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7 Proven Ways To Remove Permanent Dye From Hair

When it comes to hair dye, there are two main types: temporary and permanent. Permanent hair dye is more difficult to remove than temporary hair dye. Is permanent hair dye really ‘permanent’, or what if you want to get rid of the dye?

In this article, we will discuss how to remove permanent hair dye from the hair using seven easy methods. We will also provide a few tips on how to avoid damaging your hair while trying to remove permanent hair dye.

How Does Permanent Hair Dye Work?

How Does Permanent Hair Dye Work

Permanent hair dye is a chemical-based product that penetrates the cortex of your natural hair color, altering its molecular structure. The change in the molecular structure of the hair makes it more difficult to completely remove than semi-permanent hair dyes.

How to Remove Permanent Hair Dye from Hair

Understanding how permanent hair dye affects your hair and makes it difficult to get out is one thing. The next thing you want to know is how to remove permanent hair dye from hair color when required.

Method 1: Clarifying Shampoo + Baking Soda Mixture

How To Remove Permanent Hair Dye - Baking Soda & Dandruff Shampoo

Clarifying shampoo like Anti-dandruff shampoo will help fade hair color. If you mix clarifying shampoo with baking soda, you can lighten your natural hair color significantly without as much damage as you might experience when using bleach.

Mix half a cup of anti-dandruff shampoo and baking soda in a bowl. Apply this mixture as a color stripper. Wash your hair starting from the scalp and working to the ends. Leave it on dyed hair for 15 minutes before rinsing it off with water.

If you’re dealing with tough colors, such as gray hair, you can try it again for several days until you remove all the dye from your natural color.

It’s a good idea to use a conditioner after each application. The conditioner will help prevent brittle hair as you watch the hair dye gradually fade.

This method can damage your hair, so it is important to use it with caution.

Method 2: Shampoo + Dishwashing Soap Mixture

Using dishwashing soap in combination with shampoo is another effective method for removing permanent hair dye. The dishwashing soap’s ingredients work to break down the hair dye’s molecules and gradually lighten them.

The following ingredients in dish soap work to help remove hair dye.

Detergents: These help lift and strip color from your hair.

Denatured alcohol: This helps to dissolve the hair dye, although it can leave your hair feeling dry.

Other helpful ingredients include the following.

  • Sodium chloride
  • Solvents
  • Sodium hydroxide

To create this mixture, mix equal shampoo and dishwashing soap in a bowl. Work the mixture into damp hair. Pay close attention to the roots as you wash your hair. Leave it on for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Use warm water to rinse. Repeat the procedure as necessary. You may need to use this color removal method once per week until you see the unwanted hair color disappear.

Method 3: Hot Oil

How To Remove Permanent Hair Dye - Hot Oil

If you have olive oil in your pantry, you’re in luck because it’s a natural method for removing permanent hair dye.

Extra virgin olive oil works best because it has higher acidity, but pure virgin olive oil or refined olive oil will also do. You’ll also need a shower cap or plastic wrap for this method.

First, rinse your hair in lukewarm or hot water to open the hair cuticles. Pour a half cup of olive oil into a bowl and heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

If it’s really hot when done, let it cool before moving on to the next step because you don’t want scalding hot oil on your head.

When the olive oil is cool enough, drizzle it over your head beginning at the scalp. Use your fingers to work the oil through your hair, especially the underside.

When your hair is coated, cover it with the shower cap or wrap plastic wrap around your head to seal the oil in. If it drips out, you can wrap a towel around your head too.

Leave your hair wrapped for at least 30 minutes before rinsing out with lukewarm water or a clarifying shampoo. Use this method once a week to start removing hair dye.

Method 4: Lemon Juice + Conditioner

Lemon juice brings an acidic nature. It can lighten pre-existing hair color and help strip away permanent hair dye. Mix equal parts of lemon juice and conditioner in a bowl. Apply the mixture to your scalp and work it through. Rinse it off with water after 60 minutes.

You may want to try exposing the mixture to the sun while it’s on your head. When lemon juice comes into contact with oxygen and sunlight, citric acid reacts. The process can significantly lighten hair color. It may not work as well on dark brown hair.

Lemon juice can also benefit your colored hair naturally in the following ways.

Not only does lemon lighten your hair, but it also removes the buildup caused by hair products. Lemon juice is an effective deep cleaning for the scalp. It’s effective in reducing dandruff, negating the need for selenium sulfide shampoos.

Lemon has an acidic pH, which can help to restore the pH balance of your scalp and hair. Maintaining a healthy scalp and hair pH keeps the cuticle closed and healthy. Not only does it stop fungi and bacteria from growing, but it also leaves your hair strong and healthy.

Method 5: Hot Water + Vitamin C Mixture

How To Remove Permanent Hair Dye - Hot Water and Vitamin C Mixture

It’s possible to remove permanent hair dye using hot water and vitamin C. The combination of both will help lighten your natural color without causing too much damage.

Mix two tablespoons of vitamin C tablets into a bowl of hot water. Wear a shower cap as you apply the mixture to your hair using a brush or applicator bottle.

Wondering how long to keep the moisture on your scalp? Stripping hair color that is lighter or less permanent usually shows results more quickly when using Vitamin C, so you can start with a shorter time frame.

For dark brown hair or more stubborn hair dyes, you will need to leave it in your hair for longer. In this case, try it for between 30 to 60 minutes. If you use the mixture in your hair multiple times, it could cause scalp irritation.

Method 6: Baking Soda + Epsom Salt Mixture

How To Remove Permanent Hair Dye - Baking Soda & Epsom Salt

Using this color remover, you can strip your natural color of its permanent dye without any harsh chemicals. Baking soda works with Epsom salt effectively. When combined, they can help reduce the intensity of the color in your strands.

Mix four tablespoons of baking soda with one tablespoon of Epsom salt in a bowl. Wet your hair and then apply the mixture to your scalp and hair. Work it through with a brush or comb, then leave the product in for up to an hour.

Rinse with lukewarm water. You can try repeating this mixture for up to four days.

Method 7: Water + Vinegar

Vinegar is often used as a scalp cleanser, but because of its acidity, it has also been used to help remove permanent hair dye. While it won’t strip the hair color completely, it will help to fade it.

Make sure your hair is clean first and thoroughly rinsed with shampoo. Then boil two cups of water in a small pot.

Add two tablespoons of either apple cider vinegar or white vinegar and let it steep for about 15 minutes. After it cools, rinse the mixture through your hair completely.

You’ll need to wash your hair with this mixture at least 2-3 times per week. You may notice your hair smells a little like vinegar, but the smell should fade as your hair dries.

Methods That Can Cause Damage When Removing Permanent Hair Dye

As you learn how to remove permanent hair dye from your hair, you should know that some color removers can cause damage to your hair and scalp.

  • Bleach – Bleach, ammonia, and peroxide are all harsh chemicals that are bad for the hair. They can lead to hair breakage, make it more susceptible to damage, and dry it out. It’s also easy to overestimate how much you put in your hair, so leave the bleach to the professionals.
  • Chlorine – Chlorine sucks out all your hair’s natural oils, which is why anyone in the hair industry will tell you not to get your hair wet in a swimming pool if you can avoid it. Chlorine will completely dry out your hair, cause split ends and negative chemical reactions, and weaken your hair.
  • Hand Sanitizer – Since hand sanitizer contains alcohol, your hair will only end up super dry and brittle if you attempt to use it as a permanent hair dye remover. It may also irritate your scalp and cause dandruff.

Professional Treatment To Remove Permanent Hair Dye

Professional Treatment To Remove Permanent Hair Dye

If you don’t have experience in removing permanent hair dye or want to save time and have peace of mind, visit a professional hair colorist to get the permanent hair dye safely removed.

Depending on your hair length, hair color removal can cost $70 – $200.

The colorist will use bleach or an ammonia-free process to remove the hair dye. You will most likely need a professional when dealing with very long hair, gray hair, or hair recently dyed.

Removing permanent hair dye can be a tricky process, so unless you feel completely comfortable doing the job yourself, knowing it will take longer and might not even come out right, go see a professional.


  • Permanent hair dye alters the hair’s molecular structure, making it harder to remove than semi-permanent dyes.
  • Anti-dandruff shampoo and baking soda mixture can fade hair color significantly. Leave it on the hair for 15 minutes before rinsing.
  • A combination of shampoo and dishwashing soap can effectively remove hair dye. Leave it on the hair for 15-20 minutes before rinsing.
  • Baking soda and Epsom salt mixture can strip the hair of dye without harsh chemicals. Apply and leave it for up to an hour, repeating for up to four days.
  • Lemon juice and conditioner can lighten hair color and strip away dye. Apply the mixture and leave it on for 60 minutes before rinsing.
  • A mixture of hot water and Vitamin C can lighten hair color without much damage. Apply and leave it on for 30 to 60 minutes.
  • Water and vinegar mixture can help to fade hair dye. Rinse the hair with this mixture 2-3 times per week.
  • Treating the hair with hot oil, such as olive oil, can also remove hair dye. Apply heated oil to the hair and leave it for 30 minutes before rinsing.
  • Avoid using bleach, chlorine, or hand sanitizer to remove dye as they can damage the hair and scalp.
  • Professional treatment can safely remove hair dye, with costs ranging from $70 – $200, depending on the hair length and color.

There are many methods out there for removing permanent hair dye, and it can be challenging to discern which one is safe, affordable, and effective.

If you do decide to DIY, steer clear of bleach and the other harsh methods listed above. Opt for natural methods using ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen pantry. If you aren’t seeing the results you’d hoped for within a week or two, it might be time to call in the pros. Either way, you have options!