Permanent Makeup Brow Removal: Laser vs. Saline Removal and Our Approach to Brow Correction

Brow Tattoo Removal vs Correction

Permanent Makeup Brow Removal: Laser vs. Saline Removal and Our Approach to Brow Correction

If you’re unhappy with your permanent eyebrows and want to compare the effectiveness of two main permanent makeup removal methods: saline removal vs. laser brow removal, read on. Understanding tattoo removal limitations may prevent you from making a hasty, and possibly unnecessary decision.

Brow tattoos have become a popular permanent makeup solution for people seeking full, defined brows without the time-consuming daily ritual of makeup application. According to GitNux 2024 Market Data for Permanent Makeup:

  • 35% of women use some form of permanent makeup.
  • Over 60% of permanent makeup clients seek eyebrow tattoos.
  • Because of permanent makeup’s popularity, refinements in technique and technologies, the industry is expected to grow by 14% CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) between 2020 and 2027.

As with any popular cosmetic procedure, results are not created equally. Brows may not be the right colour, shape, density, or perhaps the brow style becomes outdated as trends change. These are the main reasons people seek brow tattoo removal.

In this blog post, we describe the differences between two main cosmetic tattoo removal methods: laser and saline. We’ll also explain why Halcyon Cosmetic & Skin Clinic prefers saline removal – a method that minimized skin damage and scar formation. Moreover, we’ll share our philosophy of correcting brows before resorting to removal, ensuring the least amount of trauma to your skin while minimizing pain, time, and costs.

Understanding Laser Eyebrow Tattoo Removal

Laser removal is a common method used to remove unwanted tattoos, including permanent makeup. Contrary to popular belief, laser removal does not “break down” particles of pigment in the skin, as in many cases these particles are already extremely small! Instead, the concentrated beam of light that is emitted from the laser bursts the dermal macrophages (white blood cells in the skin) that contain the pigment. This causes the contents to spill and they are then either carried away by the lymphatic fluid or reabsorbed by new dermal macrophages. This results in the gradual fading of the tattoo.

Pros of Laser Brow Removal

  • Highly effective – especially for darker pigments.
  • Can remove larger tattoos in less time than other methods.
  • Minimal recovery time.
  • Pain and discomfort and can be minimized.
  • Laser tattoo removal is safe if the right equipment and techniques are employed. For example, according to this study, Q-switched 1064nm Nd:YAG lasers are safest for darker skin types.
  • Laser can precisely target areas of the cosmetic tattoo.
  • Laser can cause burns, blisters, hypopigmentation (skin lightening), hyperpigmentation (skin darkening), scarring and skin texture changes. Source: “Complications of Tattoos and Tattoo Removal: Stop and Think Before you ink”.
  • Laser removal can be time consuming. According to Cleveland Clinic, it can take 6-12 sessions or more to remove a tattoo with laser.
  • Laser removal can be costly – much more than the cost of the original brow tattoo or brow correction.
  • Laser may not remove the tattoo entirely and can leave a “ghost image” that is still visible.
  • Laser removal can be quite painful.
  • Some ink colours, such as tan or brown, contain titanium dioxide (a white pigment) that is not recommended for laser removal. Pigments containing titanium dioxide can darken or turn black or grey after laser. It can also be difficult to determine if a tattoo colour contains white pigment because many colour tints can be created by mixing white with another colour. Source: “Laser Tattoo Removal”, Eric F. Bernstein, MD, 2007, PubMed.

Understanding Saline Eyebrow Tattoo Removal

Saline removal doesn’t rely on light and heat energy as laser does. Saline brow tattoo removal uses a solution containing saline (i.e. “sodium chloride”) and other ingredients. Sodium chloride is table salt, which is used to lift the pigment out of the skin in a process known as osmosis. In osmosis, water is naturally drawn to an area containing more salt.

During brow tattoo removal, a highly concentrated salt solution is applied to the tattooed area and the concentration difference between the solution and the skin causes movement of extracellular fluid (fluids outside of the cells). In addition, the high osmotic pressure ruptures dermal macrophages (a type of white blood cell) in the targeted area, which then releases intracellular fluids that contain the pigment particles.

Although all fluid is drawn to the surface of the skin, some of the pigment particles are reabsorbed by new dermal macrophages which is why, like laser removal, the process is slow and gradual.

Pros of Saline Removal

  • Often results in less skin damage, because unlike laser, saline removal doesn’t rely on heat, reducing the risk of burns, blisters, hypopigmentation, hyperpigmentation, and scarring.
  • Saline removal is a natural process that works via osmosis and the body’s natural healing process, promoting gentle tattoo pigment extraction.
  • Can be used on most skin types and colours and is effective with most pigments.
  • Saline removal is approximately half the cost of laser removal.
  • A good choice for permanent makeup tattoos because the size of area being treated is small.

Cons of Saline Removal

  • Like laser, multiple sessions are often required to completely remove the brow tattoo.
  • While saline removal is less painful than laser, it can still cause discomfort. It may feel similar to having a permanent makeup tattoo or body tattoo.
  • Less efficient than laser which can cover a larger area in a shorter period of time.
  • Doesn’t work well on larger areas of tattooing (such as body art tattoos) because it would take far too long.

View the LiFT saline removal FAQ at Li Pigments.

The Halcyon Cosmetic & Skin Clinic Approach
– Brow correction before brow removal

While many permanent makeup artists might recommend laser or saline brow tattoo removal at the first sign of discoloured or misshapen brows, we believe in a more measured approach. The certified brow technicians at Halcyon Cosmetic & Skin Clinic have extensive experience correcting subpar brow tattoo work performed by other permanent makeup artists. After years of correction and removal work, we’ve adopted a policy to improve the brows with as little trauma to the skin as possible before resorting to removal. Here’s why:

Expertise in Brow Tattoo Correction

We specialize in working with brows that have faded, discoloured, or been poorly shaped. Our skilled technicians can often correct the colour and shape, saving you from the lengthy and sometimes costly and painful removal process.

Minimal Skin Trauma

Our goal is to maintain the integrity of your skin. By opting for correction before considering removal, we minimize the potential for skin trauma and scarring.

Brow Correction is Tailored to Your Needs

Every client is unique, and so is every set of brows. We assess each case individually, providing a tailored solution that aims for the best aesthetic outcome with the least amount of intervention.

Time and Cost Efficiency

Correcting existing brows can be more time-efficient and cost-effective compared to the long, drawn-out process of removal and reapplication.


Permanent makeup is aesthetically pleasing and time-saving but when it goes wrong, it’s important to have safe, effective options for correction and removal. While laser removal and saline removal both have their merits, we advocate for saline removal due to its gentler impact on the skin. Moreover, our commitment to brow correction ensures that we prioritize the health and appearance of your skin, opting for removal only when absolutely necessary.

If you’re unhappy with your current brow tattoo, don’t rush into removal! Consult with us first to explore the possibility of correction. Our experienced team is dedicated to enhancing your brows with minimal skin trauma, ensuring you achieve the beautiful, natural look you deserve.

Feel free to reach out to us for a consultation or to learn more about our brow correction and removal services. Your journey to perfect brows starts here!

Free Brow Correction Consultation

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