How To Remove Hair Dye With Shampoo – Easy Guide

Shampoos contain strong cleansing ingredients that remove dirt, oil, sweat, and product build-up. Shampoo can even help to gradually remove hair dye.

How To Remove Hair Dye With Shampoo

Shampoo provides a gentler way to gradually remove hair dye without using harmful chemicals.

The best shampoos for removing hair dye are clarifying or anti-dandruff shampoos.

While these are harsher than regular shampoos, they are still one of the best options for stripping color from your hair with minimal damage.

Is Shampoo Good Or Bad For Colored Hair?

Shampoo can be bad or good for colored hair, depending on the ingredients.

Some shampoos contain harsh ingredients that quickly strip the artificial pigment from colored hair, leaving a dull and faded look. 

These shampoos lift the hair cuticles to remove color deposits.

They increase moisture loss and dryness while reducing the sheen and vibrancy of your colored hair.

Typically, shampoos that are a no-no for colored hair contain sulfates. Sulfates are a type of surfactant or detergent that cleans more strongly or harshly than other types of cleansers.

Does Shampoo Remove Hair Dye?

How To Use Shampoo To Remove Hair Dye

Shampoo can remove hair dye because it contains strong cleansers meant to remove dirt and buildup effectively.

This explains why the most common advice for maintaining color-treated hair is to avoid washing hair frequently.

That’s because, with each wash, the shampoo’s ingredients will also be stripping the color from your hair.

This happens because hair dye makes hair more porous.

When hair has high porosity, the cuticles have many spaces between them.

Therefore, a shampoo with harsh cleansers can easily remove the dye molecules through the gaps between the cuticles.

However, it’s important to note that shampoo may not completely remove permanent hair dye. Instead, you might only be able to lighten your hair a few shades. 

You’ll likely get better results with semi-permanent hair dye because, here, the dye molecules are sitting on the surface of each strand – not in the cortex – where they can easily be washed off.

The Best Shampoos For Removing Hair Dye

The best shampoos for removing hair dye have the following properties:

  • They contain plenty of sulfates. Sulfates like ammonium lauryl sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, and sodium lauryl sulfate have a deeper cleaning action that strips more color away.
  • They have a high pH. A high pH lifts your hair’s cuticles, encouraging the color to bleed more.
  • They contain salt. Sodium chloride increases the shampoo’s cleansing efficiency and helps to accelerate the dye removal process.
  • They are not color-safe. Most color-safe shampoos contain dyes that could stain your hair, which is the opposite of what you want.

More specifically, you have the following options when deciding on the best shampoo to remove hair dye:

  • Clarifying shampoo. A clarifying shampoo differs from regular shampoo because it contains heavier detergents that cleanse deeper to remove product buildup. These heavy surfactants are also strong enough to remove dye molecules from hair.
  • Anti-dandruff shampoo. Head and Shoulders is a popular type of anti-dandruff shampoo that fights dandruff. It also contains sulfates that help remove hair dye gradually, though it may not be as effective as clarifying shampoo.

How To Use Shampoo To Remove Hair Dye

The Best Shampoos For Colored Hair

Washing your hair with shampoo is one of the easiest ways to remove hair dye. Just follow these steps.

  1. Wet your hair with warm water until it’s completely saturated.
  2. Squeeze a small amount of shampoo in your hands and work it before applying it to your damp strands. 
  3. Massage the shampoo into your hair to create a lather as you would any other shampoo.
  4. Leave the shampoo in your hair for up to 10 minutes or more to allow more cleansing action to take place.
  5. Don’t forget to apply your regular conditioner. Conditioner helps seal the cuticle, locking in moisture and keeping your hair soft. Leave the conditioner in your hair for a few minutes before rinsing it out thoroughly.
  6. After washing, leave your hair to air dry before checking the results. You may need 5 or more washing sessions before you notice significant fading or complete removal of the dye.

Tips For Using Shampoo To Remove Hair Dye

Keep these tips top of mind to maximize your results when using shampoo to remove hair dye:

Do it quickly

The best time to remove hair dye with shampoo is within three days after coloring your hair.

That’s because the dye molecules need time to settle and bind properly with the cortex of your hair. In addition, your cuticles are still partially open.

So, shampooing in the first 72 hours allows you to remove more dye molecules before they become trapped.

Use in combination with natural color remover

Shampoo isn’t a magical solution for removing hair dye. You will get the best results with semi-permanent hair dye because even clarifying shampoo may not strip permanent hair dye completely.

Complete removal of hair dye may require harsh chemicals like ammonia, which damage your hair.

For the best results, try combining shampoo with a natural color remover.

For instance, combining clarifying shampoo with baking soda or Vitamin C can produce more noticeable results.

Use heated water

You can also shampoo with heated water. Adding heat helps open the cuticle further so that the shampoo can lift more color.

After washing with heated water, don’t forget to condition and rinse with cold water to tighten the cuticle.

Wash hair more frequently

The harsher the shampoo you use, the more effective the color removal. Similarly, washing your hair more frequently gives faster results.

However, that means you’re also effectively stripping moisture and natural oils from your hair. That’s why it’s best to use clarifying shampoo not more than twice a week.

Careful of damaged hair

Avoid using a clarifying shampoo to remove hair dye if you have damaged hair. Damaged, dry hair is prone to breakage, which can also lead to dry scalp issues.

The Best Shampoos For Colored Hair

The best type of shampoo for colored hair is color-safe shampoo.

So, if you want to protect your colored hair, watch out for this label when shopping. Alternatively, any sulfate-free shampoo is a better option for colored hair.

That’s because all color-safe shampoos don’t contain sulfates, alcohol, parabens, salt ( sodium chloride), or artificial fragrances. 

As mentioned, sulfates are super strong detergents that not only strip your hair of dirt and buildup but also open the cuticle, which enables color molecules to clear out.

This causes hair color to fade over time.

Color-safe shampoo is formulated with gentler ingredients that prevent color-treated hair from fading.

In addition, there are color depositing shampoos that contain dyes.

These shampoos are used to intensify color to combat fading so that you can maintain and refresh your hairstyle’s brilliance in-between salon visits.

Overall, the best shampoo for color-treated hair should help promote the longevity of your color, whether you have semi-permanent or permanent hair dye.

It should also contain conditioning ingredients that moisturize and nourish your hair since colored hair usually needs extra TLC.

Disclaimer: This site is not intended to provide professional or medical advice. All of the content on is for informational purposes only. All advice should be followed at your own discretion. Ingredients may change at any time so always check the product label before using. Check our full disclaimer policy here.