the top of our list. This non-scented, non-greasy everyday lotion is ideal for people suffering from dry skin and is exceptional at keeping your ink in check long after the first time you sat in the chair. It’s even the No. 1 recommended brand by tattoo artists for tattoo care on the market. I’ve used Lubriderm many times and have experienced nothing but positive results. It has made the shading of my tattoos continue to pop over the years, leaving skin feeling smoother. You can get this 24 fl. oz bottle for under $8, so it’s safe to say this option could be your one-stop shop for tattoo aftercare.
2. Aquaphor Healing Ointment
So, you were just tattooed. Gotcha. You need Aquaphor Healing Ointment to heal that fresh ink safely and quickly. This ointment should be your go-to aftercare ointment due to its healing properties. While covering the tat, the ointment protects but allows oxygen to reach and flow onto the skin, creating a more effective quick-healing concoction. Some people continue using Aquaphor on tattoos even weeks after healing, but we recommend switching to one of the other lotions on this list. You should always use Aquaphor directly after a new tattoo, but it can also serve as a more general-purpose tattoo lotion.
3. Hustle Butter Deluxe Luxury Tattoo Care & Maintenance Cream
Hustle Butter is the all-natural healing cream of your dreams. Meant to replace petroleum-based tattoo lotions, this cream is designed to soothe irritated skin after getting new ink. It is the top-rated tattoo aftercare product from artists and clients for good reason, and swelling and skin inflammation are no match for this cream. Like Aquaphor, you can even use this stuff after healing your fresh tattoo as your daily moisturizing option for tattoo upkeep. The only issue? It’s solely made for tattoo aftercare, so if you prefer your tattoo creams to be formulated for multi-use purposes like daily body moisturization, then try one of the other tattoo lotions featured here.
4. EltaMD Moisture-Rich Body Crème
No other lotion stands a chance against the unique hydration qualities of EltaMD’s super moisture-rich body lotion. As cold weather approaches, this should be a staple to your tattoo care regimen if you want to ensure your tattoos are staying supple as the air continuously dries your skin out. If your tats are ever feeling itchy, this lotion is also perfect for clearing up those dry, itchy spells created by the ink settling into your skin. It absorbs quickly to keep dry skin and tattoos softer and more vibrant.
5. Mad Rabbit Daily Lotion
Whether you’re inked up to the gods or have just one tattoo, Mad Rabbit’s Daily Lotion is for you. This plant oil and butter-derived lotion is what everyone needs to be rubbing on their bodies to brighten the look of their regular skin and tattoos. It’s packed with anti-aging benefits designed to lock in moisture for maximum hydration. Use it in the morning or at night to keep that skin glowing.
6. Tattoo Goo Aftercare Tatoo Lotion
BEST FOR COLORS
Stop what you’re doing. If you have any color tattoos, you don’t have to read this; click buy. If your bod is covered in color tattoos, then you know damn well how quickly they begin to fade. Counteract color fading with Tattoo Goo’s aftercare lotion and keep the vibrancy you deserve. This quick-absorbing creation is made for new and old tattoos and even helps prevent scabbing in the healing process. This will also bring your older, duller tattoos back to life and save them from further humdrumery.
Read More: The Best Tattoo Soaps for 2022
7. Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion
EASIEST TO FIND
You know it, you love it and you can find it just about anywhere. From Target to Walmart to CVS to Amazon, Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion is no stranger to the beauty aisle. This non-scented lotion can keep skin moisturized for a full 24 hours and tattoos looking as bright and fresh as the day you got ’em. It has a super gentle formula that is stellar for a combination of skin types.
8. Stories & Ink Tattoo Care Aftercare & Repair Lotion
BEST FOR FADING
One thing about tattoos? They always fade. No matter what. But with Stories & Ink’s aftercare and repair lotion, you can attack that problem before it even starts. This lotion is excellent for improving the quality and look of fresh ink and helps retain your new tattoo before it ever begins fading. It uses 100% vegan ingredients, including panthenol, which reduces inflammation and redness by soothing damaged and post-tatted skin. You’ll have a bright-looking tat in no time!
9. Nature By Canus Creamy Body Lotion
For some, it’s gross. For others, it’s just what they’ve been looking for. Nature By Canus’ creamy body lotion’s main ingredient is none other than fresh Canadian goat milk. Goat milk is naturally anti-aging, and some people believe it can diminish wrinkles and discoloration on your tattoos. Additionally, it’s naturally unscented and packed with fatty acids, vitamins A (retinol) and B (niacin), potassium, zinc and selenium. These qualities make this lotion exceptionally gentle for varying skin types.
Right now, we’re on a huge Nature By Canus kick. In our experience, this is a fantastic body lotion for everyday use, and it can do double-duty as your aftercare tattoo lotion. It’s a bit out of the ordinary, but this goat milk lotion comes highly recommended by SPY’s tattooed team members.
Read More: Is Goat Milk Soap the Soap of the Future?
10. After Inked Tattoo Moisturizer and Aftercare Lotion
If you’re after something plant and animal friendly, look no further than After Inked. This tattoo lotion effectively moisturizes fresh and old tattoos to keep them bright and crisp long after they heal. It’s made for daily use and isn’t petroleum-based so it won’t stick onto your clothes for hours after application. It’s safe for all skin types and classified as non-irritating and non-allergenic. The lotion is also 100% vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, scent-free and paraben-free, so you should fear nothing while applying.
11. Malibu Tan Hemp Tattoo Enhancing Body Moisturizer
Hemp is one of the most popular ways to treat a majority of ailments in 2022, and tattoo care is one of them. Malibu Tan’s hemp body moisturizer is the perfect tattoo lotion for brightening the appearance of your body art. It uses silicone to boost the look and hydrate colors and lines of your tattoos, leaving them to appear bolder after use. The best tattoo lotions use natural ingredients to restore your skin, and in addition to hemp, this moisturizer uses aloe vera and shea butter.
12. Marlowe. No. 003 Sensitive Skin Body Lotion
BEST FOR SENSITIVE SKIN
If you have sensitive skin, finding a tattoo lotion could get tricky. But there’s no need to overthink it — Marlowe. No. 003 Sensitive Skin Body Lotion is perfect for you. This lotion was created specifically for people with sensitive skin and works well for tattoo upkeep. This lotion will keep your tats smooth and vibrant for years and never irritate your skin. This USA-made product also contains a unique blend of green tea, willow bark extract, passionflower fruit and botanicals, resulting in a lotion that repairs, restores and reduces inflammation.
13. Viking Revolution Tattoo Care Balm
Although it’s technically not a lotion, this tattoo balm is a tried and true go-to for tattoo treatment. It’s a tremendous moisturizing tool to heal skin and prepare yourself for the needle that will also work to brighten and replenish older tattoos you might have forgotten about. Trust me, it happens. The balm is completely natural, and, unlike other tattoo care options, this one is scented. Don’t let that steer you away, though. This balm works like a charm.