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How to Remove Color From Hair When You Want a Break From Hair Dye

Going back to your roots is a process.
August 21, 2023

Coloring your hair
is an exciting new change but it also means taking on a new routine to care for and maintain your newly colored strands. Immediately, you have to stock up on a system of hair care products formulated for color-treated hair and then, there’s the fact that you may need toning and root touch-ups every few weeks. 

It can all become very overwhelming pretty quickly. At some point, you or your lifestyle might require that you simplify things and switch back to your natural hair color or, you may grow tired of your new hue. Of course, that raises the question of how to remove hair color so you can reclaim your natural shade. The goal is to do it without damaging your hair. 

You do have a few options but it’s going to be a process so patience is important. Take notes as we share how to remove hair color and get reacquainted with your natural hue once again.

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How to Strip Hair Color 

We’ll be the first ones to say that stripping hair color isn’t always easy, especially if you’ve used a hair dye that’s meant to last (we’re looking at you boxed black hair dye). With temporary hair color or root touch up, you can easily wash it out or wait for it to fade within a couple of weeks, but with permanent hair color, it’s not so simple. Here’s what you need to know about removing artificial color from hair.


How to Remove Semi-Permanent Hair Color 

If you colored your hair with semi-permanent hair color, like the L’Oréal Paris Colorista Semi-Permanent Hair Color, there are at-home hair color removers you can use to speed up the removal process, but you might be better off just letting it fade on its own. Semi-permanent hair color typically only lasts for a few weeks and Colorista Semi-Permanent Hair Color fades after four to ten shampoos. You’ll save yourself the hassle of trying to strip hair color, plus, you’ll avoid unnecessary damage to your strands.


Another option is to use a clarifying shampoo, which is a hair treatment used to deep cleanse the scalp and hair. It’s a good option to help fade semi-permanent hair color, demi permanent color and hair gloss because it’s specifically formulated to remove build up from the hair and scalp.


Dish soap can also be a good option to remove semi-permanent hair color because it has a high pH that can break down and strip temporary dyes. Obviously it’s not meant for the hair, and it’s drying so use it sparingly and give your hair time in between each wash to recover. It’s also a good idea to reach out to your dermatologist to make sure it won’t irritate your scalp. 


If you do choose to use a hair color remover, be sure to follow the instructions included with the product and keep in mind that your color may not completely return to its original hue immediately. You may be left with a slight tint or even brassy color, and the best way to correct that is with a semi-permanent hair color that matches your intended shade. 


How to Remove Permanent Hair Color 

While there are at-home hair color removal options for permanent hair color, this process carries a much greater risk for error and damage because you’re essential creating a chemical reaction. Your best bet is to head to the salon so a professional colorist can strip your hair color with minimal damage and no hair mistakes (read: orange hair). If you’re worried about potential damage and hair breakage, ask your colorist to do a test strand. They'll test a small strip of hair at the nape to the neck to see how it reacts to the color removal before applying the solution to your entire head. 


The color you're trying to strip really dictates the process so it’s important to have their expertise. For example, black boxed dye is notoriously difficult to remove from the hair, whereas bleach cannot be removed from the hair at all. 


Ultimately, a professional colorist will be able to strip your hair color and adjust accordingly while preserving your strands and making sure you leave with an even color. If you dabble with permanent hair dye, it’s the safest bet.


How Long Does It Take to Remove Hair Color?

Removing hair color is a process, but it really depends on the type of dye you’re trying to remove. hair gloss or semi-permanent and demi-permanent hair dye that typically fades away after four to twelve washes is going to be easier to remove than permanent dye. The same applies for root touch up products and one day hair color, that wash out when you shampoo your hair. 


Permanent color can take weeks to fully remove, especially if you have a long history with them. Black and red hair dyes are also extra difficult to remove. 


Remember to always give your strands time to recuperate in between hair color removal sessions to keep the damage minimal. Add a reparative hair mask, like the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5 Power Restore Multi Use Treatment, to your routine to boost strength and hydration. 


 3 Additional Ways to Get Back to Your Natural Hair Color

If removing your hair color isn’t the route you want to take, we’re sharing a few more ways to get back to your natural shade. 


1. Grow Out Your Hair 

This may seem obvious, but another way to get back to your natural hair color is by growing your hair out. It can be a useful and low-maintenance strategy if you do it right and it can save your hair from a lot of damage. Depending on the shade you’ve been coloring your hair, there may be a harsh line of demarcation between your new growth and the dyed portion of your hair. You can always use an ammonia-free hair color, like the L’Oréal Paris Colorista Hair Makeup Temporary 1-Day Hair Color Spray or the L’Oréal Magic Root Cover Up, to cover and blend the demarcation line until your hair is grown out, and you’re ready for a cut. Another option is to rock a protective style while you wait for your hair to grow out. 


2. Dye Your Hair Your Natural Hue 

This is the easiest and quickest fix when it comes to returning to your natural hair color. You’ll essentially be faking it ‘til you make it and as the color grows out, it’ll be replaced by new growth that matches your dye job.  


For more dramatic color changes, it’s a good idea to seek out a professional colorist who can manage your expectations. Depending on the change you’re making, you may need to lighten your hair with bleach and that could take multiple sessions, something a pro can definitely help you execute. If you aren’t making too major of a change, you may be able to cover up your color with an at-home hair color kit like the L’Oréal Paris Excellence Créme Permanent Triple Protection Hair Color. This at-home balayage kit includes a precise touch applicator to mimic the balayage technique’s iconic hand-painted strokes, and a pro-toning mask to blur color at the root line for a lived-in look. 

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3. Opt for a Short Hairstyle 

If you find yourself feeling impatient as you wait for your dye job to grow out, consider chopping your strands and taking short hair for a spin to help speed up the process. The shorter your hair, the less growing out you’ll have to do. The good news is, there are plenty of gorgeous short hairstyles to choose from, ranging from chic buzz cuts to pixie styles.

Next: Should You Wash Your Hair Before Dyeing It?

Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn

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