Removing Black Hair Dye

Black hair is dramatic, but the dye can be very difficult to remove.

Anyone who's struggled with removing black hair dye knows what a frustrating experience it is. What's most frustrating is that the best way to remove it is to just let it grow out and then cut it off. However, there are some chemical and even home recipes that can be effective as well.

Products for Removing Black Hair Dye

The problem with using chemicals to remove hair dye is that they will stress the hairs, possibly leading to stretching, thinning, and breakage. In a severe instance of over-dyeing, you may just want to go to a hair salon and have the dye professionally bleached. Your hair will still be damaged, but they can add other products that will alleviate some of the stress.

There are two products you can try for removing black hair dye. One is Color Fix by Jheri Redding. This is designed to get rid of unwanted permanent hair color and you can color correct in specific areas. Users report that the smell is horrendous, but if you leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes and then rinse thoroughly, you should see much of the black fade. Don't worry if some patches of hair look lighter than you want, because there will be some oxidation over the next day or so and then the color will settle. The black will not be completely removed, but the effect may end up being more like hair lowlights. Stylists warn, however, that you may not be able to use a brown shade of dye on the treated hair because it will revert back to black. You may want to consult with your own stylist to determine a dye you can use while waiting for the treated hair to grow out. Users also report that it's best to coat the ends of your hair first and then gradually work your way up, but avoid the roots. If you must use the Color Fix on the roots, be prepared for them to end up a strange red that you will then have to dye again.

The other drugstore product used for removing black hair dye is L'oreal Color Zap. This will wash out permanent and non-permanent dyes, but it will usually leave hair brassy. It is meant to correct problem dye jobs and prepare the hair to be re-dyed. While the product is less damaging than bleach, you may still want to do a deep conditioning treatment and wait at least a day before applying more dye, just to give your stressed locks a chance to recuperate.

Home Treatments for Removing Black Dye

Much of your success removing dye depends on how quickly you get to work. If you've just dyed your hair and hate it, you have a better chance of pulling out at least some of the dye than if you've let it set a few days. The important thing to remember with black hair dye is that it saturates more deeply than any other color, so it's going to be harder to remove completely.

One immediate product to try is a strong dandruff shampoo. The harsh chemicals that fight dandruff also strip color. Shampoo your hair several times, then use the strongest conditioner you can find. Conditioner that is not color-safe also acts to strip color.

Avoid bleach!

A hot oil treatment can also lift some color, although this usually works best with lighter browns and reds. Some people have found success with dishwashing soap, or a shampoo with a high concentration o detergent such as Prell. Much depends on the dye and the porousness or texture of your hair.

To Bleach or Not to Bleach?

While there are home bleaching products you can use, it's best to go to a stylist. It can be hard for you to judge how damaged your hair is, and you don't want to risk it breaking. Bleach is extremely harsh and hard to control under the best of circumstances. A stylist can assess your hair and perhaps do a light treatment to start and then slowly work out the color.


If the worst happens and you have trouble removing black hair dye, cut your hair short and funky for a dramatic change, and it will grow out faster than you think!

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Removing Black Hair Dye