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Removing Hair Dye With Clarifying Shampoo

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I love to dye my hair all colors of the rainbow. I love all things vintage, and I enjoy creating art, taking photos, and doing it myself.

You can use a clarifying shampoo to fade hair dye.

You can use a clarifying shampoo to fade hair dye.

Clarifying Shampoo Works!

I’ve been dying and stripping my own hair color for the past eight years. In that time, I’ve experimented with a slew of color-removal techniques. Some are much harsher than others. More recently, I’ve become a huge fan of fading with clarifying shampoo.

It’s less harsh than using a color stripper and requires no extra effort than what you’d normally be doing, i.e., washing your hair! So far, I’ve used clarifying shampoo to successfully fade two bright, semi-permanent dyes. In this article, I’ll share my methods and photos.

Left: My hair, freshly dyed. Right: My hair after using Quantum clarifying shampoo three times.

Left: My hair, freshly dyed. Right: My hair after using Quantum clarifying shampoo three times.

What Is Clarifying Shampoo?

Clarifying shampoo is a product used to cleanse hair while also removing buildup of excess product and dye. As you use hair products and come into contact with hard water or chlorine, mineral deposits and chemicals begin to weigh your hair down. If your hair starts to feel lifeless and your normal shampoo isn’t getting the job done, it may be time to use a clarifying shampoo. The ultra-cleaning aspects of it make it perfect for someone who is aiming to fade a semi-permanent hair color!

A fresh dye job by Ash Fortis at XO Hair Labs.

A fresh dye job by Ash Fortis at XO Hair Labs.

Fading process of the above dye using clarifying shampoo over the course of a month.

Fading process of the above dye using clarifying shampoo over the course of a month.

How to Remove Hair Dye With Clarifying Shampoo

Step 1: Dye hair.

Step 2. Wash it.

Okay, it really is that simple. I typically dye my hair all different colors of the rainbow; I start with bright, deep colors and let them fade gradually over time. However, I usually only wash my hair once or twice a week. If I want the color to fade faster than that, I swap out my normal shampoo for the clarifying shampoo.

Pour a healthy amount into your hands and massage it into your scalp and hair. The bottom layers of my hair tend to hold color more than the top. Because of this, I pay extra attention to massaging it into the bottom so the color will hopefully fade more evenly.

Once I’m satisfied with my lather, I rinse it out. Warm water will help here, too, as it also assists in fading hair dye. If I’m really desperate to get a color out, I’ll shampoo twice, but if you do that, make sure to double up on the conditioner, too. I highly recommend using a leave-in conditioner after using a clarifying shampoo. We’ll go more into after-care below.

This photo shows the base color, fresh red hair dye, and the fade process. The color hardly budged until I started using clarifying shampoo on 2/1.

This photo shows the base color, fresh red hair dye, and the fade process. The color hardly budged until I started using clarifying shampoo on 2/1.

Things to Consider Before Using a Clarifying Shampoo

Don’t Expect It to Work In One Wash

Clarifying shampoo is a product that will work over time to fade color and remove buildup. Don’t expect it to work after one use! That being said, it’s a great alternative to using harsh chemicals and developers on your hair to remove color. You’re going to shampoo anyway, right? You might as well use a product that will speed up the fading process.

Clarifying Shampoo Can Dry Out Your Hair

This is a downside to clarifying shampoo; while it strips out all of the bad stuff, it also strips your hair and scalp’s natural oils. After using a clarifying shampoo, make sure you go back in with a conditioner, hair mask, or leave-in conditioner to maintain moisture.

You may have gotten a keratin or protein treatment at a salon before and noticed how light and healthy your hair feels afterwards. Chances are, the stylist first used clarifying shampoo to strip away all of the unwanted buildup. Then, the treatments can really soak in and keep your hair healthy!

Pros and cons of using a clarifying shampoo to fade your hair color.

Pros and cons of using a clarifying shampoo to fade your hair color.

Which Clarifying Shampoos Work Best (for Removing Hair Dye)

Well, a big thing to remember here is to make sure your clarifying shampoo label does NOT say “color-safe.” Kinda defeats the purpose, you know?

  • Quantum Clarifying Shampoo, $9.99, Sally Beauty: This is my go-to clarifying shampoo. It’s inexpensive and works like a charm! After use, my hair feels so light and clean, not to mention detangled. All of the fade photos in this article were from using Quantum.
  • Axe 3-in-1 Shampoo, $9.47, Amazon: Yes, this is a “men’s” product, but men’s shower products seem to be a little harsher, which is great for stripping buildup and color from the hair. Other 3-in-1s work well, too, like Arm & Hammer or Head & Shoulders.
  • Attitude Clarifying Shampoo, $11.99, Sally Beauty: If you’re looking for all-natural products and willing to spend a couple more dollars, check out this brand at Sally’s! This shampoo is rich in antioxidants and hypoallergenic.

Post-Dye Removal Hair Care Guide

It’s important to put moisture back into your hair after using a clarifying shampoo. Make sure you use conditioner afterwards (I love Generic Brand Tea Tree and Lavender), or even a hair mask if you can. My favorite hair mask to use is Briogeo Be Gentle, Be Kind.

After using a clarifying shampoo once a week, I use a conditioner or mask in the shower. When my hair is damp, I use FoxyBae’s leave-in conditioner to rehydrate even more. The result is incredibly soft, shiny, detangled hair that is several shades lighter!

Other Tips for Removing Hair Dye

Of course, there are multiple ways to remove hair dye, but clarifying shampoo is, in my opinion, the easiest if you’re willing to take the slow road. I say, embrace the fade! If you’d like to speed up the process, consider the following.

  • Spend time in the sun. Sunlight will naturally fade your dye!
  • Hop in a pool. Chlorine has a way of pulling semi-permanent color right out.
  • Shampoo with hot water. Both shampoo and heat help color to fade quicker.
  • Stay conditioned. Pulling color out of your hair will dry it out.
  • Watch videos on YouTube. There are SO many “guaranteed” ways to remove color involving things like dish soap, vitamin C tablets, baking soda, and more. Before using products that could be very harmful to your scalp and hair, I recommend watching videos of people using these methods before risking your own hair. Always do your research.

Easily Remove Hair Dye

Dyeing your hair truly is a commitment, but sometimes you just need to pull the color out. Clarifying shampoo is one of the safer, easier, less-expensive options. You’re going to wash your hair anyways, right? It’s a method I stand by for maintaining healthier, less-damaged colorful hair.

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.

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