Figuring out how to strip your hair color without further damaging your hair can be overwhelming, especially with the limited amount of options that we currently have. Fortunately for you, I've been through it all and evaluated each method. My hair suffered so yours doesn't have to. Here are some common methods you might hear about, as well as some that have worked really well for me.
Dish soap is made to break up oil on dishes, which it will also do to your hair, so beware of desert-dry tresses if you try this method. Fortunately, if you go through the effort of using this drying soap on your dyed hair, it can actually help remove unwanted color. You'll need to do many, many washes to fade it out, but it is definitely a step in the right direction if you really want to remove a color. Some people throw some baking soda into their dish soap for an extra boost. I haven't had great success with this personally, but who knows what might work for your hair!
This is one that I tend to gravitate towards because when mixed with the ingredients below, it works magic and is the least damaging of the effective treatments. My favorite anti-dandruff shampoo for fading hair dye is the Head & Shoulders Dandruff Shampoo, Green Apple. It is *essential* that you use the green apple version because it smells amazing.
Unfortunately, this method is also drying on the hair, so deep conditioning your hair after washing with this is important if you want to properly restore your hair back to health. I recommend using your deepest deep conditioner and leaving it in for a few hours between treatments with the anti-dandruff shampoo. On its own, it will also take multiple rounds that will gradually fade your hair bit by bit. To speed up this process, use the Vitamin C Method.
Lemon juice is one of those methods that you hear around the internet that will help you lighten your hair, strip your hair color, whiten your teeth, etc. In my experience, lemon juice is not quite the miracle you are looking for. If you try to lighten your hair with it, the most you will get is your best friend squinting at your head in bright lighting asking you if you did something new to your hair, but not being able to identify what it was. In my opinion, it's not worth the time.
Baking soda is in the same category as lemon juice, and oddly enough it's also used for whitening teeth, which is an interesting coincidence. I've tried mixing baking soda into different concoctions to strip my hair dye, and it hasn't been all that helpful.
Vitamin C Method
Vitamin C is a gift from God. It's able to strip out semi-permanent and demi-permanent hair dye like magic. If you have any vitamin C powder vitamins, then you're in luck! If not, look for the vitamins that are made of compressed powder - not gummies or chewable ones - and crush them up into a powder. I usually put about 12 large pills in a plastic bag and smash them with a hammer. You can be as civilized with the process as you want, but that's the fun way.
After you've gotten them nicely ground up:
- mix the vitamin powder with your anti-dandruff shampoo
- use the mixture to shampoo your hair, rubbing the strands between your fingers
- cover your hair and leave it for half an hour
Hair dye strippers exist for permanent hair colors. I've used the One N Only Colorfix before. You can use them on semi-permanent or demi-permanent hair dyes, but they are chemical processes that will be damaging to your hair. They also never fail to smell like rotten eggs on a hot day in a boiler room, but if you are desperate or need your color gone ASAP, one to maybe two rounds of this will have your hair looking like it's just been bleached... and smelling like eggs.
Bleach baths are a last resort for hair dye removal. If you have a dye that is just absolutely way too stubborn for any other method, then you can use this method at the risk of damaging your hair further while resolving your color issue. Just mix bleach powder in with some shampoo (some people use bleach powder with the developer and then shampoo, but it's up to you) and wash your hair with the mix. Leave it on for a few minutes and the color will disappear like Houdini.
Everyone's hair is different, and these are tips based on my own personal experiences, but I encourage you to try each method out for yourself and see how it reacts with your own hair. Happy color stripping!
What methods have you tried to strip your hair color? Let me know in the comments below.