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How To Remove a Permanent Dye: 10 Ways to Remove A Permanent Dye

Removing a permanent dye job is never a fun task, especially when your hair is as vibrant as a fire engine. (Thankfully, it isn’t very pleasant.) Some dyes come out at the touch of a wet washcloth—and others are tougher than a box of nails. If you accidentally or purposefully dyed your hair a wild shade of blue, you’ve probably tried everything to get it out. But were you aware that there are ten different ways to get rid of a permanent dye job? Here are several of the most popular ways that are being used today.

10 Steps to Remove A Permanent Dye

If you choose to remove the hair color yourself, you may need to visit a local salon to get your hair professionally colored back to its original shade. Dye often strips away the hair at the roots, making it look like your hair is shorter than it is. Permanent dyes may still fade after a trim or cut, says Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Sulfur In Your Shampoo Can Wipe Out Dyes: There are many people out there who swear by washing their hair with a sulfate-free shampoo.

1. Wash the Stain with a Detergent

This isn’t for the faint of heart. You need to wash it out with some shampoo, conditioner, or a color-safe bleach. It may sound counterintuitive, but the same chemicals that make the color can also help it last. Make sure you use a brand that’s color-safe, such as Dove or Sally Hansen.


Using hydrogen peroxide over your hair is one of the simplest and quickest ways to fade pastel colors away. It can be involved (you need to mix hydrogen peroxide with warm water, wait for it to absorb, rinse it off, repeat), but it works.

2. Wash with bleach

Wash with bleach

Rinsing out a bright color will probably seem like a compromise. In actuality, bleach has been around for centuries and is still a strong temporary dye, so it’s worth trying. A harsh chemical will strip away the dye faster than, say, washing and applying a color-safe shampoo.


Bleach is best if you know exactly what shade you want. Rub it into the hair while this method doesn’t use chemicals; it’s still an alternative way to get rid of a dye job. Rub a cold, wet washcloth or sponge over the dye stain, and leave it for about 30 minutes. Again, the cold will kill the color, as well as your hope of having it come out.

3. Wash with Hydrogen Peroxide

Wash with Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide (in a solution of one part per million) removes almost all dye from hair. It’s best only to use it on your dye job when it’s fresh out of the salon. It takes between two and six washes to remove a permanent dye job. This is only a solution-based method, so rinse out the washcloth in between treatments.


Massage with Olive Oil If you don’t want to apply a solution or a soap-based shampoo, you can rub olive oil directly on the dye job until it has loosened. Repeat several times a week. Spray a Shower Cap with Alcohol. After shampooing, spray a shower cap with rubbing alcohol to get rid of the excess dye. Use Rinses With Lemon Another way to remove a permanent dye job is to drink lemon juice.

4. Use a hair dye remover

Use a hair dye remover

This is probably the best way of getting out a color—if you have one. In order to remove permanent dye, you need to minimize any damage your dye job has caused to your hair and scalp. Products like Manic Panic will dissolve the dye more thoroughly than other dyes, so if you can snag a replacement box for $5 or less, it’s worth it.


You should only use this method when the color is light. Wet the hair, then use a baby wipe to remove the dye. (Get professional help if it’s an ample, dark shade of dye that is having trouble dissolving.) While your hair is still wet, start rubbing the towel or cotton ball in a circular motion through your hair. Gently squeeze and smooth out the towel, then go to work on the hair.

5. Wash with a dandruff shampoo

Wash with a dandruff shampoo

According to the U.S. Evening Standard, adding a dandruff shampoo or baby shampoo to your hair will soak up the excess dye and break down the color. Rub the product through your hair and rinse. To make sure you aren’t stripping the color, have it sit for a full 30 minutes before rinsing.


Use lemon juice - You may tell a lemon for bleach, but this berry is known for its legendary bleaching powers. To shed some color (and soothe your scalp), rinse with lemon juice to lighten and brighten your shade without too much damage. Try cream/oil masks - One of the easiest ways to lighten your hair is with a mask.

6. Wash with dishwashing liquid

Wash with dishwashing liquid

Remove the color with a combination of water and white vinegar or laundry detergent. Both blue dyes and red dyes are soluble in vinegar and can be cleaned away with a little elbow grease and some elbow creme. Both silver dyes and gold dyes will only be removed by washing the color out with the detergent.


Oil - Like washing with detergent, you can use natural oils to remove a permanent dye job. Shampooing or conditioning with some oil will draw the color out of the hair without damaging it. Also, oil is absorbed into the scalp where it is easier to get rid of the stubborn dye. Try using coconut or olive oil, or even jojoba oil, to pull the color out. Fill the bowl with water and rinse your hair with it.

7. Mix baking soda and water together

Mix baking soda and water together

Baking soda has been an effective way to remove dyes for years now. You can use a tablespoon of baking soda in a cup of water to absorb the stain and cut it to the consistency of toothpaste. The key is to blend it in the crevices of your hair so it can be absorbed effectively.


Massage your hair with brown sugar and coconut oil. It’s not clear where this technique comes from, but it makes perfect sense. Brown sugar exfoliates the colored area of your hair, while coconut oil seals the dye to keep it protected.

8. Wash with a liquid hand soap

Wash with a liquid hand soap

Gently scrub your scalp with mild liquid hand soap for 20 to 30 seconds to loosen up any remaining dye. Apply cucumber and warm water mask. For the best results, apply a cucumber and warm water mask to your hair, rinsing thoroughly before rinsing your conditioner.


Apply cold water to your hair for 1 to 2 minutes. Mix a few tablespoons of white vinegar with some water and soak your hair in the mixture for about 30 minutes. Allow sitting for a few minutes before rinsing. Use a commercial treatment on your hair. The biggest drawback to the cold water method is that it can make the dye worse. If your hair color is already faded, apply a color-safe product like L’Oreal Colour Elixir Pure Color.

9. Use a Rubbing Alcohol

Use a Rubbing Alcohol

The simplest way to remove any color is with a mixture of three parts water to one part rubbing alcohol. Whether you applied this technique to your hair or your face, always wash the mix from your hair right away after applying it. Doing so will give you the cleanest of results.


Change Your Hair’s pH Just as you would change your acid levels in your body, you can raise or lower your pH in your hair. According to celebrity colorist Mark Townsend, your hair’s pH level is based on two factors: protein and minerals. To get rid of an orange dye job you’ll need to change the pH level in your hair using shampoos and conditioner that contain ammonia.

10. Rub a bar of brown soap in the hair

Rub a bar of brown soap in the hair

Rubbing a bar of brown soap into the dry hair can help get some colors out of your hair. That’s because it will help you remove the dry dye buildup at the root. However, you can only do this in the shower, so be sure to do a deep conditioner afterward. Fill a sink full of water. Once a cup of water is boiling, add a quarter cup of baking soda.


Stir until bubbly. If the dye is right on the surface of your hair, put a few drops of tea tree oil in a basin with water. Cover your head with a towel and wait for 10 minutes. Then, take the baking soda and salt mixture and scrub your hair with it until you see what looks like a dark color pool around your head. Rinse with water. Baking soda is highly alkaline, so it’s a natural mild bleaching agent.

How to Remove A Permanent Dye? More...

Here are several of the most popular ways that are being used today to remove a permanent dye.

Remove the dye with nail polish remover

Remove the dye with nail polish remover

It’s so simple: just put the dye remover directly on the hairline with your fingers, and comb through as if you were brushing out a damp brush. Go to the salon for a cut and color. You can either ask your colorist to take the dye out of the hair or dye it with a dye that doesn’t leave hair red or purple, then let your hair grow out.

Be careful with nail polish remover. You should be very careful when using nail polish remover on your hair. One manufacturer cautions against using it on the hairline. It should be used on the roots, the ends, tips or used lightly; then, the hair can soak up the remover. Please give it a good scrub. Hair is made of keratin, which is like skin, and you need to wash your hair to get out the dye.

Remove the dye with tea tree oil

Remove the dye with tea tree oil

This is a staple for any hair salon. It’s loaded with calming properties, which makes it a simple solution for any colorist—be sure not to over-mix it. Other ways to remove permanent dyes include:

  • Mixing tea tree oil withglycerin to create a gel 
  • Combing beer with salt toremove the color
  • Controlling pH levels torinse the dye from the hair
  • Bleaching the hair until itturns clear
  • Blowing the hair dry
  • Drying the hair under hotair
  • Apply baking soda and atoothbrush 

Like tea tree oil, baking soda is highly absorbent, making it an easy-to-apply solution to erasing permanent dyes. For colors in particular, like blue, it’s recommended to soak the hair with a baking soda solution for anywhere between one to four hours.

Remove the dye with witch hazel

As someone who fell for a blue mane dye, you’re probably well aware of this method—first, dab some witch hazel (about a dime-sized amount) on your hair. The product can be found in any drugstore, or you can mix up some witch hazel and conditioner. Shampoo and condition, and rinse with cold water.

Repeat at least once every week until the dye has lightened up or faded completely. Try baking soda. Using this method might be the simplest thing you can do. Just fill a bowl with enough baking soda to make a paste—about a quarter cup. You’ll be able to get the best results by preparing the paste while your hair is still a little wet. Slather the paste on your hair and, to avoid damage to your tresses, don’t rinse for at least 20 minutes.

Remove the dye with lemon juice

Remove the dye with lemon juice

Yes, you read that correctly. If lemon juice removes ink from your hands, the same solution could work to remove a permanent blue dye. Put a generous amount on your tresses and twist them out and the acidity from the berries’ acid will eventually break down the dye. Try a homemade shampoo. If the idea of digging through a big box of hair dye doesn’t appeal to you, try a homemade solution instead.

Mix a tablespoon of baking soda, two tablespoons of ammonia, and a tablespoon of olive oil. You’ll need to add water and stir until the mixture forms a paste. Apply the mixture to the dye and let it sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, rinse with cold water.

What to do if the dye is in a hard to reach the area

What to do if the dye is in a hard to reach the area

If the dye has soaked into your hair, there’s no need to worry. It would help if you used to heat and a steam-table trimmer. Spray hairspray into a clean rag, lay the hair on the rod, and use the clipper to melt the water-containing material and the hair.

There are a few other DIY hot mess treatment tips available on the internet. Just be sure to get the job done before they dry. Once they do, they’ll be virtually impossible to get out. What if the dye is in a flat area? If the dye is permanently in one specific area of your hair, you might have more luck.

What to do if the dye is on the skin

This is what everyone thinks they’re trying to do, but it’s just the opposite. Wearing hair dye on your face without first using a skin-cleansing cream can cause flakiness and breakouts. Usually, dermatologists recommend moisturizing products such as Joico Color Control Light Hands and Face Treatment Primer to keep the skin healthy. For most of the rest, you’ll have to reach into your beauty cabinet for some help.

Remove Permanent Hair Dye | Vit C + Shampoo only!

Conclusion

If you’re looking for some confidence-boosting tips and tricks for how to remove a permanent dye job successfully, keep reading. Regardless of whether you want to eliminate a vivid blue, a brassy blonde, or a terrible brassy red, these DIY tricks are sure to help you tackle your dye job.

Bonnie J. Morris
 

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