A change in hair color can be fun and fashionable, but if something goes wrong, it can be a disaster. It is possible to remove hair dye, if you remember some simple tips.

DIY Removal

If your hair is lighter than you wanted, you can try dying with a darker shade. Back-to-back hair coloring is drying to your hair, so make sure to condition well if you do this. If you end up with a darker color than you wanted, you can buy an over-the-counter color correction kit that might remove the color, or lighten it significantly, if used soon enough. If the hair is just a touch darker than you wanted, try washing it immediately to fade the color. Clarifying shampoos, and those meant to strip away chlorine, are effective for this. Rinsing your hair with diet soda (not regular) can also fade color more quickly.

If the dye is on your skin, you can either apply shampoo or wet hair dye to the same spot. Smooth it on to dampen the dried dye and then wash it away. Keep hair dye from staining your skin to start with by smearing your forehead, ears, and neck with a thin layer of petroleum jelly. Wear gloves when mixing and applying the dye.


Never use bleach on your skin or in your hair. The harsh chemicals can do permanent damage to your hair, making it break or change colors. Bleach can also burn your skin. In general, use common sense. If someone’s “miracle” cure sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You might be advised to try vinegar, motor oil or other toxic products to strip the color. At best, a strange fix might do nothing, and at worst, it could set the color faster or damage your hair and skin.

Professional Help

If you just can’t remove it yourself, you might need a professional. Whether or not he was the stylist to dye your hair, most professionals will assist with removing a product. It is best to act within 72 hours, before the color has a chance to permanently adhere to the follicles. Professional colorists have access to chemicals and solutions unavailable to the general public that strip hair dye and restore your natural color. If the color mishap is severe, it can take up to five visits to restore your color to a shade you like.

References and Resources

Hair Boutique
Methods of Healing