The Editors
Updated on August 28, 2023

Has your recent DIY hair color ended with a disaster, and you badly need a recipe to sort it out? To be fair, removing hair dye at home is risky and must be considered only as a last resort. However, many of us have been there and we fully appreciate that sometimes, you need to get rid of a nasty shade urgently and DIY methods are the only available options.

To help you in this tricky situation, we have collated a full list of working solutions to strip the unwanted hair dye from your hair and not ruin your locks in the process.

How to Remove Hair Dye from Hair

In general, if you want to remove artificial pigment from your hair at home, several factors will matter. First, you would apply different approaches depending on whether you used a semi-permanent or a permanent hair dye. Second, you will need to consider how dark the pigment is and what outcome you want to achieve.

While too dark, muddy hair shade can be daunting, your main priority must be the condition of your hair and your overall health. Please note, some of these methods can cause allergic reactions and irritation or make your hair fragile and dry.

Let’s look at all the most effective ways of removing hair color.

1. Clarifying Shampoo to Fade Hair Color

While using clarifying shampoo won’t make a dramatic difference, a few washes in a row will definitely make your color fade. Also, this certainly is one of the least damaging options. This method would work for brunettes whose color went too dark because of the buildup of the dye caused by numerous color sessions. Also, if your blonde toner appeared too ashy, a deep cleansing shampoo will help strip it off.

NOT color-safe options like Nexxus Clean & Pure Nourishing Detox Shampoo and OUAI Detox Shampoo will be great options to try. Those products contain ingredients specifically designed to open hair cuticles and compensate for the damage, so you can strip your hair color without compromising the condition of your tresses.

Best Clarifying Shampoo for Fading Hair Dye

Instagram / @nexxushaircare

If you are looking for a safe and on-hand alternative to clarifying shampoo, we wouldn’t say ‘no’ to trying anti-dandruff shampoo – indeed, it is well known for fading colors. At least it might save you a trip to the shop with, possibly, not your best hair look.

Related Post: 7 Ways to Lighten or Highlight Your Hair Naturally

2. Vitamin C Hair Color Remover

Vitamin C is another popular and relatively safe way to lighten your hair color that went too dark, especially if you used a semi-permanent dye.

Here’s a recipe for the DIY Vitamin C hair mask:

  • Prepare ½ cup of Vitamin C powder (or crush 10-20 Vitamin C tablets using a pestle grinder);
  • Make a paste by mixing the powder with clarifying shampoo, then evenly distribute the mixture onto your hair;
  • Put on a shower cap or a plastic bag and wrap a warm towel around (some heat will facilitate the process);
  • Wait for 30-40 minutes and shampoo your hair as normal.

Please avoid using this method if you are allergic to Vitamin C or if your scalp is red or irritated. We also don’t recommend it for blonde hair as it might cause unwanted brassy tones. Lemon juice can be an alternative for blondes.

Vitamin C Tablets and Lemons for Stripping Hair Color

Instagram / @pexels

3. White Vinegar Rinse

White vinegar is another way to fade hair color using acid. Mix white vinegar and clear water in a 1:1 ratio and pour the liquid on your hair, then cover it with a plastic cap and wait for up to 30 minutes.

Regularly rinsing your hair with vinegar waterwill make your hair healthy and shiny as acid neutralizes the pH level of your hair. Still, you need to be realistic about its ability to remove hair dye – quite likely, it will give you very subtle results.

4. Color Removers Suitable for At-Home Use

For some more complicated situations, like removing black hair color or vibrant tones including blue and green, you need something more powerful than just a deep wash or acidic rinse. Be careful when choosing the at-home color remover: read reviews and make sure you pick the product suitable for your situation. Professional hair stylists recommend avoiding products for removing hair dyes that contain bleach powder and hydrogen peroxide. Also, you must take a patch test prior to using any of these.

Here are some of our favorites:

Color Oops Hair Color Remover. Available online and affordable, this product is ammonia and bleach-free and contains hair conditioning ingredients. While it won’t take your hair back to its natural color, it certainly will fade the artificial pigments and make your locks lighter.

Color Oops Color Remover

Instagram / @color.oops

One ’N Only Colorfix Hair Color Remover Kit With Argan Oil. This color eraser is suitable for stripping any permanent hair dye. The processing includes three stages and would require some attention and perseverance; however, it provides great results. Colorfix Hair Color Remover can potentially strip the pigment without affecting your natural hair color.

One 'N Only Permanent Color Remover

Instagram / @onenonly_beauty

Colour B4. Hair Colour Remover. Color B4 is an extra-strong color remover that can fully strip the artificial tint and prepare your hair for the next color.

The Most Powerful Hair Color Remover

Instagram / @sofie.the.mama

5. Deep Conditioning Treatments

If you have some experience with dyed hair, you probably know how quickly deep conditioners can fade your color. Why not use it deliberately for stripping color from your hair?

Unfortunately, according to the colorists’ version of Murphy’s law, if you like the color, it will fade quickly, if you hate it – it’ll stay for ages. However, it’s totally worth giving this method a try. At least, deep conditioning treatment is the safest mean of lifting the hair color: worst-case scenario – your hair will be deeply, deeply conditioned.

Related Post: 7 Best Deep Conditioning Treatments to Keep Your Hair Healthy

Can I Strip Hair Color with Dish Soap or Baking Soda?

Dish soap and baking soda are alternative means of deep cleansing washes designed to remove the dye. However, using too harsh and unsuitable treatments can damage your hair and scalp. That’s why it is way better to use good quality high street clarifying shampoos for this purpose.

How to Remove Hair Color with Bleach?

Our recipe is easy here – just don’t. There is a number of reasons why we don’t recommend using bleach at home:

  • Even with the lowest levels of peroxide, you need to be very quick while using bleaching products. In simple words, if you start the application process from the top of your head, by the time you get to the back, the fringe will be falling off.
  • You need to have a certain level of experience to determine the right level of peroxide.
  • Bleach can cause severe burning to your scalp and completely destroy your hair.
  • In most cases, DIY hair color stripping using bleach ends up with brassy patchy outcomes.

When It Is Better to See a Stylist

We must admit that at-home hair dye removers have quite limited opportunities, and, in some cases, you would need more powerful color correction techniques. A hair colorist can achieve much more significant results using professional formulas including bleach-based color removers. These are just a few cases when it is better to see a hairdresser:

  • Your hair is more than two shades darker than you like;
  • Your hair is already in bad condition e.g. it is extremely dry and has breakage;
  • The color is uneven and patchy;
  • You would describe your hair type as fine or thin;
  • Your hair is gray, and you would like to return to your natural color.

As we’ve mentioned at the beginning of this article, the condition of hair should be your top priority. Remember to nourish and moisturize your locks after using any of the above recipes.

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