Keep It Vibrant: The Ultimate Guide to Tattoo Care Within the First 48 Hours

Keep It Vibrant: The Ultimate Guide to Tattoo Care Within the First 48 Hours

Care Tips for the First 48 Hours After a Tattoo

Maybe you just got a new tattoo, or perhaps you're about to take the plunge and want to be prepared early - either way, you鈥檝e come to the right place. The first 48 hours are crucial for your tattoo healing process, and we're here to guide you through it, step by step.

Forget the old-school myths and tricks and get ready for some real talk on how to keep your tattoo looking sharp and your skin feeling soft. We鈥檝e got it all - the dos and don鈥檛s of aftercare, the right way to keep the area nourished, and more. So let鈥檚 dive in鈥

Before You Leave the Studio

Tattoo aftercare starts the moment your artist puts the needle down. Keeping your tattoo looking and feeling good for life is all about smart moves right off the bat.

Wrap It Right

When your tattoo artist wraps up your new piece, they鈥檙e creating your first line of defense against the wild world outside. It keeps your tattoo clean and protected from bacteria, dirt, and anything else you don't want near your new art.

Stick to the script and keep that plastic wrap on for exactly as long as your artist advises. They know your skin, and their process, better than anyone. They want your tattoo to heal properly and are best positioned to give you advice that will keep your tattoo fresh forever after.

Essential First Cleanse: Tattoo Aftercare

Once it鈥檚 time to remove your wrap, we venture into the first cleanse. This is a big step - your first at-home experience with tattoo aftercare, and your tattoo鈥檚 first time experiencing the world around it. We are not making light of it - this is a huge step. It may seem simple, but think again.The first cleanse plays a pivotal role in your tattoo's healing process.

Approach washing the tattooed area as you would handle any delicate task, with gentle, clean hands and keen attention. Use lukewarm water and mild, antimicrobial soap to carefully clean your new piece.

No scrubbing, no rushing. Pat it dry with a clean paper towel or air dry. While it鈥檚 tempting to use towels you have around your house, towels can leave behind fibers or impurities, which is why paper towels are the recommended go-to. This is where your tattoo's journey to vibrance really kicks off.

The First Night: Settling In With Your New Tattoo

Now, you may be worried about sleeping with your not-yet-healed artwork. We understand and are here to ease your concerns. Follow these crucial steps to keep your art looking sharp and to reduce the risk of infection.

Sleeping Smart

Night one is more crucial than you might think. It's all about keeping your tattoo safe while you catch those Z's.

To sleep smart, you'll want to keep your tattoo on a clean surface. Fresh sheets are a must. Try sleeping in a position that doesn't put pressure on your new design. It's all about giving your tattoo the space it needs to start the healing process right.

Keep It Covered or Let It Breathe?

Here's the million-dollar question: to cover or not to cover your tattoo for the night? Let's cut through the noise. Your tattoo needs air to heal, but you also don't want it rubbing against anything that might cause harm.

The compromise? If your tattoo artist recommends keeping it covered, use a loose, breathable cloth or specific aftercare product designed for the job.

If they suggest letting it breathe, make sure your sleeping environment is clean and your tattoo won't get stuck to the sheets. You may need to adjust your sleeping position to allow your tattoo the space it needs to breathe.

Navigating Through the First 24 Hours After Getting Tattooed

Proper healing is a commitment. It requires listening attentively to your artist鈥檚 instructions, paying diligent attention to the area, and alerting a doctor and your artist if anything feels off. It requires choosing the best products and the right process for caring for your new work. It sounds like a lot, but trust us, the result is worth it.

Keep in mind that your tattoo artist might recommend you keep your tattoo wrapped for at least the first day and potentially up to five days. If so, keep it wrapped up and start the cleaning and moisturizing process whenever they recommend.

Clean and Moisturize

When the time comes, cleaning your new tattoo is non-negotiable. But here's the kicker: you've got to be gentle. Use warm water and a bit of gentle antibacterial soap, and pat (don't rub) the area with clean hands.

Think of it as treating your tattoo like the masterpiece it is鈥攏o harsh scrubbing. After your tattoo is washed, it's time to moisturize. A thin layer of aftercare balm does the trick to keep the area nourished. It keeps your skin hydrated and maintains the vibrancy of your tattoo.

One other note is that using petroleum jelly on a new tattoo can hinder the healing process by trapping moisture and bacteria. It's crucial to opt for products specifically designed for tattoo aftercare to help ensure the tattoo can breathe throughout the healing process.

What to Wear

Now, let's talk gear. What you wear can make or break your tattoo's healing. Tight clothes? They're the enemy, trapping moisture and potentially causing irritation.

The goal here is to let your tattoo breathe while protecting it from direct contact with anything that could disturb it. Opt for loose, soft fabrics that won't stick to or rub against your tattoo. It's not just about comfort鈥攊t's about keeping your tattoo pristine while it heals.

Just to reiterate, it's essential to avoid exposing a new tattoo to direct sunlight and refrain from swimming to prevent fading and reduce the risk of infection. Protecting the tattoo from UV rays and chlorinated or salt water during the healing phase ensures optimal healing and the integrity of your new ink.

Day Two: Beyond the Basics

By day two, you're no longer a newbie in the tattoo care game. You've got the basics down, but it's time to level up. This phase is about refining your aftercare routine and staying vigilant.

Repeat, But Better

Think of day two as the sequel that's better than the original. You're doing the same dance鈥攃leaning, moisturizing, and protecting鈥攂ut with more finesse. Now that you're more familiar with your tattoo and how your skin is reacting, you can adjust.

Be gentle when you clean and applytattoo balm to keep the area nourished. Feel free to reapply 2-3 times per day as needed. And to reiterate - avoid direct sun exposure to protect against UV rays that can be harmful to the new piece.

Note: Applying sunscreen to new tattoos is ill-advised because the freshly inked skin acts as an open wound and needs uninterrupted healing. After waiting 4 to 6 weeks, or following your artist's guidance, applying SPF becomes crucial. Until the healing process is complete, direct sunlight should be avoided to protect the sensitive area. It's best to seek shade and use clothing to cover the tattoo. Once the tattoo has healed, consistently using sunscreen is vital to protect your artwork from the detrimental effects of the sun.

Watch for Red Flags

Now's not the time to relax completely, though. Day two brings with it the responsibility of vigilance. Keep an eye out for any signs of infection or unusual reactions.

Some redness, a bit of swelling, and moderate discomfort are all normal. However, if you notice excessive swelling, vibrant redness, itchiness, unusual discharge, or if the area feels hot to the touch, these could be red flags. You know your body - if something feels wrong, do not wait to get in touch with your doctor or your artist.

The sooner you speak up, the better. Early detection means you can address any issues before they become real problems.


Congrats on your new tattoo - that鈥檚 awesome.

Your tattoo's first 48 hours are key to its longevity and vibrance. Stick to the tattoo aftercare instructions from your tattoo artist: clean gently, moisturize smartly, and dress wisely. If something feels off, don't hesitate to reach out to your tattoo artist or a healthcare professional. Early action can keep your skin feeling soft and your tattoo looking its best.

Essential Tattoo Aftercare Products

Essential tattoo aftercare products play a crucial role in the quality of your tattoo. These nourishing products, such as tattoo-specific balms, lotions and creams can help moisturize the skin. It is also important to find a high-quality tattoo wash that is harsh on germs but gentle on the skin. Tattoo aftercare doesn鈥檛 stop once the tattoo is healed, so invest in products you can use over the long run.

All of the Hustle Butter products below are Dermatologist-Tested, hypoallergenic, clinically tested, and have a non-irritating formula. We know how important keeping your tattoo at its best is for you and we are here to help however we can. We created these products with you in mind.

  • Daily Moisturizing Tattoo Balm
    • #1 Artist recommended tattoo aftercare
    • Designed to be used across the tattoo lifecycle
    • Moisturizing formula made with skin-loving naturally-derived ingredients
    • Luscious texture with an addicting tropical smell
    • Sold in two sizes including travel tub
    • Cruelty-free & vegan
  • Antimicrobial Foaming Tattoo Soap
    • Multitasking tattoo soap that works before tattooing to clean skin, in-process as a wash, and throughout the healing process to maintain tattoo hygiene
    • Cleans skin without drying it out
    • Tough on germs and bacteria but gentle on skin
    • Cruelty-free & vegan
  • CBD Balm
    • Multipurpose cream that soothes, nourishes, and moisturizes the skin and body to provide comfort and restore vitality
    • Made with 500mg of pure CBD Isolate and no THC
    • Luscious formula with an addicting tropical smell
    • Cruelty-free & vegan
  • Daily Rejuvenating Lotion
    • Formulated for use once the tattoo is fully healed to provide deep hydration and keep artwork looking and feeling its best, forever
    • Ingredients like Shea Butter, Aloe, and Jojoba Seed Oil replenish the skin鈥檚 moisture
    • Easy-to-apply pump format is perfect for daily use
    • Signature tropical fragrance smells like vacation
    • Cruelty-free & vegan

While proper aftercare will get you through the first few weeks, it is important to maintain your artwork for life. Hustle Butter's range of products not only helps cleanse, nourish, and hydrate fresh tattoos but keeps them looking and feeling good long term. A little Hustle goes a long way. Trust us, your tattoos will thank you.

For more aftercare tips, check out our comprehensive Tattoo Aftercare Guide to make sure you properly take care of your tattoo during the healing process, and forever after.