Whether you’ve made a mistake attempting to cover grays with hair color or simply had a change of heart and want to go back to your original shade, waiting for the color to fade or for hair to grow out naturally takes a considerable amount of time. If you’re unhappy with your hair color results, however, there is a much quicker solution that will return your gray hair to its natural state. Try an at-home color remover, which can be found with hair color products at most drug stores or beauty supply stores.

Things You'll Need

Test the Product

Ensure the color remover you have purchased will provide the desired effect by first performing a strand test. Cut a small section of hair from an inconspicuous area, ideally about 1/2-inch wide.

Tape one end of the hair to hold it together, leaving the other end of the strands free.

Place small equal parts of the included ingredients in your plastic bowl and stir with the spoon to form a sample amount of the color remover. Follow the included instructions to aid you in mixing. You will need about a teaspoon-sized amount.

Apply the sample mixture to your taped section of hair and set aside for the same amount of time that is recommended in the manufacturer’s instructions. After the time has lapsed, rinse the strands with water and add a dime-sized amount of shampoo. Lather and rinse thoroughly, then allow the strands to dry. If you are pleased with the result, proceed to Section 2.

Full Head Application

Ensure your hair is dry and free of tangles for best results. Drape an old towel or similar item over your clothing to avoid stains, as the hair color removal product can drip. Put on the plastic gloves that were included with your color removing kit.

Mix together the remaining product (most of it should be left over from your strand test) according the the manufacturer’s directions.

Apply the mixture to your hair, making sure to cover all strands. Use your gloved hands to work the mixture through your hair. Some brands include a plastic cap to put over your hair after the mixture has been applied, while others do not. Review individual product instructions for details.

Leave the mixture on your hair for the recommended amount of time. Take this time to wipe any excess product off your skin if necessary.

Rinse the mixture completely from your hair with warm water. Shampoo and re-rinse hair. Some products recommend two or three shampoos as part of the rinsing process, so follow directions accordingly.

Apply the conditioner that was included with your color remover kit and leave on your hair for several minutes. Rinse completely from hair.


  • Color removers will restore your gray hair back to its original shade if you dyed it a darker color. If you bleached your gray hair or lightened it, a color remover product cannot restore the color completely as it has been chemically removed. It will remove only the artificial pigment added by the lightener. You may first remove the hair color, then use a gray shade of hair color in this situation.