Stripping out hair color is typically best left to the professionals. The process is tricky and may cause damage to your hair. But if you’re set on doing it at home, choosing the right hair color remover is going to be important in order to get effective results while causing the least amount of damage. The key to finding the best hair color remover for your hair comes down to the type of dye you used (semi-permanent or permanent) and the depth of color. To better understand how these products work, I connected with Sharon Dorram, a celebrity hair colorist and co-founder of the Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger salon.
Type Of Dye
Hair color removers are categorized by the type of dye — semi-permanent or permanent — they will remove. Contrary to what you may think, buying one for permanent color will not work better and faster on your temporary hue as that could cause unnecessary damage (some of them contain harsh ingredients like bleach). In fact, Dorram points out that some people may want to simply tone down their color instead of erasing it, and they should first try an inexpensive sulfate shampoo.
Depth Of Color
Generally, to erase “regular oxidative hair color,” which basically describes most of the traditional hair dyes on the market (browns, and blondes, and blacks), the more gentle you can go with a remover. On the flip side, vibrant, bright colors (reds, blues, and violets) are more challenging to undo because the pigments are so intense. For those, you’ll need the support of chemicals (like ammonia) to be successful.
Pre- And Post-Care
Before you begin, Dorram urges that you do a strand test to preview the final results. “Color may lift off quicker than expected and then be even more compromised afterwards,” she explains. Also, note that these formulas remove artificial pigment and will not restore your natural hair color. If desired, you can re-dye your hair afterward. (Pssst, here’s a list of some of the best at-home hair dyes.)
Below, you’ll find a list of the very best hair color removers to correct your dye job at home.