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How to Naturally Remove Hair Dye With Baking Soda, Vitamin C, and Vinegar

Updated on October 17, 2017
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My articles focus primarily on health tips, nutrition advice, DIY, and self-improvement.

How to Get Dye out of Your Hair

Have you dyed your hair, but you're now approaching that time when you’re sick of it and want to return it back to its natural state? Most people choose to go to their neighborhood pharmacy and purchase an expensive hair dye remover. This option works well for most hair types, but some over-the-counter brands have harsh chemicals that can cause damage.

There are alternative removal methods, and you don't have to look any further than your kitchen cabinet. These ingredients are all safe and environmentally friendly, and, best of all, they won’t break the bank! You can use them on either permanent or semi-permanent hair color.

Best Ways to Fade and Remove Hair Dye at Home

  1. Mix baking soda and shampoo. Anti-dandruff shampoo works best, but some people also swear by clarifying shampoo. Whichever you choose, you should use a 1-to-1 ratio of baking soda and shampoo. Lather the mixture into your hair, and then leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing with hot water. Do this for a few days or until the dye completely fades.
  2. Mix vitamin C tablets and hot water to form a paste, and apply this to your hair. Leave it on for an hour while wearing a shower cap. Then, rinse with hot water. This method works best if you use it a few days after dying your hair. You will still see results after this timeframe, but the results will be minimal.
  3. Douse your hair with a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water. Then cover your head with a shower cap for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing.

Disclaimer

These methods are extremely drying and may cause damage depending on the current health of your hair. If you have thin, fragile hair or a sensitive scalp, use these ingredients with caution.

An In-Depth Look at the Best Methods for Stripping Permanent Dye From Your Hair

1. Baking Soda and Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Baking soda is a natural and effective cleansing agent and is often used to remove stains. It's no wonder so many people swear by it for removing hair dye as well. It works best when mixed with an anti-dandruff shampoo. This is because the shampoo's active ingredient selenium sulfide is known to fade hair (it may also fade metallic jewelry).1

Remember that this process is gradual and will not work immediately. The baking soda acts as a scrubbing agent and the selenium sulfide lightens hair, but these two ingredients won’t remove the dye completely after the first attempt. Repeat the process for a few days or for as long as needed.

Note: Clarifying shampoo may also work.

2. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is probably the safest and most non-abrasive option for people who have dyed their hair a particularly dark color and would like to remove it quickly. The acid in vitamin C works by oxidizing the dye and, therefore, loosening up the dye's molecules.2

Remember, this method works best if the paste is applied no more than a few days after dying your hair, although it will show decent results if you wait a little longer. There will be a notable difference, but don’t expect any miracles.

How to Use Vitamin C

3. Vinegar

For this method, you should use plain white vinegar. Similar to the way vitamin C works, the acidity of the vinegar will help strip the dye from your hair without damaging your scalp like some expensive products do. This is because most hair dyes cannot handle acidic substances.

Alternative Methods for Fading Hair Dye at Home

Some people swear by the following methods, but depending on your hair type and how long you've had the dye on, they are not usually as effective as the ingredients listed above. If nothing works for you, you can give some of these methods a try.

  1. Dishwashing Soap: This works for semi-permanent hair dye, but it can be really drying.
  2. Baking Soda and Lemon Juice: Mix equal parts baking soda and lemon juice. Leave the mixture on your hair for just a few minutes. Lemon can really dry and damage your hair, so remember not to leave it on for too long.
  3. Hydrogen Peroxide: To lighten hair color that is too dark, spray your hair with a mixture of equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water. Leave it on for 30 minutes and then rinse.
  4. Epsom Salt and Baking Soda: Fill a bath with warm water, epsom salt, and baking soda, and let your hair soak in it. This only works for semi-permanent dye.
  5. Bleach and Shampoo: If you feel particularly daring, you can mix a little bleach in with your shampoo. This method lightens the artificial dye, but may also affect your natural color, so proceed at your own risk. You should test this mixture on a strand of hair first before doing your entire head. The bleach may be too strong and may cause permanent damage.
  6. Bleach Powder and Water: Mix equal parts bleach powder and water. Pour through your hair and leave it on for 10-15 minutes. Rinse it out, and then shampoo and condition as normal.
  7. Swimming: Chlorinated water fades semi-permanent dye, but the effects are minimal. Over-exposure to chlorine can cause damage and result in dry, brittle hair.
  8. Sun Exposure: Heat of any kind will shorten the life of your dye, so if you want that artificial color to fade fast, let your hair out under the sun.

Which natural hair dye removal option do you prefer?

See results

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      Akira 12 days ago

      I've had a few people tell me that dish soap by itself works too. I dyed my hair a teal color and I've been trying to get it out so I can my dye a silvery white. Dish soap does work but it doesn't take out as much as you think it would.

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      mary 2 weeks ago

      i just want to tell everyone i did my hair was suppose to be grayish blue well it turned out real blue i couldnt stand it so i did the vitamin c crushed up and made a paste put on hair for 15 min and blue all gone now have light brown hair

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      hailey 2 weeks ago

      this works love it

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      Caitlin 3 weeks ago

      I had a semi-permanant red done at the salon a month ago and it faded loads to a really muted red with my natural roots. I used baking soda with shampoo (just regular shampoo) 1:1 and it has made a huge difference already. I'm going to do it again with the vitamin c tablets and see if that helps.

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      Kait 4 weeks ago

      I dyed my mom's hair and then decided to dye my blonde eyebrows the same shade as her hair. I've done this before and had fine results. Well not this time. I must've left the dye on too long because my eyebrows were DARK and with red hair and pale skin, it looked repulsive. I used the vinegar/water method, rinsed, used the vitamin c paste, rinsed, washed with dish soap, rinsed, put coconut oil on, rinsed and washed with normal soap. Then repeated a few times. My skin (which is somewhat sensitive) was kind of dry and red from all the acidity and scrubbing, but the dye has faded so much!!! I didn't let the vinegar solution or vitamin c paste sit on my face, I just kept reapplying as I leaned over the sink so that it didn't drip in my eyes. My eyebrows aren't back to normal, but they look about 10x better.

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      Mounika 5 weeks ago

      I dyed my hair red..ND after again I dyed with black..but now I want to remove that colors..how can I get my original??

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      Lynn closs 5 weeks ago

      I did a tumeric powder mask for my hair and it turned my blonde hair orange is there a way to remove the tumeric powder dye?

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      Madi 4 months ago

      i just had my roots dyed blue and it's bled into the ends of my hair which were bleach blonde and now are a light greeny blue blonde, can i use the baking soda and head and shoulders shampoo(both i have already) to just get the bled colour out of my blonde ends? Thanks

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      Cassy 4 months ago

      I had a terrible purple color in my blonde hair. I crushed up half a bottle of vitamin c tablets and mixed it with dandruff shampoo. After sitting on my head under a shower cap for an hour, I washed my hair. All of the dye came out but I had to use a deep conditioner mask as it dried my hair out.

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      Emma 4 months ago

      i apologize, but the baking soda did not work at all for me. i don't know what i did wrong but it didn't work and even looked intensified if that's possible. i want my blonde hair back and i have rose gold hair that is faded orange.

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      Alice O. from SC 4 months ago

      I am an older lady and after using a cheap hair dye for many years, I noticed my hair getting thinner and thinner. so I stopped dying it. My natural hair color use to be light ash brown..Well now it is grey, mostly, but I still have the old color in my hair and it looks terrible because mostly my roots are grey now... I want to remove all of te old hair color which has faded to a light brown, almost blonde...How can I do this without damaging my hair and making it thinner?

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      dollfactory 5 months ago

      I dyed my hair on white blonde bleached hair with Crazy Color's Capri Blue and it was very dark and vibrant...except my roots which remained yellowish white even though I washed my hair before dying it to remove any grease buildup but I guess I wasn't thorough enough or something else went wrong...I was ok with itsince it didn't look too bad but after a few washes I saw that it would not wash out nearly as much as regular semipermanent dye. Blue is a pain to get out...so I tried vitamin C which did help a tiny bit...and then baking soda with vitamin C and shampo, which also helped a bit but not as much as I wanted. This also left my hair very dry and dull. The next time I washed my hair I tried the vinegar and water solution 2:1 and left it on my hair for a good half hour before washing it out with shampoo and then twice with baking soda and shampoo again. Safe to say I feel this did a much better job than vitamin C and it also didn't dry out my hair as much for some reason. My hair is still, well, blue but it's getting there. A few more weeks and I will be my gleaming old white blonde again. Next time I will go with a pastel pink :D

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      Andreina Martinez 5 months ago

      I have my natural, medium brown hair. It's my natural hair color since I was born. When I turned 18 for my FHS graduation, I had blonde highlights, then medium golden blonde hair. In 2009-2014, I dyed my hair light blonde. On August of 2014, I dyed it copper, the next month, I dyed it red until the last time was in April of 2015. Six months later, I dyed it orange copper, but it didn't last. I've two colors mixed from middle through the tops of my hair. I tried blonde, red, and copper. I want to dye my hair a different color. What can I do to remove the color?

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      Author

      wiserworld 6 months ago

      You could try washing it more frequently than you normally do. If you can find a hair "clarifying" shampoo, it may help speed up the process. Remember to condition it afterward to prevent dryness. Have you tried using coconut oil to prevent split-ends?

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      Liz d. 6 months ago

      I'm a dirty blonde naturally, & I just dyed it today trying to go a little bit lighter & now it's bleach blonde, what kind of home remedies can I use to help the color fade?

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      Bonnie 8 months ago

      Right. I tried white vinegar. Keep it away from your eyes. Didn't seem to do much. Tried dish washing liquid - damaged my hair. Tried baking soda mixed with shampoo - harsh. Tried Head and Shoulders - ditto. Tried washing powder - keep it away from your eyes, too. Got some orange flavoured vitamin c tablets, crushed with shampoo - left my hair orange. Best was Head and shoulders mixed with bicarbonate soda and shampoo. But I am going to get vitamin c powder - white - and use that with bicarbonate soda and use that.

      Each of the treatments faded my awful, over the top red - supposedly only to last eight washes - a little at a time. So, persevere. I actually used washing blue in the final rinse to counteract the copper colour.

      Good luck.

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      Tammy 8 months ago

      my real color now is white with a little salt and pepper in the back, I've been coloring it a very lite blonde but have decided since it has grown out to see what it would look like if it was all white, can i use this method to remove or lighten this pale blonde to white?

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      Whitefoxylady 8 months ago

      Did It ALL!!

      I am naturally a dirty blonde - goes crazy light in the sun to almost white but still have dark roots so I occasionally color or lighten it. I wanted to go dark to eliminate the contrast -sick of coloring and have damage it a little. So, I decided to go for a bright red brown - a little flair - completely ORANGE! I laughed for hours then I had to get it out. I shampooed like 10 times and did a oil and vinegar rinse. I ended up with red and dark roots and splotches of my blonde. I did this at night so next morning I hit CVS - got a medium brown, Vitamin C, conditioning mask, trial size head and shoulders, and baking soda. I did the baking soda and head and shoulders for two hours - got purple, dark roots, and blonde. Then I did vitamin C and it worked! I am sure there is some red, but conditioning now. I am going to wait a week to do the medium brown but I tell you - I am NEVER coloring my hair again. I had a good laugh - funniest thing in the world, but it was a pain in the ass:) With the Vitamin C - I used tablets and soaked them in a little water and head and shoulders - I was lazy and kinda of crushed them, but it work as good as it is going to get:) Good luck!

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      Sam 10 months ago

      If you dyed your hair, then bleached it then dyed it darker you cannot get your natural color but if you dyed it darker then try mixing baking soda, dish-soap, and head and shoulders 2 in 1. I tried it and it works you will have to scrub hard and leave it in for a bit. do it about 3 times it works pretty well. Also it does dry your hair out so afterwards lather your hair in conditioner unless you like crazy frizzy hair.

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      Taylor 10 months ago

      I tried the Vitamin C treatment twice - in two days. I dyed my hair black with semi-permanent hair dye. It's been a month since I've had it in and I want it out. I have naturally blonde hair and want to go back, but I do not want to resort to bleaching it. So I tried the Vitamin C treatment. The first time I did it really didn't do much (I also did a conditioning treatment right after since it's very drying). The second time though did lighten my hair to a brown - but not all of it. Some of my hair is still black and some of it is now brown. It also left my hair very dry, even after using the hot oil conditioning treatment.

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      Ash 10 months ago

      People regarding to getting rid of bleach in hair, nothing is really going to work. The way bleach works is it strips your hair colour pigments out, so once your hair is bleached your natural hair colour is gone. Best thing to do is dying your hair the closest colour to what the natural colour was.

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      lyssa 11 months ago

      seriously people... a little common sense goes a long way. if you bleach then you have removed the color from your hair, you cannot "get it back" to the natural color until you grow it out and cut off the bleached portion. You can remove color that is a direct dye that does not strip color but if you lighten you cannot go back. *smdh*

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      tina 11 months ago

      Does any of this work when you've been dying black for 5 years ?

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      Sharanjeet 12 months ago

      HI, I hair color yesterday but i dont like it at all.. is lemon works perfectly without any damage to hair pls reply ASAP

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      msmarvel 14 months ago

      i also believe that baking soda and shampoo is the best option. I have tried also dissoluble vitamin C tablets and shampoo but i feel that soda worked best.

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      Anon 14 months ago

      I just used the baking soda/shampoo method—and it worked miraculously to remove almost all of a strawberry-red color. Thank you!

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      Lucy 15 months ago

      I have used the baking soda twice and red is already lighter. It was suppose to be a warm golden blonde and it was red. I just dyed it yesterday so maybe that's why it's getting lighter so quickly. I used it twice in a row and blow dried it. i'm much happier, thanks for the tips.

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      maria 16 months ago

      does it matter if the vit c tabs are orange coloured

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      All 17 months ago

      Don't do the vinegar one! I'm pretty much into haircare and form my personal experience I know mixing vinegar and water 1:1 will kill your ends as it's way to acidy. 1 tbsp per 1l of water will be enough.

      + I don't really see why should anyone use vinegar to get rid of hair dye. Vinegar, as well as lemon juice and cold water, makes you hair more "closed", so after using it is be more difficult to get anything (including hair dye) out of the hair.

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      Tracy 17 months ago

      My hair is naturally dark brown . i dyed it light blonde , then back to black , and then highlighted blonde , but I want my natural hair color back. I've tried everything and i do not want to dye anymore . What do I do ? i want my hair brown again . I am willing to try baking soda .

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      Flynn 2 years ago

      Tried the vitamin C one with dissolvable tablets and it didn't really do anything...I'm going to try edible tablets.

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      Vitamin C tabs crushed up 2 years ago

      The vitamin c is good for you hair and lightens it up I left it on for an hour and wrapped my hair in plastic bag wow my hair was pretty#

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      helena 2 years ago

      im a young girl who originally had natural dirty blonde hair but make a stupid choice of dying my hair black then bleached it back but killed my hair and now I dyed it brown and I miss my natural color I've been trying to get my hair back to its natural shade of blonde by using vinegar but it smells like shit, I would recommend baking soda paste it works very effectively

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      Rai 3 years ago

      Mixing vinegar and baking soda is not toxic.

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      TIMETRAVELER2 4 years ago

      My only comment here is that vinegar and baking soda...when mixed together, create a very toxic drain cleaner so people seeking any of your remedies must be careful to use only one of them and not mix them together!