A scientist explains what's in your tattoo aftercare

A scientist explains what's in your tattoo aftercare

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From selecting ingredients to testing them out, beauty chemist Katie Shales explains what goes into making the best tattoo creams and moisturisers on the planet!

The world of Stories & Ink ain’t all sunshine and rainbows (okay, there is some sunshine and rainbows!). We’ve got some seriously good scientists working hard to ensure we’re continually producing the best tattoo aftercare products in the world.

Katie Shales is one such scientist. A senior development chemist at cosmetic manufacturing company Orean Personal Care, Katie works alongside Stories & Ink formulating products, sourcing ingredients and overseeing the ever-important testing stages.

Stories & Ink Aftercare Cream ingredientsStories & Ink tattoo Aftercare Cream

For the lowdown on what goes into making a great tattoo aftercare product, we caught up with Katie for a quick Q&A. Plus, she tells us why Stories & Ink is one of her favourites to work with in the lab!

In the words of Jennifer Anniston, here comes the science bit…

First up, how do you select ingredients for tattoo aftercare?

Tattoo aftercare raw materialsRaw materials in the lab ready for testing.

“When formulating (i.e. making products), it’s essential to understand the sensorial journey a consumer goes on,” Katie says. “We want everything about the product experience to be reassuring.

“We have a vast array of materials in our library. However, there’s an amazing amount of innovation in the cosmetics industry and new and exciting active ingredients are always coming to market.

“We work closely with raw material suppliers as well as our in-house creative team to keep ahead of the latest movements, going to great lengths to ensure the materials we use in the Stories & Ink formulation are not only safe and effective but also sustainable in a real and meaningful way.”

Anti-inflammatory properties are super important for tattoo aftercare. Which ingredients are best for this and why?

“In the Aftercare Cream, for example, we’ve selected Bisabolol. This is a natural and safe anti-inflammatory ingredient suitable for sensitive, dry and irritated skin.

Katie says it’s such properties that make it a “perfect choice for an aftercare cream for tattooed skin.”

Stories & Ink tattoo aftercare in the lab being mixed

Stories & Ink's tattoo aftercare being mixed in the lab.

“We’ve also included a specialised botanical blend (including chamomile, aloe leaf juice, rosemary leaf extract and balloon plant) and a natural ingredient called Tocopherol (Vitamin E) to boost the anti-inflammatory properties,” she adds.

Beauty cosmetics lab equipment

Not dials on the Enterprise, but a machine designed to test cosmetic products.

What makes natural, plant-based ingredients great for tattoo aftercare products?

“Natural ingredients are often rich in antioxidants which have many benefits to cosmetic products,” Katie says.

Here are some of the natural ingredients you can find in Stories & Ink's tattoo afrercare products and why they're good for your tattooed skin:

Chamomile plant

The same anti-inflammatory properties which make chamomile useful for various bodily and psychological ailments bring about many skin care benefits too. It’s also a valuable antioxidant while being very mildly astringent, meaning it helps shrink large pores / makes skin less oily.

Aloe leaf juice

The aloe plant contains antioxidants, enzymes, Vitamins A and C, and is highly anti-inflammatory. Plus, with its natural repairing properties, it can help treat broken and damaged skin.

Sunflower seed oil

A great source of vitamin E, sunflower seeds are rich in nutrients and antioxidants and are effective at combatting skincare issues like inflammation, general redness and irritation.

Rosemary leaf extract

This herb's medicinal qualities make it a powerful cure for chronic skin conditions including dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis. 

Raspberry seed oil

Red raspberry seed oil contains a high amount of antioxidants and essential fatty acids like alpha-linoleic acid. These fight oxidative stress and reduce inflammation.

Stories & Ink Aftercare Creram ingredients

How do you make sure the products are safe for people's skin?

"Developed formulations are strictly regulated by UK and EU cosmetic legislation. All products are required to undergo a thorough safety assessment process completed by a qualified panel,” Katie says.

"Approved formulations undergo challenge testing to assess the microbiological safety of a cosmetic product."

In other words, products are checked to ensure they’re totally safe from things such as bacteria and won't irritate your skin - which is nice to know.

For example, "the Aftercare Cream has been clinically patch-tested on volunteers with sensitive skin and induced no reaction of irritation and is suitable for all skin types," Katie adds.

Finally, a lot of customers comment on how good our products smell!

"Fragrance is definitely a major component during [a product’s] development, even though it doesn’t influence the selection of functional ingredients," Katie says.


"Smell contributes heavily to the consumer experience during application and is, therefore, an important part.

"The Stories & Ink fragrance is definitely one of my favourites to work with in the lab!"

Say goodbye to dry, itchy and faded ink...

...And hello to soft, nourished and brighter tattoos! From fade-fighting serum to our best-selling moisturisers, shop our tattoo skincare collection now!