What if your fancy dye job didn’t land well? Or your DIY experience couldn’t end up as planned? Fear not: it is possible to get back to your natural hair color without damaging the cortex. The blessedest fact of today’s debate is that we can still undo our dyeing mistakes without picking up the check.
Suppose you’ve decided to lift your hair color by yourself with determination to get back to your original hair color. For that reason, you don’t have to wait too long until your boring and pathetic hair color fades away—since we can’t layer up unwanted color with the second one.
Many professional colorists talked about the seriousness of DIY chemical services and discouraged them, especially stripping hair color. One should consider that removing unwanted dye using homemade recipes may turn out problematic if managed unconsciously.
Homemade hair dye removers won’t strip the artificial pigment as expected, especially if the case is permanent hair dyes. Be mindful that commercial and homemade hair strippers perform better if applied instantly after a dye job.
Keep on reading to learn expert-approved ways of stripping unwanted colors at home.
Learn How Hair Coloring Works & Different Dyeing Techniques
The more you follow the science behind hair structure, the more you’ll understand how it reacts to hair dyes and bleaching agents. Our hair strands mainly consist of three different layers:
Now we have to break the stereotype of temporary, demi-permanent, semi-permanent, and permanent hair dyes along with different dyeing techniques.
Temporary Hair Dyes
Temporary hair colors act as instant dyes that coat the cuticle without altering the actual hair color. We can easily remove these dyes as they last typically 1-2 shampoos.
Semi-permanent Hair Dyes
Semi-permanent hair dyes are used to drastically fix a fading color, add luster, and alter the tone of highlights. It contains no ammonia; also, it won’t open the hair shaft as permanent colors do. It normally lasts anywhere from 4-5 weeks.
Demi-permanent Hair Dyes
Demi-permanent is an ammonia-free dye that uses peroxide to penetrate the outermost layer of hair. Usually, demi-permanent dyes last longer than semi-permanent colors, somewhere around 12-26 shampoos.
Permanent Hair Dyes
Permanent hair dyes work deep inside and penetrate the cortex with the help of developers. Permanent dyes change hair color permanently. As the hair cuticle reseals itself, it won’t allow color pigments to escape. Significantly, permanent dyes last longer and demand more effort to remove.
KEY TAKEAWAYS Our strands tend to become more damaged every time we chemically treat them. These harsh coloring practices cause lesser stability, more roughness, and less hair strength with a clear drop in thickness. It is highly imperative to be more cautious before any mishap. Consult with a professional colorist to prevent future damage if you're determined to do the correction or stripping at home.
Always Consider Your Hair Texture & Behaviour
According to the scientific structure of hair, every hair texture behaves differently based on several properties. These properties can impact hair’s ability to react to artificial colors and homemade hair dye removers. Some of the properties are highlighted below:
These nuances may assist us in determining how hard it can be for DIY strippers to remove unwanted colors. For example, fine hair requires less physical color and fades away more quickly than coarse hair. So for fine hair, it is much easier to strip the artificial pigment and make possible changes at home.
Other than this, acidic hair (pH value drops below 6.0) causes the hair cuticles to contract and minimize the possibility of color fading. Hair porosity is also a factor that complies with the ability of the cuticle to absorb and release dyes more quickly.
What is Required to Remove Hair Dye Naturally or Chemically?
Before dwelling on removing unwanted hair dye naturally or chemically, we need to scan various possibilities to disallow hair color without damaging hair’s integrity. It is highly suggested to remove a hideous layer of dye first before coating another layer as it may cause further complications.
Such complications can drag us into issues like thicker build-ups with brittle textures and uneven colors. Apart from this, there are two convenient ways of removing hair dyes at home, either through bleaching or stripping.
Hair strippers work inside the hair shaft and disband the artificial color pigments. These permanent color pigments are then ready to be flushed out after washing, leaving no damage to the hair’s natural color.
Contrastingly, the bleaching process uses an alkaline agent that unlocks the hair’s cuticle. The oxidation agent penetrates the cortex (middle layer) and destroys both natural and artificial pigment at once.
Note down the List of Potent Homemade Hair Dye Removers
Let’s thoroughly investigate the DIY strippers (both ayurvedic and non-ayurvedic) that many expert colorists in the town approve of. These methods are all safe and easy to use, ensuring foolproof outcomes if practiced accordingly.
As per the situation, it is difficult for us to explain how to remove hair color without knowing specific information like the type of pigment you used and coloring history. Also, do remember these strategies can take some time, so don’t expect instant miracles.
1 . Baking Soda and Dandruff Shampoo with Dish Soap
Mix equal proportions of baking soda (not baking powder) with dandruff shampoo and add 5-6 drops of dish soap. Get yourself a quick hop under the shower before applying the paste. Coat your strands evenly, starting from the tips to the roots using both hands.
Let the mixture stay there for 5-7 minutes so that it can scrub dye molecules from your hair without damaging its natural color. Repeat the process twice a week for adequate results.
Why Baking Soda, Dandruff Shampoo, and Dish Soap?
Baking soda is an exceptional cleansing agent with soft abrasive particles that destroy the bond of temporary and semi-permanent hair dyes. On the other hand, anti-dandruff shampoo and clarifying shampoo will lift hair dyes a few shades lighter because of their strong cleansing properties.
Dishwashing soap can deplete strong build-up from strands and act as a mild bleach for removing dye pigment.
More effective for semi-permanent / demi-permanent hair dyes. For permanent hair dyes, the color appears quite pastel than before.
It is recommended to deep condition your hair before applying baking soda and dish soap as it may dry out the scalp and strip away the hair’s natural oil.
2 . White Vinegar and Warm Water
Mix equal amounts of white vinegar and warm water in a container and firmly saturate your hair with the mixture. Cover your wet hair using a shower cap for approximately 15-20 minutes.
Shampoo your hair and rinse it completely. Repeat the shampooing process until the water runs transparently without any sign of color.
Why Plain White Vinegar?
The strength of white vinegar to fade the artificial pigment is highly dependable on its acidic nature. Plain white vinegar is more effective than apple cider vinegar and plays the role of a natural dye lightener.
Suitable for temporary hair dyes, it can change the shade and cause the color to fade gradually.
Vinegar can dry out hair because of its acidic nature, so don’t leave it on for too long. Moreover, vinegar leaves a pungent smell that causes fragrance sensitivity for some people. Avoid using it on red-dyed hair.
3 . Honey and Lemon with Cinnamon or Cardamom
Combine a considerable amount of raw honey and 1-2 tsp lemon juice in a container. Adding 2 tbsp of the powder form of cinnamon and cardamom spices can boost the peroxide value of honey.
Leave the mixture for at least half an hour. Douse the mixture to damp hair so that the dye-removing process gets on the right track.
Cover your head with a shower cap for 3-4 hours after applying it. The processing time of the honey mixture depends on the darkness of your existing color and how many shades you want it to drop. For noticeable lightning, it requires three to four applications.
Why Honey, Lemon, Cinnamon, and Cardamom?
A perfect combo of honey, lemon juice, cinnamon, and cardamom can significantly remove hair dye at home. In this mixture, honey acts as a natural bleaching agent, whereas lemon acidity and powdered form of cinnamon and cardamom can boost the process of removing synthetic pigment from the hair shaft.
The Honey and lemon mixture doesn’t strip all the artificial from your mane at first. Rather it can drop your appearance a few shades lighter after each application. For dark brown tresses, the outcome will be chestnut brown or light chestnut.
For those who have a sensitive scalp, test the mixture before applying it to check whether you’re allergic to cinnamon or lemon. If the mixture starts irritating, rinse it immediately.
4 . Hot Olive Oil Treatment
Wash out your hair using hot water for as long as possible, allowing the hair cuticle to open up. This method can help olive oil deeply invade the cortex and remove the dye a couple of tones. Next, take 1-2 cups of olive oil and heat it firmly in a microwave for half a minute.
Pour the mixture into your pre-damp hair and spread it evenly, starting from the roots to the ends of the hair. Now cover your oiled hair using a shower cap and wait for 30-40 minutes so that olive oil can work wonders.
Use clarifying or thickening shampoo with lukewarm water (not hot water as it may dry out the strands) to remove olive oil along with artificial pigment from the strands. Repeat this process once a week until your desired shade starts appearing.
Why Hot Olive Oil?
Traditional olive oil treatment can penetrate the hair shaft to lighten the dye pigments and manage pesky flyaways effectively. Most notably, it works amazingly as an emollient and humectant to seal in moisture and conditions color-treated hair.
Lifting hair color using a homemade hot olive oil treatment is favorable for dark hair colors and can strip them one or two shades lighter after each coating.
Using olive oil on greasy hair is not suitable and is considered the wrong choice if you have oily or fine hair. Excessive olive oil treatments for dye removal may weigh down your hair and could turn it greasy.
Why permanent dye is so persistent The persistency of permanent hair dyes relies on chemicals that make synthetic pigments more intensive. Permanent colors use an oxidation process in which the bonds between hair molecules are destroyed, and new ones replace them. Thus, the new pigments are difficult to remove and last longer without fading.
5 . Bath Salts and Lemon Juice
If you’re willing to strip off unwanted color without further damaging the intrinsic structure of your mane, then this place is for you. To make your hair less vibrant with some extra fading, add a reasonable amount of bath salts to the water and add 2-3 tablespoons(amount may vary) of lemon juice.
Soak your hair in water and wait for half an hour until the hideous color pigment gradually exfoliates. The mixture helps lift your cuticle and allows dye molecules to be flushed off through scrubbing.
The time you lift your hair out of the salt mixture, you can see the synthetic dye remaining when the water turns stained. We can repeat the process every 2 to 3 days for drastic changes.
Why Bath Salts?
It is worthwhile if we add bath salts and lemon juice to exfoliate dead skin and rip off unnatural dyes from strands. This mixture includes sodium bicarbonate, ascorbic acid, and Epsom salt, which works efficiently on semi-permanent dyes. However, this mixture is less influential in stripping permanent hair dyes.
The resulting appearance could be 1 or 2 shades lighter for demi-permanent hair color. Results may vary according to your hair’s porosity and coloring history.
It is recommended to avoid consistent use of salts on dry textures and stop adding Epsom salt to daily shampoos. As the salt drains the water through the osmosis effect, it is compulsory to moisturize your hair afterward.
6 . Vitamin C Tablets and Hot Water
Crush 10-15 vitamin C tablets and add some hot water to them (we can opt-in for clarifying shampoo). Mix it with a spoon until it forms a thick paste. Now apply vitamin C paste to already damp hair so that it can easily penetrate. Wrap your hair using a shower cap and let the mixture sit for an hour.
Thoroughly rinse the mixture; now, your hair needs shampoo and conditioner as you normally do. You can observe significant results after a few applications within a week.
Why Vitamin C Tablets?
Vitamin C paste is lauded because it is Kim Kardashian’s hack for removing dye at home. Vitamin C paste uses plausible ascorbic acid (non-abrasive) that oxidizes the artificial pigment and makes it lose its grip.
With the anti-pigmentary properties of vitamin C mixture, we can easily strip hair dye a few shades lighter. However, it is ineffective on textured hair and when the dye is older than 3 days. Although, you might see some results out of it.
Vitamin C is quite safe for humans for oral and topical uses. However, in some cases, it may cause scalp dryness, inflammation, and redness of the scalp.
7 . Lightner + 20 Volume Developer with Clarifying Shampoo
You can fearlessly go with this treatment if you have no other option left and need rapid changes. This method uses hydrogen peroxide as a lightener and a 20-volume developer, so be cautious to avoid screwing up. This process will destroy all the artificial and natural pigments of the hair.
Mix hydrogen peroxide and 20-volume developer in equal proportions and add some clarifying shampoo to the mixture. Apply the mixture to your ends first because they can hold more artificial pigments because of porous behavior. Let the product stay there for 15-20 minutes, depending on how darker your hair color is.
Now thoroughly rinse the mixture using cold water, so your cuticles stay closed. Apply a deep conditioner for moisturization and rehydration of dry strands to minimize the damage.
Why Hydrogen Peroxide and 20 Volume Developer?
This method works quickly and efficiently to remove the overall color of your hair. Hydrogen peroxide has proven to be more acceptable and safer than chemicals like bleach. On the other hand, 20 volume developer offers to lift 1-2 levels, whereas 30 Vol. offers 3 levels of lightening.
Since hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent, it alters your hair to light blonde color. Do it at your own risk because you can’t get the natural color unless you re-dye your hair with the same color.
You can face disastrous consequences if the process of bleaching turns out wrong. It may burn out the scalp, damage the hair cuticle, and lead to unwanted breakage.
HANDY TIP We have heard a lot that heat can assist and gear up the processes like hair masks and hot oil treatments, including the aforementioned practices. So, for now, use a blow dryer or beauty steamer to apply heat to the shower cap so that the applied product can go through deeply. Repeat this method twice or thrice while you let the product sit.
Homemade dye removers are effective, easy to use, and leave minimum damage if handled the way we highlighted above. To reap more professional results, we can combine any of these treatments to boost the lightening of dyes.
For all that, it is still impossible for DIY strippers to remove permanent hair dye after one wash because of their intensive behavior. However, we can drop a couple of shades after some applications. Homemade hair dye removers can also reverse other dye pigments like henna, beet juice, and chamomile tea.
Apart from this, commercial strippers like sulfur-based strippers are safe because they only undo dye molecules without changing the original hair color. On the contrary, all treatments that use bleaching agents will permanently strip natural hair pigment.
Most colorists and salon professionals recommend avoiding re-dyeing hair for at least 2-3 weeks after the stripping process. So that hair can regain its health during that period and absorb more pigment easily.