Can You Damage A Tattoo By Shaving Over It?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on January 7, 2020
    Last Updated: November 27, 2020

Shaving after your tattoo has fully healed won’t damage it. Shaving doesn’t go beyond the outer layer of your skin, and the tattoo is safely settled in the second layer of the skin, once you give it enough time to heal.

The skin around your new tattoo will be ultra-sensitive and sore until it’s healed. Shaving around the area will cause some level of pain, and in some cases, you’ll damage the consistency of the tattoo design. Shaving too soon around your tattoo also increases the chances of the area getting infected.

How Long to Wait Before Shaving a New Tattoo?

Ideally, you should wait a minimum of two weeks for your tattoo to heal before shaving. If sensitivity and pain around the area remain after two weeks, wait for as long as necessary.

The tattoo healing process will vary from one person to another — some people may need to wait for up to a month. This is because there are different stages of healing after getting a tattoo:

  • 1st stage: A few hours after getting the ink, your skin will feel raw. This feeling may last for a day or two, depending on the size of the tattooed area
  • 2nd stage: The second stage of the healing process is less painful, as you can touch or shower with your new ink. However, don’t leave it submerged in water. Continue using the recommended creams and gels for your tattoo at this stage to protect the tattoo as it heals
  • Final stage: This is the peeling stage. You’ll notice the scabs that formed over the tattoo falling off to usher in a new layer of skin across the tattooed area

You should only consider shaving over a tattoo once the peeling stage is complete. Not sure if your tattoo has completed this stage? Touch the area and check for any scabs or bumps. If the skin around the tattoo doesn’t feel consistent with the rest of your body, you may have to wait longer.

Preparing to Shave After Getting a Tattoo

Step 1: Shaving Product

Get a high-quality pre-shave product to protect your skin. There are many pre-shave products on the market, so ensure you use one that agrees with your skin texture. This advice is more important for tattoos spread over a vast area, as the irritation from the wrong choice of pre-shave product will be harder to treat.

Step 2: Take a Shower

Take a shower to soften the hair around the tattoo. If you don’t feel up for a shower, wash the area as you would when taking a bath.

Step 3: The Shaving Process

  1. Use a new blade: Use a new, fresh blade for shaving if you’re using a traditional razor or cartridge. Old blades may contain rust and bacteria that can trigger reactions around the tattooed area
  2. Shave in the right direction: Shave in the direction of the hair growth, and avoid going over the same area unless you’ve missed some hair. Running a new blade over an area without hair can lead to cutting up your tattoo
  3. Rinse with cold water: Rinsing your skin with cold water after shaving will close the hair follicles. Apply a moisturizer, and you’re ready to show off your tattoo!

Shaving Tip for Fast Hair Growth

If you got a tattoo around parts of the body that are known for quick hair growth, such as the leg, the chest, back or pubic areas, you have to shave consistently. Don’t allow the hair to grow too long before your next shave to keep the ink attractive.

Should You Use Chemical Hair Removers?

Avoid shaving with chemical hair removers for your first shave over your new tattoo. Even when you’re sure the tattoo has healed, there’s no telling how the chemical will interact with the tattoo ink. You’re at risk of a burn, and possibly an infection if you use chemical hair removers prematurely.

Benefits to Shaving Over Your Tattoo

  • General appearance: Depending on the location of your tattoo, shaving off excess hair can improve your overall appearance. Too much body hair can look unsightly sometimes!
  • Increased vibrancy: Dead skin cells can make the tattoo ink look dull. Shaving can, therefore, improve the overall look of your tattoo
  • Less distortion: Depending on the thickness and color of your hair, as well as the tattoo’s style, hair can alter what a tattoo looks like. Hair in an awkward location could look like it’s part of the tattoo, even if not intended.


Shaving over a tattoo will potentially damage it if you don’t wait until the end of the recovery process. If you wait for the skin to heal properly, shaving over your tattoo can make it look great. Don’t forget to use a pre-shave cream and a fresh blade during the shaving process, and use a moisturizer afterward.

As your tattoo artist will have shaved the area before starting with the procedure, the hair should hopefully not get too long or thick before you can start shaving again.

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