Today marks four weeks until my next tattoo.
I’ve met with the artist, we’ve discussed my plans, I’ve started saving, and now I’ve started to consider how I will approach the healing of my tattoo.
Usually I wouldn’t give it two thoughts. I healed my first two tattoos were healed with Bepanthen. But when Dan did my Rose tattoo I tried http://www.afterink.co.nz, it was there in the shop, Dan recommended it, and when I considered it, there were two things about Bepanthen which I didn’t like: the smell (not bad but not good), and how it left your skin really quite sticky.
After Ink was a disappointment. It smelled better than Bepanthen for sure, but the consistency was a little odd, it was more expensive for a smaller tube, and it still left you sticky. I liked it enough to fully heal my tattoo with it but I haven’t used it since.
My next three tattoos were all Bepanthen babies.
Around the time I had my first sitting for my St Paul’s Cathedral tattoo I heard about a new product for healing tattoos – all natural, smelled amazing, not-at-all sticky – and I was immediately interested. http://www.tinkture.co.nz by Le’Esscience* but seven million things came up and I ended up sticking with the Bepanthen I had in my cupboard.
Then I read Rochelle’s review/interview with Gillian.
She seemed lovely. Rochelle seemed to love the product. I was in a highly caffeinated mood. Before I knew it, I had ordered a bottle. I was taken in by Rochelle’s tale of no bruising, no scabbing, no itching, and the speed at which it healed.
And I figured, what better way to test a product than on two sittings with the same artist, on the same tattoo.
I did not like Tinkture.
I made my comments known on Twitter and Gillian responded to me – managing to rebut my complaints in such a way, in 140 characters no less, that I felt like anyone watching her feed would assume that I did not know what I was talking about. I am not so good at the keeping salient points within 140 characters. Shocking, I know. The next morning we had an email exchange.
Gillian was lovely in her response to my email and seemed to take my points on board. I have been consistently impressed with her customer service.
My issues with Tinkture are as follows:
Scabbing & itching & tightness, oh my
The "scabbing" was minimal for the first session of the tattoo. This time? Not so much. In all other my other tattoos the outline and colour alike "scabbed" into light layers and appeared like pencil erasing. There has been itching but no tightness, and the scabbing was minimal. The one session I healed with Tinkture my skin felt taut and when the scab formed they felt thick and strongly attached. They lasted a lot longer than any other session. A week since the colour and the scabbing was still ... I won't say extensive, but it was definitely apparent.
This might have been down to the artist or the machine. However it was similar enough in size & type of tattooing to my other sessions done by different artists on different days with different machines for me to consider the greatest variable to be Tinkture.
You pay more and get less
Tinkture costs more than Bepanthen. Admittedly, you are getting high quality oils (I’m taking Gillian’s word on that one, I don’t know) which are hand blended by an aromatologist (Not sure that’s a word, but that’s what Gillian calls herself) as opposed to chemicals from a factory. You get Tinkture in a little bottle with a dropper and instructions to apply enough drops to cover the tattoo several times a day but at least three times a day. With Bepanthen you apply a thin layer twice a day.
I had to carry my bottle of Tinkture to work with me. I used 10 drops at a time, 4 to 6 times a day. The number of drops was enough to easily cover the whole tattoo, and the frequency was over the "at least three times a day" but under the "several times a day" requested. If I had used more than 10 drops I would have had oil left running down my leg.
I wanted to prefer Tinkture to Bepanthen, I really did. I prefer the smell and the lack of stickiness, it certainly made it easier getting dressed.
And in regards to the price, I know I was paying for high quality oil, hand blended by a professional, I recognise this. I also recognise that spending $600 on permanent artwork should not be marred by cheaping out on the upkeep. It was the combination of having to spend $30 and then use so much of the bottle (I was halfway through at a week) on one session of this tattoo. I doubt the bottle would have been sufficient for both sessions.
But perhaps it was just because of the position?
Yes, my St Paul’s tattoo is on my thigh. A part of the body which moves a lot. Gillian mentioned that my issues with healing may have been due to clothes rubbing on it.
However - I didn’t wear anything heavier than pantyhose or light pyjama pants on my tattoo during the healing process. I was asked to not wear jeans for a few days and I gave it a week. During the work week I’m kind of dissuaded from wearing denim – so even after the initial week, the time I wore anything heavier than pantyhose or pyjama pants was minimal.
Additionally - my side tattoo? runs from just under my bra strap to the top of my hip. A part of the body which moves a lot. I was asked to not wear jeans or anything that might rub, just like St Paul’s. Unfortunately due to the position of the tattoo I couldn't restrict myself to only-pantyhose so wore a light singlet and non-clingy clothes for the week. This didn't affect the healing. I don't think my issues with Tinkture can be put down to the position of the tattoo. But it could be part of it. Again, the greatest variable was Tinkture.
I wouldn't recommend AGAINST Tinkture. Certainly not.
I don't think that one less than stellar review should mar all the glowing reviews it has received. I don't know why, and Gillian couldn’t think of a reason (besides my artist being heavy handed in the second session but not the first) but I do not think that Tinkture is for me.
I had considered a combination approach to healing – Bepanthen in the morning and evening, with Tinkture during the day – but days after the email exchange I gave up on Tinkture and reverted to Bepanthen. All my complaints cleared up and my tattoo did, finally, eventually, heal beautifully.
I think Bepanthen’s just the best for me. Tinkture did smell really good though.
* Don’t even get me started on the fake French company name.