The Importance of Effective Aftercare Instructions

The Importance of Effective Aftercare Instructions

As a fellow cosmetic tattoo artist, I know I’m not alone in the constant search for the best aftercare practices. When deciding on the aftercare advice and products you give to clients, there are 3 important factors we want to achieve. 

By Kate Novello, Cosmetic Tattoo Artist & Guest Blogger


As a fellow cosmetic tattoo artist, I know I’m not alone in the constant search for the best aftercare practices. When deciding on the aftercare advice and products you give to clients, there are 3 important factors we want to achieve. 

The most important is preventing infection. Your client should treat the area with the same hygiene and diligence as you do any wound.  

Your aftercare process should also promote quick healing, and reduce inflammation and swelling. As artists we need to prioritise the health of the skin and minimise downtime for our client. The less downtime associated with cosmetic tattooing services means the more likely clients are to undergo our procedures. 

The most elusive and sought-after benefit of aftercare is improving pigment retention. The aftercare products and instructions you provide to clients during the healing process plays an important role in the healed results of the cosmetic tattoo. If your aftercare instructions are not complete, clear and easy to follow, pigment retention will be greatly affected. 


How to Prevent Infection Following a Cosmetic Tattoo Treatment

In order to keep bacteria at bay following a cosmetic tattoo treatment we need to make sure our clients are following effective hygiene practices. Although these steps may seem like common sense, I provide these care instructions to every client as an easy to read checklist. By offering aftercare steps that are easy to follow and clear, we minimise the risk of infection.  

An example of some hygiene instructions to provide to your client would be as listed below. You can personalise the presentation of these as a printed document or flyer, or email them to your clients. I think it is nice to include a printed copy as part of an aftercare kit on the day of the service. Clients should also use an aftercare cream, ointment or gel that contains antibacterial ingredients to protect the area directly. 


Personal Hygiene Advice 

  • Use a clean pillowcase for the first few nights following a procedure
  • Wash hands before touching or applying the aftercare product, and before cleaning the area
  • Use fresh consumables each time for cream applications (earbuds, cotton rounds, etc)
  • Wash area using clean damp cotton rounds and a gentle antibacterial soap (such as diluted Green Soap or something similar)
  • Keep hair tied up away from the area 
  • Do not rub or pick the area
  • Use a straw to drink with (of course, only applicable to lips) 
  • Avoid using cosmetic products on the area for a minimum of 2 weeks
  • Avoid exercise, sweating and swimming in chlorinated and salt water for a minimum of 2 weeks


How to Promote Fast and Effective Healing, and Minimise Downtime

Hot, irritated and open skin is never a pleasant experience. We want aftercare products that use ingredients to calm the skin quickly. Cooling the skin is a good way to kick start the healing process and limit discomfort following a procedure. You may provide your client with aftercare products with anti-inflammatory ingredients and encourage the use of fridge cooled packs on the area to reduce swelling. Never suggest ice or frozen packs be used after a cosmetic tattoo procedure as the extreme temperature can injure the skin. 

If we can lessen the downtime involved with cosmetic tattoo services, our clients are more likely to undergo our procedures. The less disruptive these services are to the skin and the client’s day to day routine the better. 


How to Improve Pigment Retention 

Good pigment retention requires lots of trial and error when you are new to cosmetic tattooing. We are constantly working with different skin types and textures and our clients have different lifestyles that greatly affect retention. It pays to ask lots of questions in your consultations and provide detailed aftercare instructions at the end of the session. These instructions may sometimes vary depending on the client, especially when working with different skin types. For example, you may choose to use a lighter aftercare product for oily skin (SPMU dry heal serum) and a cream or oil-based aftercare (Tattoo Goo or Tattoo Aftercare) for drier skin types. 

Put emphasis on things to avoid. If a client has told you they work-out regularly, let them know that if they choose to exercise during the 2-week healing period it will negatively affect the healed result of their tattoo. If your client spends time outdoors, ensure they wear a hat and sunglasses diligently. It’s important to be honest and upfront with your client – you need their cooperation for your aftercare instructions to be effective. 

Aftercare is just one factor that contributes to pigment retention. The techniques, tools and pigments you use for the procedure also play an important role in achieving the best healed results.




Kate Novello - @featherandlacecosmetictattoo

Kate operates Feather and Lace Cosmetic Tattoo in Coomera QLD.  With over 10 years experience in the makeup and beauty industry, Kate has developed a passion and expertise in eyebrow design and cosmetic tattoo treatments. “I love my job - nothing gives me more satisfaction than creating beautiful brows, lips and eyeliner. It's great knowing I can help my clients feel their best!” When Kate’s not busy in the salon, she enjoys cuddling up with her pup or going out for brekky dates, because coffee is her fave!


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