How To Get Hair Dye Off Skin (8 Methods That Work!)

Dyeing your hair at home is very convenient. However, what is not so convenient is stubborn hair dye stains on your hands and face. These can be tough to remove. In this article, we’re going to explain how to get hair dye off the skin quickly and effectively.

home hair dye kit

So how do you get hair dye off skin? Luckily, there are several ways to do so. These include:

  • Use dish soap and baking soda
  • Vaseline
  • Toothpaste
  • Mayonnaise
  • Olive oil
  • Rubbing alcohol and lotion
  • WD-40
  • Nail polish remover

Hopefully, you have at least one of the above ingredients at home to try. Although it can be a challenge to get hair dye off the skin, you shouldn’t worry too much as the problem can quickly be solved.

Read on for instructions on how to effectively remove hair dye from your hands, body, and face.

Why Does Hair Dye Stain?

Hair dye contains natural and synthetic pigments to create the desired color.

These pigments are responsible for penetrating the outer cuticle and depositing color.

\The other chemicals, mainly Ammonia and Hydrogen Peroxide, work in combination to keep the color sealed. They’re also the reason why hair dye smells so much.

If hair dye gets on the skin, a similar reaction can occur.

The pigments may penetrate the outer layer of the skin and deposit some color.

This is what is commonly described as a hair dye stain, and it can be difficult to remove at times. This is particularly the case for darker colors such as green, brown, purple, or dark red.

Hair dye can also contaminate aquatic life which is something to be aware of when washing it out in the shower.

Is It Dangerous To Get Hair Dye On Skin?

Getting hair dye on the skin generally isn’t considered to be harmful in most individuals.

However, for some people, it can cause a reaction if they are sensitive or allergic to one or more ingredients in the hair dye. This may cause a rash or itching of the skin.

Some people have also reported discoloration of the skin. That’s why it’s always important to do a patch test before applying the hair dye to your hair and scalp.

A patch test is mostly effective when a small amount of the dye is placed behind the ear. Wait for at least 48 hours before you decide to apply the dye to your head.

Differences Between Permanent And Non-Permanent Hair Dye Stains

The main difference between the two is that permanent dye contains ammonia and developer to penetrate the hair strand in order to lock in the desired color.

This is why permanent hair dye is harder to remove.

Non-permanent hair dye such as semi-permanent dye does not contain either of these chemicals which means it does not penetrate the hair strand, rather it sticks to the surface.

As a result, permanent hair dye has higher staining abilities and it will not simply wash out of the hair.

8 Simple Ways To Remove Hair Dye From Skin

person mixing home hair dye kit

While there are ways that you can avoid getting hair dye on the skin, sometimes it’s an unavoidable part of the dye application.

If you get hair dye on your skin, try not to panic. It won’t permanently stain the skin!

Here are some methods that will show you how to get hair dye off the skin with minimal effort.

Please take care when applying any of these solutions to your face and make sure it doesn’t come into contact with the eyes.

If this happens, rinse with cool water immediately.

1. Dish Soap And Baking Soda

When dish soap and baking soda are used in combination it can be very effective at removing hair dye stains. It’s especially great for surfaces as well such as wood.

So how does it work?

Well, mild dish soap works by dissolving the dye particles while the abrasiveness of the baking soda acts as an exfoliator to further enhance the effectiveness of the soap.

Baking soda can be a bit too harsh when used on the skin, so it’s best used in a small quantity.

Make sure to not rub the skin too hard or for too long as this can irritate or damage the skin.

Always be careful to avoid the eyes when using this solution!

2. Vaseline

Vaseline works as a barrier to protect the skin from potential stains, but did you know it can also help to remove stubborn marks?

Simply apply and massage a small amount of Vaseline into the skin.

Then, using a cotton pad, rub at any stubborn stains. It should help to remove some of the tougher stains and help to keep the skin softer in the process.

3. Toothpaste

You may have heard of using toothpaste for removing spots and blackheads, but did you know it may also work at removing hair dye stains on the skin?

The reason this may work is that toothpaste contains a small amount of baking soda and it also works as a mild exfoliator.

Gently rubbing a small amount of toothpaste onto the skin could help to remove any lasting stains.

Be very careful not to get it anywhere near the eyes as some people have reported a stinging effect.

Also, avoid using a toothbrush to rub the toothpaste into the skin as this could irritate and damage the skin.

4. Mayonnaise

The oil and vinegar properties in mayonnaise could potentially remove the stains from your skin.

Simply apply a small amount to the stains and let it sit there for a few minutes. Then, using a damp cloth, gently remove any leftover product.

5. Olive Oil

Any kind of oil could be effective at lifting stains, but olive oil is touted as being one of the best.

Olive oil acts as a natural cleanser to remove any stains, dirt, or debris.

Dab a cotton ball into a small amount of the oil before applying it to the skin in circular motions.

As olive oil is completely natural and gentle on the skin, it can be left on for a few hours to allow it to fully lift the stains.

When you do remove it use cool water and a damp cloth.

6. Rubbing Alcohol And Lotion

For very stubborn stains (particularly darker colors) you may want to try something stronger.

Pour a very small amount of rubbing alcohol onto a cotton ball and lightly dab it onto any stained areas.

After a few minutes wash away the alcohol with some water and mild soap.

As rubbing alcohol can be very drying and harsh on the skin, be sure to use a light lotion afterward to restore some moisture.

7. WD40

While it’s not recommended that you use WD-40 on your face, you can use it on hair dye stains on your hands.

Simply pour a small amount onto a cotton wall and lightly rub it on any tricky stains that need removing. It should work on stubborn stains.

As it can be very harsh on the skin, be sure to remove it thoroughly with warm water and soap.

Using a light moisturizer aftewards can help to keep your skin soft.

8. Nail Polish Remover

Nail polish remover is another product that we would not recommend that you use on the face.

It’s very potent and it could irritate or damage any delicate skin.

If you’re trying to remove hair dye stains from your nails or hands, then nail polish remover could do the trick.

Rub a small amount of the liquid onto the stain and wait for it to gradually dissolve. Then rinse with water and soap.

If none of these methods work then we would suggest that you seek the help of a professional.

For future reference, you may want to go to the salon to get your hair professionally colored to avoid staining and uneven application.

How To Prevent Getting Hair Dye On Your Skin

Now we’ve covered how to get hair dye off the skin, it’s important that you know how to prevent it from happening in the future. After all, prevention is key. Here are the best methods.

Prep Skin

The best and most effective way to prep the skin before a hair dye application is to use petroleum jelly.

Petroleum jelly contains a mix of oils that can help to prevent stains.

Essentially, you are creating a barrier between the hair dye and the skin. This protects it not only from staining but from further irritation.

Simply apply a generous amount along your hairline, neck, and behind your ears.

These are the main areas where you will experience staining. When you are done with the application you may want to leave the petroleum jelly on the skin until you have washed the dye out.

This is because when you wash the dye out of your hair it will likely run onto the skin.

The petroleum jelly can help to ‘catch’ any liquid and avoid staining.

If you don’t have any petroleum jelly, you can use olive oil or coconut oil, as both of these oils work effectively as a barrier.

Use The Right Tools

As well as using a barrier on the skin, you need to ensure that you, your skin, and your clothing are protected.

Make sure that you always wear gloves before applying the dye.

Some hair dye boxes include a pair of gloves but they aren’t always suitable.

We recommend thicker gloves that also protect the wrists and some of the arms. If possible, wearing an old long-sleeved t-shirt that covers all of your skin would be the best solution.

Pouring the dye solution into a bowl and using a brush to apply the dye to the hair will help to avoid spilling and staining.

Clean As You Go

If you do get any dye on the skin you need to remove it quickly.

Letting the stains sit for a longer period of time is what makes them difficult to remove afterwards.

Simply keep a damp cloth by your side and whenever you notice any dye touch the skin, quickly wipe it away. This will prevent the hair dye from setting on the skin.

Spilling hair dye on tiles can also be avoided if you keep a towel on the floor to protect your surroundings.

Ask For Help

Dyeing your hair at home is difficult without any help.

Even with the right equipment and the use of a mirror, it’s hard to know what parts of your hair have been covered. It usually gets messy.

If someone is available to help apply the hair dye to your hair, then that would be the best option. It’s less likely that the hair dye will get on your skin if you have an extra pair of eyes (and hands!).

woman looking at different hair colors in a book

How To Remove Hair Dye Stains From Clothes

Using chlorine bleach is one of the most effective ways to remove hair dye stains from clothes. Hair dye stains can be very stubborn, and chlorine bleach helps to target and remove them! This works best on white clothes.

Here’s how to use it.

  • In a bowl, add 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach to roughly 4 cups of water
  • Mix the solution thoroughly
  • Add the stained clothing to the solution and let it sit there for up to 10 minutes for best results
  • Remove the clothing from the solution and rinse it with water
  • Wring out the clothing and put it in the washing machine on your usual setting
  • After it’s been washed it should be stain free! If not, repeat these steps again

You can also try using hair spray or hydrogen peroxide.

How To Remove Hair Dye Stains From Carpet

Failing to put down newspaper on the floor can result in the hair dye spilling onto your carpet and staining it. Here is the best way to remove these stains.

  • First you need to use a clean cloth to blot at the stain as much as you can. Do not rub as this can make the stain worse
  • In a bowl add a tablespoon of white vinegar and dish detergent to two cups of water
  • Mix the solution thoroughly
  • Pour the solution onto the stained areas and gently dab with a clean cloth or sponge
  • You should start to see the stain lifting!

If this doesn’t work you may want to try applying a small amount of isopropyl alcohol to the stain and dab at it with a paper towel or cloth. This can help to remove more stubborn stains.

How To Remove Hair Dye Stains From Bathroom Tiles

Removing stains from bathroom tiles requires more careful attention as you don’t want to damage them. You need to avoid using anything too abrasive. Here is the best way to remove any stains.

  • Wipe up as much of the dye as possible with some paper towels
  • Pour some rubbing alcohol onto a cloth or cotton ball and wipe up some of the remaining dye
  • This could take a few minutes to effectively remove the stains
  • If the stain does not lift you may want to try a hair dye remover – while its intended purpose is to be used on the hair, it can be effective when used on tiles

Using bleach or anything too harsh is not recommended as it can change the color of the tiles or result in damage.

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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Coralle Skye

Coralle is an experienced beauty writer with a passion for wellness, women’s health, and sustainability.