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ColourB4 Colour Remover on Direct Dyes

Published on 17th April 2015

If you read my article “5 Colour Removal Techniques Put to the Test “ you’ll see that I had a truly excellent outcome when using the colour remover ColourB4 Fashion Colours on my strand test. It performed at least as well as bleaching for colour removal, but with less damage.

After the article was published I received a lot of questions about using colour removers in this way. Initially I had thought that colour removers didn’t work well on colours like pink, green, blue and purple. So what’s changed my mind?

The main difference between this and other colour removers is the “Pre-Clarifying Treatment”. This is a deep-cleansing shampoo that’s applied to the hair before the colour remover. It eliminates oils and silicones that can block the colour from escaping when you use a colour remover. It helps the colour remover do it’s thing by letting it penetrate into the hair.

Unlike some colour removers, ColourB4 Fashion Colours is applied for an hour, and it does seem to need the full processing time.

So, on to my latest experiment!

I won’t go in depth about the entire process. You can read about that on the Colour Removal Techniques article. In short, wash twice with the pre-clarifier, dry your hair, apply colour remover, rinse for a long time, wash twice with another strong shampoo.

I had some swatches of various colours lying around from other articles and from sampling new colours that we’re stocking in our shop. Let’s see how the colour removers go on these.

Manic Panic’s Siren’s Song, Voodoo Forest and Deep Purple Dream

Remember this article where I tried out Manic Panic’s new colours? This is how the swatches looked:

Dyed swatches with the new Manic Panic colours

And here they are after a round of ColourB4. Siren’s Song (bottom) came out brilliantly, Deep Purple Dream (top) turned to a fairly attractive and easy-to-dye-over silver colour, but Voodoo Forest (middle) was a bit trickier. The uneven appearance was an error on my part. I left the swatches too close to a heat source and those lighter patches are where the swatch was touching the heat source.

Manic Panic colours Deep Purple Dream, Voodoo Forest and Siren's Song after using the colour remover ColourB4.

What can we learn from this? Well, the packing states to keep out of drafts while the colour remover is processing. It seems that for a good result getting the temperature right is crucial. Therefore, I would recommend wrapping your hair in a disposable shower cap or cling-film and then in an old towel to keep the heat in while the remover processes. By the way, colour removers work on textiles so keep it away from your clothes.

Pravana’s Neon Range

Here’s a photo of a weft I coloured using the Pravana Neons line. The colours were Neon Blue, Neon Green, Neon Yellow, Neon Orange and Neon Pink.

Pravana Neons: Neon Blue, Neon Green, Neon Yellow, Neon Orange, Neon Pink

And here’s how they look post-colour remover (in the same order as the photo above).

The effects of ColourB4 Colour remover on Pravana Neon Blue, Neon Pink, Neon Orange, Neon Green and Neon Yellow.

The most effective colour removal was on the blue and pink, followed by orange. You can see that there’s some residual fluorescent yellow present in the orange. Neon Green has lost its cool tones and gone yellow, and while Neon Yellow doesn’t look to have changed much, the colour is significantly faded but still fluoresces under UV light.

So it looks like ColourB4 is effective on most shades but not so much on colours with a fluorescent base.

The Ultimate Test

I considered what would be one of the longest-lasting and hardest to get rid of colours to test this on, so of course, I opted for Special Effects Atomic Pink. There have been times when bleaching barely put a dent in this colour. Could ColourB4 be effective in removing Atomic Pink?

Here are the results.

Round one:
An incredible amount of dye washed off with the pre-treatment clarifier and applying the colour remover caused a lot more dye to wash out. Although there isn’t a huge difference in colour in this photograph, the swatch has lost its intensity; the colour is less saturated. The treated hair is on the left with an untouched swatch of Atomic Pink on the right.

Removing Atomic Pink using ColourB4.

Round two:

In spite of all the washing from the previous treatment, even more colour came out with the clarifier, colour remover and “after treatment buffer”. This Atomic Pink swatch is looking more like Cupcake Pink. The hair is feeling fairly dry though. Ideally I would condition between stages, this isn’t my own hair and I have more colour removing to do!

ColourB4 is effectively removing Atomic Pink without the damaging effects of bleaching.

Round three:

This time only a small amount of colour washed out at the pre-clarifier stage and there was none visible on the plastic I wrapped the swatch in to process. It’s about a shade lighter with this latest round of colour remover and probably equivalent to several months of fading Atomic Pink naturally.
You may have noticed from the variation of the colour of the control swatch in this series of photos that Atomic Pink is difficult to photograph consistently. In real life there is a marked difference between the second and third rounds of ColourB4.

After conditioning the sample returned to a similar texture to the control swatch.

After a 3rd round of ColourB4 the Atomic Pink hair dye has faded to a pastel pink.

I got the impression that 3 treatments would remove as much as was going to come out so I left it at that. With a highly pigmented colour such as Atomic Pink some staining is going to occur but I was impressed at how much dye it was able to take out. ColourB4 could potentially half the fading time of Atomic Pink. With further clarifying and fading treatments maybe the colour colour be completely removed.

In Conclusion

  • Do a strand test to determine how effective the colour remover will be.
  • Do a sensitivity test before use and make sure you read through the instructions thoroughly before starting.
  • Make sure you do the pre-clarifying treatment.
  • Follow the instructions. Although it seems unnecessary to time rinsing your hair, for the most successful outcome it’s an essential step.
  • Keep your hair warm. I’m not saying to apply heat, just keep your hair wrapped up and sit it out somewhere cosy.
  • Budget 2 hours for the whole process. You’ll need 1 hour to process the colour remover and at least 20 minutes before and after for washing and rinsing.
  • Follow up with a good conditioner.
  • Buy plenty. If your hair is long or thick you will definitely need 2 boxes to achieve an even result.

The effectiveness of this product varies by dye and in my experience it is immensely affected by how well you wash your hair before the colour remover, how well you manage to keep your hair away from cold and how much rinsing you do following the process.

I’ve discovered it works well on blues and purples, pinks, reds and greens and not as well on neon shades. There is a good degree of colour removal from deeply pigmented colours like Atomic Pink but it may require a few treatments to see results.


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