Getting rid of semi-permanent hair dye might be a challenge you face eventually, and there are a few methods to do so. They work on different levels, and some take longer than others, so it depends on a variety of different factors. Right now my hair is blue, and I want to remove all of the blue so I can dye it red, so I’ve been doing a bit of research on how to remove the blue so I can dye my hair red.

Wash Your Hair

The first method I want to talk about on removing some of your semi permanent dye is washing your hair. Different dyes stay on the hair for different amounts of time, and some will last for like 15-30 washes (or will say so on the box), and others will say they last for a few months. Regardless, if you are someone who just applied a semi permanent hair dye, rinsed it out, and got a terrible color that you can’t stand, there’s something you can do to remove some of the color at this early stage before it’s completely set in your hair.

You can wash you hair a bunch of times as soon as it happens to get out as much as possible. To make more of an impact, try using clarifying shampoos that are made to get rid of a lot of dirt and grease in hair–they will also get rid of some of the dye. Another technique you could use is adding baking soda to your shampoo to make it get more of the dye out by getting a deeper clean. Dish soap or detergent is also known to help. I would recommend washing and rinsing your hair like 15 times right after it happens to get the best results. Using hot water will also help get the dye out faster than cold water. After you do this, make sure you condition your hair, because all of that washing is bad for it. Maybe condition after every 5 to 7 washes as well to avoid getting your hair completely dried out.

Hot Oil

Using hot oil hair treatments, or a DIY at-home version will also fade color. The oil will counter some of the chemicals in the dye and make it fade. If you’re using a hot oil treatment, follow the instructions on the box, and when it’s in, wrap your hair up in a (warm) towel and let it sit for an hour. If you want to do the DIY version, you can just heat up some olive oil and use that in your hair.

Lemon Juice

You can use lemon juice in your hair to help because it’s a natural hair lightener. The citric acid in lemons will help get rid of some of the dye. I would recommend squeezing a fresh lemon and using that instead of the lemon juice that comes in a bottle, but either should work, I just would assume that the bottle is more diluted, but then again, that could be better for your hair. Leave this on for 10 – 20 minutes, with your hair in a shower cap or towel, then wash out.

White Vinegar

White vinegar also has an acidic property to it, and could be used the same way as the lemon juice. Leave this in for 20 minutes, then wash out.

All of these different options will only help your hair dye fade faster than it would if you didn’t do anything, but won’t make too much of a difference. They’ll only shorten the fading time. The most dramatic results will probably come from washing your hair multiple times, but will only work if it’s right after you put the dye in. For all of these methods, it’s important that you condition your hair very often to avoid drying it out. This next option is for those who want the color all out right away.

Hair Dye Remover

You can buy these at beauty shops like Sally’s Beauty Supply. There are some specifically meant for removing permanent hair dye, and some for semi-permanent hair color, so find the one for semi-permanent hair dye because it will do just that without damaging your hair as much as it would if you used the one for permanent color, and if you were to use a permanent hair dye remover, you would also run the risk of lightening your natural hair color. When you get your dye remover, follow the instructions on the box.

After using the dye remover, your hair should be the lightest shade it’s been, so if you bleached it until it was blonde before adding your semi permanent hair dye, then it should be blonde again. If it was a medium brown, then it should be a medium brown. If it was bleached blonde, then dyed a medium brown, then dyed red on top for an auburn color, don’t be surprised if it goes back to being blonde again. It will most likely return to a color somewhere between the blonde and medium brown, though.

This is the best option if you want good results, and fast! It’s not a solution as natural as the others, and it costs anywhere from $8 to $15 for a box of hair dye remover, but it’s the only way to get rid of most of the color right away. You can also go to a salon and ask them to do this for you if you have no idea what you’re doing and don’t want to potentially mess up your hair. After you do this, condition your hair a lot because it will need it!

Vitamin C!!

I’ve seen a lot of talk recently about using vitamin c, either the crushed powder type or the one that comes in tablets that you would manually crush (put in a plastic bag and hammer it to powder outside!),  and using it to fade out hair dye. People would normally mix this withe either dish washing liquid, preferably a dish soap with a lemon scent because it’s the most striping with this citric acid, or mix the powder with shampoo. I’ve seen people use it with any shampoo, but especially with either a dandruff prevention shampoo, or any Head and Shoulders shampoo, mostly their dandruff one.

This has been proven over and over to get the hard-to-fade hair colors out of hair. It will work better on the semi-permanent dyes that are vegetable oil based like Manic Panic and I believe Directions as well, and it will be less effective on the ones that are more long lasting, or demi-permenant. It will get the color to fade out faster, but bleached hair tends to stain, so don’t expect it all to come out. I think this is the most effective method, depending on whether or not the hair dye remover works on your hair, which it might not. I used the One n’ Only Color Fix Hair Color Remover on my blue hair (Ion Color Brilliance Hair Dye) and it didn’t do a thing!! I left it on for an hour and nothing happened, so this is the method to try if that happens to you.

Last Step

After this, your hair should have most of the color removed from it, so the last thing you should be doing to it is bleaching it again, to lighten and remove the last bits of color, or dying on top of it to make it all one color. Keep in mind, after doing this treatment, your hair will be more porous, so it will absorb dye faster, so your next color might go on more intense, or stay in longer. You might want to wait a little bit so you can condition and do hot oil treatments to nurse your hair back to health before going crazy with the hair dye again. If you’ve ever done anything like what’s mentioned in this article, please comment down below and tell me what you did and how it went for you! Hope this helps :)

40 Responses to How to Get Rid of Semi Permanent Hair Dye

  1. Amy says:

    Done everything but it still isn’t coming out school tomorrow and your not allowed dyes in your hair so I will be sent to the unit

    • admin says:

      I’m so sorry to hear about that. It is quite a hard thing to do with some dyes, and some colors are more stubborn than normal.

    • Ashleigh says:

      heres an idea- dont dye your hair a weird colour if you arent allowed it at school. seems obvious to me. why dont you just redye your hair to a natural colour?

      • Alice says:

        maybe they did it over the summer to express themselves? seeing as this is about SEMI-PERMANENT dye? i used to do that all the time as luckily for me it was always out again before school started. jeeze

  2. Kassee says:

    Porous hair will not hold color longer, it absorbs color quickly, but because the cuticle layer of the hair has been spread further apart from all the chemicals and acidity, they don’t completely close, having porous hair makes color fade more quickly.

  3. blanka says:

    Omg im trying so hard to take my blue out. I put turquoise bt my hair wasnt blonde enough so it came out green then I put voodoo blue on top and it came out teal. So I did this two weeks ago. & right now im trying to take it out. Today I did the dish soap and left it in for 20 mins. It washed out alot of blue. Bt its green now :(

    • admin says:

      Blue is the most stubborn color to get out. I couldn’t get mine out with washing, so I went to the color stripper, which is damaging, and it STILL didn’t work! I ended up bleaching the blue out, which is like the worst thing to do to your hair, but I couldn’t think of any other way to get rid of it!

      • Kimmy says:

        Do you happen to have any tips about how to keep your shower unstained? I am thinking about going blue/purple but I rent. If I stain the shower badly enough, I will have to pay my landlord to fix it :/

        • admin says:

          I am sorry, but I do not. My tub is pink from all of the times I washed my red hair in there D: I heard that toothpaste can help get rid of staining on skin, so it might help on appliances as well.

        • Mackenzie says:

          Try petroleum jelly or even bleach your tub white again. I’ve dyed my hair multiple times with Color Brights by Ion and it has never stained my tub before.

          • admin says:

            I use the same dye, and it normally doesn’t stain the tub, but it did for the red because that dye just runs and runs and runs all over the place like it’s in a marathon or something haha. I actually have a blue bath tub to start out with so bleaching it wouldn’t work, it would only discolor the tub, but months later, the dye is gone and faded so if nothing works, time does!

        • Hannah says:

          Try baking soda and a household cleaner (powder). I’ve been dyeing my hair for years and ive never stained a tile, even when i get the pure undiluted dye all over the sink. It helps if you scrub right after dyeing.

        • loulou says:

          My daughter dyes her hair all the time I use comet with bleach directly on the tub and sink and it comes right off. make sure to use and scrub pad and the stubborn stains use a little muscle while scubbing. Good Luck.

      • Sabrina says:

        So I’ve done everything bleach vitamin c strippers and my hair is s blue help :(

        • admin says:

          Oh gosh, this happened to another person on here and I’m not sure how to fix that. I actually have blue hair atm too, using Special FX dye, so I really really hope I can get this out in a month or so when I want to get rid of the colour. I think bleaching is the best, last-resort way to get rid of it, so if that doesn’t work, I’m not sure what will

    • Rebecca A. Parton says:

      Cool tones are the hardest to remove from your hair. Color removers like the color oops kit and color zap etc. Will not work on semi permanent dye because they only target oxidation dyes and semi permanent is more like a stain. I use the cheapest shampoo I can find usually something like prell that is not intended for color treated hair and I add vitamin c to it. It takes about a week or two for me but it does work.

  4. Helen says:

    Anyone who has used atomic pink by specialEffects (SFX) will argue that this pink wins prizes for being hard to shift, far harder than any blue I’ve tried. I am currently wearing Virgin Rose by the same brand, and it is proving to be just as stubborn as AP. The original bluish magenta colour has faded leaving me with a dense vibrant screaming pink, and I hate it.
    The more I wash with clarifying shampoo, the brighter it seems to get.
    Tonight I plan to try 20 mins of bicarb/showercap and heat.

  5. Perzefoni says:

    I’m going to try the dish soap, Tide, baking soda & vitamin C tomorrow. Thank you so much for this info!! I dyed mine green with Manic Panic and then did the ombré effect with a dark teal. It’s been 3 weeks!! It’s faded a tiny bit, but that’s it!! Very frustrating. I even tried putting a dark, deep purple over it, it didn’t even touch it!! My hair is dark brown but pre bleached. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!!! Can’t keep red based dyes to stay, but blue? OMG!! They should tattoo with this stuff!!! LOL. Thanks again and I’ll let you know what worked best if you’d like.

  6. sb says:

    I have medium brown hair with a lot of goldish (salon) highlights that were growing out so decided to color all of my hair to blend it back using “nice and easy” medium neutral brown. It came out very dark auburn with slightly hot roots and was somewhat horrible though not too bad if you like red hair, but not at all what I wanted. I tried soaking it in green food coloring to make it less red (found that on a different site) which did nothing. I ended up using Color Oops and that was a miracle. It removed all fake color and left my goldish brown hair- almost to the point where I would have just stopped there if it wasn’t for the hot roots issue, which were now strawberry blond. SO after deep conditioning I dyed it again with a semi this time, “brass free light brown” (natural instincts) I put it on my hot roots first for about 8 minutes (its a 10min formula) hoping it wouldn’t bee too dark on the rest of my hair, then puled it through for the last 2 minutes. The result was dark brown, red free on the ends but still a little brassy with dark greenish streaks where my original highlights were in the middle and still reddish hot roots…I washed and scrubbed with dish detergent in the hope to lighten a bit, did hot oil treatments and 2 hair masks, soaked in ketchup to tone greenish color (no go) and the color has not budged. Tomorrow I am going to apply another, slightly lighter ash semi to my roots only as that is the worse part, and then wait.

  7. speechless says:

    i died my hair plum, but ended up black, now its a dark plum with hints of red! i want it back brown with any of these methods work on my hair:(?

  8. Jennifer says:

    I have a question I don’t mind the color I boxed dyed my hair though I wish I didn’t, I used a 10 dollar box of L’oreal dye when it does finally fade will my hair return fully to its original color? I had a pixie cut and grew my hair out over two years so all of it was natural and I don’t know why I decided to box dye it, I think out of boredom but now I realize my natural hair really does suit me. So will it return after the 30 or so washes?

    • admin says:

      It depends on what type of dye it is. You can always fade it faster using Color Oops! but some dyes take months to even fade

  9. Jennifer says:

    Also I only went two or three shades lighter to a cool darker blonde from a warm medium brown and of course it still turned out a bit orangey and warmer than I wanted although I got the cool dye.

  10. chelsea says:

    I bleachedd my hair then put lusty lavender slat dye in it it has now turned a orangy red brown color is there anything I can do? i have tried boiling water and soaking my hair in hot water nothing is working anyone help?

  11. jewels says:

    OMG!! These posts have been so helpful to me! Thank you so much for taking to put it up! I was looking for ways to take out my Green Envy Manic Panic so I could redye my hair blue…. BUT FORGET THAT! sounds like blue is even harder to remove then GREEN! Especially since I planned to go red after blue… Ooohhhh now what to do!! Hehehe as far as the techniques above I have tried repeat washing my hair with shampoo and conditioner, after first wash after dying my green envy fades on my tips to yellow then with repeated washing, say 7 washes, the yellow goes to half way up my hair but doesn’t fade any further… Right now its at 7 washes after dying, its half yellow and the green looks more like manic panics electric lizard… Eh
    Thanks again peoples.

    • admin says:

      Thank you!! I’m so glad you found them helpful :D I think green is probably easier to remove than blue but there’s the problem of the yellow undertone color. Do you know how to get rid of that or do you just color over it? Have you ever used a toner to get rid of that yellow?

  12. Jessica says:

    So I have used 2 B4 extra strength removers used head and shoulders used fairy washing up liquid with Leamon used washing powered had a strand test done at hair dresser they bleached it 5 time and colour did not remover I am a blonde I have good hair contusions and don’t dye it much only blonde to spiff up roots but the blue will NOT come out!! Le riche direction brought of eBay is there anything that you can recommend I can do to help get rid!??

    • admin says:

      Oh gosh that sounds bad. I’m not really sure, I think bleaching through hair color is the ultimate, last-resort way to get rid of color, so if that doesn’t work, I’m not sure what will D: I’m so sorry

  13. Sammy says:

    So, I am a color junkie. I work at Sally beauty and I will tell you some tricks and tips I tell customers that I have used in the past to work out hair dye. Almost all of the above take time, its not a daily process. I WILL SAY, if you want it out faster, Do these methods and blow dry hair. Hair swells with water, and once water is inside the cuticle, it kind of traps the die in a protective shield. So if you scrub, blowdry completly, and scrub again each time you will lift a little more dye.

    - Healthy I know: Blue dawn dish detergent or my personal favorite: Ajax….both with mildly obliterate the color because its harsh on everything. so Ajax, rinse, blow-dry, repeat.

    -Baking soda: It is a form of exfoliater, put baking soda on damp hair and rub between fingers. The coarse particles in the soda will aggravate the hair-dye and pull it out.

    -Shampoo riddled with sulfates. Sulfates are horrible for hair color ;)

    -Clarifying or swimmers shampoo….both with eat away at the hair color.

    As you said the lemon juice and vinager are great too…and very important…when you done abusing your tresses….condition condition condition.

  14. Lauren says:

    I tried the lemon juice and it had no effect whatsoever on my hair, kind of disappointing! I’ll have to try semi-permanent dye removal.

    • admin says:

      I used lemon juice with the shampoo I used along with baking soda all in one concoction and I found that pretty effective.

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