How to Remove Black Hair Dye
Black hair dye is one of the most difficult dyes to remove from your hair. Depending on how much lighter you wish to go, it can take several different steps to reach your desired color. However, it is possible to remove black hair dye without causing unnecessary damage. You can strip out the black hair color and reach anything from a brown to blonde color with time and care.
Different Methods to Remove Black Hair Dye
- Clarifying shampoo
- Hair dye remover
- Bleach wash
- Full head bleach
- Dish soap
- Baking soda
- Vitamin C
How to Approach Removing Dark Hair Dye
Dark hair dyes are more difficult to remove than lighter dyes. In order to remove it without causing too much damage and wrecking your hair, you need to be systematic and take an approach that relies on the least damaging method of hair dye removal that will give the required results. The most common methods available to you include:
- Clarifying shampoo and anti-dandruff shampoos
- Hair dye remover
- Bleach wash
- Full head bleach
These methods of removing dark hair dye are listed in order of how much skill they require to use and damage they can potentially cause to your hair. They also follow the appropriate order that you should follow when you are removing dark hair dye from your hair at home. Shampooing your hair or using dye remover causes no damage, although it may dry your hair, whereas bleach washes or a full bleach will damage your hair and needs to be used with some caution.
Clarifying shampoo should always be the first step you take in your pursuit to remove black hair dye. Not only is shampooing your hair not at all damaging, but it can really help to remove the buildup of dye that occurs when you apply a dark color like black to your hair. This gives you a head start because the more color you can remove without resorting to bleach, the better condition your hair will be in at the end.
You simply need to replace your regular shampoo with an effective clarifying shampoo and use it a few times every time you shampoo your hair for the first few weeks before you turn to more drastic measures. If you're in a rush and need to remove black hair dye quickly, you can wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo several times in one day, but you will need to follow up with a good deep conditioner or conditioning treatment to relieve the dryness that occurs.
Look for shampoos that are marketed towards oily hair or product buildup. Clarifying shampoo won't always say what it is on the bottle, but the products used for conditions like oily hair are much stronger shampoos designed to cut through oil and excess hair products. These are almost always clarifying shampoos sold under a more targeted name.
The best way to remove dark hair dye with a clarifying shampoo is to use the shampoo a few times every week until your color begins to fade, before moving onto the next step. However, if you do choose to take a quicker route in removing black hair dye, make sure you always follow up with a good conditioning product to prevent your hair from becoming dry and brittle. After using the clarifying shampoo, you should give your hair a break before you use another method to further remove the black hair dye so that moisture can build back up.
Hair Dye Remover
Hair dye remover is the holy grail of color removal because it reverses the actual process that takes place in your hair when you use a permanent hair dye. It is the oxidation of the hair dye that makes it permanent and traps it in your hair. Hair dye remover breaks the color molecules back down into their previous form so that they can simply be washed out of the hair without causing any damage.
The only drawback to hair dye remover is that the product can have a slight drying effect on your hair like a clarifying shampoo. Dye remover doesn't cause damage however, and you can use it a few times before resorting to bleach in order to cut down on damage. You may not even have to use bleach at all if you're lucky. The dryness can be relieved with a deep conditioner or conditioning treatment just like with clarifying shampoo.
Hair dye remover consists of two separate solutions that need to be mixed first in order to start the chemical reaction that reverses the oxidation of permanent hair dye. Mix only as much as you need, and don't mix the products until you're ready to apply the hair dye remover. Otherwise, you will lose some of the effectiveness as it can't be reused. Apply the dye remover either by brush or by hand, as quickly as possible, and leave it in your hair for 20-25 minutes.
The hair dye remover will usually work quickly, and if you were a fairly light color before you dyed your hair black, you may notice your hair lightening rapidly before your eyes. Even if the color change isn't as dramatic, the hair dye remover is still breaking down the artificial color in your hair and making it easier for the bleach to remove the remaining color if you still need to go lighter later on.
After you rinse the product out, shampoo your hair at least two times to ensure you remove all the dye that has been broken down. You need to shampoo your hair as thoroughly as possible or else any dye left in your hair will oxidize again and darken your hair. After you've shampooed, use a good deep conditioner or conditioning treatment to relieve any dryness, and give your hair a rest for a week before you move on to bleach if necessary.
Using a Bleach Wash to Remove Hair Dye
A bleach wash, or bleach bath, is a more benign way to bleach your hair than a full head bleach because the chemical is diluted when applied to your hair. You can't use a bleach wash to lighten your hair significantly, but you can use it to lighten your hair slightly and remove any dark hair dye buildup that's left after you've used clarifying shampoo and hair dye remover.
- Mix the bleach powder and developer. You should keep them equal at two tablespoons each. Developers can come in different volumes based on how much peroxide they have. 10 is the weakest while 40 is the strongest. If it is your first time using developer, you should use 10 to see how your hair reacts.
- Add shampoo to the mix. Use roughly the same amount you would normally use to shampoo your hair. This will help make the bleach less aggressive. You could add conditioner as well if your hair tends to get dry.
- Wet your hair and apply the mix with a brush. Work your way down to the roots.
- Wrap your hair in a plastic wrap. Keep an eye on your hair until you get the desired shade.
- Wash the mix out of your hair.
If you still need to lighten your hair to reach your desired shade, you should use a full bleach rather than a bleach wash. If you only need to remove a little more of the black hair dye to reach the shade you want, a bleach wash will be better since it will leave your hair in better condition.
You can add more shampoo to dilute the bleach further, or you can simply use a lighter volume of developer. You will be applying your bleach wash to wet hair, so the water in your hair dilutes the bleach down even more. This needs to be taken into account when you prepare it.
The higher volume you use, the more lightening you will see in your hair. Keep in mind that your hair will also be damaged more. Use the minimal required, noting that the shampoo and application to wet hair will dilute down the developer. A bleach wash with 30 vol peroxide is similar to a full bleach with 15-20 vol peroxide after dilution is taken into account. For a more detailed account on how to do a bleach bath, check out this article.
How to Use Hair Bleach to Remove Hair Dye
Removing dark hair dye with bleach should only be attempted after you have already used a clarifying shampoo and hair dye remover. Unlike these methods of hair dye removal, bleach is damaging to your hair, and you want to remove as much dye as possible before you decide to use this method. The more color you can remove before bleaching, the less dye left for the bleach to lighten and the less damage and time it will take to finally reach your desired shade.
If you only need to lighten your hair a little more to reach your desired shade, a bleach wash will be a better way to remove the last traces of color. If you need to lighten your hair more than one shade, like up to four shades, a full bleach is the best and most reliable option. However, you should only apply bleach to your hair if it is in good condition. Hair that is naturally fragile or has been bleached previously in the past or dyed extensively shouldn't be bleached.
- To prepare your bleach, mix bleach powder and developer in a 1:2 ratio in a tinting bowl.
- Your hair needs to be properly sectioned out to increase the ease and rapidity of application. You can do this by parting it down the middle from your forehead to neck and then parting it again from ear to ear.
- When applying bleach, you will take thin layers of hair from the top of a section, moving towards the bottom, and then proceed to the next section and continue until your hair is completely covered.
- After you apply your bleach, you will need to check the product every 10 minutes for up to an hour while it processes. If it reaches your desired lightness in less time, rinse it out at that point. Even if it hasn't become as light as you want by the hour point, remove the bleach anyway to avoid drying out your hair too much. By this time, the bleach is mostly exhausted anyway and any further lightening will be minimal.
For a more detailed account on how to bleach hair, check out this article.
The volume of developer to use with your bleach can be anything from 10-30. You should use the least concentrated developer that will give you the necessary results. As a general rule, 10 will lighten one level, 20 will lighten two levels, and 30 will lighten there to four levels.
Up to 1 level
3 - 4 levels
How to Use Baking Soda to Remove Hair Dye
Baking is a natural cleaning agent. It can help lighten and remove hair dye without bleaching.
- Mix baking soda in equal parts with dandruff shampoo. You can mix them in a container or even just mix the two ingredients in your hands.
- Lather the mix into your wet hair. Let it sit in your hair for at least five minutes before rinsing it out.
- Check for running dye when you rinse. This method works best if you have recently dyed your hair. You can use this solution as often as you need.
How to Remove Hair Dye With Dish Soap
Dish soap can slowly, yet gradually, remove the color of your hair dye.
- Mix four or five drops of dish soap into a roughly quarter-sized dab of shampoo in your hands.
- Use the mixture as you would your regular shampoo. Get a deep lather going so the soap can penetrate deep into your hair.
- Be sure to thoroughly rinse your hair. Dish soap can dry your hair and remove natural oils, so you don't want it in your hair for very long.
- End the process with a deep conditioner. A hot oil treatment would be recommended. Your hair needs to by hydrated since dish soap can dry it.
This method is a tad slow and needs to be repeated. Dish soap is quite harsh on hair, so it is not recommended that you repeat it too much.
How to Use Vitamin C Tablets to Remove Hair Dye
Vitamin C is a non-abrasive option to removing dark hair dye. It oxidizes the dye and loosens its hold on your hair. This method work best on semi-permanent dye that is only a few days old.
- Put some tablets of vitamin C into a bowl. Fill the bowl with hot water and crush the tablets with a spoon or any other tool. Do this until a paste is created.
- Apply the paste to wet hair. Put on a shower cap and let the paste sit for an hour.
- Rinse and shampoo your hair like normal. You should see significant results if you only dyed your hair within the last few days.
Toning Your Hair
After you have removed your black hair dye, regardless of what method you used, you will likely need to tone your hair to reach the final color that you want. When you lighten your hair, warm tones are revealed. This will occur with the use of hair dye remover and bleach. To neutralize these and reach a natural color, you will need to tone these warm tones out with another hair dye.
To decide which hair dye you use, find the exact shade you want and use an ash tone in this color. For example, if you want a light brown color, you would use a light ash brown. The ash tones won't dye your hair light ash brown. They cancel out the warm tones leftover from the dye removal process. This will allow you to reach a more neutral color.
If you want a warmer color, you can simply rinse the ash dye out sooner in the development process rather than waiting for the neutral color. If you want an actual ash color, use an intense ash dye rather than a regular ash dye and leave this in for the full development time. It is perfectly fine to wash the color out at any point when you reach a tone you like.
As with any hair dye removal, it is important to take your time and care for your hair while you remove the dye. Rushing into the process without taking all the proper steps and limiting the need for bleach is detrimental to the condition of your hair. If you remove hair color correctly, you'll have healthier, more beautiful hair for a long time to come.
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.