Top tips for hair dye removal from skin

So for all of you out there whoʼve dyed your hair; whether itʼs tidying up your hairline at the Salon or completely losing the tops of your ears after using a home kit (Donʼt worry, weʼve all been there!), at some point weʼve needed to remove hair dyes from our skin. Depending on how and what you use, this can be a quick wipe or stubborn scrub, here are a few facts, top tips, and products to save you from the latter.

If you’re new to hair dying or just curious about itʼs effects, you may want to know if hair dye is damaging to you. The short answer is no. As hair dye is meant to potentially be on your skin for the duration of the dying process it is designed to be harmless, however, some people do have reactions to certain chemicals such as Paraphenylenediamine (PPD), which is why it is always recommended to do a test patch with new products and dyes around 24 hours before. Donʼt worry, reactions to this are usually due to sensitive skin and under normal circumstances arenʼt serious but itʼs better safe than sorry! No one likes an itchy scalp.


In an ideal world, we wouldnʼt get dye on our skin at all, however, we are all human and even professionals have the occasional drip. So for this, the easiest solution is hair dye removal products for skin; there are many products on the market today, available to both professionals and home hair DIYers, each with its own pros and cons.

Liquid removers:
There are several brands of liquid remover available to consumers, most of which are at an affordable price. The upside of liquid removers are that some can be used to remove dyes from clothing as well as skin - just make sure to rinse them from your skin thoroughly and to check the fabric you are using can be used with these removers as they may contain chlorine bleach. The downside is liquid removers will need additional purchases to be usable, such as cotton wool/pads as well as taking more time to remove the stain.

Removal wipes:
Dye removal wipes are the most common type of removal product, many professionals use these and they are widely available and affordable. The pros of wipes are the ease of the product, you can purchase a pack and grab one as and when you need it without any messing about. Wipes are a very convenient item, however, as these are so readily available, there are many ʻcheaperʼ versions out there - and I donʼt mean in price as they seem to vary. You can buy a supermarket brand and it is the bee's knees or purchase a named brand and have it feel like sandpaper.

Although each type of product is designed to have the same result, they may not have the same method or chemicals, so itʼs mainly down to preference and trial and error. If youʼre ever unsure which to try; ask your stylist, itʼs likely they have their own preferences that they or the Salon use and reasons behind their choice.

Here are a few of our personal favorites:

7 Home remedies and hair dye removal hacks:

Right, so the first top tip I have is waiting it out! I know what your thinking - thatʼs not a remedy! But hear me out, most dyes only take two to four washes to come off the skin. Admittedly, you may have to give it a bit of a scrub but if, for example, youʼve dyed your hair on a Friday night and you know youʼll have three showers before you head back into work on Monday, youʼll probably be alright. However, this varies from person to person and on the type of hair dye so if you’re heading to your best friendʼs wedding in three days, I wouldn’t recommend it.

1). Washing-up Liquid

So letʼs start with one of the most well-known hacks; washing up liquid. This is a nice easy way to remove hair dye by using neat liquid and gently rubbing over the dyed area, this breaks down the dye on your skin making it easier to wash off, it does require some work but who knows, you may enjoy massaging the tips of your ears - just make sure to moisturize after use as it may dry out your skin.

A small warning, however, tries not to get this into your hair as it is known to strip color and dry out hair, and as youʼve just spent your good time and money on dying your hair, youʼll probably be pretty gutted.

2) Oils
Using both Baby oil and Olive oil are great ways to remove dyes from the skin, you can dab onto the stain with cotton wool, softly massage into the skin, or if itʼs a particularly stubborn stain; apply the oil and leave for a few hours before a second application and scrub.

3) Petroleum jelly
Petroleum jelly is a great home hack as everyone tends to have some lying around somewhere, it has similar steps as oils; apply and massage in. Both the jelly and oils are very light and relaxing ways to remove stains leaving the skin well moisturized and soft, so if you enjoy calming self-care it might be worth giving these a go.
Petroleum jelly hack number two (Yes, there are two ways to use this magical product), is to apply before drying your hair. If you want to avoid stains on your skin as much as possible this is a great way to do it, smooth a generous layer around your hairline, neck, and ears before you start and the dye will sit on top ready to be washed off later. This method isnʼt 100% as you can drip onto areas you havenʼt covered or you may not have put a thick enough layer but it does a pretty good job.

4) Nail polish remover
This one actually works quite well with removing stubborn stains quickly, all you need to do is to lightly cover a cotton pad and wipe over the hair dye. It seems like a very simple solution but remembers that this has alcohol in it so make sure to protect your eyes, rinse well off your skin, moisturize after as it will dry out your skin, and donʼt worry too much if it goes cold, this is the alcohol evaporating and leaving a cooling feeling, itʼs quite normal.

5) Toothpaste
Another that will leave your skin a bit cold is toothpaste. Again, everyone has this in some form in their bathrooms and it seems to have some strange magical quality that can remove stains. To remove the dye, dab a decent amount of toothpaste onto the stain and leave for around a minute, then massage into the area before washing off with warm water.
Toothpaste is also great for removing particularly tough stains from cotton clothes, The More You Know.

6) Washing powders and gels
As youʼve probably noticed from this list, a lot of these are items designed to remove dirt, stains, or paints anyway and this is no different. Gels and powders work differently but eventually have the same results; Gels need a bit of elbow grease to scrub off but eventually, it will do the job. It works but itʼs a 5/10 at best. Powder, however, works well as it not only removes the stain as gels do but the tiny powder particles softly buff the hair dye off, similar to exfoliation so is a lot gentler than using a gel. Again, try not to get this in any sensitive areas and make sure to wash it off thoroughly as leftover washing products tend to irritate the skin.

7) Baking powder
Baking powder. Come on, you knew it was going to be here somewhere. From what Iʼve found out one of the main reasons toothpaste is good at removing stains is because it contains a form of baking powder (And yes, apparently you can brush your teeth with baking powder). Baking powder is a very mild alkali and it reacts to many chemicals that cause them to lift. This is why itʼs so good at removing stains. To use, add a little warm water to the baking powder until it makes a paste and massage into the stained area, leave this for around thirty seconds before washing off.

I personally mix washing up liquid and olive oil together on a plate, dab onto the areas I need to remove the stains from, and massage in before washing, I find this great as it lifts the dye quickly without leaving me with an itchy hairline or dry skin. You can also use the leftover washing up liquid and oil to clean non-plastic brushes like makeup brushes or boars hair brushes, the washing up liquid removes any grease whilst the oil keeps the bristles well maintained, just make sure to dry them with bristles facing down or the liquids may loosen any glue.

And there you have it, my seven top home remedies for hair dye removal from the skin. There are many more out there but in my past experiences and research these are the top hacks that give the best results.

I hope youʼve found this post helpful, I do recommend you always talk to your stylist before trying anything new, even at home as they should be able to advise what's best for your hair type, and please donʼt forget to check out our other posts, we post regularly and you never know, you might find a diamond you werenʼt even looking for.

Hope you have a great rest of your day and good luck in your hair dye removal escapades.

- Helena