If you’ve recently made the decision to stop dyeing your hair, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we share ten different ways to safely remove permanent hair dye from gray hair.
Written by Michelle Casey
In general, there are four different methods to removing permanent hair dye from gray hair.
- Let the hair dye grow out on its own
- Transition to gray using highlights and toners
- Fade out the dye out using ingredients or products you can find at home
- Strip out the hair dye using a chemical product
We’ll take a closer look at each method below.
When To Make The Decision To Go Gray
The decision to go gray is a very personal one. You might actively make the choice, or you may just gently end up accepting that it’s time.
Generally, colorists advise making the transition to gray when 80% of your hair is white or gray. When your hair starts feeling increasingly brittle and dry, it may be time to embrace your new silver locks.
Things to Consider Before Removing Permanent Hair Dye
There are a few things to be mindful of before you decide on which method to use to remove permanent hair dye from gray hair.
These decisions could determine how successful you will be in your transition process:
How Dark Is Your Hair Dye
The first thing to think about is how dark your permanent hair dye is. If it is quite dark, then natural methods of removal will take more time to get the result you desire. A chemical color remover treatment will get results faster however they are more damaging to your hair.
When Did You Last Dye Your Hair
Another thing to bear in mind is how recently you have had your hair dyed. The fresher the dye, the trickier it will be to remove it and go lighter.
Salon or DIY
You need to decide whether you are going to go through the chemical process at home or will you engage the services of a salon professional to remove your hair dye.
Often, using a professional hairdresser will reap better results, both from a color perspective but also in that they will try to minimize the damage done to your hair.
Consider Which Products To Use
If you are considering a full dye removal chemical product, only attempt this if your hair is in excellent condition. If you are still keen to remove and your hair is a little more damaged, try less damaging options such as clarifying or dandruff shampoos.
Anti-dandruff shampoos are most effective in removing lighter dyes whereas clarifying shampoos are best for darker dyes. Also, remember to use heat protectant sprays to prevent your hair from drying out.
Also Read: How To Use Black Sesame Seeds For Gray Hair
10 Ways To Remove Hair Dye From Gray Hair
Growing It Out
This is not always the most popular option as it takes a really long time.
To speed up this process, you can let your hair grow out a little then cut the colored sections off. A pixie cut is a popular option if this is the way you decide to go.
However, for some people, this is a step too drastic as you will be undergoing a new hairstyle and color at the same time.
If you want to grow out the color without any drastic cutting, consider using a temporary root touch-up product.
Working With Your Colorist
You can consult with your colorist who may suggest a ‘color correction’ whereby the colorist will correct your dyed hair to be more like the gray color growing in.
This can involve highlights and toners and depend on the color you are getting rid of, experiences of the process will vary.
The process can be time-consuming and expensive. “I spent a total of seven hours in the salon and really saw how intensive the process was to justify the price tag,” explains Birnur Aral, Ph.D., Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Health, Beauty and Environmental Sciences Lab.
Baking Soda And Shampoo
1.Mix 1 part baking soda with 1 part shampoo (dandruff or clarifying shampoo is recommended) and apply to hair.
2.Leave for about 30 minutes before rinsing.
The baking soda loosens the bond between the molecules of color and your hair.
Do note that this can be quite drying for your hair so ensure you use conditioner before and after to hydrate your hair.
1.Dilute 1 part vinegar with 1 part water and apply to the hair.
2. Put a shower cap on (a plastic bag secured will do).
3.Allow this to sit for about 20 minutes then rinse. The vinegar’s acidity will help remove the dye from your hair over time (you can do this 1-2 times per week).
Be aware this can irritate the scalp so try it on a small patch first before you apply it to the whole head.
Vitamin C Tablets
If you have recently dyed your hair, this method is the most effective.
1.Crush vitamin C tablets and add some hot water until it has a paste-like consistency.
2.Apply the mixture to your hair.
3. Cover your hair with a shower cap and let the mixture stay on your hair for approximately an hour.
4.Then rinse your hair with hot water.
Baking Soda And Lemon Juice
1.Mix equal parts baking soda and lemon juice.
2.Apply the mixture to your hair but only leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing.
Lemon can be dry and damaging for hair, so remember not to leave it on for too long.
Washing your hair using either a clarifying shampoo or an anti-dandruff shampoo is the easiest and most straightforward method of fading hair dye in gray hair.
Anti-dandruff shampoo is most effective on light dyes. Use it every day and the dye should fade within a few days.
Clarifying shampoos are better for eliminating dark dye from gray hair. This is most effective when you do a few washes in a row.
This can be drying on the hair so treat your hair to a deep conditioning treatment after the process to restore the lost moisture.
This method uses chemicals to strip the color away. The results of this option are fairly immediate which is why it often proves popular.
These products generally don’t contain ammonia or bleaching agents so providing you don’t use them excessively, they should not cause significant damage to your hair.
Make sure you give your hair some TLC after this treatment as it can be a little drying for hair.
You could opt for bleaching your hair. This process will dissolve the color pigment from your hair. When your new growth starts to become visible, the transition will be more subtle and gradual.
It is recommended to get a professional colorist to undertake this procedure. However, if you are confident with the procedure, you can do this at home.
For best results use powder bleach and a developer you mix yourself. It is also better to do this on hair that hasn’t been washed for a few days. Remember to do a strand test first and some deep conditioning treatments in preparation.
Depending on how dark your dyed hair is, you may want to use a 30 volume developer. If your hair is very dark, you may want to try a 40 volume developer.
1.Section your hair into four equal sections
2.Start mid-length and apply the bleach down to the ends using small sections about ¼ inch in width.
3.When you have covered your whole hair, go back and do your roots, or let it process for ten minutes and then go back and cover your roots.
4. Cover your hair with a shower cap and leave for about 35/50 minutes but do not exceed 60 minutes.
5. Check on the lifting process every ten minutes.
6.Rinse out the bleach with lukewarm water and be sure to use a conditioner.
Repeat the process in a few days if you are not happy with the results. Remember to do some deep conditioning treatments in between bleaching treatments to restore hair health.
Use a toner to help mute any yellow or orange brassiness in your hair.
From this point, you can add a gray color to your hair, and your own gray hair will blend in as it emerges.
Try leaving a deep conditioner in for a few hours between treatments with the anti-dandruff shampoo. To accelerate this process, use the Vitamin C Tablets method mentioned above.
Also Read: Why Won’t My Gray Hair Dye? (How To Fix)
Maintaining A Healthy Gray Color
To maintain your gray color, use silver shampoo to wash your hair. These are usually tinted with blue or purple tones, to help keep silver or grey hair looking vibrant.
It is also advised to use a regular purple shampoo or hair mask treatment to keep your hair color looking healthy and bright.
There you have it. If the time has come, and you are ready to embrace those beautiful silver locks, you have plenty of options to remove hair dye and help with the transition process.
Pros Of Making The Decision To Go Gray
Fast Re-growth Doesn’t Matter
Does your hair grow fast? If you decide to let your gray hair flow, this doesn’t matter! No more having to cover up your roots or worries about dyeing your hair.
If you’re busy, or perhaps your forward planning leaves a little to be desired, then booking appointments in advance can be a real hassle.
You might not make it to the salon every 6 weeks and by then your gray roots are in full flight. Grow out your gray hairs and these appointments will be a thing of the past.
Regular upkeep of dyed hair at a salon can be expensive, and you may have come to a point in your life where you’d rather spend your money on other things. Save the money you normally spend on hair dye and treat yourself to something nice instead!
It leaves hair more susceptible to breakage and frizz. So, if you decide to forgo the dye, you can look forward to healthier more manageable locks.
Cons Of Making The Decision To Go Gray
Although there are a few cons to going gray, remember these are only temporary:
Can Be Expensive
If you decide to go down the path of using highlights and toners at a salon to gradually go gray, this can become quite expensive, especially if your hair is long.
If you’re fed-up spending time at the salon, you’re not quite free yet. The process of toning and using highlights can be quite time-consuming.
If you decide to let your hair dye grow out of your hair naturally, this will also take a lot of time, especially if you want to keep your hair long.
When letting the dye grow out of your hair, those initial few months will mean you will have a demarcation line where gray hair meets dyed hair. But as time goes on, the dye will fade, and the line will be less apparent.
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