Cosmetic tattoos have been growing increasingly common in recent years. Unfortunately, that also means bad permanent makeup is becoming more prevalent, so many people are opting for permanent makeup removal. Others are choosing to remove permanent makeup that has faded. If you’re wondering how to remove your permanent makeup, laser removal could be the best option. However, it ultimately depends on the pigment or ink used.

What is Permanent Makeup?

Permanent makeup can be considered a superficial tattoo since the pigment is not inserted as deeply into the skin as with a regular tattoo. It typically lasts from a year to three years, as Cosmopolitan explains.

What are some common types of permanent cosmetics?

  • Eyeliner: Liner applied in your choice of style.
  • Microblading: Thin hair-like tattoos that make eyebrows look more filled in.
  • Blush: Tattoos that accentuate cheekbones.
  • Lip blushing: Lining and filling in of the lips.
  • Freckles: Tiny dots across the face that mimic freckles.
  • Scar concealer: A tattoo that makes a scar hard to detect.

People sometimes want to remove permanent makeup because it can fade unevenly. Blush can begin to look like blemishes over time, reports Allure. Additionally, some pigments used in permanent makeup tattoos contain iron oxide, which can oxidize and change color over time. 

In other cases, people immediately realize their permanent makeup does not create the look they were striving for. Some people aren’t happy with the shape of their eyebrows. Some chose an inexpensive artist rather than a professional with a great portfolio, notes Amber Curtis, a highly-skilled Removery technician. In any case, laser removal can often serve as a viable option for removing a cosmetic tattoo.

Cosmetic Tattoo vs. Regular Tattoo Ink 

What is the difference between cosmetic tattoo ink and regular tattoo ink, and how does that affect removal options?

Pigment vs. tattoo ink

Cosmetic tattoos sometimes use pigment rather than ink. This is a newer trend, says Cooper Ferreira, an RN-turned-Removery-technician and regional manager. The type of pigment used affects whether Removery can perform tattoo removal on your permanent makeup. Permanent eyeliner, lip blushing, lip liner, and freckle tattoos are almost always created with pigments, not ink. Eyebrows and scalp micropigmentation often uses traditional tattoo ink, making laser removal more viable. 

Pigments will not have good outcomes with laser removal. “More often than not, they’ll change color,” says Cooper. “Like, bright orange.” Removery holds our high standards by not doing procedures unless we’re completely confident in their success.

The colors used in the tattoo

In some cases, a permanent cosmetic tattoo can be more challenging to remove than a traditional tattoo. Why? The colors of traditional tattoos contrast sharply with the skin. Their bold blacks, reds, and greens are therefore much easier for a laser’s wavelength to target, explains Amber. However, the organic compounds in permanent makeup pigment are closer to the natural skin tone, making it more challenging for the laser wavelength to target those hues. If it is possible for laser removal to handle your permanent makeup tattoo, Removery’s top-of-the-line PicoWay laser will be able to remove it.

Saline Tattoo Removal Vs. Laser Tattoo Removal

While lasers are the best method of removing tattoo ink, certain pigments used in cosmetic tattoos don’t always respond well to laser removal treatment. The ingredients in these pigments can be very different from those used in traditional tattoo ink, and laser treatment may change the color of some of these pigments, rather than the desired effect of lightening them. Often a cosmetic tattoo artist will gain training in saline tattoo removal so they can easily remove unwanted permanent makeup tattoos. In situations where the tattoo is smaller, saline tattoo removal treatment can sometimes work better – regardless, our tattoo removal artists at Removery will be able to recommend the best method for you.

permanent eyebrow tattoo removal

Microblading and Powdered Brows

Brow tattoos are applied by inserting tiny ink particles below the epidermis into the dermis (a process called micropigmentation). Removery can often remove brow tattoos because they’re created with tattoo ink. People sometimes decide to have this type of tattoo removed if the color has changed or if they don’t like the shape and look of the brows.

Learn more about how Removery can help with eyebrow tattoo removal!

Eyebrow Tattoo Removal

Scalp Micropigmentation

Similar to eyebrow tattoos, scalp micropigmentation involves creating tiny dots that look like hairs on the head which creates the appearance of a fuller head of hair if a person is balding or has sparse hair. Removery can usually handle removal of scalp micropigmentation, since it typically uses tattoo ink.

Learn more about Removery’s scalp micropigmentation removal services!

Scalp Micropigmentation

Scar Cover Up Tattoos

A scar cover up tattoo conceals a scar on the face or other part of the body. A scar cover up tattoo can fade unevenly, creating a blotchy appearance. Depending on the pigment used, Removery may be able to remove this type of tattoo.

Cover Up Tattoos

Permanent Eyeliner

Permanent eyeliner can allow people to have a polished look at all times. Someone might seek out eyeliner tattoo removal if they don’t like the look their artist created or if the color has changed. However, permanent eyeliner normally uses pigment rather than ink, so laser removal often isn’t an appropriate solution.

Lip Blushing and Lip Liner Tattoos

Lip blushing and liner uses micropigmentation to create the appearance of fuller or more vibrant lips. People may seek out lip tattoo removal if the color has changed or the artist didn’t create the desired look. Removery usually cannot remove this type of cosmetic tattoo because the pigments used in the tattoos don’t respond well to laser removal.

Freckle Tattoos

Sometimes freckle tattoos help to create a youthful look. However, they often fade unevenly and unfortunately the pigments do not respond well to laser removal.

Start with a Cosmetic Tattoo Removal Consultation

Since every cosmetic tattoo is different, we begin with a free consultation before starting any treatments. We’ll explain the process and determine how you can achieve your cosmetic tattoo removal goals.


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Permanent Makeup & Cosmetic Tattoo Removal Before And Afters

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Permanent Makeup Removal Aftercare

When removing a permanent cosmetic tattoo, clients must follow the same aftercare guidelines as they would for any tattoo removal:

  • Avoiding sun exposure.
  • Keeping the area clean and dry for three days.
  • Never popping blisters or picking scabs.
  • Avoiding vigorous exercise for the first 24 hours.
  • Avoiding smoking and alcohol for optimal immune health.

Because cosmetic tattoos are usually on the face or head, clients must be especially vigilant about staying out of the sun or using a good sunscreen with zinc.

It is also crucial to avoid washing the area or using any makeup or creams for the first three days, aside from the hydrocortisone cream recommended by your laser technician. Always follow your technician’s aftercare instructions exactly, and visit our tattoo removal aftercare page for more info on this topic.

Permanent Makeup Removal FAQs

Our specialists answer the most common questions we hear about cosmetic removal.

Book a Permanent Makeup Removal Consultation

Schedule a tattoo removal consultation with the experienced specialists at Removery to learn whether makeup tattoo removal is right for you. 

About the Contributors 

Amber Curtis is a licensed aesthetician and tattoo artist who now works as a laser removal specialist with Removery. She handles different ink and skin types on a daily basis. Previously, she was a permanent makeup artist who did microblading as well as machine work. Amber has worked in the tattoo industry for almost 10 years and in removal for three. We asked Amber why she liked working with Removery  and she mentioned that “This is the trailblazer of all laser tattoo removal companies. They set a path for laser removal in the industry”.

Cooper Ferreira, RN  has a bachelor’s of science in nursing degree and previously worked as a pediatric ICU nurse. He transitioned into tattoo work because he loves the industry and believes in normalizing the removal process. A huge number of people have tattoo regret, and he wants that to change. He’s been working as a laser technician for three years and is now a regional manager for Removery.