Semi-permanent dyes are gentle alternatives to permanent colors. These non-damaging dyes only coat the outside of the hair shaft with pigments and wash out gradually with every shampooing. The fading process can last anywhere from 6 to 10 shampoos depending on the coloring product you are using, your hair porosity, and your washing habits.
Although semi-permanent dyes fade much faster than permanent hair color, bright semi-permanent colors are not always easy to remove from the hair. If your hair is overprocessed with bleach, the pigment can get absorbed into your strands and hang in there for a while. Over time, you can expect to have an uneven color as some areas with healthy hair fade faster than those with over-bleached hair. The stubborn semi-permanent dye that has reached the cortex fades slowly and may be very difficult to remove.
If you are not thrilled with your actual color, the safest way to get rid of it is to leave color removal to a color specialist. A skilled colorist and professional color stripping products make results more predictable.
How to Strip Semi-Permanent Hair Dye
1. Semi-Permanent Hair Color Removers
If you opt to remove your color at home, use products that will not damage your hair. You can use gentle, peroxide-free color strippers that lift the semi-permanent color, without harming your hair or skin.
Other safe ways to remove unwanted color at home include using the color-lifting properties of baking soda and vitamin C and washing hair with a deep-cleansing shampoo.
The Gentlest Color Stripper: Color X-Change Phase-Out Gentle Dye Decolorizer
Why this product?
- It removes the color without damage.
- Doesn’t contain bleach
- Free of cruelty
- Made in the USA
This vitamin C-based color-fading treatment comes in two small pockets. The first of them is a dye decolorizer, while the second one is a conditioning mask that is formulated to restore hydration after color removal.
For medium-length hair of average density, one packet will do. You should mix the content with warm water until the mixture turns into a gel. Apply the gel to freshly washed towel-dried hair (no conditioner). Cover your head with a shower cap, and leave the treatment overnight. Wash in the morning and much of the color will come out with shampoo.
The product doesn’t contain bleach and wouldn’t hurt your hair at all but you may have to use it a couple of times to lift the stubborn semi-permanent color.
The drawback is the smell which is unpleasant but not overpowering. Some people may experience slight itching on the scalp, so if you have a sensitive scalp, try to work it through the length of the hair and don’t rub it into your scalp.
2. How to Remove Semi-Permanent Hair Dye with Baking Soda
Thanks to its alkaline properties, baking soda can lift the cuticle and remove semi-permanent dyes or slightly fade permanent dyes.
The ingredients you will need:
- 2 tablespoons of baking soda
- 1 cup of water
- 1 tablespoon OF apple cider vinegar
- Mix baking soda and other ingredients in water to form a paste.
- Wash your hair with warm water to open the cuticle and then apply the paste.
- Apply the paste and let it sit in your hair for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Rinse off the paste with water.
It may take a few washes to see the noticeable results.
Baking soda doesn’t contain moisturizing ingredients you’ll find in shampoos and conditioners and using it multiple times may leave your hair feeling dry. Use the paste sparingly and do deep conditioning treatments to restore lost moisture.
3. How To Use Vitamin C and Clarifying Shampoo to Remove Hair Dye?
Clarifying shampoos contain more cleansing agents and less nourishing ingredients than regular shampoos. Sulfate-based clarifying shampoos are known for their capability to strip natural oils and color from the hair. Make sure not to use a color-safe formula for color-removing purposes.
To boost the color-stripping potential of clarifying shampoos, use warm water to saturate your hair. The heat will raise the cuticle and trapped color pigments will wash out easier. Apply shampoo to create leather and put on a shower cap. Wait for about 10 minutes to let the shampoo work. Then thoroughly rinse your hair until the water becomes clear.
You may need to repeat clarifying process until your current color fades to a softer shade that can be easily recolored. To avoid over-drying your hair, deep condition it and clarify no more than necessary.
4. Vitamin C Hair Color Remover
Hair colorists know about the hair-lightening properties of vitamin C and often use it in their color-stripping mixtures. Since vitamin C is a natural substance, you can safely add it to your shampoo and use it for color lightening and color fading purposes.
The simplest method is to use vitamin C in powder form and mix it with your clarifying shampoo. Wrap the hair with a plastic cap and leave the mixture to work for 30-60 minutes.
If you don’t have vitamin C powder, you can crash vitamin C tablets and mix the powder with the shampoo you will apply. Vitamin C helps to break down pigments, so you can wash them out of your hair.
Although the methods we mention are natural, make sure to do lots of conditioning to restore lost moisture and make your hair ready for a new color adventure.