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How To Get Hair Dye Off Your Scalp: 7 Key Methods Explained

Cute African American female wearing Splat hair dye from a professional colorist on dark brown curls.

No matter how careful you are when dyeing your hair, you’re likely to get some of the hair color on your scalp. These stains are unsightly and can really put a damper on your new hairstyle.

If you’re looking for a way to eliminate scalp stains, you’re in the right place.

How To Get Hair Dye Off Your Scalp: Step-by-Step

In this article, we will share how to get hair dye off your scalp with several no-fuss methods.

1. Natural Oils

Natural oils may be your best bet to remove semi-permanent hair dye from your scalp. They break down the pigment in dyes causing stains to fade while moisturizing and conditioning the hair. Moreover, you can use any natural oil you have on hand.

Although natural oils, like coconut oil, effectively eliminate stains from the scalp, this method is not a quick fix. It takes several hours to get substantial results.

But it is well worth it because the oil won’t leave your scalp dry and irritated as other methods can. Keep reading to learn how to use natural oils to get hair dye off your scalp.

What You’ll Need


  1. Pour a small amount of oil directly onto the stained area of the scalp.
  2. Massage the oil gently into the affected area. 
  3. Repeat the steps above until all stained areas are covered.
  4. Cover your head with the plastic cap and let the oil sit for 4 to 8 hours. The longer, the better.
  5. Rinse scalp with warm water.
  6. Shampoo and condition hair.

Because this technique requires you to shampoo your hair, it should not be used on freshly dyed hair. To avoid losing color, wait at least 2 to 3 days after dyeing.

Happy American woman wearing a curly ponytail with her edges styled with baby oil and petroleum jelly.

2. Makeup Remover

It may seem strange to use makeup remover on your hair since it is designed to be used on the face. But this product is completely safe to use on the scalp.

Makeup remover contains active ingredients that are strong enough to cleanse the scalp of permanent hair dye within minutes.

To get the best results from this method, use a makeup remover formulated to remove waterproof makeup. These products have more stain-removing power than traditional makeup removers.

In addition, oil-based makeup removers are also more effective because oil helps to gently loosen the dye from the scalp.

Read on to learn how to use this product to clean dye stains from your scalp.

What You’ll Need


  1. Saturate the cotton ball or cotton pad with makeup remover.
  2. Gently scrub the stained areas of the scalp.
  3. Repeat the steps above until the dye begins to loosen.
  4. Rinse scalp with warm water.

Note: Many ladies have also had success using nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol, and dish soap to remove hair dye from stained skin including their scalp.

Lovely African American girl with moisturizing cream on her face and hands wearing a light pink sweater.

3. DIY Exfoliant

Exfoliants provide a quick, natural way to remove semi-permanent dye stains from the scalp. They are abrasive, which helps remove dead skin cells from the scalp along with the hair color pigment.

Although exfoliants are safe and effective, they can irritate the scalp if used too frequently. So, you should only use this method once every three days until the stains disappear.

Additionally, try to wait at least 2 to 3 days after dyeing your hair to use your exfoliant because you’ll have to wash your hair after applying it.

In this section, you’ll find instructions on making and applying your own scalp exfoliant.

What You’ll Need


  1. Add 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of olive oil to the bowl. Use a spoon to mix the ingredients.
  2. Gently massage the exfoliant into your scalp using your fingers.
  3. Let the exfoliant sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Rinse scalp with warm water.
  5. Shampoo and condition hair.

4. Vinegar and Baking Soda

Vinegar and baking soda are powerful cleansers that activate within seconds to lift stains from semi-permanent and permanent dyes. In this section, we will explain how to use these ingredients to remove the tint from your scalp.

What You’ll Need


  1. Mix equal parts vinegar and baking soda in the bottle.
  2. Carefully pour the mixture onto the stained areas of the scalp.
  3. Massage the solution into the scalp and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Rinse the scalp thoroughly with warm water.
Woman pointing down with fingers wearing a fluffy sweater with 3B natural curls.

5. Toothpaste

Toothpaste’s stain-fighting power is not limited to your teeth. Thanks to its lightning ingredients, it can also lift semi-permanent dye stains from your scalp.

However, the stain lifting process is not immediate, so this method may have to be repeated several times. Moreover, toothpaste doesn’t just remove the dye; it removes a layer of skin along with it.

So, it should be applied no more than three times per week. Below are instructions on how to scrub your scalp with toothpaste.

What You’ll Need


  1. Squeeze a pea-sized amount of toothpaste onto the toothbrush.
  2. Gently brush the stained areas of the scalp using the toothbrush.
  3. Repeat the above steps on all stained sections of the scalp.
  4. Rinse hair thoroughly with warm water.
African American female wearing natural make-up and diamond earrings while dancing.

6. Hair Color Stain Remover

Hair color stain removers, like Malibu Color Pigment Remover and Ion Hair Color Remover, are a foolproof way to instantly remove stains from the scalp. These cleansers work well on both semi-permanent and permanent dyes.

However, many of these stain removers contain alcohols that can be drying to the scalp. So, be sure to follow up with a moisturizer to prevent scalp irritation.

Because these stain removers are formulated to remove the color from both the scalp and hair, you have to apply them carefully to avoid losing your new hair color.

Keep reading to learn the trick to removing stains from your scalp while keeping your hair color vibrant.

What You’ll Need


  1. Saturate the end of the q-tip with the hair color stain remover.
  2. Gently rub the q-tip into the stained areas of the scalp. Be careful not to rub the solution on your hair directly to avoid losing color.
  3. Repeat the above steps until the stains begin lifting.
  4. Rinse your scalp thoroughly with warm water.
A black woman with her face covered with her hands wearing dark brown 3B naturally curly hair.

7. Use the Hair Dye Itself

Using hair dye to remove hair dye seems counterintuitive, but it actually works. When you apply fresh dye over the dried layer on the scalp, the color reactivates, lifting the stain right out.

This hack works on all dyes, including semi-permanent and permanent. Here’s how you can use your dye to clear your scalp of any remaining color.

What You’ll Need


  1. Dampen hair and scalp with water.
  2. Rub a small amount of dye onto the stained areas of the scalp.
  3. Gently massage the dye into the scalp.
  4. Rinse the dye out with warm water.
  5. Shampoo and condition hair.

What Happens If I Do Nothing?

While most people try their best to remove hair dye stains from their scalp and skin, some people decide to let the color fade on its own. Though leaving dye residue on your scalp is low risk, there are some consequences you’ll want to be aware of.

Stains Will Fade on Their Own

If you leave hair dye on your scalp, the pigment will gradually fade as the skin cells on your scalp shed. This process takes about one to two weeks.

May Cause Minor Scalp Irritation

You could experience minor scalp irritation, including mild itching and burning if you leave a large amount of dye on your scalp. This irritation is caused by the harsh chemicals found in dyes.

Could Cause Buildup

Leaving behind a thick layer of dye on your scalp could cause minor buildup as you apply more products to your hair. If this buildup is left untreated, it could require harsh cleaners to remove.

Related Articles

Lingering hair dye stains can be a pain, especially when they’re on the scalp. But with a bit of time and patience, you can remove them right at home. We hope this article gives you the tips and information you need to remove dye stains from your scalp with ease.