Have you ever wanted to get rid of an unwanted hair color? If you are someone who likes to try different shades of hair colors on your hair, you will agree the results are not always as you expect it to be.

In many cases, a different brand of hair color gives your hair a shade which is darker or stronger than you usually like for it to be. Or, the shade you chose is not looking as you want it to on your hair. Whatever the reason, you want to remove the hair dye and get your natural hair color back or change to a color that you know you will like.

In such cases, the best, safe and effective method is to remove the permanent hair dye using a hair color remover. This will let your hair go back to the most suitable base color for a new color to be applied. Of course, if you want to recolor hair then you can even get a pretreatment color remover which is specifically designed for the new color to settle on your hair.

But before we tell you how to remove permanent hair dye using a hair color remover, let’s learn a little bit more about what it is.

Hair Color Remover – What Is It?

It is basically an artificial chemical formula which extracts color from your hair. It is commonly known in many terms by different brands such as color extractor, hair dye remover or hair color stripper, etc.

Hair Color Remover – What Is It

Among all chemical based artificial products, it is one of the best solutions with the least amount of harmful side effects. The remover is able to extract color pigments from hair without the use of bleaching chemicals. It is specifically designed to get rid oxidative dye from hair and does not contain ammonia or bleach in its active ingredients.

With the right brand and proper, occasional use, hair does not suffer from any irreparable damage from using it. They are a safe to use at home consumer product which does not pose any threat or other harmful side effects.

Hair dye remover does not have any hair lightening effect for your natural hair since it doesn’t contain bleach. The product only removes hair dye from your hair. Now, let’s find out how it works.

How does it work?

After application, the hair dye remover enters the hair shaft and starts by slowly breaking up all the color particles. Hair dye is actually color molecules which are large in size and placed on the hair which are oxidative. Once they are broken down into smaller sized particles, they can be washed out with repetitive rinsing. As a result, not just your most recent hair color, but any hair color pigments you had done in the past which are still present on your hair is also effectively removed.

Now, it important to remember that the product itself is a color remover. So, if you have previously used bleach to remove color and lost the natural shade of your hair, then you will not get your natural hair shade back with this treatment. This is because there are not color particles remaining on your hair, they have been removed and because of the bleach, you have lost your natural color pigments.

Hair dye remover gets rid of artificial hair color only, even if they are permanent or semi-permanent. However, there are different types of products which can do one or the other or both.

For example, some well-known brands like the following contain bleach in their hair dye remover formula:

  • L’Oreal Professional Techniques Core Hair Color Remover
  • Colorist Secrets Hair Color Remover
  • Wella Color Charm Color Remover

Other brands like the following do not contain bleach and as a result are more gent on hair:

  • Pravana Artificial Hair Color Extractor
  • ColourB4
  • Color Oops Hair Color Remover

Now, that you know a little bit more about what a hair color remover is and how it works, let’s see a step by step breakdown of how to use hair dye remover to get rid of permanent hair dye.

The Step by Step Guide on How to Remove Permanent Hair Dye

You must be happy to know by now that if you dyed your hair and are not happy with the results, then there’s nothing to worry about!

There are safe and effective options available to alter the hair color by lighter shades or you can remove it completely. So, instead of having to put up with a hair color you don’t like, follow this step by step process to remove permanent dye from your hair using a color remover:

Step 1 – Buy the Product or Order Online

Step 1 – Buy the Product or Order Online

You can visit your local pharmacy or a supply store to find a hair color remover. You can also search for various products from different brands online and look at their reviews to make a better decision for a better price online.

You must consider things like how long your hair is, if your hair is very long then you may need 2 packs instead of just 1. Also, remember to always read through all instructions before using it.

Step 2 – Prepare Your Hair for the Treatment

Step 2 – Prepare Your Hair for the Treatment

You must make sure that you take some pretreatment for your hair, as well as for getting the best results. To do this, you can use clarifying shampoo or anti-dandruff shampoo to clean your hair. It is important to have your hair clean from grease, oil, dirt, etc.

You must take care not to dry your hair too well. After rinsing your hair clean, towel dry your hair and refrain from using a hair dryer. It is necessary that your hair is clean and damp prior to applying the hair dye removal treatment. Some products also specify that it must be used to dry hair, so in such cases dry your hair completely.

Step 3 – Preparing the Mixture

Step 3 – Preparing the Mixture

The dye remover kits come in a package with 2 different types of solutions. They are clearly marked. One contains the hair color remover solution and the other contains an activator solution. The solutions are basically an acid solution and a sulfurous reduction agent. It is important to follow the specific manufacturer instruction before using. Generally, the instructions are to carefully mix them.

While, some packages may tell you to use a plastic or nonmetal bowl to stir, others may simply say that pour the contents of the smaller bottle into the larger one. In any case, they must be combined and stirred to properly mix for at least 30 seconds to one minute.

It is a chemical mixture so proper care must be taken; the following are some important tips to remember:

  • It is recommended to use latex or vinyl gloves to protect hands while working with this chemical mixture
  • You may also consider using a barber’s cape to protect your clothing, skin, etc.
  • Take care to keep nearby area free to avoid staining or damaging your furniture, etc.
  • Make sure that the tools you use such as a bowl, mixer, etc. are plastic or glass materials

Step 4 – Applying the Mixture to Your Hair

Step 4 – Applying the Mixture to Your Hair

While getting ready to apply the mixture to your hair, you must remember that you need to apply it quickly since the solution will lose its effectiveness the longer it is left sitting out. For those with long hair you would want to pour the solution onto your hair directly. Use a glove to apply it throughout your hair and use a comb to distribute it evenly.

With particularly long hair, it is a good idea to separate your hair into multiple sections and then work section by section. For those with shorter hair, you can apply it directly as well. It may get a bit difficult because the mixture will be very thing and runny. You may consider using a brush to apply it onto your hair, if it helps you to get it evenly on all parts of your hair.

Step 5 – Processing

Step 5 – Processing

Now comes the step where the mixture does its magic on your hair. It is important to give yourself 20 to 60 minutes depending on the length of your hair. Your hair must be properly saturated with the hair dye removal mixture. Check the instructions to see the recommended time for processing.

You must also try to keep your hair warm. You can do this by using a blow dryer on high heat and low speed. You can also use a warm towel wrapped around. Make sure to use a shower cap so that the solution does not drip onto your facial areas, neck, etc.

Step 6 – Rinse & Clean

Step 6 – Rinse & Clean

Rinsing is actually one of the most crucial steps, this is because depending on how well you rinse the color removal will be more effective. During this step you must dedicated at least 20 to 30 minutes for repeat rinsing with shampoo for cleaning.

Remember to use warm water since cold water will make washing out the color particles more difficult. Thoroughly rinse your hair with warm water, and then use shampoo. You want to repeat this stage at least 4 to 5 times. If your hair is not rinsed properly and all parts of the colored hair is not getting shampooed and rinsed repeatedly, the color will resettle.

An added advantage of rinsing repeatedly will be the rinsing away of the strong chemical smell. Remember to use a shampoo which is suited to your hair and not a specialized shampoo like color enhancer, etc. it is good to pick a moisturizing shampoo since your hair will lose a lot of moisture throughout the permanent hair dye removal treatment.

Step 7 – Deep Conditioning

Step 7 – Deep Conditioning

The final step is to help your hair recover from the hair dye removal treatment. The entire process would have stripped your hair from not just your unwanted hair color but also, its moisture. So, it is essential that you apply a high-quality conditioner. If you have particularly dry, brittle, fizzy, malnutrition hair, then make sure to use the best conditioner for your hair type.

You want to provide the much-needed essential oils and minerals to your hair which will be especially dry now. Also, you want to pump back much needed nutrients back to your hair. Again, use warm water and keep your hair nice and warm for maximum effectiveness of the conditioner.

Step 8 – Dry Your Hair & See the Results

Step 8 – Dry Your Hair & See the Results

Finally, you will need to dry your hair. Avoid using a blow dryer, since the heat will make your hair drier. Instead, towel dry your hair and let it dry out normally. Of course, as your hair dries, you will notice the results of your permanent hair dye removal treatment.

Now, we will discuss what kind of results you should expect after this treatment.

The Kind of Results You Will Get

First of all, do not expect to get your natural hair as you remember it immediately. You must remember that your hair has gone through harsh treatments both the coloring process and then the color removal process, so, it needs proper time to get back to full health.

If you wanted to go back to your natural hair color, you will be disappointed depending on how frequently you colored your hair in the past. Once you color your hair and then maybe bleach your hair, and then recolor it and then use a hair color remover – you are likely to be upset, but there is nothing that can be done to get your hair as natural as it was before.

However, your hair will now have base which you can recolor to get the shade you want. The following are some of the most common expected results, but of course, this will vary based on coloring history and your hair type:

Permanent Hair Dye Removal – How Harmful Is It?

Permanent Hair Dye Removal

As we have briefly mentioned earlier, chemical treatments can be sugarcoated by brands and manufacturers but the harmful elements of it cannot be ignored. Of course, being a chemical treatment there are harmful aspects of it such as damage to your hair from ammonia and bleach-based removers, depletion of natural oils, minerals nutrients, and overall moisture of your hair.

However, among all other chemical hair treatment alternatives, the hair dye remover is the most effective with the least amount of harms. The damage done to your hair can be restored by replenishing your hair with oils and minerals-based conditioners, oils, etc. Also, the frequency of coloring your hair, removing a color and then recoloring if it is lowered to occasional then you are likely to see less damage. This is why it is important to choose products which are manufactured by reputed and trusted brands in the industry. Refrain from using low quality, cheaper products which will do more harm in the long run.

Recoloring – Applying Color Right After Removing Another Color

Many hair color removers advertise on the box that you can recolor your hair on the same day. While this is true, experts recommend that you allow your hair to settle after the hair removal treatment before recoloring. Hair that has just been stripped from a color, will be more sensitive to a new color and the results will be darker than you would expect.

So, it is best that your hair is able recover with its lost minerals, shine and health before applying a new color immediately. A good rule of thumb is to wait 3 to 4 days.

If you think that you have really messed up, then don’t hesitate to go to haircare professional to get expert opinion or treatment. Whether it is to remove a color or to recolor, you cannot go wrong with a professional hair stylist to recover a hair color gone wrong. You can even consult salons or beauty schools for advice on color correction for your hair.

Home Remedies

If you are doubtful about trying a chemical to remove your hair color, you are not to be blamed. Many of us know the harmful effects of using chemicals on our body and hair and we do our best to avoid it. There are many home remedies that you can do for yourself at home without the use of commercial chemical haircare products.

You will be surprised at the effectiveness of the following home remedies for hair color removal:

  • Vitamin C Tablets

Vitamin C contains acid which oxidizes the color molecules on your hair to loosen it up and break it up into easily removal particles. You can simply crush tablets to a powder, and then mix it with hot water to make a thick paste. Apply the paste on your hair and let the Vitamin C do its magic. Then wash your hair with a shampoo to see the results.

Another method is to mix the crushed vitamin C tablets with shampoo to make a mixture. Apply to your hair thoroughly and leave it on for at least 30 minutes before rinsing. Rinse and wash off your hair and then follow up with a good hair conditioner.

The reason why Vitamin C works so effectively is in its ability to make the color particles in your hair to expand. This makes it easy for something like a simple shampoo and wash to get rid a lot of the color molecules to leave you with visibly color stripped hair after multiple washes.

  • Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

The use of shampoo regularly will slowly fade away all artificial color from your hair. you will be familiar with this since those with colored hair use special shampoo which are designed for those with colored hair. normal anti-dandruff shampoo is more heavy-duty which is why people with colored hair use specialized shampoo to retain their artificial hair color for as long as possible.

The reason why anti-dandruff shampoo works so well is because there is selenium sulfide in its ingredient which fades out color, slowly but surely. This is a solution which will take time and is not instant. Over a period of time, most of your hair dye will be removed after several washes using a good, high quality anti dandruff shampoo.

  • Dishwashing Soaps

Don’t laugh, your favorite dishwashing soap which keeps your kitchen utensils nice and shiny, can do wonders as home remedy for hair color removal. They are known to be very effective on grease and oil, so removing color from hair is much too easy for them. The abrasive ingredients in your dishwashing soap may seem to be harsh on your hair, but since most are good enough for the sensitive skin on your hands, they will be fine for your hair.

Use the dish soap as you would a shampoo and apply on wet hair and then rinse out with hot water. Over time and over repeated use, the dye in your hair will loosened and will wash off from rinsing with hot water.

  • Baking Soda

Baking soda is actually a very well-known ingredient for many different types of home remedies. Other than actual baking, it is a very popular remedy for things like removing stains from clothes. Baking soda has properties which allow it breakdown any or whatever it is used on. As a result, when used on hair with color, it breaks up the color molecules to remove them easily.

Simply, take a little bit of baking soda and mix with water to form a paste. Apply the past on your hair like a hair mask. You can even mix it with some shampoo and apply a coating over your hair. do not leave the past on for more than 10 minutes. Rinse and wash off the paste with warm water and then of course follow up with conditioner.

You can even try a few other additions to baking soda as a home remedy such as the following:

  1. Baking Soda + Dishwashing Soap / Anti Dandruff Shampoo
  2. Baking Soda + Lemon Juice
  3. Baking Soda + Epsom Salt
  4. Baking Soda + Vitamin C

It is not a solution that will give great results after the first time, so the key is to do it several times. With these variations, you can alternate between each to make it a bit more interesting.

  • Lemon Juice

Firstly, you need to squeeze out enough lemon juice for all your hair. You do not need to mix it with anything and just need to directly apply it on your hair. With an hour of leaving the lemon juice on your hair, you can expect to see lighter shades of your hair. After 1 hour, wash your hair with warm water to get rid of the permanent hair dye.

Lemon juice as you will be aware is highly acidic. It is a natural bleaching agent and fade the color pigmentation on your hair effectively. As a slight variation, you can try something like apple cider vinegar instead of just lemon juice.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar

Lemon juice is extremely acidic and that can alter the pH level of your hair. as a result, using something which is a bit gentler like the acidity of the apple cider vinegar, the pH level of your hair will not get imbalanced. While ridding your hair from dye, Apple Cider is also able to remove other metal and mineral build-ups in your hair which make it dull.

Additional Tips: If you want to get particularly creative, then you can even add other essential oils, minerals, herbs etc. to the mixture or paste to condition your hair and add fragrance to it. For example, the following are some very popular options such as Chamomile oil, Tea Tree Oil, Cinnamon, etc.


You may have landed upon this article frustrated, irritated and annoyed at your hair color gone wrong. But now you will be all the more knowledgeable about how to deal with such a crisis.

Now, we even gave you some home remedies to play around with which have proven to be effective. But if you have no time to lose, then of course you can get a hair color remover and get the job done easily following this is easy to follow step by step guide.

You now know exactly how to remove permanent dye from your hair without breaking the bank with expensive salon or hairstylist visits. And for even cheaper and chemical free options, you can try any of the many home remedies we have shared.

What went wrong with your hair color? How did you fix it? Which product did you use? Or did you make your own home mix?

Share your hair color story with our readers.

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