Undoing Permanent Makeup: Laser vs. Saline Removal - Which is Right for You?

lift lightening lift removal lightening permanent makeup
Eyebrow lightening/removal done by Ms Amber Red

Permanent makeup can be a game-changer, offering convenience and confidence in your daily beauty routine. However, what happens when you're ready for a change or aren't satisfied with the results? Permanent makeup does fade in time, but fading can vary depending on your skin health, how deep the pigment is etc. Thankfully, advancements in cosmetic procedures have made it possible to remove unwanted permanent makeup. If you're considering removal, you'll likely come across two primary methods: laser removal and saline removal. Let's explore the pros and cons of each to help you make an informed decision.

Laser Removal:

Laser removal is a popular method for removing unwanted permanent makeup. It involves using high-intensity light beams to break down the pigment particles in the skin, allowing the body to absorb and eliminate them gradually carrying the particles out through the lymphatic system. 


  1. Precision Targeting: Laser removal offers precise targeting of pigment particles, making it effective for removing even intricate designs or densely pigmented areas.

  2. Speed: In many cases, laser removal requires fewer sessions compared to other methods, potentially reducing overall treatment time. The overall session is quick in compared to saline lightening in most cases. 

  3. Minimal Scarring: When performed by a skilled technician, laser removal typically results in minimal scarring and less damage to surrounding skin tissue.


  1. Pain and Discomfort: Laser removal can be painful, with sensations often described as similar to being snapped with a rubber band. Topical numbing creams can help manage discomfort during the procedure.

  2. Risk of Hyperpigmentation: In some cases, laser removal may cause temporary or permanent hyperpigmentation, especially in individuals with darker skin tones. Proper aftercare and sun protection are essential to minimize this risk.

  3. Cost: Laser removal can be more expensive than other removal methods, especially if multiple sessions are required to achieve desired results.

Saline Removal:

Saline removal, also known as saline tattoo removal or saline tattoo lightening, involves tattooing a specialized saline solution over the existing permanent makeup. The saline solution breaks down the pigment, then the pigment is trapped within a scab (the body's natural healing properties) and then the pigment is lifted up and out of the skin through the scab.


  1. Works On Any Color: Saline removal doesn't recognize color only pigment particles, so it is successful at removing all colors, without changing to specific lasers. 

  2. Less Painful: While discomfort may still be experienced during the procedure, some individuals find saline removal to be less painful than laser removal.

  3. Reduced Risk of Hyperpigmentation/Hypopigmentation: Saline removal carries a lower risk of hyper or hypo pigmentation compared to laser removal, making it a safer option for individuals with darker skin tones. However, hyper and hypo pigmentation is still possible with any removal options, sometimes a patch test may be requested for both laser and or saline removal. 


  1. Multiple Sessions Required: Saline removal typically requires multiple sessions spaced several weeks apart to achieve desired results, potentially extending the overall treatment time.

  2. Longer session time: Unlike laser removal, saline removal may take a bit longer session wise. Lasers are fast. Saline is done in a process very similar to the tattoo process, so it can take up to an hour per session.

  3. Possibility of Scarring: While rare, saline removal can still result in scarring, especially if proper aftercare instructions are not followed diligently.

When it comes to removing unwanted permanent makeup, both laser and saline removal offer viable options. Ultimately, the best choice depends on factors such as the type and location of the permanent makeup, skin type, budget, and desired outcome. Consulting with a qualified cosmetic and laser technician is crucial to determine the most suitable removal method for your individual needs. Whether you opt for laser removal or saline removal, taking the time to research and weigh the pros and cons will help ensure a successful and satisfying outcome.

Do you have unwanted/bad permanent makeup you'd like to get removed? Fill out our form HERE to schedule a consultation.

Are you a PMU artist looking to get trained in LiFT Lightening? Click HERE to inquire!

Have you checked out our latest episode with Viva Vanish? We discuss all things removal/lightening! Click HERE to listen!