The 8 Best Tattoo Soaps to Make Sure Your Ink Looks Fresh in 2022

WOO Gentle Cleansing Soap
Courtesy of WOO

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Whether your tattoo took multiple sessions from a renowned tattoo artist or it was a stick n’ poke courtesy of an old friend, all new tats have something in common: they have to be carefully tended to, and that starts with using the best tattoo soaps.

“What most people don’t realize is that a tattoo is effectively an open wound and must be kept very clean,” says celebrity tattoo artist Dr. Woo. “However, there are so many soaps with different chemicals and ingredients that can be abrasive, irritate the skin or even lead to infection. To minimize the chance of an adverse reaction, it’s vital the soap being used is as clean and simple as possible, using the best quality ingredients.”

To keep your tattoo fresh, clean and healthy while it’s healing (a process that typically takes about 14 days), sud up with one of the best soaps for tattoos. Woo recommends always understanding the ingredients, especially if you have sensitive skin. You’re probably better off steering clear of your typical hand and body soap since most are filled with fragrances and ingredients that can cause more harm than good. If you are typically somebody who has allergies to certain products, bare in mind that the best tattoo soap for somebody else might not be the best tattoo soap for you. All of our skin is different, so it might take a little bit of time to find an option that works ideally for your skin type.

With that said you can find the best soaps for tattoos below. In addition, don’t forget to check out the best tattoo lotions to keep your tats looking brighter than ever as well as the best sunscreen for tattoos to ensure your ink doesn’t get damaged.

  

1. Dial Gold Antibacterial Bar Soap

BEST OVERALL

Don’t let the price fool you — this drugstore staple is truly the gold standard. “When it comes to taking care of a fresh tattoo, less is more,” says Inked Magazine Executive Editor Devon Preston. “You don’t want to overwhelm your skin with anything too complex or fragrant, the mildest fragrance-free soap will do the trick. Just make sure to get a fresh bar and keep it in a hygienic place to avoid the spread of bacteria.” The household mainstay has impressive antibacterial powers, killing germs but not moisture levels. Most importantly, it’s gentle enough for fresh ink.

Read More: The Best Antibacterial Hand Soaps

Dial Gold Antibacterial Bar Soap Courtesy of Amazon

  

2. Tattoo Goo Deep Cleansing Tattoo Soap

RUNNER UP

The best tattoo soap needs to kill bacteria without overly drying your skin. It’s a thin line, but this cleanser aces that balancing act. Fragrance-free, Tattoo Goo is pH-balanced to prevent irritation and uses a cleanser derived from palm seed extract. The antimicrobial formula will leave your skin squeaky clean and your tattoo looking bright. Plus, this product can also be used for piercings.

Tattoo Goo Deep Cleansing Soap for Tattoos & Piercings Courtesy of Amazon

  

3. WOO Gentle Cleansing Tattoo Soap

PROFESSIONAL PICK

WOO Gentle Cleansing Soap is the first product in Woo’s lifestyle venture, PROJECTWOO, and his namesake skincare line, WOO. Specifically designed to keep your skin healthy and clean after a tattoo, the formula is super gentle and made for daily washing. “Less is more,” says Woo. “Less ingredients equals better care and health for your tattoo and doesn’t overwork the new sensitive skin.” This gentle soap uses a coconut oil base and is free of parabens, fragrances and dyes.

WOO Gentle Cleansing Soap, best soaps for tattoos Courtesy of PROJECTWOO

  

4. H2Ocean Blue Green Foam Soap

BEST FOR DRY SKIN

One of the most popular tattoo soaps out there, this foaming option is made to cleanse and moisturize your ink. Hydration comes courtesy of aloe vera, which also has cooling effects. The vegan, water-based line is extra gentle and free of anything that could irritate your skin, including fragrance and parabens.

H2Ocean Blue Green Foam Soap, best soaps for tattoos Courtesy of Amazon
  

5. Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap

BEST INGREDIENTS

Help your ink heal and stay healthy by sudsing up with this gentle soap from Dr. Bronner’s. It’s designed for babies so you know it’s gentle on the skin, containing 90% organic ingredients total. It’s fully biodegradable and made with all-natural ingredients that aren’t damaging to the environment. It contains no synthetic preservatives, foaming agents or other nasty stuff, and is made of plant-based stuff you can definitely pronounce. One thing to note is that it is quite concentrated, so you’ll want to dilute it before using it.

Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Liquid Soap Courtesy of Amazon
  

6. Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash

MOST NOURISHING

Aveeno is a stellar body wash for those with tattoos. It’s completely unscented and has moisturizing qualities that are hard to beat when it comes to body washes. Not only does it nourish dry skin to keep it feeling soft and supple, but its unscented formula makes it ideal for those trying to keep their tattoos in check. Each bottle is filled with a gentle, creamy consistency that’s packed with a mixture of oatmeal and rich emollients to keep skin and tats looking A1.

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash Courtesy of Amazon

  

7. Neutrogena Original Fragrance-Free Facial Cleansing Bar

BEST SOAP FOR FACE TATTOOS

The Neutrogena Original Fragrance-Free Facial Cleansing Bar is a top-notch option to consider when seeking out the best tattoo soaps for face tattoos. Don’t be so shocked, face tattoos are becoming more and more popular as time goes on due to pop culture and the likes of famous celebrities like Post Malone, Wiz Khalifa, Amber Rose and more. The skin on your face is quite different than the rest of your body, so when washing your tattooed face, you need something that won’t negatively affect both your tats and skin. Because this cleansing bar is fragrance, detergent, dye and hardener-free, it’s one of the best for face tattoo aftercare.

Neutrogena Original Fragrance-Free Facial Cleansing Bar Courtesy of Amazon

  

8. Billy Jealousy Tattoo Wash

BEST FOR OLD TATTOOS

After a few years, your tattoo probably doesn’t look as bright as the day you got it. Bring it back to life by using this cleanser, which has exfoliants like glycolic acid and fruit extracts to lift and wash away dead skin cells that can cause it to look dull. It also contains cucumber extract and hydrolyzed oat protein to boost your tat’s color and make it look vibrant once more. However, new tattoos shouldn’t be washed with this cleanser, since its exfoliating formula is too tough on skin that’s still healing.

Read More: Best Sunscreen For Tattoos

Billy Jealousy Tattoo Wash Courtesy of Amazon

  

What Should You Look for in the Best Soaps for Tattoos?

When choosing tattoo soaps, our philosophy is simple: less is more. As in, the fewer ingredients, the better. The best tattoo soap won’t be chock full of chemicals, additives, dyes and fragrances, which can further irritate your skin while it’s healing.

“A lot of people have different allergies and sensitivities to their skin that they might not even know about, so to avoid triggering these, the soap needs to be as pure as possible, with as few ingredients as possible, no additives and 100% fragrance-free,” Woo says. “You should skip the heavy topical steroid creams. You should also avoid heavy ointments that don’t let the skin breathe because they can seal in harmful bacteria. For the first couple of weeks, staying out of the sun and saltwater is also important.”

To help create one of the best tattoo soaps of all time, Woo launched WOO Gentle Cleansing Soap. “You want the perfect balance of letting the skin heal without letting it get too dry because it can break and lift the ink,” he explains. “That’s why our gentle soap was created. It can help remove impurities and possible bacteria in the most gentle of ways. Each ingredient was hand-selected to do specifically this. Until now, nobody had really focused on creating a bar of soap with this mind.”

Why trust SPY when choosing tattoo soaps? SPY’s tattooed team members have tried a lot of tattoo aftercare products, and for this guide, we consulted several experts to make sure we selected the right products. All of the tattoo soaps featured here have either been personally tested by SPY reviewers or recommended by an expert such as Dr. Woo.

  

How To Wash Tattoos Safely

The best way to wash your tattoo is with warm water, preferably in the shower with soap and then gently pat dry.

“Do not tug or pull on the skin with your towel as it can have a negative impact on the healing process,” Woo says. “For the first two weeks, I’d recommend using a fragrance-free moisturizing balm, something that complements the cleansing from the soap.” Lightly moisturize it twice a day, preferably right after your shower and once in the middle of the day and then again before going to bed. You also shouldn’t submerge your tattoo in water and avoid direct sunlight to the tattooed area for up to 14 days.

You can certainly use an antibacterial soap designed specifically for tattoos, such as Billy Jealousy Tattoo Wash, Tattoo Goo or Woo soap, but a general-purpose soap will also get the job done if used properly.

According to the Mayo Clinic, in addition to washing your ink and keeping the area clean, you should follow these tattoo aftercare best practices during the two-week healing process:

  • Keep the inked area clean
  • Use moisturizer
  • Avoid sun exposure
  • Don’t go swimming
  • Avoid tight clothes that will stick to the tattooed skin
      

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Frequently Asked Questions About Tattoo Soaps

Why Should You Use Tattoo Soaps?

A tattoo is essentially an open wound, and it's super important to keep it clean to avoid infection. Using soaps recommended by your tattoo artist and/or ones designed for tattoos is also crucial, as many soaps contain harsh ingredients that can cause irritation.

How Often Should You Use Tattoo Soaps?

Dr. Woo recommends lightly cleansing your tattoo at least once a day and moisturizing a few times a day — once in the morning, once after a shower and once right before bedtime. He also advises against fully submerging your tattoo in water or exposing it to direct sunlight for the first 14 days.

Which Tattoo Soap is the Best One?

There are many tattoo soaps out there with slightly different ingredient lists, so it's all about finding something that works for you and your skin. Make sure you read the list of ingredients carefully and avoid anything you're allergic to, and make sure it's something gentle that's light on fragrance or doesn't have any at all.