Got a new tattoo? Want a great natural product that can help you take care of it for great results? Consider using shea butter on tattoos!

For the best-looking tattoo, it’s essential to look after it, especially in those first few weeks. Great aftercare is not just essential for avoiding infections or wounds in your tattoo but also to get the best long-term results. Great aftercare can lead to better colors and clearer lines in your tattoo. And who doesn’t want that?

Your tattoo artist can usually provide some great healing ointments for your tattoo. Another alternative is to consider shea butter. Shea butter is a completely natural ingredient known for its moisturizing, healing, and anti-inflammatory properties and can be a good choice.

Below, I discuss everything you need to know about using shea butter for tattoo aftercare including how it is made, the benefits of shea butter on tattoos, and exactly how to use shea butter for the best results.

Let’s start!

How To Use Shea Butter On Tattoos

What Is Shea Butter?

Shea butter is a natural product used in many skincare and beauty products thanks to all the rich nutrients and fatty acids it contains. It’s produced from fat extracted from shea seeds which come from shea trees native to West Africa.

To produce shea butter, shea fruit is collected and the seeds are removed from their shell inside the fruit. These seeds are then dried. Once dried, there is a choice of how to produce the shea butter.

Often, the seeds are taken to factories to produce refined shea butter. In this process, high-heat and chemical solvents are used to create the shea butter. This is the cheapest and easiest way but also strips the shea butter of most of its nutrients meaning it’s not as useful in skincare and not recommended.

The other option is to produce unrefined or raw shea butter which retains most of its nutrients. This can be done in factories with special processes or by hand. If you want to use shea butter on your tattoos, this is the type you want for maximum benefit.

This takes more effort, so is pricier, and is often done by hand.

To create raw shea butter, the dried seeds are ground into a powder. This powder is then roasted before being ground again to form a viscous solution.

This solution then has water added as it is kneaded and then whipped. During this process, the oils coagulate together on the surface of the water. They are then removed and boiled to remove any excess water and to bring any impurities to the top which can then be removed.

The remains are shea butter! It is strained and cooled which solidifies it into a cream-like consistency. Raw shea butter is an off-white or ivory color. It has a smoky and nutty scent.

Shea Butter

Is Shea Butter Good For Tattoos?

Yes, it is a great idea to use shea butter on tattoo areas. This is because shea butter is great for both healing and moisturizing your damaged skin while forming a protective layer over it. It can also lead to smoother healing which results in a better-looking tattoo, less likely to have blurred edges.

Benefits Of Shea Butter On Tattoos

There are many benefits to using shea butter on new tattoos, thanks to shea butter being made up of many nutrients. Primarily, it’s composed of oleic acid, linoleic acid, and stearic acid which all have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, great for your skin. It also has many other vitamins great for tattoo care like Vitamins A, C, and E.

Here are some reasons you’ll want to use shea butter for tattoo aftercare.

It Helps Heal Wounds

Shea butter has anti-inflammatory properties and used to be used as a pain reliever. It can help heal wounds.

The fatty acids, vitamins A, E, and D can also help with skin regeneration. After getting your tattoo, you need the skin to regenerate. The natural protective layer given by shea butter tattoo aftercare and the skin regeneration help can ensure your tattoo doesn’t just look better now, but will long term.

Basically, it should help the tattoo look less scaly and help your skin heal faster and better.

It Helps With Skin Irritation

Shea butter’s anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to be used as a pain reliever, won’t just help heal your wounds but also can help relieve any itchiness and redness you are experiencing now.

It’s Moisturizing

Shea butter is an emollient which means it softens dry, rough, and flakey skin and can help smooth out any surface. It quickly absorbs into the skin while leaving a protective layer behind.

It’s also an occlusive agent which means that when you apply your shea butter lotion on tattoos, it forms a thin, oily protective layer that helps seal moisture into your skin. This helps keep your tattooed skin hydrated for longer.

This all helps moisturize and protect your new tattoo helping prevent it from drying up or scarring.

It Has Deep Penetrating Ability

The moment you apply Shea butter and start the gentle massage, its magic begins. With its deep penetrating ability, Shea butter works wonders by promoting internal healing.

Unlike store-bought products laden with synthetic ingredients, Shea butter’s natural richness offers something unique.

Packed with nourishing fatty acids, it effortlessly permeates the skin, bypassing surface-level pore-clogging, leaving no oily residue behind.

It Has Anti-Microbial Properties

Shea butter has anti-microbial properties. This means that it can decrease the amount of microbes on your skin, such as bacteria. This helps protect your shea butter tattoo from infections.

It Provides Sun Protection

While shea butter will never be a replacement for good sunscreen, it does provide minor sun protection. In the early stages of a new tattoo, it’s important it isn’t sunburned and sunscreen is problematic as it may irritate your tattoo.

While it is better to cover your tattoo from the sun to give it full protection, shea butter can give it some minor protection if it is exposed.

Using Shea Butter For Tattoos Aftercare

Shea butter is quite easy to use as it is already a cream-like consistency. You can apply it directly by itself or as part of a lotion with other ingredients so you get the benefits of them as well.

To use shea butter on your tattoo:

  1. Clean your hands thoroughly
  2. Rub a small amount between your hands to smooth it out and make it a creamy/oily consistency that is easy to rub into your skin
  3. Apply it gently to your skin on the tattoo area following the direction of your hairs
  4. Leave it to absorb by itself

Do this twice a day, in the morning and evening.

If you’d prefer to use a shea butter lotion, this one is recommended by Amazon.

Most Common Questions Regarding Shea Butter On Tattoos (FAQs)

Can Shea Butter cause allergic reactions on tattooed skin?

While Shea Butter is considered safe for most individuals, allergic reactions can still occur. Perform a patch test before using it extensively on tattooed skin to check for any adverse reactions.

How often should I apply Shea Butter to my tattoos?

Applying Shea Butter 2-3 times daily during the initial healing phase is recommended. After the healing process, regular application once a day can help maintain tattoo brilliance.

Can Shea Butter fade tattoos?

No, Shea Butter is not known to cause tattoo fading. In fact, its moisturizing properties can help preserve tattoo colors and prevent premature fading caused by dry skin.

Is Shea Butter suitable for all tattoo types?

Yes, Shea Butter can be used on all types of tattoos, regardless of size, color, or style. It works well with both black and colored ink tattoos.

Can Shea Butter be used on older tattoos?

Absolutely! Shea Butter is beneficial for both new and older tattoos. Its revitalizing properties can help improve the appearance of older tattoos and keep them looking vibrant.

How should I apply Shea Butter to my tattoos?

Gently cleanse the tattooed area, pat it dry, and then apply a thin layer of Shea Butter. Massage it in a circular motion until fully absorbed, ensuring even coverage.

Does Shea Butter help with tattoo itchiness?

Yes, Shea Butter’s soothing and moisturizing qualities can alleviate tattoo itchiness, providing relief during the healing process.

Can I use Shea Butter alongside tattoo aftercare products?

It’s generally safe to use Shea Butter in combination with tattoo-specific aftercare products. However, it’s best to consult your tattoo artist for personalized advice.


I hope you have found this guide to shea butter and tattoos useful. Shea butter is a great natural ingredient for all skincare and there are many benefits to using shea butter on your new tattoo.

Find more useful guides to using shea butter here and an in depth guide to how to store shea butter here and how to use it on your feet here and on your body here. Have oily skin? Read whether shea butter is comedogenic here. You can also find out how to use castor oil for tattoos here.


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