How to Remove Hair Dye from Skin

Hair dye has a habit of staining the skin along your hairline and the skin on your hands. This can happen even if you take precautions to prevent it. Most commercial home dyes can be removed from skin with a few household products, though. Here are a few different techniques you should consider trying.

Method One of Six:

  1. 1
    Apply a small amount of liquid detergent to the stain.[1] Use your fingers to rub approximately 1 tsp (5 ml) of liquid dish or laundry detergent onto the dyed area of your skin.
    • Use a detergent free of dyes and fragrances to avoid causing irritation to your skin.
    • Keep the detergent away from your eyes.
    • Note that this method may work best for your hands, rather than your face, since the skin on your face tends to be more sensitive and may react to the detergent.
    • Use more or less detergent as needed to cover the dyed area.
  2. 2
    Wet the area with warm water. Soak a clean rag in warm water and dab the water onto the dye stain.
    • You could also apply the water with your fingers, by running the area under your sink faucet, or with a soaked makeup remover pad.
  3. 3
    Scrub gently. Use a rag or cotton makeup remover pad to gently blot at the dye stain until it fades.
    • Note that this only works with weaker dyes and may not be effective against strong dyes or dyes that have been left to soak on the skin for a prolonged period of time.
  4. 4
    Repeat as needed. If the stain fades but does not completely disappear, you might be able to remove the rest with additional detergent.
    • If the first round of detergent does not fade the dye at all, however, you would be better off moving on to another method of dye removal.

Method Two of Six:
Baking Soda

  1. 1
    Combine equal parts baking soda and liquid detergent. Mix 2 tsp (10 ml) baking soda with 2 tsp (10 ml) liquid dish or laundry detergent. Stir well until completely combined.
    • The baking soda has an abrasive effect and scrubs off the dead skin cells stained with dye, revealing clean skin underneath.
    • The detergent attracts the dye molecules and cleans the skin by lifting the dye off.
    • Use a mild detergent with no added fragrances or dyes, if possible, to reduce the risk of irritation.
    • Do not apply near the eyes. This mixture is safest when used on areas other than the face.
  2. 2
    Rub the mixture onto the dyed skin. Use a cotton makeup remover pad to scrub the baking soda solution onto the dyed skin, applying it in a circular motion. Scrub the mixture over the dye using gentle pressure.
    • Use as much or as little of the baking soda mix as needed to coat the entire stained area of skin.
    • Rub for 30 to 90 seconds. Stop if you feel any tingling, burning, itching, or other signs of irritation.
    • You could also use a cotton ball or clean rag instead of a cotton pad.
  3. 3
    Rinse with warm water. After scrubbing the dyed skin with the baking soda, wipe the area clean with a damp washcloth until all of the baking soda solution has been removed.
    • You may find it easier to rinse the skin under running water. If you rinse the baking soda off with running water, gently rub the area with your fingers to loosen the baking soda under the water.
  4. 4
    Repeat as needed. If the dye appears lighter but has not been completely removed, you may consider trying this method again.
    • If this method had no effect on the dye, however, attempt a different one.

Method Three of Six:

  1. 1
    Dab the toothpaste onto the dye stain. Use your fingers or a clean cotton ball to apply a dot of toothpaste onto the dye on your skin. Spread the toothpaste out so that it covers the stained area evenly.
    • Only use as much toothpaste as needed in order to create a thin coat of paste over the stain.
    • Toothpaste can be used on dye skins around the face as well as those on the hands.
    • Toothpaste is a mild abrasive and can actually scrape off dead skin cells stained with dye. Once the skin cells have been removed, new, clean skin can come through.
    • Any toothpaste will work, but one with baking soda in it may work even better than others since it has larger granules.
  2. 2
    Gently rub the toothpaste into the stain for 30 to 60 seconds. Use a cotton ball or cotton makeup remover pad to gently rub the toothpaste over the dyed area of skin up to a minute, massaging it in using a circular motion.
    • Note that you can also use your fingertips to massage the toothpaste into the dye.
  3. 3
    Rinse with lukewarm water. After scrubbing the area with toothpaste, gently rinse it with warm water until no traces of toothpaste remain.
    • You may need to rub the toothpaste off while rinsing it by using your hands or a clean washcloth.
  4. 4
    Repeat if needed. If the dye has faded but has not disappeared completely, you can try to use additional toothpaste to remove the rest.
    • If the toothpaste proved ineffective, though, move on and try another method of hair dye removal.

Method Four of Six:
Petroleum Jelly

  1. 1
    Rub petroleum jelly onto the stain. Dab a small amount of petroleum jelly onto your skin and massage it into the dye stain using a circular motion. Continue rubbing until you notice the stain starting to wear off.
    • Petroleum jelly is safe to use on your face and hands, but you should still avoid getting it in your eyes.
    • You can use your fingers to rub the petroleum jelly onto the dye stain, but a cotton ball or cotton pad may work better since the dye may accidentally transfer onto your fingers if you bring them into direct contact with the dye.
    • If the petroleum jelly soaks into the cotton, though, use your fingers.
  2. 2
    Wipe it off with a clean rag. After the dye begins to tint petroleum jelly, use a wet, clean rag to wipe the petroleum jelly off your skin.
    • If the stain has been lifted, stop here.
    • If the stain has been lightened by some dye still remains, continue on with the remaining steps.
  3. 3
    Apply petroleum jelly onto the stain and let it sit. Use a cotton pad or your fingers to apply a thin coat of petroleum jelly over the dyed area of skin. Allow the petroleum jelly to sit on the stain overnight.
  4. 4
    Wipe it off in the morning. Use a clean, wet rag to wipe the petroleum jelly and remaining dye off your skin, scrubbing gently as you wipe it off.
    • If more dye remains even after this, try another dye removal method.

Method Five of Six:
Baby Oil

  1. 1
    Rub a generous coat of baby oil over the stain.[2] Use your fingers to apply a coat of baby oil over the dyed skin.
    • You can also apply the oil using a cotton ball, cotton pad, or clean rag.
    • Apply enough oil to coat the stained skin but do not apply so much oil that it drips over other areas of your skin.
    • Baby oil is safe to use on both your face and hands, but you should avoid getting it into your eyes.
  2. 2
    Let it sit overnight. Let the baby oil sit on your skin for 8 hours or overnight.
  3. 3
    Rinse with warm water the following day. Rinse the area under running, lukewarm water, scrubbing gently with your fingers or a cotton ball.
    • You may need to use a little soap or shampoo to remove the oil from your skin.
    • The dye should wash off with the oil. If it does not do so, you may need to try another method of dye removal.

Method Six of Six:
Nail Polish Remover

  1. 1
    Soak a cotton ball in nail polish remover. Soak a cotton ball or cotton pad in an acetone-based nail polish remover. Wring slightly by squeezing it with your fingers to remove any excess.
    • The acetone in nail polish remover can be very abrasive and will remove the dyed, dead skin cells on top of your skin while also lifting up the dye.
    • Keep the nail polish remover away from your eyes.
    • Note that this method is risky to use with the sensitive skin of your face and may work better for hair dye stains on your hands.
  2. 2
    Rub the area with the nail polish remover several times.[3] Gently rub the soaked cotton ball over the stained area using a circular motion.
    • Only rub the area a few times. Do not scrub and do not let the acetone soak your skin for long.
    • You should notice the dye lifting up almost immediately. If it does not, then nail polish remover may not work against your brand of hair dye.
  3. 3
    Rinse well. Thoroughly rinse the area with cool to warm water to rinse away all traces of the nail polish remover.
    • If some or all of the dye remains, try another method of removal.

Community Q&A

Add New Question
  • I had my eyebrows matched with my hair color. Now I have stains on my face like strips. What can I do?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • This happened to my husband. We used rubbing alcohol on some cotton balls to dab (and partially rub) off the worst of it. Then we applied sesame oil and left it on for a few hours. It worked great.
    Thanks! 21 9
  • How can I remove hair dye from my face?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Use the same methods outlined in this article to remove the dye from facial skin.
    Thanks! 19 8
  • How can I remove blue hair dye from my back?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Using small amounts of rubbing alcohol can easily remove hair dye from unwanted places. Maybe try using Vaseline the next time you dye your hair, because it acts as a coat to protect your skin from the dye.
    Thanks! 2 0
  • Why not just get a Stain Rx wipe and remove the hair dye stain?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Stain Rx is a great and viable option to removing hair dye from skin, however, Stain Rx is not always readily available and some folks prefer more natural methods.
    Thanks! 17 15
  • Does this apply to removing stains from my ears?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Yes, just be very careful it doesn't get into your ear.
    Thanks! 15 14
  • What does demi-permanent hair dye do to the roots?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Demi-permanent hair color molecules get under the outer cuticle of the hair shaft but, unlike permanent dyes, they don’t penetrate the deeper cortex.
    Thanks! 1 0
  • How can I remove dye from ears?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Using warm water and a sponge/exfoliating face wash won't get rid of it 100%, but it will help make it fade a lot faster. If you put petroleum jelly around where it gets stained before you add the dye, it doesn't stain.
    Thanks! 5 5
  • How do I remove blue hair dye from my shower floor?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Use a powder bleach. Add a little bit of water to make a paste, spread it over the area, and let sit for about 10 to 15 minutes. Scrub the floor. If color remains, repeat the process.
    Thanks! 5 6
  • Is dye on the skin harmful?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • In some cases, dye can cause skin irritation, so it's best to remove it from the skin quickly.
    Thanks! 1 1
  • Can Revlon Colorsilk dye cause numbness when scrubbed into scalp for 30 minutes?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Do not scrub it into your scalp! You are not supposed to get hair dye on the scalp if you can help it. You are probably having an allergic reaction if you are feeling numbness. It's bad for you to get that much dye on your skin.
    Thanks! 0 0
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Quick Summary

If you need to remove hair dye from your hands, rub a small amount of liquid detergent onto the dyed area of your skin. Choose a detergent which is free of dyes and fragrances to avoid causing irritation to your skin, and keep the detergent away from your eyes. Use a soft cloth or cotton pad to gently blot at the dye stain until it fades. If the hair dye is on your face, apply baby oil to the stain and cover it with clean cotton bandages. Let the baby oil sit for 8 hours or overnight, then rinse the area with warm water and a little soap if needed.


  • For maximum effectiveness, wash the dye from your skin as soon as possible. The longer it sits, the harder it will be to remove.
    0 Helpful?  0
  • If these solutions do not work, consult with your hair stylist or dermatologist about the best chemical dye remover to use on skin.
    0 Helpful?  0


  • All of these materials can cause irritation if they get into your eyes. Immediately flush your eyes with water if you accidentally get any of these materials into your eyes.
    116 Helpful?  59
  • If your skin starts to tingle, burn, or feel irritated as you use one of the solutions described here, immediately rinse the area with water.
    106 Helpful?  77

Things You'll NeedEdit

  • Cotton balls or cotton pads
  • Clean rags
  • Cotton bandages.
  • Disposable gloves
  • Water
  • Liquid detergent
  • Baking soda
  • Toothpaste
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Baby oil
  • Nail polish remover

About This Article

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Co-authors: 5
Views: 1,774,860
Categories: Coloring Hair

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