Ask any tattoo artist and they'll tell you this: Getting a tattoo is the easy part, but taking care of it is where the real work begins. Once the needle lifts off your skin, the ink settles, and that numbing tingle fades, it's time to take your new baby home and, well, baby it.
A lot like piercings, your tattoo requires its own aftercare routine. But if you're a total amateur at tattoos — or you've just been winging it — you need to know exactly what products to buy to help it heal. Normally, if you've done your due diligence and found a trusted artist, they'll give you a list of instructions to make sure all that hard work and money don't go to waste. It's not complicated; it just requires things like fragrance-free cleansers (this is important), gentle lotions, and thick salves for fresh ink to avoid fading and infection.
No clue where to start? We asked four of our favorite New York-based tattoo artists — Sasha Woland and Jack Poohvis from Fleur Noire Tattoo, Mira Mariah (a.k.a. @girlknewyork), and Megan Massacre from Grit N' Glory — for the aftercare products they always recommend to clients post-tattoo. Click ahead for their picks.