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Removing Hair Dye Safely & Cheaply

Published on 10th March 2012

Ever desperately want to switch from one colour to another that will not dye well over each other? Already fried your hair and can’t afford more damage or just looking to avoid it in the first place? Try the following method described to me by a long-time stylist, with some minor tweaks by me, to fade your dye fast without damage.

You will need:

  • Cheap clarifying shampoo that is non-colour safe (like Suave Daily Clarifying)
  • Non-colour safe conditioner (I used a Suave Naturals conditioner)
  • Plastic shower cap or shopping bag
  • A sink you don’t mind staining or bleaching when you’re done
  • A bath towel
  • Hair clip(s) if you have hair long enough to put up

Wet your hair thoroughly with water as warm as you can stand (this will open the hair cuticle) and lather up with the cheap shampoo. Scrub the crap out of your hair! Squeeze off excess foam (which you’ll notice is taking on the colour of your dye) and coat your hair thoroughly with the cheap shampoo – don’t rinse. If it’s long enough, put it up in a clip or two. Wrap the towel around your shoulders as your hair will run, and the water will be filled with dye. Put on the shower cap or plastic shopping bag (I used the latter, wrapping it tightly in the front and securing with a small clip). Heat your head evenly with a hair dryer, being careful not to melt the plastic. Let sit for 15-20 minutes, then rinse hair thoroughly. Lather and rinse twice more with very warm water. By now you should be noticing the suds have only a light tinge of your colour in them.

Saturate your head with the cheap conditioner. If you tend to have very dry or unmanageable hair use a more expensive conditioner – it will not strip out as much colour but it will do a better job of moisturizing and protecting your hair. Put up in a clip if your hair is long enough. Heat your hair thoroughly with a hair dryer and let sit for 25-30 minutes. Rinse with cool water. Give your hair a final blast of water as cold as you can stand it to close the cuticle. This helps protect hair from nutrient loss and makes it more smooth and shiny. The cheap conditioner will help draw out more colour and will help replace things the shampoo stripped out of your hair.

After following the above just once I noticed the colour in my hair reduced by 2/3. Some of it was almost blond again (my hair is dark, so I bleach before putting on colour). My hair was also very soft and voluminous. I am told this is safe to do several times, so long as you give your hair a day or two in between applications.

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