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How to Remove Hair Dye From Skin Using Household Staples + The One Fix That Is Sure to Surprise You

You're bound to have at least one of these fixes on hand

The reveal of a new hair color can make you feel fresh and look youthful and gorgeous and you love how easy it was for you to do by yourself at home! The not-so-exciting part? Realizing some of that dye stained your skin, too. According to Angelo David, owner of Angelo David Salon, “hair dye stains are caused by dye pigments that bind and penetrate the skin’s surface.” And the darker the pigment, the more likely it is to leave a mark. The good news: While there are ways to prevent it from happening, including liberally applying petroleum jelly or the oVertone Stain Shield on the hairline and ears before starting the process (they act as a barrier between the skin and the dye), if you’re still reading this, chances are that it’s too late for preventative measures. Here’s what you need to know about how to remove hair dye from the skin.

woman with red hair dye on her head and on her skin

How to remove hair dye from skin

No matter where you are, chances are there’s something readily available that can help remove hair dye from your skin. In fact, you can find most solutions in your kitchen or medicine cabinet. However, David advises against “using harsh chemicals or abrasive scrubs on delicate facial areas since they may cause skin damage or irritation.” Here, a list of what can work depending on what you have on hand. Simply take the ingredients recommended and rub them gently on the stained skin.

1. Mild soap and water

This universally available solution is best for immediately after dye application, according to Anna Peterson, licensed cosmetologist and owner of Salon Route. Soap, such as Dawn, and water can significantly lighten or even fully remove stains due to its gentle abrasiveness that helps break down dye molecules.

2. Aloe vera gel

aloe vera gel

The beauty of aloe vera gel in hair dye removal is that in addition to having enzymes and compounds that help break down pigment, it’s also cooling and hydrating. If you’re feeling irritation as a result of the dye on your skin, this is a great option since it pulls double duty.

Related: Aloe Vera Gel Can Help Heal Scalp to Reverse Thinning Hair + Makes Skin Gorgeous

3. Hair dye

This sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true: fresh dye will reactivate the older dye so that you can clean it off more easily. Rubbing the fresh dye in in a circular motion ensures it gets into all the nooks and crannies. Just remember to wash it off immediately after with soap and water so you don’t make it worse.

4. Olive, coconut or baby oil

David recommends oil-based products because of the way they dissolve the dye. And Peterson says you should apply it overnight, and that they’re “particularly effective for sensitive areas like the hairline and face.”

5. Makeup remover

The point of makeup remover is to erase long-lasting formulas from the skin, so it’s no surprise that it can lift hair dye stains without any abrasiveness. Any variety will work: wipes, a balm or micellar water. This is a solid place to start if you’re dealing with the face, which is notoriously sensitive, in particular.

Related: Why Skin Pros Say to Swap Your Everyday Cleanser for Micellar Water

6. Chemical exfoliant

When trying to remove hair dye from the skin, check your skincare routine for a chemical exfoliant like a cleanser with salicylic acid or glycolic acid peel pads. Their entire purpose is to get rid of the dead cells lingering on your skin’s surface, so they should be able to help remove hair dye too.

7. Rubbing alcohol

The chemical properties of rubbing alcohol make it the ultimate multitasker, able to be used as a germicide, degreasing agent and stain remover, among other things. While it’s definitely effective at removing hair dye from the skin, Peterson advises you only use it for tougher stains, and “use it sparingly to avoid skin irritation.”

Related: Read This Before You Toss Out That Broken Makeup! Genius Alcohol Hack Can Fix Fast

8. How to remove hair dye from skin: Hairspray

bottle of hairspray

This may surprise you, but because hairspray has alcohol in it, it can be just as effective as rubbing alcohol. Instead of spraying it directly on your skin, spray it on a cotton ball or makeup remover pad (something textured like a paper towel is too scratchy). Then, dab it on, let it sit and rinse off. The dye should leave with the hairspray.

9. Nail polish remover

For small, stubborn stains on your hands, try using nail polish remover. The primary active ingredient is acetone, which is a solvent that can dissolve other materials. Rub it in thoroughly, then wash it off even more thoroughly. Word of caution: You don’t want to use it on your face because it’s a harsh irritant.

10. Toothpaste or baking soda paste

David is a big fan of using non-gel toothpaste or your own DIY paste made of baking soda and water to remove hair dye because of their inherently abrasive properties. Fun fact: Baking soda is also in toothpaste, which is what makes it so effective.

11. Hydrogen peroxide

A known bleaching agent, you can rely on hydrogen peroxide to break down the pigments in dye, removing the stain from your skin. Mix it with water and then rub the mixture in circular motions so it can truly be worked into the stain. This is a serious chemical, so remember to rigorously clean it off after about a minute.

For more hair-color hacks, click through these stories:

Purple Shampoo Revives Faded Hair Color So It Looks Like You Just Left the Salon: How to Use It for Amazing Results

Hair Color Wax Is the Trendy Way to Get Bold Color Without Actual Dye — How to Use It

Celebrity Colorists: These 10 At-Home Hair Colors Make Your Hair Look Thicker Instantly

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