How to keep your tattoos bright

How to keep your tattoos bright

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We all want our tattoos to look bright whether they’re full colour or blackwork. After all you sat through the pain of getting them and healed them, you need them to look amazing forever.

Read on to find out what products you need to make your tattoos pop. Plus, Stories & Ink's resident hand poke tattooer Ellie Cryer (@elliecryer) shares the insider tips and tricks you need to keep your tattoos looking their best.

Tattoo artist Ellie Cryer at workTattoo artist Ellie Cryer at work at the Stories & Ink studio, Falmouth (@storiesandinkfalmouth)

Keeping your tattoos bright

We’ve got you covered with our 6 top tips to ensure they stay bright:

1. Your tattoo artist

It all starts way before you even get tattooed. Choosing a reputable tattoo artist to do a good job in the first place will make sure your tattoos are always amazing.

You’ll want to check out your artist’s portfolio, social media accounts including images of healed tattoos. As well as making sure the studio they work in is licensed, clean and follows good hygiene practises. Look for things like hand washing stations, gloves and tattoo beds wrapped in clingfilm.

If you’re not sure you can always speak to your artist, ask any questions you may have and make sure they’re the right tattooer for you.

2. Caring for your fresh ink

This one’s a biggie. Caring for your new tattoo is super important. It’s the difference between a patchy tat or one that looks brand new for life. As always you’ll want to follow the aftercare advice of your tattooer, this could include:

  • How long to leave the clingfilm on
  • What products to use
  • How to clean and dry your tattoo

You’ll also want to think about your aftercare routine as a whole and how you’ll look after your tattoo once it’s healed.

"For keeping tattoos bright, I think it’s a case of making sure you allow them to heal the best you possibly can - follow your artists aftercare instructions really well, it’ll give it the best chance of a beautiful heal," Ellie says.

3. Moisturise your skin

Once your tattoo is fully healed you can keep your skin nourished and hydrated with moisturiser. You can use whatever moisturiser you like, but it’s always a good idea to use products designed for tattooed skin.

Take Stories & Ink’s Daily Moisturiser - this brightening tattoo lotion is packed with skin-loving ingredients - it helps fight fade and intensifies your ink. It smells amazing too!

Stories & Ink's Daily Moisturiser contains Liftonin-Xpert™ that firms and smooths skin while intensifying ink.

4. Sun’s out, tats covered

Keeping your tattoos covered when it’s sunny is a sure fire way to keep your tattoos bright. Ellie agrees: "Always use sunscreen to keep them looking fresher for longer and then keeping skin hydrated in general."

Even if it’s cloudy you’ll want to slather them in high SPF sunscreen to protect them from the sun’s rays. Over exposure in the sun can prematurely age your tattoos, as Dr Nicolas Kluger explains in our blog: Will my tattoos look good when I’m 60?

You’ll also want to protect your non-tattooed skin, especially if you’ve got a new tattoo booked. As you can’t get tattooed if you have sunburn, tattoo artist Hannah Gehrke explains all in our guide.

5. Tattoo touch-ups

Maybe some of the ink in your tattoo dropped out from a bad heal or perhaps the tattoo is on a body part known for a tough heal like your fingers? Either way you can ask the tattooer who originally did your tattoo for a touch up.

Ellie explains that "once a tattoo is healed, a touch up is something that might need to happen, although again, if you take really good care of it during the healing process this is less likely to be needed. Some artists will do this for free and some will charge after a certain amount of time has passed, so keep this in mind."

If you can’t visit your original tattooer for whatever reason, some artists will touch up other tattooist’s work. Make sure to ask about touch ups during your consultation.

6. Exfoliate your ink

Once your tattoos have healed you can exfoliate your new tattoo, and all your other healed tattoos too. Exfoliating helps to remove build up of dead skin cells, dirt and impurities which can make tattoos look dull.

An exfoliating body wash gently scrubs your skin leaving skin luminous. 

Our blog, how exfoliation improves inked skin, lets you know how to achieve super smooth skin and shiny tattoos.

What can I put on my tattoo to make it brighter?

What you can use on your tattoo depends on what style you’ve chosen to get inked.

Colour tattoos

Colour tattoos tend to become dull faster than black and grey tattoos, especially if they’re done in pastels or white - think yellows, peaches and light pinks. For bright colour tattoos you’ll want to choose an experienced tattooer who knows how to pack in colour, and make sure the ink sits in the right layer of your skin.

If you want to keep your colour tattoos looking fresh you’ll want to wear a high SPF sun cream every day and moisturise as much as possible.

Black and grey tattoos

Black and grey or just black linework tattoos tend to stay brighter for longer. This doesn’t mean you can scrimp on caring for your tattoos though, SPF and a good moisturiser are always recommended.

Stories & Ink Vibrancy Serum can be used on all tattoos, whatever your style. Apply the brightening tattoo cream before you go to bed, leave it to do its thing and in the morning you’ll have brighter ink. Enriched with gentle amino acids which exfoliate and Liftonin-Xpert™ which intensifies ink. It’s our top choice for colour and black tattoos.

Stories & Ink's Vibrancy Serum contains gentle Amino Acids that brighten and exfoliate dull looking tattoos.

How can I make my new tattoo shine?

To help your new tattoo shine you’ll firstly want to avoid anything that can cause it to fade. When it's freshly done you’ll want to follow your tattooer’s aftercare and use an aftercare cream specially designed for new ink. Looking after your tattoo right at the beginning can really help it stand the test of time.

Do tattoo brightening creams work?

Adding a tattoo brightening cream to your skincare routine can bring amazing results. The best tattoo brightening creams work with your healed ink to bring it back to life.

Look for a cream that has amino acids to exfoliate and refresh skin, as well as natural oils to nourish and hydrate. Our award-winning Vibrancy Serum is a firm favourite, check out a few of our customer reviews:

Emily - “This vibrancy serum has made a noticeable difference to my faded tattoos. It smells great and dries in really quickly.”

Sue - “Really surprised just how much brighter it made my tattoos.”

Liam - “Makes my skin shine. The results make my tattoos look brand new. Would recommend this cream to anyone.”

Discover more top tattoo care products by shopping our full range now.