Changing your hair color is a fun and relatively easy way to alter your look dramatically - and it’s often less risky than getting a new haircut. That’s why we’ve been experimenting with hair dyes for centuries - back in Elizabethan England, women achieved fair colored hair by using urine as a dye! Luckily modern science has brought us a long way in achieving a safer, much-less-gross-than-urine formula for dying our hair the shade we want.
Unfortunately those of us using hair dye still struggle with one big problem in particular: how to remove hair dye from skin afterwards. Since modern hair dye is so effective at its job, that means the skin around your hairline or skin on your hands might suffer the same consequences as your strands. So what’s an aspiring hair colorist to do? Here are 13 tips and tricks that might help you.
1. Go to a professional
Obviously professional hair coloring is much more expensive than buying your favorite color off the shelf, but the benefits are proportionate to the price. Not only will a professional colorist be better able to advise you on the correct color for your look, but also he or she will be able to protect your skin from becoming stained with hair dye. Sometimes it’s just worth it to splurge for better quality.
2. Professional dye removal
If you’re not willing or can’t afford to have a professional do your dye job but you’re wary of home hair dye removal methods, you could still dye your hair yourself or with a friend at home and then go to a hair salon afterwards to ask them to use their professional tricks to removing hair dye. Of course you’ll have to pay for that, but it won’t be as expensive as the salon dyeing your hair for you.
3. Petroleum jelly
The most ideal course of action is to avoid stains in the first place by coating your hairline with a layer of petroleum jelly before starting your dye job. Petroleum jelly can also act as a stain removal agent after dyeing.
Begin by rubbing petroleum jelly into the stain. Massage it into the skin using your fingertips. Continue massaging until you can see the stain disappearing. You may notice the petroleum jelly turning the color of the dye it is removing - that means it’s working! You may also opt to apply the petroleum jelly using a makeup remover pad to prevent the dye on the skin on your face from transferring to your hands.
Note that while petroleum jelly is gentle on your hands and facial skin, you should be careful not to get it in your eyes.
Remove the petroleum jelly with a clean, wet washcloth.
If that gets rid of the hair dye stain, then great. If not, you can apply petroleum jelly and let it sit and soak into the skin, even allowing it to sit overnight. If you wear the petroleum jelly to sleep, try covering it with clean cotton fabrics like a headband or bandages to keep it from staining your pillowcases and sheets. If you’re applying the jelly to your hands, simply wear gloves to bed.
The safest method? Doing nothing! Hair dye stains on your skin will become lighter and lighter as time passes until they eventually disappear. Honestly, most hair dyes will fade from the skin within a week or less. If your hair dye stains are not in an easily seen place or not so big as to attract attention, then your best bet may be some patient waiting. We’re always our own worst critics - just because you see the dye on your skin doesn’t mean that others will notice it as well!
5. Makeup remover
Make up remover is inexpensive and works wonders. If you don’t already own some for its principal use, pick up a bottle at your local drugstore or Sephora and start using it. Make up remover is especially good for removing eye makeup and protecting the sensitive skin around your eyes from undereye bags and premature aging and wrinkles.
As a remover for hair dye, makeup remover may be able to help you tackle those stains. Apply some to a cotton ball and start rubbing. Wait five minutes before rinsing and hopefully that stain will disappear.
6. Liquid laundry detergent
Keep in mind that from this point on, this list of remedies delves into solutions that can be tough - especially on sensitive skin. Remember - hair dye is strong stuff, and excessive or overly enthusiastic scrubbing can do damage to your skin, so exercise caution.
Detergent made for lifting stains from fabrics may also present a good option for some. Use a detergent free from dyes and fragrances to cause as little abrasion as possible. Apply a small amount of the detergent to your stained skin, using your fingers to rub it in. (Please avoid getting any in your eyes!) Add warm water to the area or wet a clean washcloth or makeup remover pad with warm water in order to scrub with the detergent. Let the detergent soak into your skin for half an hour.
Don’t over-scrub! You’ll only do more damage to your skin. Blot gently and persistently at the dye stain until it fades, then rinse. Repeat as needed - the stain should fade from your skin gradually, but if you’re not making any progress over the course of several tries, move on to the next dye removal method to see if that works more effectively.
7. Dish soap & baking soda
If you don’t have any suitable liquid laundry detergent at hand, you could also try number 5’s method using liquid dish detergent instead.
As another option, you can combine equal parts liquid dish detergent and baking soda. Stir well until combined. Detergent works by lifting stains from the skin, and the baking soda adds an abrasive effect (that may be too abrasive for some skin types!). By scrubbing away the skin cells stained with dye, baking soda helps to reveal the new layers of skin underneath. Apply the baking soda and detergent mixture to the dye-stained skin, and then use a makeup remover pad to scrub the solution into the skin using a circular motion with gentle pressure (just like you do with your LUNA™ 2).
As always, avoid contact with eyes to avoid irritation.
After scrubbing for a few minutes, rinse with warm water until all of the solution has been removed. Be sure to stop if you feel any discomfort, especially a burning sensation. There IS such a thing as too much exfoliating!
As before, repeat as needed and the dye should appear lighter with each round of cleansing. But if you still aren’t getting the results you want, you may consider trying the next hair dye removal method.
8. Baby oil or olive oil
Oil can work as an effective hair dye remover because it helps to break up the color, but it’s not too rough or abrasive on the skin. In fact, it can help soften while you scrub. The downside is that oils may not be as effective as more corrosive options, but it’s important to take care of your skin, even if that means accepting a few small hair dye stains.
To try the oil method, coat the stained area of skin with oil. Rub in with your fingers. (Do we have to remind you one more time not to get it in your eyes?)
It’s best if you can let the oil sit on your affected skin for as long as possible. Since it’s not corrosive or abrasive, you can let the oil sit on the stain for 8 hours or even more. Sleep on your back and leave the oil soaking overnight, or apply it on your next day off. If you wear the oil to sleep, try covering it with clean cotton fabrics like a headband or bandages to keep it from staining your pillowcases and sheets. If you’re applying the oil to your hands, simply wear gloves to bed.
Instead of dabbing with a warm washcloth, rinse with running water. Apply a little extra soap or shampoo to help remove the oil from your skin entirely.
If you’re still not achieving the results you need, then you can move on to the next hair dye removal method.
9. Toothpaste & toothbrush
Purchase a new, clean toothbrush with gentle bristles and a non-gel toothpaste. You may not be surprised to read that toothpastes can serve as effective hair dye removers. Afterall, the active ingredient in many toothpastes is baking soda. Due to the granules in baking soda, it works as a mild abrasive. (See number 6.)
To try the toothpaste method, dab some toothpaste onto the hair-dyed skin. Use your finger to rub the toothpaste into the affected area and spread a thin coat of paste over the stain. Continue rubbing over the stained area. Depending on the sensitivity of your skin, you can try scrubbing with a gentle bristle toothbrush, a makeup remover pad, washcloth or simply try massaging with your fingers in a circular motion.
After scrubbing, rinse with warm water, dry, or repeat the process as needed. If this method doesn’t work, it’s time to bring out the big stain removing guns.
10. Lava soap
Here’s where hair dye skin stain removal gets a tad more dangerous. Many of the following home remedies are beyond your run-of-the-mill mild abrasives and can cause real damage to your skin, so use only with extreme caution and stop at the first sign of irritation. No hair dye stain is worth causing skin burns to remove.
Lava soap is a heavy-duty cleaner that was originally invented for people like mechanics, painters and construction works who need serious help removing engine grease, grime, paint and tar from their hands, so understand that while this may be a perfectly acceptable option for removing hair dye from your hands, applying this to your face is a different matter. For stubborn stains around your hairline, you can try to lather the soap first in your hands, and then use a cotton makeup remover pad to apply the soap to the stained skin and scrub in a circular motion. Be careful to avoid getting any of the soap in your eyes and then rinse thoroughly.
11. Nail polish remover
Be very careful with this hair dye removing agent. Prolonged contact to the skin - especially with acetone remover - can cause burns, so be sure to rinse at the first sign of discomfort. Getting nail polish remover in your eyes can also cause injury so be extra careful!
Start by soaking a cotton ball with nail polish remover, squeeze out the excess, and then dab onto the stained skin. Pause for a moment to make sure this doesn’t burn. If you’re still feeling okay, continue by blotting gently with the cotton ball. If you’re still feeling comfortable, rub the cotton ball over the stained area in a circular motion.
Do not expose your skin for more than a minute - most skin types will hit their limit at thirty seconds or less. Rinse very, very well in order to thoroughly remove all traces of the nail polish remover from your skin.
Hairspray’s not the right solution for every skin type! Apply with caution.
If the stain is on your hands, spray some into your hands and rub the stained spot vigorously. If the stained skin is on your hairline, spray a cotton ball or makeup remover pad with hairspray and then blot the affected area. This should lift the stain from the skin but be sure to stop and rinse with warm water immediately at the first sign of discomfort.
Your dad wasn’t joking - WD-40 really can fix everything! Except for hair dye stains on your face.
But if you’re still struggling to remove a few stubborn stains from your hands, spray a bit of WD-40 into your hands, rub them together for a bit and voila! Bye-bye, hair dye.
Still struggling to clean your face?
Treat yourself to the facial-cleansing powers of the LUNA™ 2 and watch it remove dirt, oil, acne-causing bacteria, and other impurities like hair dye, from your face. Give yourself the gift of healthier, cleaner, more luminous skin.
Disclaimer: The information on this website and any related links are for general informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, contact a professional healthcare provider.