Fashion hair colors are an easy and creative way to add glamour to your look and express your individuality. However, when it’s time to switch to another fun color, the old color in your hair can be a problem. So, what’s the easiest way to remove the semi-permanent color already in your hair?
The right hair color removal method depends on the type of hair dye that you’re trying to take out. When it comes to permanent colors, standard color removers can get the job done, providing a good base for starting over with a new color. However, most ordinary color strippers are formulated to take out permanent dyes and aren’t effective to erase direct dyes.
Direct dyes rest on the outside of the cuticle layer and wash out slightly with every shampoo. You can easily speed up the fading process by using a clarifying shampoo.
In some cases, these intense dyes can be highly resistant to removal. Some highly porous sections of your hair can get permanently stained, especially if the pigment has been there long. In such cases, you will need the skilled hand of hair professional to get rid of the remaining color. It may take multiple sessions to completely remove a direct dye from your hair.
Color Removers for Semi-Permanent Hair Colors
Luckily, there are more and more products being created for direct dye removal, making removal of semi-permanent colors and direct dyes safer and more effective. This enables hair dye addicts to change their hair color easier and more often.
With direct dyes removers, most dyes can be removed in just 30 minutes, leaving the hair in its bleached state. Even if the stubborn direct dye has not completely gone, your hair will be lightened enough to be easily died over. The desired color shade can be applied immediately following removal.
Some of these products are enriched with keratin, amino acids, hair oils, and other nourishing ingredients to condition hair and minimize damage during color removal.
1. Blank Canvas Color Remover by Pulp Riot
Blank Canvas is a professional color remover formulated to remove different brands of direct dyes and semi-permanent colors from hair. Aloe vera, quinoa, and argan oil are added to the formula to help maintain the integrity of the hair and to prevent your strands from drying out. It doesn’t smell terrible either, unlike most other color removers.
This powerful color remover is very effective in eliminating vivid colors without being harsh on the hair. It works faster than bleach and effortlessly pulls out even the most stubborn vivid colors.
To create a mixture, your stylist will use 6, 10, or 20 volume developer, depending on the condition of the hair. The color-removal process takes up to 30 minutes at room temperature. You can watch the color disappear right before your eyes.
The downside is that it can lighten virgin hair if you are not careful. If you don’t want your virgin roots lightened, apply the product only to the hair that has been treated with a direct dye. It also isn’t highly effective at removing Splat colors.
2. Joico Color Intensity ERASER (Walmart)
Color Intensity Eraser is designed to remove semi-permanent and direct colors from pre-lightened hair. When removing vibrant shades, it may not erase all residual color, but your hair will be light enough to apply a new shade. Works well for removing blue and purple fashion colors.
You need to separately purchase a developer cream to mix with the product. To take out vivid, rich shades use a 20-volume developer. To remove pastel shades, use 10 volume developer for gentler dye removal.
This is a harsh product that can dry out or even damage your hair. Do not use it on over-processed hair. Make sure to apply it quickly, as it strips the color very fast. Wash it out as soon as a color has disappeared. Add some Olaplex no. 1 into the mixture to prevent damage to the hair.
Apply only to hair that has been bleached and treated with direct dyes. It will bleach your natural color, so be careful with roots if you don’t want to lighten them. The smell is very intense, so make sure to work in a well-ventilated area.
3. Malibu DDL Direct Dye Lifter (Walmart)
This direct dye lifter is formulated without ammonia, parabens, gluten, and fragrance. The product comes in crystallized form and can be activated either by mixing it with water or with a developer. When mixed with water, it provides gentler lifting and helps minimize damage to your hair. Mixing with a developer helps to achieve more significant lifting.
4. Urban Shock Dye Remover by Scruples (Walmart)
This direct dye remover uses water to gently remove the color from the hair. The formula is enriched with Protective Barrier Complex (PBX) and avocado oil to improve hair’s inner strength and prevent damage. It will not lighten permanent dye or your natural hair color.
This color remover is a good choice if you need something that will not lift color from your roots.
5. Back to Base Remover by Crazy Color (Walmart)
This powdered formula is advertised to remove the existing semi-permanent color in just 30 minutes or less, bringing the hair back to its bleached blonde base.
It contains Kaolin clay, which is the earth’s natural cleanser. Argan and kernel oils are included in the formula to protect the hair from over-drying.
The powder needs to be mixed with either 5, 10, or 20 volume developer, depending on the hair condition and your expectations.
It acts like bleach and will lighten your virgin roots when applied over them. One 45g sachet would be enough for shoulder-length hair.
Tips for Using Direct Dye Removers
Your hair should be squeaky clean prior to application, so use a clarifying shampoo to deeply cleanse your hair and completely remove residues and buildups.
Once activated, these products act fast, so you need to apply one quickly to get an even base. Having another pair of hands is extremely helpful.
To get even results, also make sure to section your hair prior to application.
If your hair has been chemically processed, consider using Olaplex or another bond-repairing product.
Don’t leave these products in your hail longer than needed. Once the lightening effect is achieved, shampoo your hair and make sure to rinse thoroughly.
Always use a deep conditioner afterward to combat dryness and maintain softness and shine.