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How to get Hair Dye Out of your Hair - How to Lighten Dyed Hair Color

Updated on August 15, 2011

One day you decide that your lovely natural blonde, brown or red hair would look nice maybe a shade or two, …. or three darker. The thought is nice in our heads but when we actually buy that dye and let it develop in our hair it predominantly turns out a lot darker or a completely different shade than it was supposed to be, screw the shade chart and recommended development time.

At this instance, you are nearly at a point of no return and to be honest you’ll never get your previous colour back exactly, but you could be able to get it back to a similar shade if you’re lucky or if you use the correct colour remover product.

The point of no return is anytime past the 3 day mark, i.e. you have about 3 days to try to remove that unsightly colour as the hair cuticle tends to ‘close’ and the pigment seems to stay for good at this point.

I remember my days working in a hair salon and the vast amount of women AND men who would rush in without an appointment begging us to remove or improve their colour for them.

Below are is a method I picked up in the salon and a few amazing products that help in removing unwanted hair colours. Browns, Dark Browns and Blacks are a LOT easier to remove than Reds, Purples and other colours so bear that in mind.

The Peroxide Bath / Bleach Bath

Bleach Bath Recipe:

  • 20 Vol. Peroxide Mix/Kit
  • Any Normal Shampoo


  • Prepare your 20 Vol. Peroxide mix and add this to an exact or near exact measure of Shampoo to create a 50:50 mix of Peroxide/Shampoo. Mix well.
  • As fast as possible rub this bleach bath mixture evenly throughout your hair. From root to tip make sure all areas are reached and use a wide toothed comb to help evenly comb through the mixture.
  • Every 5 minutes check the colour development and leave this mixture in your hair until you feel you hair has reached a lighter shade, as close to your natural colour that you are happy with. On some occasions your hair can turn out a very similar colour to what it was previously.
  • Wash the bleach bath out fully and shampoo and condition as usual.

It is best to re-dye hair after the Bleach Bath with a semi permanent colour as semi perms are a lot less abrasive that permanent colours, they are also conditioning.

Note: The L'Oreal Paris Super Blonde Creme shown in the link to the top right would be ideal for a Bleach bath with any generic normal shampoo.

L'oreal ColorZap Haircolor Remover

This is one of the most popular hair colour removers on the market, is effective in removing unwanted colour, directions are simple to follow and it’s cheap!

Things to note:

  • This will not bring your colour back to it’s original natural colour, but it will gently remove most/all dye from your hair leaving it in its lightened form (when you dye your hair, it is lightened firstly by the peroxide in the hair colour and then a pigment is deposited into the cuticle)


  • L'oreal ColorZap Haircolor Remover is not that abrasive and leaves your hair in the dye free condition so that you can re colour with a suitable hair colour straight afterwards.
  • Can be used to remove all hair colours

L'oreal Effasol Color Remover

This colour remover is just as good as the above L’oreal ColorZap HaircolorRemover and you can normally find it in the same stores containing the ColorZap Remover. Again it’s gentle on hair, non abrasive and is cheap.

Things to note:

  • This product will not return you hair colour to its original pre dyed or natural colour but like other colour removers it will bring your colour back to it lightened base colour that occurred during the hair dying process.


  • You will be able to re dye your hair to an appropriate colour having used this colour remover product and none of the previous dye should remain in your hair.
  • Can be used to remove all hair colours.

Malibu Wellness Colour Correction Packet

Malibu Wellness Colour Correction is one of the other most popular and effective hair dye remover/colour correctors out on the market. Again it’s safe, gentle and affordable.

Things to note:

  • Again like hair dye removers it is very unlikely to bring your dyed hair back to its original natural hair colour. It will bring it back to its lightened form that was part of the dying process.


  • Malibu Wellness Colour Correction is safe, gentle and non abrasive to hair and brings back the dye free lightened base of your hair so you can re dye it straight away to your new desired hair colour.
  • Can be used to remove all hair colours.

Alternative to Removing Hair Colour

The above colour removers and bleach bath are great for removing that unwanted hair colours but are not the only option for lightening that overly dark hair dye.

An alternative option would be to get some multi tonal or mono tonal highlights to bring the darkness down a bit to a more natural shade. This can be done at home by yourself or a friend or you could also get this done in a hair salon.

If you get some highlites done that are similar to your natural hair colour you wont have to worry about any unsightly and contrasting roots growing back and you be able to let your hair dye grow out naturally.


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