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What Product is Best for Removing Hair Dye From Your Skin

Updated on September 11, 2017

I've been dying my hair now for over thirty years. I can put up with stains on the wall, floors, shower curtain and my underwear, but not on my skin. And because I like to color my hair bright colors like pink, blue, and red--I am often using dyes that are particularly prone to staining your skin.


There are some steps you can take to reduce the amount of staining. So I will briefly mention those first.

  • Wear gloves and apply dye with a brush, stopping short of the roots if possible. Apply petroleum jelly or another barrier gel around your hairline. Lean back when first rinsing dye out after the developing period and let the excess run off before handling your hair, or leave on your gloves.
  • Check Amazon reviews or other review sites to see which dyes are reported as especially prone to causing staining. Splat Rebellious Colors, for example, is just not worth the trouble. It seems to avoid hair and soak immediately in to every other surface. I spent a full week with smurf-hands after using their Midnight Indigo.


Cleaning Products

If, despite all your best efforts, you have ends up with stained skin there are a number of products that can be used. They fall roughly into three categories: abrasives, bleaches, and neutralizers. (This is bypassing the usual options like soap, olive oil, toothpaste or baking soda, which only work for the pretty people on Pinterest--not in the real world.)

Abrasives are a poor choice as they depend on removing the stained skin not just the stain itself. Hair dye can penetrate many layers of skin, and skin on areas like the face is quite thin. Products like Goo Gone are also only moderately effective even on your hands, and may take several days and repeated applications. Which is no good if you need to show up to work the next day not looking like like a clown.

Bleaches can counteract dye but they are very harsh on skin. Any form off bleach is likely to leave your skin reddened or irritated. Neutralizers are less corrosive, but also formulated to break down the chemicals in dye to destroy their color. These substances are generally the most effective.

Dye Neutralisers

There are a number of specially-designed products for removing hair day such as Roux Clean Touch Hair Color Stain Remover, Dy-zoff Color Remover Pads, or Colortrak Hair Color Removal Wipes. These products are reasonably priced and fairly effective. However I have found another readily available and versatile product that is not only more effective but seems--somewhat surprisingly--to be easier on my skin as well.

Goof Off is general household stain remover that can be found in any hardware store. It has a slightly oily consistency that makes it easy to apply--not too runny or too sticky. Apply the smallest possible amount on a cotton bud or cloth, just enough to make it damp, rub firmly until the mark is gone, and wash the area thoroughly with water afterwards.

Goof Off's main ingredient is a solvent called acetone which is not toxic in small amounts, it is even used as a food additive and is in naturally found in the body in small amounts. But in these high concentrations acetone is volatile and should not be applied anywhere near to mucous membranes (e.g. your eyes or mouth) and should certainly not be inhaled. If you apply too much, skin peeling can result (acetone is also an ingredient in acne peels).

Since discovering the unusual efficacy of this product I always keep it in the bathroom cupboard. It is also useful for removing glue from your hands and in a pinch as a nail polish remover.


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