Numbing Cream for Cosmetic Tattooing

What they don’t tell you about numbing cream for Cosmetic Tattoo

Hi, Welcome to my blog about all the “secret” things no one tells you when you are first starting out in the Cosmetic Tattooing Industry.

I’m Beck, a former salon owner, cosmetic tattoo trainer, hairdresser, beauty therapist, makeup artist, and laser tattoo removalist. I’ve worked in the industry for over 10 years now and I have a few secrets to share with you that I think are important to know when first starting your own salon. 

Ok, let’s draw back the curtain right now. The first thing I want to talk to you about is Numbing Cream, what you should/shouldn’t do and what everyone is ACTUALLY doing.

I’ll be the first to admit it. I frequently used numbing cream “the wrong way”, because it was more cost-effective and I didn't lose as many clients.

And let me tell you something, most artists are NOT playing by the rules because ultimately their clients find it annoying and then they lose sales.

Before I go any further let’s go over THE RIGHT way to buy, administer and keep numbing cream on your premises.

The ‘right way’ to store and administer numbing cream:

A little while ago I made a video about the laws and regulations around numbing cream in QLD (disclaimer, this blog discusses the laws in QLD, Australia, but may still be relevant to your state laws).


In this video, I outline the legislation around numbing cream and our limitations as cosmetic tattoo artists.

If you haven’t seen the video I’ll give you a very quick rundown:

  • We can’t legally administer numbing cream to our clients
  • We can’t legally keep numbing cream on our premises
  • Our clients have to keep their own numbing cream with them. That means bringing it to their appointments and taking it home
  • The client has to get the numbing cream delivered to their house, or pick it up themselves from the chemist, they must be in possession of it at all times
  • The clients have to apply their own numbing cream, even during the treatment

Why? Because numbing cream is considered a ‘poison/drug’ that affects our nervous system and we are not registered nurses, pharmacists, or doctors who are covered/endorsed under the HDPR.

So how do we get around this so we don’t lose business or get fined?


  • You can verbally ask if the client would like you to apply the numbing cream to them; recommended to get them to sign the agreement on their consultation form before applying.
  • You can email their medical consultation form to your preferred compounding chemist prior to their appointment so the chemist can make the cream for the client according to their medical history
  • You can then organise with that chemist to get the numbing cream sent to the client’s house, for them to bring to their appointment

Let me just interject here and say this is a great time-saving approach as you will save 30 min of waiting for the numbing when they arrive at their appointments if you organise for the client to apply their numbing cream on the way to their treatment (side note, this is of course not recommended for eyeliner treatments)

  • If you have the luxury of working with a nurse on-premises you can keep numbing cream on premises under their endorsement


Ok so let’s cover why we are all doing “the wrong thing”:

I will be the first to admit it: I have tried them all. TKTX, Magic, Numb it, Emla (TERRIBLE!), everything. I’ve tried them all in my treatments and I can tell you the one that works the best … compounding chemist numbing cream!

There are certain numbing creams that are not regulated in Australia, if they are not sold at a chemist, they are not regulated and therefore listed as “illegal”.

  • TKTX (40% Numbing is way too high and can cause chemical burns on the skin/eyes)
  • Magic (Not as strong as the numbing cream you can purchase in Australia)
  • Numb it (the tube is too large for such small areas of cosmetic tattooing and you will waste your money)

Emla can be purchased in a chemist however it only has a numbing strength of 4% and does absolutely NOTHING to help ease the pain. Avoid purchasing this at all costs

The reason that we are all doing the “wrong thing” is because we are not purchasing individual numbing creams for each client, and we are not sending our clients home with their numbing cream.

This is because buying numbing cream for each client at $50 each is a waste of money and product (as you won’t ever use it all during their two treatments), and asking your clients to remember to bring their own cream with them again to each appointment is risky, some of us can’t even remember to turn on the dishwasher in the morning.

The other important reason to remember is that numbing cream expires after around 3 months and fresh numbing cream is always more effective.

Of course, whatever decision you decide to make about keeping numbing cream on your premises is your own choice and this may mean trialing different approaches depending on your client’s need.

Where do you find the BEST numbing cream?

If you want to find a chemist in your area where you can purchase numbing cream for your clients, you may have to call around as some of them won’t supply to anyone.

The creams that you are looking for are the following:

Before: 6% Lidocaine, 4% Tetracaine

During: 6% Lidocaine, 4% Tetracaine and 0.1% Epinephrine

My recommendation is to use The Artisian Chemist . All you have to do is sign up to account with them, and ask for before and during numbing cream for a cosmetic tattoo treatment.

Once you order off their site, they will express post it to you anywhere in Australia.

Thank you for reading and I hope this helped answer some questions you may have around numbing cream laws and what everyone else is doing in their salons.

If you are just starting out in the world of cosmetic tattoo or you are a current artist who still has questions about how to navigate this industry please send me a message on our socials or an email. I am always happy to help answer any questions and I’m always an open book of honesty when it comes to what you should and shouldn’t do.

Much Love,


Never stop learning 💕

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