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How to Remove Permanent Hair Dye in Different Ways

how to remove permanent hair dye

So you finally have decided to dye your hair. But it turns out a little too far from your dream hair color. Perhaps it went a little way too ashy or worse brassy. Or probably you’re not just feeling it, period. And while it might be tempting to just dye your hair again, you need to listen to us when we say you can’t just layer up your hair color with another color, otherwise, you’re just setting your hair to a further downfall.

Read also related articles: How to get rid of yellow hair after bleaching, how to get silky hair, and best hair color for skin tone chart.

Why Can’t I Just Re-dye my Already Dyed Hair Instead?

Doing Hair-dye

There’s a reason why hair care experts would suggest extracting the permanent hair dye of your hair first before applying another color treatment on top of it unless of course, you are willing to wait eight weeks prior to the color application as a general rule. Think of it as re-polishing your nails instead of using a cuticle remover. It kind of forms a build-up which sort of peel them up. The same with re-dying your hair, it forms a heavy-build up that weakens the bonds of your hair, making it fragile and damaged.


Additionally, if you don’t get rid of your hair’s pre-existing color, layering another artificial color would be almost impossible because the hair shaft can only take much. Without a place to fit them in, the color molecules cannot get in. And although some molecules may be able to squeeze in, it wıll only make hair color appear uneven and dull.

We all had our fair share of hair dye fails. No need to panic, because whether you’re looking for effective products to remove that stubborn hair dye or leaning towards easy DIYs, there are a lot of ways on how to remove a permanent hair dye.

Use a Hair Color Remover

Color Oops Developlus Color Oops Color Remover (Extra Strength)

If you have a big event the next day and want to get rid of the dye out of your hair fast, a hair color remover is your best bet. It’s also a perfect solution for when your color shade came out darker thanJoico Color Intensity Eraser you wanted. A hair color remover (also known as hair color extractor or hair color stripper) works by removing the permanent and artificial color molecules of your tresses from your hair’s core, giving your hair a perfect base to dye your hair again.

A hair color remover is a safer way to approach your hair as compared to bleach that damage and stripped hair of its natural color. Color Oops Developlus Color Oops Color Remover (Extra Strength) is a good product to stand by. It gets the job done in as fast as 20 minutes. It’s also bleach and ammonia-free so it gets your tresses back to its original color minus all the drama. If you’re looking for a milder concentration for your semi-permanent hair color, your best option would be going for Joico Color Intensity Eraser. This Amazon’s choice for hair color remover doesn’t only neutralize hair color but also leaves your hair conditioned and healthy.

Are you new to hair color remover? No worries, here’s how to get most of the product:

  • Shampoo your hair.

    It’s important to clean your hair before the process to remove any dirt build-up and make the color remover more effective. A clarifying or detoxifying shampoo is more preferable. You might like to try Pravana Artificial Hair Color Extractor combo if you want everything handy. This set of hair color remover combo is already pre-packaged with a sulfate-free clarifying shampoo that preps your hair for extraction.

  • Rinse and dry.

    If you just recently dyed your hair, it is important to rinse longer as this step helps get rid of the unwanted hair color. Most hair color remover doesn’t work on damp hair so make sure you thoroughly dry it afterward.

  • Mix

    Hair color remover products come in two bottles containing two different solutions; the sulfurous reducing agent and the acid concentrate. Depending on the product, most will requıre you to mix the two solutions ınto equal parts. It’s still wise, however, to read the packaging instruction to get the right chemical reaction

  • Apply immediately.

    Most solutions are photosensitive especially if it has already been mixed together. So you will need to work as fast otherwise you’ll lose the concentration’s effectiveness. A tint brush like those from Diane 7-Piece Hair Coloring Kit can help you get the process done in the nick of tıme. It also comes with other hair applicator basics such as tint bowl, clıp, and a comb that ensure more even distribution.

  • Let your hair absorb the treatment.

    You have to wait at least 20 minutes or until your hair is well saturated. You can use a processing cap and expose your hair to medium heat for another 20 minutes for the best results.

  • Rinse thoroughly.

    This is yet another crucial step of the process as you need to wash the hair of any color particles so make sure to do it properly. Your hair could use another round of shampoo to wash out any left residues in addition to getting rid of the often strong smell of the product. Depending on the type of your hair, it might feel dry since either way your chemically altering your hair. So make sure to finish the step with a good hair conditioner to mediate the drying effect.

Additional Tip: It is advisable to wait at least two weeks to expose your hair to color treatments. But if you are really eager to apply the color the same day as you apply the hair color remover, at least go for a color 1 to 2 levels lighter than you intended. Going for darker hues will only make your hair darker than what you aimed for. Hair after color extraction tends to grab more pigment, resulting in a darker and more intense result.

How to remove permanent hair dye naturally

If you are still wary about the chemicals present in some mainstream color removers, you can do your own hair color remover yourself and at the comfort of your own home. And you might be surprised to know that the ingredients are already at your reach.

  • Baking Soda:

    Aside from baking, baking soda has also been traditionally used to remove stains on clothes. Some peeps even throw baking soda on their dishwasher or detergent for some extra boost. And there’s a logical reason behind that. Baking soda has mild yet powerful abrasive properties that break the bond of whatever’s sitting on the surface. To use on hair add a little water to form a paste and apply on hair much like how you apply a hair mask. Baking soda as a cleansing agent scours hair of the artificial color.

  • Lemon Juice:

    Squeeze lemon juice into a bottle spray for a quick hair remover pick-me-up. Lemon is sky-high on acid that acts as a natural bleaching agent which fade uneven pigmentation on your tresses. You might want to go easy on saturation time however as lemon has a strong fruit acid that leaves premature greying. An hour wait would be enough for the hair to lighten. Mix it with conditioner or oil to avoid hair from drying.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar:Bragg Organic Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar

    Much like lemon juice, the acidity of the vinegar also works to help strıp hair dye. But does it really have to be an Apple Cider, you might ask. While other regular works are just as fine, apple cider vinegar is only slightly acidic so it won’t strıp your hair of its natural pH balance. The bonus part, apple cider vinegar has also a chelating agent that gets rid of unwanted metal and mineral build-ups that dull your hair.

  • Vitamin C Tablets:

    People swore by this home remedy as the safest and non-abrasive option to get rid of artificial hair color, particularly if your hair dye runs on darker shades. The acid on vitamin C works by oxidizing the color molecule and in turn loosens up the hold of the color in your hair. Make a paste out of the tablets by crushing it until it becomes powdery. Add hot water just enough to make a thick paste.

  • Anti-Dandruff Shampoo:

    Shampooing your hair every now and then naturally fades your hair color. If your leaning towards a heavy-duty than regular ones, however, go for an anti-dandruff shampoo. The selenium sulfide present in most anti-dandruff shampoo is also effective in fading out hair color. Although you need to be patient as this home remedy doesn’t offer an immediate effect and only for people lookıng for ways on how to remove a permanent hair dye gradually.

  • Dishwashing Soaps:

    They are tough on grease but also tough on hair color. Wash your hair with dishwashing liquid as you would with your shampoo to lighten up your hair in a shade or two. While the abrasives present in dishwashing soaps might sound harsh you can always go for a gentle formula. A popular choice would be a Dawn Soap or Puracy Natural Liquid Dish Soap.

The Real Trick: Mix Your Own!

Baking SodaFor an even better result, you can use and combine some of the listed ingredients above. Here some popular home remedies you may want to try.

1: Baking Soda + Dishwashing Soap / Anti Dandruff Shampoo

2: Baking Soda + Lemon Juice

3: Baking Soda + Epsom Salt

4: Baking Soda + Vitamin C

Additional Tip: You can even get creative and mix essential oils and herbs to condition and add fragrance to your hair mixture. Chamomile oil and Cinnamon is a perfect choice as they also help strip hair of the color. Have fun mixing!


Word of Advice

It might be helpful to always research the hair color first before diving into it. Because nothing is worse than a hair color gone wrong. But at the time the mishap happens, you can always open your pantry and mix up some of that baking soda or pull out the big gun — insert hair color removal. Because hair dye fails aren’t a major problem anymore when you are armed with knowledge on how to remove your hair dye.

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  1. So informative, I learned alot! Thank you for such thorough directions.

  2. Sharlean D Loomans

    Do you have any advice on removing permanent box from grey hair.

  3. I was so excited to stumble on this article on your website. I just dyed by hair 3 days ago and it was too dark. I tried the mixture of baking soda, dawn dish soap and dandruff shampoo and let it on for roughly 20 min and then rinsed really well. I followed it up with a good hair conditioner (hair mask) but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to have even touched the color in my hair.
    Any other suggestions?

  4. I’m 60 years old and about 3 weeks ago I dyed my hair dark brown but it came out black now my gray roots are showing about a 1/2 inch I want to strip my hair to its natural gray do I have to see a Professional Hair dresser or is there something home made or something I can buy at a cvs to strip my hair color . After it gets back to natural grey I would like to have it to have a light color or a little color of platinum . I need help .

  5. Hi Laura, sorry for the late reply. If you have tried all the remedies above I suggest you consult a professional hair stylist or visit the nearest salon for other suggestions.

    • Hi, I have been colouring my hair for nearly two decades. New roots show me ..I’m all white, but my long hair is all dark brown due to continued permanent hair colour. At the start of the pandemic..I had short hair..reaching my shoulders..now I have waist length hair….I wish to get rid of the permanent hair colour n stop colouring all together. Can’t wait for it to grow out also….please suggest a solution !!

  6. I’m in the exact same boat. I’m 55 yrs old, color my hair with brown and it is way too dark after several top touch ups.
    Going to step it and do a dark Chestnut brown

  7. It’s good to know that hair color remover is a safe way to get rid of the color from your hair. I used to just bleach it but it hurt my head. Maybe I should try hair color stripper next time I want to dye it.

  8. Anti Dandruff Shampoo + Vitamin C works well for removing hair dye. mix the vitamin powder with your anti-dandruff shampoo. use the mixture to shampoo your hair, scrub hair, put on shower cap and let sit for 1hour. rinse and repeat as needed.

  9. Bad hair color red

    I used red hair dye ended up with a terrible mess, I’m trying home remedies so far used olive oil that did work but still have red hair.lol . I also used regular bar soap that took out a lot of color bit still have remains of the red, I’m going try baking soda and dish soap. Rite now. I’ll keep you posted

    • Same thing happened to me. I made a mix of dish soap baking soda Epsom salts and emergen-C. It’s still red but more brownish red. My original hair color is a reddish brown but not very noticeable. What worked for you?

  10. White Buffalo Eagle Bear Hawk Wolf

    Many good homeopathic remedies for removing colour let alone restoring original colour to hair. Yet how many of us truthfully know our hair color after colouring it for to many years? My original hair colour is white and restoring it back to that colour isn’t easy that I’ve learned.

  11. For the baking Soda, and dishsoap, does the hair have to be wet?

  12. Laura Lynn Leosher

    Hi, my name is Laura. i dyed my hair red yesterday (Wed 4/22) and it came out a purplish red and not a deep red or a red red. so i need to take the purplish red out and redye it. since i did this just yesterday (wed 4/22) can i take the color out today?
    also, my hair is naturally a medium brown, but for the last year ive been dying ita VERY light bright auburn, almost a strawberry blonde.
    if i take the purple out today and it works to bring my hair back to its natural medium brown, can i also today redye it to the very light auburn …
    thank you

  13. I need help! My hair naturally has a tint of red in it, but couldn’t really be seen before I dyed my hair. After dying my hair twice, I was to revert it to it’s natural mousy brown colour ASAP, (my hair at the moment is very brassy & has a red tint). Which method would you recommend/ which works best and most effective.

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