Read our guide for detailed information about 3 most popular methods of microblading removal – how they’re done, if they work, and how much they cost.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2020. Updated September 2021.
When microblading works out and you’re thrilled with your fabulous new brows that don’t have to be filled in every day, you can enjoy them for months, and even longer with an occasional touch-up.
But even if you pick an experienced, certified artist, there’s always a chance you won’t be completely satisfied your microbladed brows for whatever reason and want to have them removed. If that happens, it’s highly advisable to try fading first. However, if fading doesn’t give satisfactory results, there are several options for total microblading removal.
Let’s take a look at the most effective microblading removal options.
There are 3 relatively effective options for straight-up removal of microblading pigments: laser removal, saline removal, and glycolic acid removal.
If fading is too much hassle for you or it simply didn’t give the expected results, you might want to look into microblading removal. However, it is very important to note that these treatments are quite invasive, relatively painful, and include a 6-week healing process.
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Basically, PMU pigments are removed with a laser in the same way as a tattoo.
The laser beam penetrates the skin and dissolves the pigment so that the body can absorb it. Although PMU pigments are easier to break down than tattoo ink, total laser microblading removal can’t be achieved in a single session – it usually takes between 4 and 6 to remove significantly visible pigments.
Depending on the ingredients of the pigment, it might take a few months, because the skin needs time to heal after each session.
It’s also worth noting that laser isn’t very effective for removing reddish and yellowish pigments which contain high amounts of titanium dioxide.
If you are unhappy with the results of your treatment for any of the reasons we mentioned, laser microblading removal is a justified option. However, unless you’re dealing with strokes of light shade or a very faded shadow, it’s possible laser removal won’t be effective on its own. The same goes for yellow and red pigments.
If the microblading is dark and relatively fresh, it’s advised to fade it as much as possible first.
Note: If you have a darker skin tone, make sure you go to a laser removal specialist who has experience and knows how to safely remove microblading from dark skin. Laser microblading removal on dark skin carries more risk of hyper- and hypopigmentation and keloid formation.
The removal specialist has to be careful with choosing the right wavelength. It’s also possible you’ll need more sessions, as inks and pigments are more resilient to removal from dark skin.
The treatment itself usually comes with a local anesthetic, as it can get quite painful.
After the laser session, an ointment is applied and the area is bandaged up. Once the anesthetic wears off, there will probably be some pain, but nothing ibuprofen can’t solve.
However, it should be noted that this is an invasive procedure, so there is inevitable damage to the tissue. The area will most likely be covered in scabs for a few days, there will be redness and bruising.
Also, if your skin is prone to keloids – intense formation of scar tissue – laser might not be the best option.
There’s another disadvantage: the laser also removes the hairs. Your natural brow hairs will inevitably be affected by the laser ray, which will bleach them and make them fragile. It won’t damage the hair follicles though, so your hairs should grow back out just fine.
Since the skin is broken, the healing process may include swelling, scabbing, redness, tenderness, flaking, even some scarring, but the specialist usually prescribes an ointment that should relieve the symptoms. The symptoms are severe for 2-3 days. After that, there is some itchiness.
The prices of laser microblading removal, the same process as tattoo removal, start at $100 per session, but the average price is more like $215.
A general impression is that using a saline solution to fade microblading is a more effective solution than laser removal. It can only be done by trained aestheticians, and the price varies.
Since the incisions made follow the microblading strokes, some technicians call it reverse microblading.
Saline solution emerged as a spin off on microneedling, and it’s done by opening up the skin above the unwanted pigments and depositing a solution based on sea salt into the incisions. The solution dries up the pigments and they are pulled out of the skin through scabbing.
Some estheticians advertise this method as a fading option for microblading, since the pigments are removed gradually, but the results of saline removal are so efficient it’s actually removing microblading.
Saline removal can help anyone who wants to remove unsatisfactory results of microblading, but may take some time and patience. It’s very effective with lighter pigments and shadows. These can usually be taken care of in one or two sessions.
Clients who want to get rid of dark pigments will most likely have to get multiple sessions, but the results will be satisfactory. You just need to be a bit more patient.
Unlike laser, saline removal works on all pigment colors, including red and yellow.
Most clients report that no, saline removal doesn’t really hurt per se.
The usual practice is to apply a topical anesthetic – numbing cream – onto the treated area, and wait until it starts working before starting the procedure. Although the feeling is a bit uncomfortable, clients report it’s not too bad, since they’ve already had microblading so they know what to expect.
The skin heals more quickly than after a laser session.
The saline removal healing process is a lot like microblading healing, since the technique is very similar.
Your technician will give you some simple aftercare instructions to follow for successful skin recovery, similar to these:
If you realize you regret getting microblading and you decide you want to remove it immediately after the procedure, emergency saline removal can be done within the first 48 hours after the treatment.
It is done differently than saline removal after the microblading has healed – there is no need for opening the skin again since the wound is still fresh. Saline solution is applied to the incisions to extract the pigments.
If more than 48 hours have passed, the scabbing stage may start and there’s risk of scarring, so emergency microblading removal is no longer possible.
Saline microblading removal is charged either per hour or per session. The more sessions you need, the higher the final cost
The average cost is $250 per session.
Another effective method of microblading removal is glycolic acid removal. This technique is very similar to saline removal, the only difference is the chemical solution.
Glycolic acid removal uses a combination of glycolic and lactic acids mixed with other ingredients. The formula binds the pigments to itself and they are extracted through the scab.
The price is somewhat higher than saline removal, though – it’s around $400 per session.
For more information on glycolic acid removal of microblading, visit our Glycolic Acid PMU Removal Guide.
Microblading removal should be done by a professional at a clinic or specialized salon.
What you can do at home, however, is fade your microblading to a degree.
Certain skincare ingredients are known to accelerate microblading fading, as do mechanical and chemical peels. Some claim rosehip seed oil is a way to remove pigments at home. Apparently, massaging it into the skin 3 times a day for 2 weeks should lift the pigments.
All this can cause fading, but not removal altogether.
Generally, it is not advisable to have your microblading removed during pregnancy, just like it’s not safe to get microblading while pregnant or breastfeeding.
All 3 microblading removal methods involve breaking the surface of the skin, which means there’s a risk of infection, and subsequent need for antibiotics treatment. This is why you should postpone these treatments until you’ve given birth and stopped breastfeeding.
Microblading removal has become very popular and many technicians have perfected the service, so if you want to get rid of old or unattractive microblading, there are efficient ways.
Generally, it’s advisable to try fading first. Once you get the results down to a lighter shade, there are several options to completely remove them. The most obvious option is laser microblading removal, but this is quite aggressive, and it involves many sessions and a long recovery after each of them, and success is not guaranteed.
More efficient options are glycolic acid and saline microblading removal, which work for both light and dark pigments.
Whichever removal option you choose, be prepared for multiple sessions.