Hair Color Remover: Types, Brands, Hacks & More

Updated on December 8, 2022
Shauna Sinclair By Shauna Sinclair
Shauna Sinclair

Beauty enthusiast

Table Of Contents

    Woman pouring hair dye ingredient in bowlPIN

    Hair Color Remover: Types, Brands, Hacks & More

    So, you’ve just gotten your hair done at the salon, and you love your new color.

    You’re feeling amazing.

    A few months later, though – you’re starting to notice that the color isn’t as vibrant as it was when you first got it done. And then you realize…it’s time for a touch-up! But how do you prepare your hair? Or what if you decide to try a DIY home dye job to touch it up, and it goes wrong?

    That’s where hair color removers come in.

    They’re not only great for removing those last few stubborn patches of color when you need to get the canvas ready for a new look, but they can also be helpful if you want to reverse any damage done by using the wrong dye in your DIY attempts at home.

    Let’s find out more about how hair color removers work, and which brands and methods you should try out to get your mane looking fresh and ready for a new color adventure!

    How to Strip Color From Hair 3 Ways

    When it comes to hair color removers, you’ve got three options:

    1. Chemical hair color remover
    2. Natural, DIY hair color removers
    3. Professional hair color removal treatments

    Each of these options will work differently to remove certain types of dye from your hair. They may also work in different ways depending on your natural hair color and the dye you used in the first place.

    Just a reminder that removing your color at home is always riskier and likely less effective than heading to the salon for some professional help, so do keep that in mind before proceeding with any treatments or hair color removers.
    Alrighty, with that disclaimer out of the way, let’s get into it!

    Chemical Hair Color Remover Without Bleach

    When you’re looking for a hair color remover, this is most likely the product you end up coming across.

    These formulas are designed to lift artificial pigment out of the hair shaft without affecting your natural color (though some brands may leave strands slightly lighter). They usually contain colorless dyes that bond to the pigment and help lift it away during shampooing or rinsing out.

    These hair color remover products can be further classified into two categories:

    1. Color reducers
    2. Color strippers

    Each product type serves a different purpose and can be seen as two different “strengths” of color removal. As you can probably guess, color reducers simply reduce the amount of artificial hair dye color in your hair. Meanwhile, color strippers remove both artificial and natural hair pigment. So be careful if you simply want to remove some semi-permanent home dye and go back to your natural color – don’t opt for a color stripper

    Some of the other differences between these two types of hair color removers are outlined in the table below.

    Color Reducers for Hair Color Strippers for Hair
    • Contains a color reduction agent
    • Contains a color oxidation agent
    • Removes only artificial color from the hair
    • Removes both artificial and natural colors
    • Less harsh on hair
    • More harsh and damaging to hair
    • Does not affect natural hair pigments
    • Affects natural hair pigments

    Remember to be careful when using chemical hair color removers! They can hurt your skin and cause irritation if used incorrectly. Always read and follow the package’s instructions, and wear gloves to avoid irritation on your hands and fingers.

    Natural Hair Color Remover

    If you’ve ever tried to dye your hair back to its natural color, you already know that it’s not easy – but sometimes it has to be done.

    There are a variety of different recipes and approaches, and some will work better than others depending on the type of dye you’re trying to get rid of.

    Let’s go through some of the options, shall we?

    You can create natural hair color remover recipes at home, using ingredients like:

    • Baking soda
    • Lemon juice
    • Vitamin C powder
    • Vinegar

    These are all-natural, easy-to-find ingredients that use some basic chemistry to remove the color from your hair.
    We’ll get more into the details later, but basically, they rely on
    Remember, if you’re looking for a more intense, effective solution, consider going to a salon or asking your hairstylist about professional methods of removing hair dye.

    Chemical vs. Natural Color Remover for Hair

    What’s the difference between natural and chemical color removers? So glad you asked.

    Let’s start with the chemical ones, which are more commonly known as hair color strippers.

    These hair color removers do a really good job at removing unwanted pigment — but depending on the ingredients, it can also remove any moisture and softness in your hair. They work by opening up the cuticle of each strand and manipulating the bonds that hold each molecule of color in place. Unfortunately, when these bonds break, they don’t always go back together again properly – which is why some people feel like their hair can feel dry and damaged after use. Additionally, using an at-home kit can lead to unpredictable results, so you might want to visit a pro for the best results.

    Natural options are gentler on your hair and won’t cause the same kind of breakage or damage as chemical ones can (though minimal damage is unavoidable with any kind of stripping process), but they’re not as effective at lifting dye out of your hair as chemicals will be.

    So if you’ve got a bright blue, Maniac Paniac-style color going on, it may not be the most helpful method. It is also less effective on permanent hair color.

    Hair Color Removers Types: Comparison

    Here’s a quick comparison chart on the differences between using a natural and chemical method of stripping hair color.

    Natural Hair Color Removers How to Use Derma Roller
    • Smell is less strong and chemical
    • Strong, harsh smell
    • Less damaging to hair
    • Can be very damaging to hair and scalp
    • May require multiple applications over a period of time to work effectively
    • More cost-effective
    • Faster and more effective at removing hair color
    • May not remove all hair dye color
    • More expensive

    Table Source

    3 Best Hair Color Remover Brands (Chemical)

    If you’ve ever been stuck with a hair color disaster and wished that your locks would simply disappear, you’re not alone. Whether it’s because of an at-home dye job gone wrong or an unfortunate salon experience, it seems like everyone has hair dye horror stories.

    And while there’s no way to turn back time and erase your own amateur dye job completely or fix a botched salon visit (yet), there is a way to get rid of some of the colors – and even make your locks appear refreshed in the process using a hair color remover at-home.

    But don’t trust just any product to remove or reduce your hair color.
    Check out these 3 hair color remover brands and products that can help undo the hair drama.

    Color Oops Hair Color Remover

    By far one of the most popular hair color removers on the internet, Color Oops is bleach and ammonia-free. It’s even gentle enough to allow you to re-dye your hair the same day! The best part, though? It’s a one-step application, so you don’t have to spend ages working on your hair fix.

    Best Derma Roller For Wrinkles

    Looking for an easy way to get rid of color mistakes? Look no further! The product removes artificial hair color from your hair, so you can apply fresh hair color. It’s important to remember that hair color remover doesn’t restore your hair to its natural shade, but it prepares it for re-coloring, so you can color it whatever color you like.

    This formula is definitely strong and powerful, so be sure to follow the label carefully.

    Pravana Hair Color Extractor

    Pravana Australia’s Artificial Hair Color Extractor

    Hoping for a gentle approach to removing color from your hair? This system from Pravana Australia is aimed at removing the color from your hair in a non-damaging way. It contains zero of those harsh chemicals like ammonia, bleach, and formaldehyde and leaves your hair conditioned and soft.

    Buy it: $29.59 from Image Beauty

    3 Best Hair Color Removal Methods (Natural)

    There are a few options for removing the unwanted color from your hair if you have a hair dye disaster, but it can be difficult to avoid harsh chemicals that aren’t suitable for sensitive skin and hair.
    Enter – a good old DIY for natural hair color remover.

    They are often gentler on your scalp and hair and won’t cause much damage if used correctly.

    One thing to remember – using natural methods may take a little more time to get rid of hair color, as they aren’t as strong as chemical methods.

    Baking Soda Hair Color Remover

    Because of its lightening properties, baking soda can be an effective way to remove unwanted color from hair dyes. Be warned, though! You may need to repeat this process multiple times, depending on how dark your hair is and how much lighter you want it to be. It works best on freshly dyed hair, as well, so if you have months old, lingering color, this may not be the best option.

    Zohna Tip

    Mix baking soda with lemon juice and water to create a paste. Then, apply the paste to your hair, let it sit for five minutes, and finally thoroughly rinse it out.

    Vitamin C Hair Color Remover

    Vitamin C is also useful for removing hair dye. It is a powerful antioxidant that helps oxidize and lift color from hair strands. Through oxidation, the acid loosens up dye molecules to help your hair shed the extra color.

    Zohna Tip

    Make a paste by mixing powdered packets or crushed pills with a little hot water. Put the mixture on your hair and cover it with a shower cap for 45 minutes. Use hot water to rinse it out thoroughly, making sure the paste is completely gone from your tresses. It may take a few attempts depending on the color you're trying to remove and the type of hair you have.

    Vinegar to Remove Hair Color

    One of those superhero pantry products, white vinegar is good for so much more than you think. It can clean your house, clear your scalp, and make your hair shine. It can even remove the color from hair! The best results can be achieved with white vinegar on semi-permanent colors, but it can fade permanent colors too, but it cannot completely remove them.

    Zohna Tip

    Combine half a cup of white vinegar with half a cup of warm water and gently pour the mixture on your hair. Put on a shower cap and wait 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing. It might take more than one go to see results. After using this solution for three consecutive days, follow it up with a strengthening or bonding treatment to protect your hair.

    Step-by-Step Guide to Strip Color From Hair (Chemical)

    Ready to get that color out, and start fresh?

    If you’re working with a traditional, pre-made chemical mix for your hair, you’re going to want to make sure you know what you’re doing and read all package instructions thoroughly. The old “measure twice, cut once” definitely applies here – make sure the product you chose is safe and designed for your hair’s needs before you begin. It’s hard to undo the damage created by chemical treatments like this, so we just want to remind you to proceed with caution.

    And if you’re feeling more stressed than you’d like to admit about self-application, take a trip to the salon and leave the color treatment to the pros. It will be much more costly than a DIY route, but you won’t have to worry about doing it yourself, and by extension, messing it up yourself!

    via GIPHY

    Here’s our step-by-step guide to stripping color from your hair.

    Step 1

    Apply a patch test as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Not all hair is created equal, so this step is crucial to make sure you don’t experience any adverse reactions.

    Step 2

    Put on gloves and make sure they’re plastic ones! You might think cotton or latex would be better, but these materials soak in the product and can end up staining your hands during the process.

    Step 3

    Mix the product with water according to package instructions, then apply it evenly throughout your hair to ensure an even strip of color (no bald patches or streaks!). Make sure you use enough product that your hair is completely saturated from root to tip. Otherwise, there’s no way you’ll get rid of that dye job!

    Step 4

    Leave it on for twenty minutes minimum (or longer for more intense results) before rinsing thoroughly and washing with shampoo several times until all traces of the remover are gone from your scalp and strands.

    Step 5

    Apply a deep conditioning mask (try K18’s Leave-In Molecular Repair Hair Mask) for about fifteen minutes after shampooing to keep your locks silky smooth, as well as leave-in hair treatment (we like Briogeo’s Strengthening Treatment Oil)


    Does Hair Color Remover Have Ammonia and Bleach?

    At-home hair color removers don’t often contain ammonia or bleach, however, there are a few products that salon pros can use to lighten and remove dye at the same time, like L’Oreal Effasol Color Remover. This is the kind of product that needs to be applied by a professional, so just be aware of that in your search.

    And while you can use at-home bleach kits to remove the color from your hair, it’s best left to the pros. That’s because bleach takes out hair dye but also lightens your hair’s natural color. On the flip side hair, color removers don’t contain oxidizing agents like peroxide, while hair bleach does.


    There’s more than one way to strip your hair color. From permanent to temporary, there’s an array of options out there for both at-home use and stuff for the pros only. Whatever your situation is, choosing the right products will make all the difference in achieving your ideal results.

    Now you can get your hair looking fresh and vibrant without the scariness of a straight bleach job – and avoid total hyst-hair-ria! Head over here for some hair wax color ideas!