Learn To Use Shea Butter For Tattoos Aftercare Routine.


Tattoos hold a special place in the hearts of many, but they come with a responsibility – proper care. Whether you’re flaunting a fresh ink or cherishing an old design, nurturing your tattoos is paramount. The market offers an array of healing balms and moisturizers tailored for this purpose, each vying to restore your tattoos’ vitality.

But one of the natural solutions to healing and caring for your tattoo is shea butter. Shea butter emerges as a versatile answer to your aftercare needs. Shea butter is an emollient that quenches your tattoo’s thirst and shields it from the perils of dryness, which is a common irritant associated with tattoos. Many people ask whether they can put shea butter on their tattoos. This article aims to answer this question and suggest the use of shea butter as a tattoo aftercare product. 

Learn how to use shea butter on tattoos and take tattoo care. Also, find the benefits of shea butter for your tattoo. 

What Is Shea Butter?

Shea butter, scientifically known as Butyrospermum parkii, is a natural fat extracted from the nuts of the African shea tree. Renowned for its moisturizing and healing properties, shea butter has been used for centuries in skincare and medicinal practices. Rich in vitamins A, E, and F, along with essential fatty acids, shea butter offers a plethora of benefits for tattooed skin.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Shea Butter For Tattoos?

1. Deep Hydration and Moisturization

Shea butter’s high concentration of fatty acids makes it an exceptional moisturizer. Shea butter is a natural moisturizer that helps protect your skin from the issue of dry skin. When it comes to tattoo aftercare, keeping the skin well-hydrated is crucial for the healing tattoo. Shea butter penetrates deeply into the skin, providing long-lasting hydration and preventing dryness and itching, which can lead to scarring and faded tattoos. Your tattoo needs vitamins to keep its appearance new for many years.

2. Nourishment and Skin Regeneration

Tattooing involves the deliberate puncturing of the skin, causing trauma. Shea butter contains vitamin A, which supports skin cell regeneration and repair. Applying shea butter on your tattooed skin can help accelerate the healing process, reduce inflammation, and promote the formation of healthy, vibrant skin around your tattoo. Shea butter is also rich in vitamins and essential fatty acids, which can help to promote healing and reduce scarring.

3. Protection from Environmental Stressors

Your tattoo is an investment you want to protect. It is important to protect your tattoo from the sun. Shea butter forms a protective skin barrier on the skin’s surface, safeguarding your tattoo from harmful UV rays, pollution, and other environmental factors. Shea butter has a natural SPF that helps cover your tattoo from harsh sun rays. This barrier not only preserves the vibrancy of your tattoo’s colors but also shields it from potential damage. Cinnamic acid in shea butter provides a minor UV-protecting film over your tattoo. A fresh tattoo really needs to be taken care of.

4. Reducing Itchiness and Irritation

As tattoos heal, they often go through an itchy phase, which can be quite uncomfortable. Shea butter’s contains anti-inflammatory properties, and thus, shea butter can help soothe irritated skin and alleviate itching. Its gentle formula is suitable for sensitive skin, making it an excellent choice for individuals prone to allergic reactions. Shea butter also protects your skin from infections from tattoos. 

5. Enhancing Tattoo Appearance

Shea butter’s moisturizing properties can contribute to enhancing the appearance of your tattoo. Well-hydrated skin showcases your tattoo’s details and colors more vividly, resulting in a more impressive and eye-catching design.

6. Softening and Smoothing Skin

Tattoos can sometimes cause the skin to feel slightly rough. Shea butter’s emollient qualities work wonders in softening and smoothing the skin’s texture, providing a more pleasant tactile experience. Shea butter is safe for sensitive skin. 

Is It Safe To Use Shea Butter For Tattoos? | Is Shea Butter Good For Tattoo Aftercare?

Safety is a paramount concern when it comes to tattoo aftercare. The good news is that shea butter is generally considered safe for use on tattooed skin. However, it’s essential to choose high-quality, unrefined shea butter to ensure you’re getting all the natural benefits without the risk of added chemicals.

Before using shea butter on your tattoo, perform a patch test on a small area of your skin to check for any allergic reactions or sensitivities. If you notice redness, itching, or irritation, it’s best to avoid using shea butter on your tattooed area.

How To Use Shea Butter For Tattoos?

Step 1: Cleanse Gently

Before applying shea butter, clean your tattoo. Use a mild, fragrance-free soap to avoid any potential irritation.

Step 2: Pat Dry

After cleansing, pat your tattoo gently with a clean, soft towel. Avoid rubbing, as it can lead to unnecessary friction and discomfort.

Step 3: Apply Shea Butter

Take a small amount of shea butter and warm it between your palms. Gently massage it onto your tattooed skin using circular motions. Make sure to cover the entire tattooed area with a thin, even layer.

Step 4: Repeat as Needed

Depending on your skin’s moisture needs and the healing stage of your tattoo, you can apply shea butter 2-3 times a day. Remember, a little goes a long way.

DIY Recipes Using Shea Butter For Tattoo Aftercare

Using the following recipes, you can create your own shea butter products at home that are safe to use on tattoos. 

Recipe #1 – Soothing Shea Butter Balm for New Tattoos


  • 2 tablespoons raw shea butter
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil
  • 5-7 drops lavender essential oil (optional)


  1. In a double boiler, melt the raw shea butter and coconut oil over low heat until they are fully liquid.
  2. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool for a few minutes.
  3. Stir in the vitamin E oil and lavender essential oil if using.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a clean, airtight container.

How to Use:

  1. After cleaning your new tattoo gently, pat it dry.
  2. Take a small amount of the shea butter balm and warm it between your fingers.
  3. Gently apply the balm to your tattooed area using circular motions.
  4. Use 2-3 times a day or as needed to keep your tattoo moisturized and promote healing.


  • This tattoo balm has raw shea butter that deeply hydrates and nourishes the skin and protects your skin from drying. 
  • Coconut oil provides additional moisture and forms a protective barrier.
  • Vitamin E oil supports skin repair and reduces the risk of scarring.
  • Lavender essential oil offers soothing properties, reducing discomfort and promoting relaxation.

*Note:  You can also ask your artist for a lighter balm for your skin if you have any specific skin condition or acne-prone skin. However, there are chances that commercial products might irritate your tattoo. 

Recipe #2 – Rejuvenating Shea Butter Scrub for Old Tattoos


  • 2 tablespoons raw shea butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon jojoba oil


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the raw shea butter and brown sugar.
  2. Add the honey and jojoba oil and mix until well blended.

How to Use:

  1. Gently cleanse your tattooed area and pat it dry.
  2. Apply a generous amount of the shea butter scrub to your tattoo.
  3. Using gentle circular motions, massage the scrub onto your tattoo for a few minutes.
  4. Rinse off with lukewarm water and pat dry.


  • Raw shea butter hydrates and softens the skin, while brown sugar acts as a gentle exfoliant, removing dead skin cells. Do not grab too much solid butter because a little bit goes a long way.
  • Honey helps in retaining moisture and provides antioxidants to support skin health.
  • Jojoba oil is non-comedogenic and moisturizing, leaving your tattooed skin rejuvenated.

Recipe #3 – Healing Shea Butter Wrap for Intensive Care


  • 3 tablespoons raw shea butter
  • 1 tablespoon aloe vera gel
  • 1 teaspoon calendula oil
  • 2-3 drops of tea tree essential oil


  1. Mix the raw shea butter and aloe vera gel in a bowl until well combined.
  2. Add the calendula oil and tea tree essential oil and stir thoroughly.

How to Use:

  1. Cleanse your tattooed area gently and pat it dry.
  2. Apply a thin layer of the shea butter wrap mixture to your tattoo.
  3. Cover the tattooed area with a clean, soft cloth or plastic wrap.
  4. Leave the wrap on for 1-2 hours, then remove it and gently cleanse the area.
  5. Use this wrap 1-2 times a week for intensive healing and revitalization.


  • Raw shea butter deeply nourishes and restores the skin, promoting healing.
  • Aloe vera gel soothes and reduces inflammation, making it ideal for revitalizing old tattoos.
  • Calendula oil calms the skin and provides additional nourishment.
  • Tea tree essential oil offers antiseptic properties, helping prevent infections. 

Recipe #4 – Soothing Shea Butter Tattoo Lotion


  • 3 tablespoons raw shea butter
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil
  • 5 drops of chamomile essential oil


  1. In a double boiler, gently melt the raw shea butter and coconut oil until they are fully liquid.
  2. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes.
  3. Stir in the vitamin E oil and chamomile essential oil.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a clean, sterilized jar or container.

How to Use:

  1. Cleanse your tattoo gently and pat it dry.
  2. Take a small amount of the shea butter tattoo lotion and warm it between your fingertips.
  3. Gently massage the lotion onto your tattooed area using circular motions until fully absorbed.
  4. Use this lotion 2-3 times a day or as needed to keep your tattoo well-hydrated and promote healing.


  • Raw shea butter is a rich moisturizer and nourishes the skin. This means that when you apply your shea butter lotion on tattoos, it forms a thin protective layer that helps seal moisture into your skin.
  • Coconut oil provides additional hydration and helps maintain skin elasticity.
  • Vitamin E oil supports skin repair and reduces the risk of scarring.
  • Chamomile essential oil has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, promoting comfort and relaxation.

This DIY shea butter tattoo lotion is a fantastic way to care for your tattoos, ensuring they remain vibrant, moisturized, and well-protected throughout the healing process and beyond.

These DIY shea butter recipes offer a personalized and natural way to care for your tattoos, whether they’re new additions or cherished classics. Embrace the nurturing power of shea butter and watch your tattoos flourish. Remember to perform a patch test before using any new product to ensure compatibility with your skin.

Potential Side Effects Of Shea Butter

Shea butter is generally safe for use, but there are some potential side effects of using shea butter, as discussed below: 

1. Allergic Reactions

Shea butter is derived from nuts, and individuals with nut allergies might be sensitive to it. Although shea butter is processed to reduce allergenic proteins, some residual proteins could still trigger allergic reactions in some people. It’s recommended to perform a patch test before using shea butter on a larger area of your skin.

2. Clogged Pores

Shea butter is a heavy emollient and can be comedogenic for some individuals, meaning it might clog pores. This could lead to breakouts or exacerbate existing acne. People with oily or acne-prone skin might want to be cautious when applying shea butter to their faces or areas prone to breakouts.

3. Greasiness

Due to its rich consistency, shea butter can leave a greasy or oily residue on the skin. This might not be suitable for those who prefer lightweight or non-greasy skincare products, especially when using shea butter on larger areas of the body.

4. Irritation

In rare cases, shea butter might cause skin irritation or redness, particularly if you have very sensitive skin. This could be due to a sensitivity to some of the natural compounds present in shea butter. Performing a patch test can help determine if your skin reacts negatively to it.

5. Overuse

Using excessive amounts of shea butter might lead to over-moisturization, particularly for those with normal or oily skin. Over-moisturization can disrupt the skin’s natural balance and might lead to skin problems.

6. Cross-Reactivity

Individuals who are allergic to latex might also have a higher risk of being allergic to shea butter, as both latex and shea butter contain similar proteins.

7. Staining

Shea butter can have a yellowish or beige color, which might stain clothing or fabrics if not fully absorbed into the skin. It’s advisable to let the shea butter fully absorb before putting on clothes.

8. Incompatibility with Certain Products

Shea butter might not work well with certain skincare products or makeup. It’s important to check the compatibility of shea butter with other products to avoid any adverse reactions.

9. Sensitivity to Fragrance

Shea butter often has a natural nutty scent. Some people might be sensitive to fragrances, and the scent of shea butter could potentially cause discomfort.


Shea butter is nature’s gift to tattoo aftercare. Shea butter is a natural ingredient and could be the superfood your tattoo requires. It is known for its unparalleled hydrating, nourishing, and protective properties, making it an exceptional choice for maintaining the beauty and vibrancy of your tattoos.

By following a proper aftercare routine and choosing the right products, you can ensure that your tattoos stay as stunning as the day you got them. Shea butter is an excellent emollient that is also recommended by many tattoo artists for tattoo care. 

If you’re serious about giving your tattoos the care they deserve, look no further than shea butter. Experience the magic of this natural wonder and see the difference it can make in your tattoo’s journey to complete healing and lasting brilliance. If you want your tattoo to look beautiful for a longer period of time, then shea butter comes in very handy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it OK to put shea butter on a tattoo?

Yes, shea butter has properties that help take better aftercare of your tattoo. It is rich in fatty acids, vitamins, and other necessary nutrients that protect your tattoo. 

How often should you apply shea butter on a tattoo?

You can apply a thin layer of shea butter 2-3 times a day on your tattoo. 

Is shea butter or cocoa butter better for tattoos?

Both shea butter and cocoa butter being a natural ingredient are better options for tattoos. Both have skin cell regenerative properties that help in healing the tattoo.  

  • Lovett, P.N., 2010. Sourcing shea butter in 2010: a sustainability check. Global ingredients & formulations guide, pp.62-68. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Peter-Lovett/publication/272023146_Sourcing_Shea_Butter_in_2010_A_Sustainability_Check/links/54d8faa90cf2970e4e7a6f47/Sourcing-Shea-Butter-in-2010-A-Sustainability-Check.pdf 
  • Goreja, W.G., 2004. Shea butter: the nourishing properties of Africa’s best-kept natural beauty secret. TNC International Inc. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=6iQjwr9v84gC&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=Shea+butter%27s+high+concentration+of+fatty+acids+makes+it+an+exceptional+moisturizer.&ots=APImHLACVj&sig=SdzABlG6N_r39H2nP5g3dTfcXls 
  • Ahmed, I.A., Mikail, M.A., Zamakshshari, N. and Abdullah, A.S.H., 2020. Natural anti-aging skincare: role and potential. Biogerontology21, pp.293-310. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10522-020-09865-z 
  • Hartman, T.G., Letchamo, W. and Khoo, B.K., 2007, March. Evaluation of the quality of West African shea butter (Vitellaria paradoxa). In International Symposium on Medicinal and Nutraceutical Plants 756 (pp. 273-288). https://www.actahort.org/books/756/756_29.htm 
  • Verma, N., Chakrabarti, R., Das, R.H. and Gautam, H.K., 2012. Anti-Inflammatory effects of shea butter through inhibition of iNOS, COX-2, and cytokines via the Nf-Kb pathway in LPS-activated J774 macrophage cells. Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine9(1), pp.1-11. https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/1553-3840.1574/html