If you used a permanent hair dye and your hair is too dark, or just not the color you want you might need to get rid of the dye to achieve your desired shade. Specific color removal products are designed to remove unwanted color from the hair. Note that your natural hair color will not return by using color remover. The resulting color is generally a yellow orange and a corrective color will need to be applied for optimal results.
Purchase a color remover such as Clairol Uncolor Permanent Color Remover or Effasol Color Remover. If the color has been on the hair for less than a month, mix the packet of Uncolor or Effasol with 2 1/2 ounces of water in a color applicator bottle or color bowl . If the existing hair color has been on the hair for over a month, mix the packet contents with 10 to 20 volume peroxide (developer). Use a bottle with a wide tip or brush and bowl for best results.
Perform a strand test before full head application. Mix a teaspoon of color remover mixture with a teaspoon of water. Apply to a half inch section of hair from a half inch off the scalp to ends in order to to test for effectiveness. Allow the strand to process for up to 30 minutes, or until color is removed. If color is not removed, try another test strand with 10 volume developer and follow the same procedure. Use 20 volume developer if 10 volume is not strong enough, however, this level of peroxide does cause more damage.
Put on plastic gloves. Begin applying the color remover mixture, loosening one section and creating a 1/2-inch horizontal part on one back section at the nape of the neck. Clip the rest of the hair out of the way. Apply the mixture to that section starting 1/2 inch away from the scalp. Saturate the strand completely. Drop the strand and go to the other back section. Take a 1/2-inch strand from that section and continue the process, going back and forth until the back sections are complete. Move to the side sections and apply the mixture in the same manner until the whole head is completed.
Cover the head with a plastic cap to trap the heat and increase processing speed. Set a timer for 5 minutes and check to see if the hair color has been removed. If not, leave on for additional time. Check every 5 minutes and up to 30 minutes until the color has been removed.
Rinse and shampoo hair lightly after color has been removed. Do not apply heat or blow dry, but let dry naturally or under a cool dryer. You can then apply another color. Avoid permanent hair color, but use demi-permanent or semi-permanent instead to lessen any damaging effects.
You can reapply once after 24 hours if the hair is not light enough.
If you have a relaxer or perm in your hair, choose a product for permed or relaxed hair and use with caution.
Robin McDaniel is a writer, educator and musician. She holds a master's degree in higher educational leadership from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton as well as a bachelor's degree in elementary education. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in adult in community education. McDaniel enjoys writing, blogging, web design, singing and playing bass guitar.