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Tattoo Removal

How Lasers React to Different Colors of Ink

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Learn about the science behind laser tattoo removal!

If you’re considering tattoo removal, you might be wondering exactly how technicians use the technology. You may be thinking, “Will lasers be able to remove the specific colors in my tattoo?” After all, tattoo removal is a big commitment, so you want to feel sure it will work before getting started. We understand exactly how you feel, as many of us have undergone the tattoo removal journey ourselves. To address your questions, our founder and VP of Clinical Operations, Carmen Brodie explains how particular laser wavelengths target certain colors of ink.

How Are Different Wavelengths Used In Tattoo Removal?

Our technicians use the PicoWay laser, which can utilize different wavelengths to remove tattoo ink. Think of wavelengths as the tools in our toolbox, says Carmen. Each works best for certain jobs. “Lasers, in general, have several different wavelengths,” she explains.

Here Are Common Wavelengths Used And The Colors They Target:


  • 532 for warm tones like oranges and reds
  • 730 and 785 for blues, greens, and purples
  • 1064 for blacks and grays

“1064 is probably the most-used wavelength in tattoo removal, no matter what machine you have,” Carmen says. “Most of them start with a 1064. That addresses your blacks and your grays.” Most colors have black and gray in them, which is why we use the 1064 so much. “It’s safe for all skin types,” Carmen asserts. “Between all of those wavelengths that we use, we can generally [remove] most colors on most skin types.”

We’ll usually begin treating a red ink with a 1064 wavelength, she continues. “Red generally has a dark component too, so we’re gonna grab that out, and then we’ll address the organic red with the 532.” In contrast, treating a red with a 730 wavelength wouldn’t work as well because it’s drawn to blues, greens, and purples.

How Does The Type Of Ink Used Affect Laser Removal?

“The composition of ink is difficult…there’s no FDA approval on ink, so it can be a mixture of absolutely anything,” Carmen says. Synthetic inks can prove particularly challenging to remove. The sky’s the limit for the combination of components involved. “Some of them even have plastic components in them, or some of the inks have iron oxide, which makes them more difficult to remove,” she says.

What Ink Colors Are The Easiest And Hardest To Remove?

“The least difficult color to remove is black,” says Carmen. “The most difficult colors to remove are generally blues and greens,” However, a skilled technician can use the 730 and 785 wavelengths to remove them (or fade them enough for a coverup).

“Whites, we don’t even address…because there’s no science out there; there’s no wavelength out there that can see the white.” Generally speaking, if a technician attempted to remove white, it would oxidize and turn “a really funky color,” explains Carmen.

You might think a tattoo with dark black lines would be the hardest to remove, but the opposite is actually the case. “Black is the easiest to remove because you can get the most depth of penetration with the laser,” says Carmen. “So there’s just a very clear line to the black. The laser sees it very easily.”

The 1064 wavelength was tailor-made to address black ink, whereas other lasers were originally designed for a completely different purpose. “Some of the wavelengths are not exactly designed to remove a pigment,” says Carmen. “The 730 really was designed for hyperpigmentation, but then somebody discovered that it also worked really well on blue and green tattoos, and 1064 is made to see those black particles.”

Tattoo Removal With Removery

At Removery, our skilled technicians have successfully faded over 250,000 tattoos to complete removal. Book a free consultation with one of our specialists today to discuss your removal options! They’ll assess your individual needs and determine the best course of action. Interested in if tattoo removal is painful? or how the Fitzpatrick scale plays a factor in removing tattoos on different skin types? Check out videos 101.4 and 101.3 of the tattoo removal 101 series with Carmen Brodie, Removery’s V.P. of Clinical Operations.

Get your free estimate

We’re on a mission to give you the most straightforward, easy and efficient laser tattoo removal experience. Your estimate will be entirely bespoke to your tattoo; the size, the colours, the ink. It won’t take long and afterwards you’ll have a plan to finally get rid of your unwanted tattoo and get back to being you.

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