A Natural Tattoo Ointment You Can Make At Home To Keep Your Ink In Tip Top Shape

I had been pining over my latest tattoo for months until I got the call from my artist saying he had an opening in an hour. I've never gotten ready so quickly in my life. During all that pining, I completely forgot about one major factor: A natural tattoo ointment to heal my fresh ink. As I waited anxiously for my artist to sketch up my tattoo, it dawned on me that there was probably something in my tote bag that could act as a stand-in salve until I whipped up an all-natural tattoo ointment when I got home.

Actually, there were several things I hadn't considered in the height of my tattoo excitement. For one thing, the location had to be changed due to an alarming vein situation that I had never noticed before (obviously, I am now conducting a focus group amongst everyone I know to determine if I'm "too veiny"). The second factor was slightly more embarrassing: I had to go directly to my bartending shift where I would inevitably have my new wrist tattoo submerged in soapy water for 8 hours. Washing glassware had never seemed so grim. Fortunately, I carry a tin of coconut oil in my purse for emergencies because the next 24 hours of healing my tattoo was going to be a big fat female dog.

Day 1 of my new tattoo

The good thing about tattoos verses piercings is once they are healed, you'll never have to worry about it snagging on your shirts or hair or replacing it — once you got it, you got it. However, the first two weeks are incredibly crucial to the appearance of your tattoo for the rest of your life and the first 24 hours are even more important. That's why most tattoo shops have samples of ointment that you they can give you right away to start the healing process. According to many tattoo parlors and Tattoo.About.com, the petroleum often in the preferred tattoo ointments could actually be slowing your healing process down and ultimately degrade the quality of your final project. Fortunately for the inked up babes that like to keep things natural, the earth is literally blossoming with things that can keep your tattoo moisturized and clean.

Day 7 of my new tattoo

This wasn't my first time at the rodeo show, but it was actually my first tattoo since I ditched soap and chemicals from my routine. Aside from using the liquid soap in public restrooms, I try not to cheat. Many people are obsessed with getting your tat soapy at least twice a day to keep it clean and lathering up the fresh ink with A&D ointment. I hadn't considered naturally caring for my tattoo until a well-known artist said the opposite: that smothering your tattoo can have an effect on the color. Watching my new tattoo heal has me definitely nodding in agreement. Keep it clean and moisturized with this DIY recipe and you'll be just fine.

DIY Tattoo Ointment

You'll need the following:

  • 2 tablespoons of beeswax
  • 1.5 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon of mango butter (cocoa butter or shea will work just fine)
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil

If your "butter" is hard, heat it on a low flamed stove top before adding your ingredients together. If you've got a giant piece that your covering, double up the portions, but trust me a little bit goes a long way. Make sure you clean your tattoo with a mild castor oil soap before applying your new ointment. Then just sit back and watch it heal into a glorious new work of body art.

Image: Aimee Heart/Flickr; Kristin Collins Jackson; Tattoo by Chuck Donaghue: in loving memory of Melissa Anne Carroll