An Ode To The Tattoo-Brightening Balm I Never Knew I Needed

My ink looks brand new.

Tattoo-brightening balm package

When I first heard about the Mad Rabbit Tattoo Balm, I imagined that the tattoo care brand’s target customer base was primarily comprised of people who are completely decked out — head-to-toe — with permanent body art. As much as I admire scrolling through ink inspo on Instagram, I currently only have one tattoo (a tiny heart on my left wrist) and honestly haven’t thought too much about day-to-day maintenance since I got it four years ago.

Still, the idea of clean skin care specifically made for tattoos was intriguing. The “clean” concept has been on the rise in the beauty industry for years — and tattoos themselves certainly aren’t new. Curious about the brand’s offerings, I met virtually with the founders and gave their hero product — the Mad Rabbit Tattoo Balm — a try. Read on to find out all of the reasons it’s become one of my new favorites (and why it’s worth buying even if you’re not exactly “inked up”).

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First Up: The Basics

Founded by pals Oliver Zak and Selom Agbitor in 2019, Mad Rabbit became buzzy after the duo appeared on Shark Tank in March 2021 and successfully struck a deal with Mark Cuban.

The Mad Rabbit Tattoo Balm comes in three different varieties: Frankincense & Lavender (my personal favorite scent), Cucumber, and Vanilla & Coconut. So what sets the balm apart from the plain ol’ petroleum jelly that’s long been recommended by tattoo artists? For that I turned to Dr. Elliot Love, a board-certified dermatologist and Mohs surgeon, who’s one of the brand’s board members. Love notes that he recommends the Tattoo Balm because it’s more porous than Vaseline or Aquaphor, allowing more oxygen to get to the healing wound (aka your fresh ink) as it repairs.

Love also notes that the base of the Tattoo Balm’s formula is shea and cocoa butter. Since both are derived from natural fatty acids, they’re readily absorbed into the skin. Petroleum, on the other hand, tends to leave a greasy film on the skin. “Furthermore, if it gets on clothing it can be difficult to get the oil out of the fabric,” says Love.

Why I’m Obsessed

Since my tattoo is only four years old, it’s in pretty decent shape... or so I thought. The first time I tried the balm, I scooped out the tiniest bit with my finger and smoothed it on my tattoo. The difference wasn’t drastic, but it was noticeably brighter and shaper with just a little bit of shine. The once dark gray lines looked more crisp, like they did the first day I got the little decal inked on my wrist.

Since I had samples of all three scents, I shared them with my boyfriend and sister who also have ink. Both reported the same findings: an amazing scent, lightweight hydration that doesn’t feel sticky or greasy, and quick absorption. I’ve definitely declared it a winner, and while I don’t apply it every single day, I love reaching for it three or four times per week (and will definitely keep it on hand as my preferred tattoo after care for the future).


The Mad Rabbit Tattoo Balm is like a little pop of highlighter for my fine line tattoo. Each one smells amazing (though Frankincense & Lavender has earned the top spot in my heart), and a tiny bit goes such a long way that I suspect one tin will last me a while (good thing, because my boyfriend might run out first and attempt to snag mine). Though my tatt collection is small, I’m definitely keeping this product on my shelf as I consider adding to it.