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

Updated on October 28, 2016
Thinking about removing hair dye?
Thinking about removing hair dye? | Source

Removing Hair Dye

Have you dyed your hair, but you're now approaching that time where 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 wreak havoc on your poor scalp. The split ends and damage to your hair from these products can be avoided and there are alternative ways to remove hair dye that are much more natural.

Look no further than your kitchen cabinet! There are a few cheap home remedies that you can try to help remove hair dye from your hair; including these three safe and environmentally friendly alternatives: baking soda, vitamin C, and vinegar.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is one of nature’s most natural cleaning products, and you can also use it to remove hair dye as well! It works best if you mix it in with the shampoo that you normally use.

  • It depends on the thickness of your hair, but approximately a tablespoon of baking soda mixed with a tablespoon of shampoo should do the trick. Use a 1-to-1 ratio. If you have thicker hair, try adding a little bit more baking soda.
  • Lather the mix into your hair and scalp. Let it sit for a couple minutes, then rinse.

Remember that this process is gradual and will not work immediately. The baking soda will help lighten your hair and won’t remove the dye completely after the first attempt. Wait a few days and repeat the process as needed.

As a recommendation, the best shampoo to use for the mixture is an anti-dandruff shampoo, such as Head & Shoulders or Prell.

Baking soda: for baking, cleaning, deodorizing and YOUR HAIR!
Baking soda: for baking, cleaning, deodorizing and YOUR HAIR! | Source

Vitamin C

If baking soda isn’t your ideal preference and you’d rather keep it in the kitchen, another solution you can try is to remove hair dye with vitamin C. This 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.

  • Take a bunch of vitamin C tablets, dump them in a bowl, add some hot water and make a thick paste by crushing the tablets with a spoon. If you have longer or thicker hair, you should add more tablets to the paste. Use at your own discretion.
  • Once you have formed a consistent paste and it’s ready, apply it to your wet hair. Then, let it work its magic for about an hour before you rinse it out. If you want, you can add some shampoo into the mix if you want some extra lather.
  • Putting a plastic bag or shower cap around your hair will also help the mixture penetrate your hair strands more effectively.

Remember, this method for removing hair dye works best if the paste is applied only after a few days from the time you originally dyed your hair. Though, it will show decent results later on as well. Just don’t expect any miracles. You should notice a notable difference when you try to remove hair dye with this method.

Vitamin C hair dye removal video

White vinegar
White vinegar | Source


Another easy home remedy is to remove hair dye with vinegar. You should use plain white vinegar for this method. The acidity of the vinegar will help remove the dye from your hair without damaging your scalp like some expensive hair products can do. It is also a much more natural option, just like the baking soda and vitamin C solutions.

  • Simply douse your hair with a mixture of warm water and vinegar (1:1). Then, cover your hair with a shower cap (or plastic bag) for 15 to 20 minutes. If you find it is not strong enough, try using a stronger vinegar solution with less water.
  • After the time has passed, wash your hair and rinse clean. You should notice a difference in the shade of your hair afterward when you remove hair dye with vinegar.

Removing hair dye doesn’t always have to be done at the salon and it can be managed well enough at home with some time and patience. These three are are all convenient home remedies for your hair that won’t break your wallet!

Which natural hair dye removal option do you prefer?

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    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      TIMETRAVELER2 3 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!

    • profile image

      Rai 2 years ago

      Mixing vinegar and baking soda is not toxic.

    • profile image

      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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      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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      Flynn 23 months 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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      Tracy 10 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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      All 10 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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      maria 9 months ago

      does it matter if the vit c tabs are orange coloured

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      Lucy 8 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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      Anon 7 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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      msmarvel 7 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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      Sharanjeet 5 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

    • profile image

      tina 4 months ago

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

    • profile image

      lyssa 4 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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      Ash 4 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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      Taylor 3 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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      Sam 3 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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      Whitefoxylady 2 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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      Tammy 8 weeks 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?

    • profile image

      Bonnie 4 weeks 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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