Does Witch Hazel Remove Hair Dye? Important Facts

Witch hazel is often one of the top recommendations for removing hair dye from the skin. Does witch hazel remove hair dye from hair, too? Here’s what you can expect, plus alternative ways to remove hair dye.  

Does Witch Hazel Remove Hair Dye

There’s no strong evidence to suggest that witch hazel can remove hair dye. Witch hazel is often recommended for use on hair because it can soothe scalp inflammation. However, it may not be suitable for colored hair because it reduces oiliness.

Therefore, trying to use witch hazel to remove hair dye potentially causes dryness and dullness.

Does Witch Hazel Have Any Effect On Hair Dye?

If you color your hair and the results are less-than-pleasing, you’ll want something that can get the color out as fast as possible.

Unfortunately, witch hazel might not be the right option for you, even though it’s often suggested as a dye remover.

Any evidence that witch hazel can strip hair dye or lighten hair is primarily anecdotal.

Witch hazel is mostly known for its astringent properties, and it also contains antioxidants that might even protect your hair color. 

When trying to remove hair dye using witch hazel, you may have to apply it several times before noticing any changes.

This isn’t always a good idea because witch hazel causes your hair to dry out.

The effect can be made worse because witch hazel is often distilled using alcohol for better extraction of the active ingredients. 

If you’re using witch hazel that contains alcohol, you might be able to remove a few shades of color.

But, alcohol also dries hair and can leave your hair feeling brittle and dull, especially when combined with the astringent qualities of the witch hazel.

So, it’s safe to say that witch hazel does not significantly affect hair dye.

4 Alternative Ways To Remove Hair Dye

Before exploring different ways to remove hair dye, remember to avoid harsh chemicals like hydrogen peroxide and ammonia.

Although these substances can fade your hair color, bleaching your hair at home can damage hair severely.

It’s best to use gentler methods to avoid making your hair dry and brittle.

Witch hazel may not be the most effective way to remove hair dye but here are five alternative options that are better at eliminating unwanted color from your tresses:

Clarifying Shampoo

Clarifying Shampoo

People with colored hair are warned to stay away from clarifying shampoo, so it makes sense to use it if you want to get rid of hair dye.

Clarifying shampoo contains hardworking surfactants that lift the hair cuticle to remove dye molecules more effectively than most home remedies.

While you still won’t get immediate results, you should be able to notice fading after several washes.

The best type of clarifying shampoo is one without dye pigments, so avoid clarifying shampoos that are color-safe. Some people also use an anti-dandruff shampoo to remove hair dye. 

Baking Soda

Baking Soda

Baking soda is one of the most popular and natural ways of removing hair dye.

It’s an alkaline substance, meaning it has a high pH that’s capable of opening the cuticle so you can get the dye out.

It’s also an abrasive cleaner that scrubs the dye molecules from your hair. 

However, it’s still good to manage your expectations since baking soda won’t strip the dye in a single wash.

What’s more, it’s better at removing semi-permanent hair dye and will only fade permanent dye a few shades, at best.

The procedure for using baking soda to remove hair dye involves forming a paste with water.

Sometimes, baking soda is mixed with an anti-dandruff or clarifying shampoo.

Next, apply whatever mixture you choose and leave it for a few minutes before rinsing thoroughly. 

Vitamin C

Vitamin C

Vitamin C could lighten your colored hair, but don’t expect it to remove the dye completely or bring back your natural hair color.

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a component of lemon juice, which is another natural hair lightener.

So, if your color has gone darker, vitamin C can turn it a few shades lighter.

To remove hair dye using vitamin C, crush some vitamin C tablets and mix with warm water to form a paste.

 Apply the paste to your hair, wear a shower cap, and leave for up to 60 minutes. Rinse well with warm water and apply your regular conditioner.

You can also mix vitamin C with dye-free clarifying shampoo for improved results.



Vinegar is used to cleanse the scalp and bring out the hair’s natural shine. It can also help remove semi-permanent hair dye and fade permanent dye by a few shades.

Sometimes people mix the vinegar with lemon juice, which is acidic and has cleansing properties.

To fade the color of your hair with vinegar, simply mix equal parts of white vinegar and water and apply.

You can cover your hair with a shower cup and leave the vinegar for up to 20 minutes before rinsing. 

Other Hair Dye Removal Options To Consider

Generally, it’s easier to remove semi-permanent hair dye than permanent hair dye.

Even so, it takes time if you’re relying on gentler methods that won’t damage your hair. But combining some of these methods might accelerate the process.

 In addition to using products like shampoo, vitamin C, and vinegar, you can also apply various dye removal tips and tricks.

For instance, when washing your hair, be sure to use warm water (the highest comfortable temperature you can stand).

This opens the cuticle, allowing more dye molecules to leach out.

Similarly, hot oil treatments can also help lighten hair by enabling the oil to penetrate the cuticles and push out the dye molecules. 

Rinsing with cold water afterward helps to close the cuticle again. If you’re not pleased with the results soon after getting your hair colored,

it’s easier to remove the dye within the first 48 hours before it sets.

Also, consider contacting a salon professional for treatment options tailored to the current condition of your colored hair.

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.


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Dee Poulsen

Dee has been following the Curly Girl Method for over four years and is our in-house Curly Girl expert. She has a keen interest in natural haircare and has tried and tested her share of CGM products. She has a photographic memory of most sulfate and silicone-free hair products available on the high street and she's always happy to recommend you her favorites.