How to fix hair dye gone wrong

dyeing hair
Dye job gone wrong? Here's how to fix it at-homeAdam_Lazar - Getty Images

If you've ever dyed your hair, chances are you might be all too familiar with a hair dye disaster. Unfortunately – they're all too common, which is where hair colour removers can come in handy. Because whether you've had a box dye job gone wrong, have layered too many colours over one another or you've accidentally tinged your hair green in your gym's swimming pool, a hair colour disaster is a sure fire way to deplete your confidence.

But don't despair, because there are things you can do to fix hair dye that's gone wrong. We spoke to hair colour experts – Harriet Muldoon, colour expert at Larry King and Leanne Fitch, creative master colourisr at Josh Wood Atelier to figure out how to fix a hair dye disaster, plus the best hair colour removers to strip colour at home.

How to remove hair dye at home?

While seeking professional help should be your first port of call, sometimes there's not time to book into the salon. So how can you remove hair colour at home?

'Try using an anti-dandruff or clarifying shampoo that’s high in sulphates (SLS). This will help to loosen the colour and fade it slightly. You'll need to do a few washes of shampoo and may have to leave the shampoo on the hair for 10-15 minutes. This will help fade colour – for example if you've left a dark hair dye on for too long – but if you're wanting to strip out certain hair tones, it's best to wait and visit your hairdresser,' reveals Muldoon.

What is the best product to strip hair colour?

‘I would always recommend seeing a professional for this process,’ advises Muldoon. ‘For removing colour there are several things you can use but I would do a bleach soak.’

‘A bleach soak removes the colour and reveals the under tone of the hair. For example, dark bases have a red undertone which leads to orange and then the lightest bases yellow. That’s why when our colours fade sometimes over exposure to the sun, brunettes feel red and blonde feel yellow,’ she adds.

'My go to hair colour remover would be "magic off" by Sassoon, Wella colour for professionals. Stripping at home is not something I'd recommend unless you want to compromise the condition of the hair and have uneven results,' says Fitch.

What do hairdressers use to remove dye?

'Depending on how much you want to shift the colour a gentle solution is Malibu colour remover. It deeply cleanses the hair, removing some of the build up of colour,' says Fitch.

Does hair colour remover actually work?

'Permanent colour pigment is held inside the hair shaft. Colour Remover enters your Hair shaft and directly targets the Colour pigment and works to dissolve the Colour so it can be washed out. Depending on the extent and age of the colour and your natural hair texture, there are different methods used to remove colour,' explains Fitch.

How do I remove permanent hair dye from my hair?

'Once the pigment has been dissolved, the permanent hair colour has nothing to hold on to so should then wash out of the hair depending on how much build up there is determines the results,' says Fitch.

The best hair colour removers

1/ Best hair colour remover for lightening hair dye: Good Dye Young Semi-Permanent Hair Color Additive

If you're into pastel hair shades, this is the hair colour remover you want. It works to lighten any at-home hair colours – acting like both a hair mask and mixing medium. Simply add to your colour and use as normal for a gorgeous pastel result.

2/ Best hair colour remover for fading brunette dye jobs: Superdrug Colour Rewind Hair Colour Remover

Left your brunette box job on a touch too long? This is the hair colour remover you need. It helps to remove unwanted permanent and semi-permanent dark hair colours without any bleach or ammonia.

3/ Best hair colour remover for stripping multiple colour applications: Colour B4 Hair Colour Remover

If you've layered colour over colour and you're finding that the result is a little flat and dark, this hair colour remover can help. It works by shrinking the artificial dye molecules in the hair, enabling you to simply wash them away.

4/ Best kind-to-hair colour remover: Colourless Hair Colour Remover Max Condition

Enriched with argan oil and keratin to improve the strength and condition of your hair after regular use of colourants, this hair colour remover helps to fade permanent and semi-permanent hair colours, fast.

5/ Best hair colour remover for a hair detox: Revolution Pro Hair Colour Remover

This salon professional-strength hair colour quickly and easily removes permanent, semi-permanent and temporary colours (including home and salon dyes) to restore natural colour or prep your hair for a new look with no down time.

6/ Best hair colour remover to lighten hair: Scott Cornwall Decolour Hair Colour Stripper

This hair colour remover uses an ultra kind lightener with no ammonia and contains the lowest levels of peroxide found in a lightening product to lighten hair, without damaging the internal fibres of the hair.

7/ Best vegan and cruelty-free hair colour remover: Crazy Colour Back to Base Hair Colour Remover

Vegan and cruelty-free, this hair colour remover harnesses the natural power of kaolin clay to help draw out dark pigments in dyed hair.

8/ Best hair colour remover for blondes: dpHue Brightening Powder for Blonde, Highlighted Hair

Slightly different to the previous products but just as effective, this clever brightening powder is formulated with blondes in mind – to help strip dulling chemicals, pollutants and heavy metals out of blonde hair. While it's not intended to remove hair dye, it can help take the green tinge out of blonde hair which is seriously handy – especially for swimmers.

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