How to Get Red Hair Dye Out of Hair

Red Dye Removal

Red hair dye is bold and beautiful, but sometimes, it’s not quite the shade you envisioned or it’s simply time for a change. Don’t panic! While red dye is notoriously stubborn, several methods can help fade or remove it. Let’s explore safe and effective techniques to rescue your locks from regrettable reds.

Understanding Red Hair Dye: Why It’s So Persistent

Before we dive into removal methods, let’s understand why red hair dye is so notoriously stubborn. Red pigments are smaller and more deeply penetrating than other colors, making them harder to strip from the hair shaft. Additionally, red dye tends to oxidize and change color over time, often resulting in unwanted brassiness or pink tones.

Fading vs. Removing: Choosing Your Approach

The first step is to decide whether you want to fade the red or completely remove it.


If you’re simply unhappy with the intensity of the red or want to tone down the color, fading methods like clarifying shampoos or color-removing treatments can be effective.


If you’re aiming for a complete color change, you’ll likely need more intensive methods like bleach or color removers.

Fading Red Hair Dye: Gentle Methods

These gentle methods can help fade hair dye gradually:

  • Clarifying Shampoo: Clarifying shampoos are formulated to remove product buildup and excess color. Wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo 2-3 times a week, but don’t overdo it, as they can be drying.
  • Vitamin C Treatment: Crush vitamin C tablets and mix them with water to create a paste. Apply the paste to your hair and leave it on for 30-60 minutes before rinsing. This can help lift the red dye molecules.
  • Baking Soda Paste: Mix baking soda with water to create a paste and apply it to your hair. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes before rinsing. This can help fade the red color, but be aware it can also be drying.
  • Anti-Dandruff Shampoo: Some anti-dandruff shampoos contain ingredients that can help strip color from hair. Use them a few times a week to fade the red.

Red Dye Removal

Removing Red Hair Dye: More Intensive Options

If fading methods aren’t enough, these more intensive options can help remove red hair dye:

  • Color Removers: Commercial color removers are designed to break down the dye molecules in your hair. Follow the instructions carefully, as these products can be harsh.
  • Bleach: Bleach is the most effective way to remove red hair dye, but it can also be the most damaging. It’s best to have this done by a professional hairstylist to minimize damage.
  • Professional Color Correction: If you’re struggling to remove the red dye at home, consult a professional hairstylist. They can assess your hair and recommend the best course of action for your specific situation.

Post-Removal Care: Nourishing Your Hair

After fading or removing red hair dye, it’s important to give your hair some extra TLC. Use deep conditioning treatments to restore moisture and repair any damage caused by the removal process. Avoid heat styling and harsh chemicals for a few weeks to allow your hair to recover.

DIY Hair Color Removal: Tread with Caution

If you’re feeling adventurous, several DIY color removal methods are floating around the internet. These often involve ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, dish soap, or even laundry detergent. However, exercise caution with these methods. They can be harsh on your hair and scalp, causing dryness, irritation, or even damage.

It’s best to stick to proven methods like clarifying shampoos, vitamin C treatments, or commercial color removers. If you’re unsure about any DIY method, consult a professional hairstylist for advice.

The Role of Hair Porosity: Understanding Your Hair’s Dye Absorption

Hair porosity plays a significant role in how easily hair dye (including red) is absorbed and removed. Porosity refers to how well your hair absorbs and retains moisture.

  • Low Porosity Hair: The cuticles are tightly closed, making it difficult for dye to penetrate and be removed. You may need to use stronger color removal methods or repeat treatments multiple times.
  • Medium Porosity Hair: The cuticles are slightly open, allowing for balanced dye absorption and removal. Most color removal methods should work well on medium porosity hair.
  • High Porosity Hair: The cuticles are wide open, making it easy for dye to penetrate but also easier to remove. Gentle methods like clarifying shampoos or vitamin C treatments may be sufficient.

You can determine your hair porosity by conducting a simple “float test.” Drop a strand of clean, dry hair into a glass of water.

Red Dye Removal

Transitioning from Red: Embrace the Process

Removing red hair dye is rarely an overnight process. It may take several treatments and a gradual fading of the color. Be patient and consistent with your chosen method, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed.

Remember, hair color is a journey, not a destination. Embrace the process of transitioning from red and have fun experimenting with different shades and techniques along the way.

Preventing Future Red Dye Mishaps: Tips for Success

To avoid the need for drastic color removal in the future, keep these tips in mind:

  • Patch Test: Always perform a patch test beforeapplying any hair dye to ensure you’re not allergic to the ingredients.
  • Choose the Right Shade: Carefully select a red hair dye shade that complements your skin tone and undertones.
  • Use a Color-Protecting Shampoo and Conditioner: These products can help preserve the vibrancy of your red hair color and prevent premature fading.
  • Limit Heat Styling: Excessive heat styling can accelerate color fading. Use heat protectants and opt for air-drying whenever possible.
  • Consult a Professional: If you’re unsure about which color removal method is right for you, or if you’ve experienced hair damage, seek professional advice from a hairstylist.

By taking these precautions and following the tips outlined in this guide, you can enjoy vibrant red hair without the stress of difficult removal.

The Science of Red Hair Dye Removal: How It Works

To understand how to effectively remove red hair dye, it’s helpful to understand the science behind the process. Hair dye molecules penetrate the hair shaft and bind to the keratin proteins, altering the hair’s color.

Color removal products and techniques work by breaking down these bonds and allowing the dye molecules to be washed away. This can be achieved through:

  • Oxidation: Some color removers use oxidizing agents to break down the dye molecules.
  • Reduction: Other products use reducing agents to shrink the dye molecules, making them easier to rinse out.
  • Chelation: Chelating agents bind to metal ions in the hair, which can help release the dye molecules.
  • Surfactants: Surfactants in clarifying shampoos and some color removers help lift the dye molecules from the hair shaft.

Different methods work better for different types of red hair dye and hair porosity. It’s essential to choose the right method based on your specific situation.

Red Dye Removal

Color Correction: When to Call in the Professionals

If you’ve tried multiple removal methods without success or if your hair has become severely damaged, it’s time to seek professional help. Hairstylists have the expertise and specialized products to correct color mishaps and minimize further damage to your hair.

Color correction can involve various techniques, such as:

  • Fillers: Fillers are used to replace missing pigments in the hair before applying a new color.
  • Toners: Toners help neutralize unwanted tones, such as brassiness or orange hues.
  • Hair Treatments: Deep conditioning treatments can repair and restore damaged hair after color removal.

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