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What Can I Use to Strip the Colour From My Hair?

By: Jennie Kermode - Updated: 2 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Hair Dye Hair Colour Bleach Bleaching


I used a darkest blonde hair dye and the result is far too dark with golden tones. My hair was previously coloured and had faded to a brassy yellow colour. I would like to take all the colour out if possible and start from scratch as my hair does not look natural. I have a lot of grey/white hair , Please can you advise me if there is something I can use to strips the hair of all hair dye? If not what can I use to correct this mistake?

(V.S, 1 July 2009)


The easiest way to strip colour from your hair is by bleaching. This can be tough on the hair if done frequently, but if you are careful then doing it once should not do any serious damage, and hair which is naturally turning white or grey should be more resilient when bleached anyway.

You can get your hair bleached by a professional in a salon or you can pick up a do-it-yourself kit from your local chemist. If you do the latter, make sure you follow the instructions carefully. Don't use too much or leave it on for too long.

The problem with bleaching is that it won't return your hair to its natural colour, it will simply leave it pale enough to let you add a different colour. If you want to strip out the dye without removing your natural colour, the best way is through repeat washing. Though this can take days or even weeks to be fully effective, it won't damage your hair if you do it properly.

To get faster results, use a moisturising shampoo. This will bond to the dye on your hair and gradually work it free. Baby shampoos are a good choice and are often used in salons to remove excess dye. Alternatively, there is a medical hand scrubbing lotion called Hibiscrub, available through some pharmacies, which is both effective as a dye remover and kind to your hair.

Washing to remove dye should be done no more often than twice a day. It's best to let your hair dry naturally afterwards as too much blow-drying, in combination with frequent washing, can make it brittle.

You may find that you don't need to remove all the dye in your hair before it looks better on you, as natural fading may bring it more in line with your skin tones. Once most of the dye has been removed you can add a different dye. Using a lighter one may lighten the overall appearance of your hair.

Another trick for making hair look lighter is to treat just selected strands of it by bleaching or frequent washing. This way you can avoid subjecting the bulk of your hair to stress. Done well, it can create a natural look, because non-dyed hair usually contains lots of different colours anyway, with lighter strands on top where they are exposed to the sun.

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