Expert Reviewed

How to Remove Dye from Hair

Oops! Your dye job did not quite turn out the way you wanted it to. Luckily, there are several ways you can try to remove dye from your hair. Feel free to try more than one of these techniques, or the same technique multiple times, if you aren't seeing the desired results. Keep in mind that these methods will work best if you try them immediately after dying your hair, and are most effective on semi- or demi-permanent dyes.

Method One of Four:
Dandruff Shampoo and Baking Soda

  1. 1
    Purchase dandruff shampoo. You can get this at any drug or grocery store. It will be labelled clearly as a dandruff product. Head & Shoulders and Original Formula Prell are popular options.[1]
    • Dandruff shampoo is a little more heavy-duty than normal shampoo; people with dandruff have excess sebum that causes the skin to flake off, necessitating a stronger formula.
  2. 2
    Grab some baking soda. Make sure it's baking soda and not baking powder. The packaging often looks similar, but baking powder will not work for this. Baking soda is a natural (although not strong) bleaching agent.[2]
    Why Baking Soda?
    Baking soda is a natural cleaning agent—you may have even used it to remove stains before! It will help lighten and remove the dye without bleaching your hair. Combining this cleansing power with dandruff shampoo, which has an active ingredient that fades hair color, makes for a powerful dye-removing mixture.
    Tip: If you don’t have any baking soda on hand, try the dandruff shampoo alone. Just washing your hair should help remove the dye, especially if it’s semi-permanent.
  3. 3
    Mix the shampoo and baking soda together in equal parts. You can mix them together in a container, or just pour equal parts of each into the palm of your hand. It doesn't have to be exact!
  4. 4
    Shampoo your hair with the mixture. Work up a nice lather, then let the mixture sit on your hair for a few minutes before you rinse it out.[3]
    Shampooing Tips:
    Get your hair thoroughly wet before you shampoo. Hop in the shower or bath and run your hair under the water for a minute, just as you would before using your regular shampoo.
    Scrunch the shampoo through your hair evenly. Use both hands to coat the strands, working it all the way from the tips of your hair to the roots.
    Let the mixture soak in. The shampoo and baking soda need a bit of time to penetrate the strands and work out the dye. Let it sit for 5-7 minutes without touching it or rinsing it out.
  5. 5
    Rinse thoroughly. You'll see the hair color running out when you rinse. You can wash your hair with this solution several times, if necessary. This works best if you have recently dyed your hair, rather than several months later.

Method Two of Four:
Dish Soap

  1. 1
    Mix four or five drops of dish soap with regular shampoo. Palmolive and Dawn are two popular dish soaps you can try. Mix it with a quarter-sized amount of your regular shampoo.
  2. 2
    Wet your hair and apply the mixture. Rub up a soapy lather, allowing the dish soap to penetrate deeply into the hair. Lather your hair for at least a couple of minutes.
  3. 3
    Rinse your hair thoroughly. Dish soap causes hair to become very dry and strips out natural oils, so be sure to rinse it out thoroughly. You will probably have to repeat this technique more than once, but because dish soap is so harsh, don't repeat it too many times in a row.
  4. 4
    Check your hair after each application of dish soap. The results won't be drastic right away, but
    you should start to see the color fade significantly after doing this for two to three days.
  5. 5
    Follow up with a deep conditioner every time. Always follow the last rinse with a deep conditioning treatment such as hot oil.
    Dish soap is extremely drying; your strands will need a dose of hydration every time you use it.
    • You can even sit under a heated dryer to increase the effectiveness of the conditioner.

Method Three of Four:
Crushed Vitamin C

  1. 1
    Make a paste out of Vitamin C tablets. If you dyed your hair a darker color with a semi-permanent dye (one that claims to wash out in 28 shampoos) and only a couple of days have passed, try this technique. Dump a bunch of vitamin C tablets in a bowl, add hot water, and crush with a spoon to make a thick paste.[4]
    Using Vitamin C Tablets
    Why vitamin C? Vitamin C is a safe, non-abrasive option if your hair is dyed a dark color. The acid in vitamin C oxidizes the dye and loosens up its hold on your hair.
    Buy vitamin C at a drugstore or large general store. Look in the vitamins and supplements aisle for vitamin C tablets or powder. Powder will dissolve better in the water, but either one will work fine.
    Vitamin C works best if your dye has been in for less than 3 days. If it’s been longer, you might still see some results, but they won’t be very drastic.
  2. 2
    Apply the paste to wet hair and let it sit for 1 hour. Be sure to apply the paste to wet hair, not dry hair.
    The vitamin C penetrates best when your hair is wet.
    After applying the paste, put on a shower cap or wrap up your hair in plastic. Let the paste sit for 1 hour. [5]
  3. 3
    Rinse it out and wash your hair. Rinse out the paste thoroughly, then shampoo and condition your hair as you normally would. As long as you apply vitamin C within a few days of dyeing your hair, you should see significant results.[6]
    • You will not need to re-color your hair; the paste is non-damaging.

Method Four of Four:
Vinegar Rinse

  1. 1
    Create a mixture of equal parts vinegar and warm water. Be sure to use plain white vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is less acidic, so it won't be as effective.[7]
    • Most dyes are meant to handle alkaline substances, like soaps and shampoos, but not acidic substances. The acidity of white vinegar will help to remove the dye.
  2. 2
    Saturate your hair with the mixture. Over a sink or tub, douse your hair with the vinegar and water solution. Get your hair good and saturated.[8]
  3. 3
    Cover your hair and wait 15 to 20 minutes. Use a shower cap or plastic bag to wrap up your wet hair. Allow your hair to soak in the vinegar mixture for 15 to 20 minutes.[9]
  4. 4
    Shampoo your hair and rinse it thoroughly. As you rinse, you'll see color running out with the water. Once the water runs clear, shampoo it again.
    You can repeat this entire process several times if you need to.

Community Q&A

Add New Question
  • My white hair is growing out at the roots. How do I remove the dye from the rest of my hair to match the roots?
    Answered by Ashley Adams
    • This sounds like you want to return to your natural hair color, which is white. Since the color has been on your hair for a while, the crushed vitamin c technique may not work for you. You should try the other three techniques that are outlined in the article above.
    Thanks! 47 23
  • I just dyed my hair black but don't like it. How do I get it lighter straight away?
    Answered by Ashley Adams
    • It sounds like it hasn't been that many days since you've dyed your hair black. I would suggest trying the crushed vitamin c technique, since your hair is dyed a dark color. You should began to see the color fading right away.
    Thanks! 26 13
  • Will these methods bring back my natural black hair, or will it just lighten my hair?
    Answered by Laura Martin
    • Permanent hair color works two ways: it deposits new pigment molecules and it breaks down existing molecules. You can dye your hair back to a color resembling your natural, but once you have dyed your hair, you cannot reverse the process.
    Thanks! 38 22
  • I did the vinegar rinse but it did not work, why is this?
    Answered by Laura Martin
    • There could be lots of reasons: the type of dye in your hair, the intensity of the pigment, your hair's porosity, etc. That method is pretty mild. If it didn't work for you, try another option.
    Thanks! 30 21
  • How much baking soda and shampoo should I use?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Add a half cup of baking soda into the shampoo until it makes a paste. Apply it to your hair generously and work it through for 4-5 minutes, then rinse your hair.
    Thanks! 344 132
  • I dyed my hair red with semi-permanent hair dye and need it to wash out within the next three days. What steps should I follow and how effective will it be?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Speaking from personal experience, I've found that red hair dye is a huge pain to get out. Even about a year or so later, mine still has a light pink stain from where the dye was applied. You're probably going to have to dye your hair back to its natural color.
    Thanks! 23 8
  • Will these tips work without destroying my hair?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Yes. The oil treatment will actually help your hair and it's health.
    Thanks! 112 62
  • I lost a bet and have to dye my hair orange. Any tips on how I can make it last not long?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Colors with reds in them tend to fade faster anyway, but the easiest way to make it not last long is to either use temporary spray hair dye, or use a semi permanent (a dye that doesn't use developer) dye like Manic Panic or Ion, and wash your hair with hot water instead of cold. Since you're going for something that fades fast, don't use Pravana as that stuff lasts forever.
    Thanks! 107 63
  • Can I dye or bleach my hair immediately after using the baking soda method?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • I would wait a day or two and deep condition after using the baking soda. Your hair will be very dry and stripped of natural protective oils and bleaching afterwards can be more harmful.
    Thanks! 86 55
  • Will olive oil work instead of coconut oil?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Yes. I use olive oil on a regular basis. It should be the good virgin olive oil, thoughl. It's great!
    Thanks! 53 32
Show more answers
  • I want to take the dyed color out of my roots but not the rest of my hair. What is the best way to do this?
  • I dyed my hair with crepe paper but it's not washing off. I tried the shampoo and baking soda method but it doesn't work either, so what should I do?
  • How do I get semi permanent blue dye out of my hair?
  • Is there a method effective for permanent black dye?
Ask a Question
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Quick Summary

The best way to remove dye from your hair is to create a mixture of equal parts dandruff shampoo and baking soda. Shampoo the mixture into your hair, then let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing. You may have to repeat this a few times in order to completely remove the dye. Read on for tips on how to remove dye from your hair if you don’t have dandruff shampoo or baking soda!


  • Always deep condition after trying any of these methods.
    0 Helpful?  0

Things You'll NeedEdit

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • Anti-dandruff shampoo
  • Vitamin C tablets
  • Shower cap
  • Deep conditioner

Expert Review By:

Licensed Cosmetologist

This version of How to Remove Dye from Hair was reviewed by Ashley Adams on August 11, 2017.

125 votes - 83%
Co-authors: 109
Views: 6,015,055
Categories: Coloring Hair

Reader Success Stories

  • ET

    Elizabeth Turner

    May 10

    "Very helpful step-by-step directions."
  • JC

    Jane Carlton

    May 7

    "Very clear instructions and realistic expectations."
  • A


    Apr 9

    "I used vitamin C and Head & Shoulders. Worked well."
  • A


    Apr 8

    "First did the vitamin C, and that worked well. Finished by using dandruff shampoo with baking soda."
  • A


    Mar 25

    "Step-by-step instructions are awesome! It lightened my hair like I wanted it to."
  • RH

    Ruth Holyhead

    Feb 11

    "Helped me remove my orange hair back to normal colors in an hour using the vitamin C method. Thank you! I can go out now."..." more
  • JP

    Julia Pearce

    Jan 27

    "I regularly dye my hair and the anti/dandruff and baking soda method works well."
  • A


    Jan 22

    "Apply it to damp hair, leave in for 30 minutes."
  • EG

    Emir Gonuler

    Jan 17

    "The vinegar helped me, just repeat it."
  • DM

    Debra Meyer

    Jun 9, 2017

    "After applying a day rinse hair dye, did not like the results. I washed hair with dandruff shampoo, then rinsed with plain vinegar water. It worked after washing and rinsing repeatedly. It also left hair texture smoother by closing the cuticle. Detangled, making it easier to comb thru. Try it, it works!"..." more
  • DT

    De Bora Thompson

    Jul 1, 2017

    "Follow the directions exactly and repeat as necessary. I had a deep purple, semi permanent professionally placed and I acted within the 72 hours. The methods did remove much of the color to a much less vibrant shade. I used most of the methods listed. Deep condition after each method."..." more
    Rated this article:
  • PD

    Paula Di Leo

    Sep 30, 2017

    "This worked great! I am so happy to get the horrible copper tone out of my hair (my idea, not my hair stylist). It aged me 10 years and none of my makeup was working anymore. I used the Head and Shoulders with conditioner and baking soda for 5 min. and now I love my hair. Thank you!"..." more
  • A


    Sep 14, 2016

    "I used washing powder without bleach with some baking soda which was not listed together on the list. I have done this twice within a couple of days and it has definitely helped to take off some shades. I am very satisfied now, thanks so much for the tips!"..." more
  • A


    May 23, 2017

    "I used vinegar and coconut oil to remove old hair dye. I wanted an easy transition to gray. It works very slowly, and I did it a couple times a week. My hair feels great! I have very fine, soft hair. It is helping ease the gradual transition."..." more
  • VB

    Vicki Baker

    Apr 27, 2016

    "My hair is a very vibrant purple, which I have had for a few years. I used crushed vitamin C and Head & Shoulders Anti-Dandruff left in for an hour, and was amazed by the result. I'll continue to do this every day for a half hour."..." more
  • MZ

    Meredith Zorzy

    Jun 17, 2016

    "It worked right away. I was washing my hair when I started to see the shampoo change color to gray (I dyed my hair black). My hair was a bit rough, but I just used some conditioner to get it smooth again."..." more
  • DB

    Diane Bays

    Aug 6, 2016

    "I found adding good conditioner to the mix really helps the dryness. Sure can't hurt. I don't think I would do the laundry soap method. It just seems too harmful."..." more
  • A


    Aug 26, 2016

    "Wide range of options shown. Also love the like/dislike without having to join anything, to see what worked for other people and share experience with others."..." more
  • A


    Sep 7, 2016

    "I have heard of some of these methods from folks but never tried them. To be safe, I will try the hot oil treatment first. Thanks, great posts."..." more
  • MK

    Maryann Klaue

    Feb 9, 2017

    "I was looking for methods/products to remove hair dye stains from fabric, and this article suggested several products."..." more
  • DD

    D. D.

    Feb 7, 2017

    "I'm grateful for your advice; boxed colors never seem to result in the color you want. Thank you, it really helped. "..." more
  • A


    Nov 27, 2016

    "I just think that everything I read on this site is perfect. I always get answers from here, I love it!"
  • A


    Aug 1, 2017

    "I really needed to get the color out of my hair quickly because I had school coming up! This helped. "
    Rated this article:
  • DS

    Daniella Summampauw

    Jun 22, 2017

    "I was planning to get my hair dyed and want it gone by the end of the holiday, and now I know how."
    Rated this article:
  • AM

    Amy Miles

    Aug 5, 2017

    "I bleached my hair blonde, and these methods were very good at removing the dye."
    Rated this article:
  • MT

    Michelle Toledo

    Jun 18, 2017

    "Provided healthy home remedies that could help remove unwanted hair color. "
    Rated this article:
  • A


    Apr 20, 2017

    "Alternating with Prell and dandruff shampoo for each washing was helpful. "
  • JC

    Jax Carlson

    Jan 25, 2017

    "What helped me the most were the vitamin C and laundry detergent methods."
  • AJ

    Alia Jenn

    Aug 11, 2017

    "This helped me a lot as I was facing a problem related to my hair dye."
    Rated this article:
  • CR

    Cindy Rodriguez

    Jan 25, 2017

    "So many great and inexpensive ideas to remove hair dye. Thank you."
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