Find out all you need to know about 3 methods of eyeliner tattoo removal – how effective they are, how they work, risks, cost, and more.
Permanent eyeliner is a great solution for anyone who loves wearing on-point eyeliner, but doesn’t like reapplying it every day. It can recreate a number of looks that won’t come off for up to 3 years, or even longer. Which is perfect when it works out and you love your eyeliner tattoo.
But there are cases where the PMU blessing becomes a curse, and waiting for it to fade is not an option.
If you’re dealing with an eyeliner tattoo you no longer want, or need to correct some of its imperfections that emerged over the years, you might be considering eyeliner tattoo removal.
PMUHub brings you a guide on how to remove permanent eyeliner.
Good news – permanent eyeliner removal is definitely possible.
It does, however, require time, patience, and a not insignificant amount of money.
You will need to go through a series of removal treatments that gradually lighten the PMU pigments, eventually fading them out so much they become invisible.
You can have the entire tattoo removed, or you can get partial eyeliner tattoo removal and correct any spots where pigments may have moved, or get rid of that thick wing you got on a whim.
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Image source: Instagram @phimaster_zarrin
No, there’s no method of at-home eyeliner tattoo removal that works.
That said, you can contribute a bit to fading your eyeliner by frequent exfoliation, or by using skincare ingredients known to fade PMU pigments, like Retinol. Frequent exposure to sunlight and salt or pool water can also accelerate pigment fading.
All these can make the eyeliner tattoo a bit lighter, but not remove it.
Laser is the oldest method of tattoo removal, and it can be used to remove permanent makeup, too.
The laser beam penetrates the skin and targets the PMU pigments. It uses light energy to shatter pigment molecules into even smaller particles that white blood cells can carry away. The pigments are extracted from within.
With each session, the laser breaks down more and more pigment molecules, leading to gradual fading. In order to avoid damage to the skin, the process has to be done gradually.
Laser eyeliner tattoo removal is very efficient and works great on black and deep brown pigments generally used for eyeliner PMU but it takes time and patience.
It requires up to 8 sessions, or even more, for complete removal. The number of sessions you need depends on the saturation of pigments in the skin, the formula of the pigment, and how deep it was injected.
Image source: Instagram @grantclinic
Generally, yes, if the removal tech knows what they’re doing.
However, not every laser device can work on the sensitive skin of the eyelids. Also, not every laser is safe for working on darker skin (the wrong wavelength can cause hypo- and hyper-pigmentation).
The treatment requires putting ocular shields into the eyes. They’re kind of like metal contact lenses. They protect the cornea from the laser beams. A bit uncomfortable, especially if you’ve never worn lenses, but they keep your eyes safe.
We won’t lie, laser eyeliner tattoo removal is not comfortable.
A type of local anesthetic is used to diminish the pain, but the eyelid area is so delicate that you will probably feel some less than pleasant sensations.
Luckily, a session takes about 15 minutes.
The average laser eyeliner tattoo removal cost is around $250 per session. You will probably need up to 8 sessions, so the bills can pile up.
Since eyeliner tattoo removal requires a special skill and equipment, it’s a bit more expensive than laser eyebrow tattoo removal.
First, laser eyeliner tattoo removal is only possible if the tattoo is at least 6 months old. If it’s fresher than that, the concentration of pigment in the skin can cause the laser beam to damage the skin.
Second, laser removal doesn’t work for reddish and yellowish pigments. Eyeliner tattoos are usually black, but if you have a warm brownish eyeliner tattoo, you may need to combine removal methods.
Saline removal is a technique used primarily for removing permanent makeup, and it works equally well for all pigment colors.
Saline removal is a non-laser technique that extracts the pigments directly from the skin. It’s done by opening up the skin above the unwanted pigments with a machine or a manual shading tool, and injecting a saline solution (a sterile solution of salt) into the cuts.
The salt dries up the pigments, and once the skin starts healing, the scab that’s formed takes a certain amount of pigment with it.
Yes, saline permanent eyeliner removal is very efficient, but again, you have to be patient. Most clients need 2-6 sessions to get satisfactory results.
Image source: Instagram @cosmeticcliniccalgary
Saline eyeliner tattoo removal requires opening up the skin, so it entails a risk of permanent scarring. This shouldn’t occur if the technician is experienced and knows how much pressure to apply, but the skin of the eyelids is so delicate that it takes a special skill to treat.
That’s why many removal techs who remove brow PMU don’t do eyeliner tattoo removal.
Saline permanent makeup removal is basically reverse tattooing, and the technique is virtually the same as PMU application.
Since you already had PMU, you know what to expect. A local anesthetic is used to diminish the pain, but some discomfort is inevitable. A session takes about an hour, and having someone poke around your eyes for that long is uncomfortable even without needles.
But the general impression is that it’s more bearable than laser.
The average saline eyebrow tattoo removal cost is around $300 per session. You will probably need around 6 sessions, so it’s not a small investment.
Since eyeliner tattoo removal requires a special skill, it’s a bit more expensive than saline eyebrow tattoo removal.
The scabbing after saline eyeliner tattoo removal can be quite heavy, so prepare for some further discomfort. No matter how heavy it gets, you mustn’t touch the scabs!
A technique very similar to saline permanent eyeliner removal, the only difference is the removal solution used.
A lot like saline.
Glycolic acid removal is another non-laser technique that extracts the pigments directly from the skin. Again, the skin above the unwanted pigments is opened with a machine or a manual shading tool, and a removal solution based on glycolic and lactic acids is injected into the cuts.
The formula usually contains additional ingredients that stimulate faster healing, or give other benefits.
The solution binds the pigment molecules to itself, and once the skin starts healing, the scab that’s formed takes a certain amount of pigment with it.
Yes, in fact, glycolic acid is considered to potentially become the best technique for eyeliner tattoo removal.
It takes 2-6 or more sessions for total removal, but some removal techs who offer multiple techniques claim glycolic acid is more gentle on the skin than saline.
Image source: Instagram @phibrasilcursos
Glycolic acid eyeliner tattoo removal requires opening up the skin, so it entails a risk of permanent scarring. This shouldn’t occur if the technician is experienced and knows how much pressure to apply, but the skin of the eyelids is so delicate that it takes a special skill to treat.
That’s why many removal techs who remove brow PMU don’t do eyeliner tattoo removal.
Glycolic acid permanent eyeliner removal is a bit pricier than the other 2 techniques – the average price is around $400 per session. That said, you can find techs who charge much less than that, but it may take some research.
Glycolic acid solutions can vary significantly from one brand to another. They often contain various natural extracts that are supposed to speed up healing, and these ingredients can cause allergies in some clients.
It’s advisable to do a patch test and check before the first procedure.
In case your permanent eyeliner has “bled out” in some spots, you may not have to have the whole thing removed.
The skin of the eyelids has special properties, and permanent eyeliner is prone to pigment migration. This most often happens in the outer corners, and it can make the whole thing look very messy.
If that’s the case, you can get partial eyeliner tattoo removal and just get that spot fixed. Any of the above described techniques will work, and you probably won’t need as many sessions as you would for total removal.
Image source: Instagram @lindsey_the_esthi
After each removal session, your skin will go through a healing period very similar to the healing after you got your eyeliner tattoo.
It will be swollen and reddish for the first 2 days, scabs will form, and once they start falling off, you’ll go through a peeling period. Remember – you mustn’t touch the scabs!
All this should be over by day 14, but internal healing takes longer than that. You have to let the tissue recover entirely before you can get another removal session, so 6-8 weeks after each one.
Whichever method of removal you’re getting, there are some universal aftercare instructions you need
Follow these tips after each permanent eyeliner removal session, to avoid complications and get the best results possible:
PMUHUb Note: These aftercare rules are general. If your removal tech advises a routine different from the one described above, listen to them and follow their advice as closely as possible.
Although these methods are quite safe under the condition you go to a trained, certified, and experienced removal technician, they do imply breaking the surface of the skin. The possible risks are:
Image source: Instagram @arviv_aesthetics
There are 3 effective methods of permanent eyeliner removal – laser, saline, and glycolic acid removal.
The choice of removal method depends on the state of your tattoo, so it’s best to book a consultation appointment with a removal specialist and let them assess what approach would be best.
In any case, you will likely need multiple sessions, with 6-8 weeks of healing between them. The average eyeliner tattoo removal cost per session is $250 – $300 for laser and saline, and $400 for glycolic acid removal.