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Hair Color Removers: Advantages & Disadvantages

If you’ve ever had a color treatment that didn’t work out as planned, you may already be familiar with hair color removers. In salons, hairdressers alter your shade with color removers.

Whether these products are used to correct color or remove previous dyes to start fresh, hair color removers serve a specific purpose when treating hair.

However, there are advantages and disadvantages to using products to remove the color from your hair.

In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of hair color removers and find out if you should use them to remove dye from your hair.

What is Hair Color Remover?

Hair Color Remover

Hair color removers are products designed to remove pigment from your hair. Products of this type vary by formula. Also referred to as color strippers, different color removers work best in certain situations.

These products break down pigments, so they easily fall out of the hair. Hair color removal only targets added pigments, but if you lightened your hair in the dyeing process, don’t expect your hair to return to its natural color. 

Advantages & Disadvantages of Hair Color Remover

Like any product, hair color remover has disadvantages and advantages. Let’s examine the important aspects of these products and the pros and cons of each.

Number of Products

A large number and a wide variety of hair color removal products are available for purchase.


With lots of options, there’s probably a product that meets your requirements.


When there are many products on the market, it’s easy to pick the wrong one or not know which one to use. Choosing the wrong product could result in ineffective treatment.

At-Home Treatments

Advantages & Disadvantages of Hair Color Remover - At-Home Treatments

Products to use at home for hair color removal are available for purchase.


You can get the results you want without a salon visit.


Professionals can correct mistakes often made in the hair color removal process before they happen.

Skip the Bleach

Bleaching hair removes color from hair in a process similar to hair color remover.


Bleaching hair involves a harsher chemical formula than hair color remover.


These products won’t lighten hair like bleach can, only remove pigment already in place.

Restoring Original Hair Color

Advantages & Disadvantages of Hair Color Remover - Restoring Original Hair Color

Can you revert to your original color when using hair color removal? Since these products only pull pigments from your hair, the answer is maybe.


Under some circumstances, the right product can restore your original hair color. Specifically, if you use a semi-permanent dye, you can use a product formulated to remove this type of dye from your hair.


If you lightened your hair during a permanent dye treatment, hair color remover would not restore the original color.

When to Use Hair Color Remover?

If you’re unhappy about your current shade, a hair color remover may be the solution to your problem. Many stylists keep products on hand for adjusting color after a dye.

They can only remove dye pigments, so color strippers lessen the vibrancy of color. However, you may need a hair color remover before you can add more of the correct pigment.

People who dye their hair often require a hair color remover before switching to a new shade. Frequently dyed hair experiences color buildup.

Removing this buildup helps hair achieve your desired color when dyeing your hair.

Tips to Use Hair Color Remover

Tips to Use Hair Color Remover

Keep these tips in mind when choosing and using a hair color remover.

  1. Consult a professional: Schedule a full service with a colorist to apply hair color remover. Stylists are knowledgeable and can help you reach your desired shade.
  2. Choose the right product: Dozens of products on the market help remove hair dye. Pick one that suits your needs. Specific formulas may work better on some colors than others. Other products remove semi-permanent dyes, while others won’t.
  3. Do a strand test: Applying a small amount of product to test it is always a good idea. Not only will this show the results of the product, but it also tests your reaction to the hair color remover. No one likes discovering they’re allergic to a product once it’s already coating their whole head.
  4. Rinse thoroughly: The pigments falling out of the hair can re-enter if not washed away. A hair color removal treatment will be less effective if the pigments continue to cling to the hair.
  5. Consider other products: What other hair care products are a part of your routine? If you’re using color-protecting products, stop use before a hair color removal for easier treatment.
  6. Multiple treatments may be necessary: Not every color can be corrected during the first treatment. Several may be required to reach the shade you want. Be patient and follow directions for how and when it is safe to proceed with your next treatment.


To get all the advantages without the setbacks, consider a salon for a hair color removal treatment. Even if a full-service treatment isn’t an affordable option for you at the moment, a stylist can direct you to an at-home product to meet your needs.

When used as directed, hair color remover provides a safe way to make color corrections or prepare hair for a new dye treatment.

Finding the right formula for your situation is one of the most critical steps in this process, so take time when selecting the product right for your hair.


Let’s break down the information about hair color removers by answering some of the most frequently asked questions about their use.

Is hair color remover safe?

Hair color remover is safe when used as directed. Multiple treatments close together may begin to damage hair.

Why do hair color removers stink?

Like any chemical product, hair color removers can have a distinct smell. This scent may vary between brands or salons depending on the chemical makeup of the product.

Color remover vs. bleach – what is the difference?

A color remover uses a chemical process to remove pigments from your hair. While bleach does remove color, it also lightens that hair itself.

How often should I use hair color remover?

Like most chemical products, hair color remover should be used sparingly. Refer either to a hair care professional or the product instructions for directions specific to your situation.

Will color remover work on semi-permanent dyes?

Yes, many types of color remover work effectively on semi-permanent dyes. If you’re purchasing a product, ensure the hair color remover indicates that it works on semi-permanent dyes.

Do hair color removers work on black hair?

Yes, hair color removers work on dyed black hair. You can look for formulas specifically designed to remove dark pigments. Consider lightening treatments like bleach to lighten your naturally black hair.

What is the best hair color remover?

The best hair color remover varies by situation. Check with a salon professional for advice on which product is right for you and your hair.

If you know what you hope to achieve using a hair color remover, you can pick up a product on your own, but professional recommendations usually help.

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