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How to Brighten Your Tattoo

hydrabalm reuzel

Is your tattoo looking dull and lifeless? How is this possible when the person wearing it is so vibrant? The irony is that the more active your lifestyle, the faster your ink can go dry and blurry. Just like a classic car, sun and grunge take their toll on your skin and the artwork under it.

So if you are wondering how to brighten tattoos and fend off long-term sun damage and aging, we’ve got the word on fixing the fade.

Grease It Up Daily


Everything lasts longer with a good lube job. Since the canvas for your body art is skin, keeping your skin moisturized to prevent dryness and stop yourself from scratching is a must. You will need a tattoo balm like HYDRABALM from Reuzel. Look for products that have shea butter and papaya extracts to keep dry skin healthy and prevent stretching and blurring.

Avoid any products that claim to even skin tone, because these can bleach out your colors. You can use HYDRABALM on a fresh tattoo, but most of these other tips are for older ink and reviving existing tattoos. For a look at our tattoo care timeline, check out our visual guide for new tattoo care.

Slippery When Wet

Use a tattoo-specific moisturizer twice daily on healing ink or your older tattoo. Use HYDRABALM more often as needed for itching, peeling, or dry skin. Apply after showering, before bed, or anytime you feel the itch.

Hydrabalm before after

Buff the Rough Spots Out

Buff exfoliating wash

Once your tattoo has completely healed, you can start exfoliating (if you aren’t sure if your tattoo is completely healed, just ask your tattoo artist). Exfoliating just means polishing off the dead skin cells for the clearest look at the tattoo design underneath the surface. Use a gentle natural cleanser designed for tattoos like BUFF Exfoliating Wash.

Natural ingredients can be more gentle than chemical exfoliants, with BUFF using bamboo as a gentle natural abrasive agent with papaya extract and aloe vera to soothe and smooth your perfect finish. Exfoliation is the answer to how to keep tattoos bright at the base level.

Keeping It Smooth

Buff out the damage once or twice a week on fully healed tattoos. Apply BUFF to a washcloth or shower scrubber and use a circular motion to gently polish off dead skin and grunge residue. If your skin gets red, sore, or inflamed, lay off the buffing and stick to moisturizing until your skin is healed.

Wash Away the Daily Grime

You want to know how to brighten your tattoo? This might be a no-brainer, but you gotta wash it off. Dirt, salt, and sweat fade tattoos and muck up the finish. Skin infections like dermatitis and acne can damage your tattoo, and scaly skin and air pollution buildup make colors dark and muddy.

It’s Not Easy Being Clean

Sometimes the morning shower is just not going to happen, but at least wash your tattoo areas with a gentle antibacterial soap at least once a day. Making a habit of washing your tats, even if it's in a gas station bathroom on the road, keeps the grime from setting in.

Buff exfoliating wash before after

Apply a Protective Clear Coat

vivid gel

Your ink is clean, buffed, and moisturized, so now what? You need to add a protective moisture barrier and shine up the finish. We recommend a tattoo brightening cream or gel like VIVID Gel. This clear coat protects what is underneath and leaves your tattoo with a rich shine and bright colors.

Sunlight fades tattoos and dries your skin, but the moisture barrier that VIVID Gel creates on your skin will protect your art and shine up your surface for head-turning glory as you blaze through your day. With quinoa, orchid stem cell and papaya extracts, VIVID Gel is the ideal alternative to the average renew cream for reviving old tattoos and keeping colors crisp.

The Reasons Are Crystal Clear

Apply this protective finish at least once a week, but you can put on the polish as often as you want. Before you leave the house, put the shine on and show off your wild side.

Vivid gel before after

For a Poppin’ Final Finish

Shine tattoo spray

The final step to tattoo brightening is a finishing spray that leaves a sheen like a hot rod clear coat. To keep your colors popping with a spotless finish, try SHINE Tattoo Spray from Reuzel. Spray on the SHINE for a toxin-free finish that nourishes with shea butter, papaya, and orchid stem cell extracts for supple, healthy skin. With the lasting shine of natural castor oil, you put the final layer of protection between your ink and the grunge.

Spray It, Don’t Say It

Spray a thin layer of SHINE on your washed and moisturized tattoo as the final step in the TAT care system. As the last step before you hit the door, SHINE attracts attention and repels the dreary dullness of daily life.

Shine tattoo spray before after

Restore Vivid Colors With a Long-Lasting Finish

The full routine bundle

Restoring an old tattoo and keeping your ink vivid and crisp for the long road ahead requires a daily tattoo care routine that nourishes and protects your outer artwork and highlights the fine details. Building the habits that keep it screaming hot or brooding dark is easier with the TAT system from Reuzel. All of these products work together to brighten, restore, revive, and reawaken your dark designs.

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