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How to Remove Hair Dye from Scalp?

How to Remove Hair Dye from Scalp?

If you are someone that dyes their hair at home, you probably come across the problem of the stained scalp every time you do this procedure. Even professional colorists who work at salons cannot avoid the staining issue. So, how do you remove hair dye from the scalp?

The methods to do so are numerous, from plain makeup remover to items in your fridge, including vinegar and lemon. One of the easiest methods is simply rubbing the stained areas with a cotton pad saturated with alcohol. If your skin is sensitive to drying products, you can also use oils.

Continue reading to learn many hacks to help you get rid of hair dye stains on the scalp, as well as methods to prevent it from happening. 

10 Hacks to Remove Hair Dye from Scalp 

If you are someone that dyes their hair at home, getting some of the dye on your scalp is almost inevitable. You will get better each time. However, even if you never master the art of dyeing your hair without getting some product on your scalp, there are easy ways to remove it.

Here are 10 hacks to remove hair dye from the scalp.

Makeup Remover

Makeup remover is something that the majority of people are likely to have at hand. 

Makeup removers, especially the ones that are stronger and are designed to remove waterproof makeup, will work really well. 

You can get rid of hair dye stains on your scalp by rubbing it with a cotton pad with makeup remover. 

Rub the scalp for around 5 minutes until you remove the stain. If you have an oil-based makeup remover, the job will be done even quicker. 

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol works well to remove hair dye from the scalp. 

All you need to do is to saturate a cotton pad with alcohol and rub where the dye has stained your skin. Don’t be too harsh. Rub for a couple of minutes until the stains start to lighten in color and disappear completely. Once you are finished, wash your face and apply moisturizer to prevent dryness. 

Rubbing alcohol can be drying to the skin. Hence, it is not the most suitable method for people with very dry skin. The dye itself strip the natural oils from the skin and using rubbing alcohol on top may result in a very dry complexion.

Thus, skip on this method if you are someone with a dry skin type. 


Using scrubs to remove hair dye from the scalp is an effective method for those with dry skin. 

You can use a body scrub to exfoliate the areas where the hair dye has stained your scalp. The exfoliating bits in scrubs remove dead skin. Thus, rubbing your scalp with a body scrub is a great way to get rid of dye stains. It is also good as you will end up with smoother skin. 

All you need to do is to scrub the stained areas with the exfoliator and wash it off. If you don’t have body scrub at home, you can easily make one with a product from your pantry.  Simply mix some sugar with coconut oil, honey, or olive oil, and the all-natural scrub is ready. 


Lemon is also a good ingredient to help you get rid of hair dye stains. However, if you have dry skin, be careful with lemon as it may dry up the skin even more.  You should also avoid using lemon if you have sensitive skin that gets easily irritated. 

To remove hair dye stains with lemon you can either cut a wedge and rub it on the stained areas. Alternatively, you can saturate cotton pads in lemon juice and use it to get rid of the dye on the scalp. 

After you have got rid of the stains, wash your face with water and your regular cleansing gel.

Peroxide solution

The peroxide solution is one of the most effective methods to remove hair dye stains from the scalp with ease. You will need a 3% peroxide solution and a Q-tip. 

Dip the Q-tip in the solution and rub the stained areas with it. Later, proceed to rub stained areas with a clean end of a Q-tip. Remember not to be too harsh when rubbing in order not to irritate the skin. 

Leave the solution on for a few minutes. Wash your face with warm water. Peroxide solution may start burning or tingling. If you feel any discomfort while it is sitting on your scalp, wash it off immediately. 

Be careful not to get peroxide solution in your eyes. 


Everybody has a toothpaste at home. Thus, getting some hair dye on your scalp is not that big of a problem. 

To remove the stains from your scalp, you will need to spread a small amount of toothpaste on your scalp. For this hack, opt for non-gel toothpaste instead of clear gel toothpaste varieties. 

Once you have spread the toothpaste on your scalp, rub with a soft toothbrush or a cotton pad.  Leave the toothpaste on for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove by using warm water and a washcloth. 

Vinegar and baking soda

Another hack using products to be found in your kitchen. 

To remove hair dye stains from your scalp with vinegar and baking soda, mix equal parts of the two ingredients and apply the mixture on the affected areas. Gently rub the scalp with your fingers and leave the mixture on for a couple of minutes. Wash off with warm water.

This hack is effective in removing hair dye stains as both vinegar and baking soda are great cleansing agents. Additionally, baking soda exfoliates the skin to a certain degree which further helps the process of removing dye stains from the skin. 


Using oils is one of the best methods to remove hair dye from the scalp as you are using not harsh and drying ingredients but natural and nourishing ones.

The downside of this method is that it requires a lot of time to remove the stains from the scalp. So, if you are in a rush and want to get rid of the dye on your scalp as soon as possible, pick another hack. 

To remove the hair coloring product from your scalp you need to work coconut or olive oil on the affected area. Massage the stained area with your fingers and let the oils work their magic for around 8 hours. As the waiting time is rather long, you can apply the oil right before you go to sleep. 

In the morning, wash the stained parts of your scalp with warm water and soap.

If you are going to use this hack before you go to sleep, make sure to either use a pillowcase you don’t mind getting stained or cover the areas where you have applied oil.

Avoid using this method if you have oily skin or skin that easily gets clogged and is prone to breakouts. 


Using hairspray on stained parts of the scalp is another method that will remove the dye. However, this is not the best method for people with very sensitive skin. 

Do not spray the hairspray directly on the affected parts. Instead, spray some of it on a cotton pad, rub with your fingertips, and wash the hairspray off with warm water. 

This is also an effective method to get rid of dye stains on your hands.  Just spray some hairspray in the palms of your hands, rub and wash with water and soap. 

Hair Dye

Using hair dye to remove hair dye sound crazy, but it works! All you need to do is to take some wet hair dye from your mixing bowl, apply it on the stained areas of the scalp, and wash it off with warm water. 

Hair dye that is on the scalp is dry, hence the stains. Applying a fresh layer of the coloring product over the dried one reactivates it and the dye comes right off. 

Also Read: How Long Can Hair Dye Last After Mixed?

What You Should NOT Do to Remove Hair Dye from the Scalp?

Once you see your scalp stained with purple or brown dye, the temptation to get into the shower and shampoo is rather strong.  While shampooing your head will most likely help you get rid of hair dye stains, it will also remove a lot of the coloring product you have just dyed your hair with. 

In fact, professionals recommend shampooing your hair only a few days after the coloring procedure. So, instead of trying to wash the stains out with shampoo, try one of the simple hacks above to get rid of the dye stains. 

How to Prevent Hair Dye from Staining the Scalp?

While there are easy methods to remove hair dye stains from the scalp, it is also good to know how to prevent staining. Here’s what you will need to do.

Step 1

The first and most essential step of protecting your scalp against the harsh chemicals in the dye is to color your hair a few days after you have washed your hair. 

Doing this will give your scalp time to gather natural oils as they are removed while washing your hair. The natural oil on your scalp is a protectant that effectively ‘fights against’ the hair dye as the latter is water-based. 

Thus, dyeing your hair a few days after you have washed it is the first step to prevent staining your scalp. 

Step 2

Apply some kind of a thick slippery product around your forehead, neck, and sideburn area. You can use a thick moisturizer or lotion. Do not use products that are lighter in texture.

The skin will absorb them quickly and you will end up with stained skin. Petroleum jelly is one of the most popular products to be used for this hack. 

Apply a thick layer of your preferred product in areas where there is a risk of hair dye staining.  Don’t use this method if your skin is sensitive to heavy products as it may lead to breakouts and clogged pores in areas where you have applied the moisturizer or Vaseline. 

Step 3

If you want an additional layer of protection, press cotton on the areas where you have applied the moisturizing cream or petroleum jelly. The cotton will easily stick to those areas. How this works is the teased cotton absorbs the hair coloring product whenever you cross the line. Thus, it prevents the skin from staining. 

In addition to protecting your scalp, don’t forget about other body parts that you may stain during the coloring process. Make sure to wear gloves and put an old towel around your neck. Have a paper towel at hand and try to clean the hair dye off your skin as soon as possible to prevent staining. 

Can You Use Baby Oil to Prevent Hair Dye Staining? 

Baby oil is a good alternative to Vaseline or moisturizer to use around your forehead and neck to prevent staining. While it is not as thick as petroleum jelly, it still creates a barrier that will prevent the dye from staining your skin. 

If you forget to apply baby oil around your forehead, ears, neck, and sideburns before dyeing your hair, you can certainly use it after to get rid of the stains.

Rubbing baby oil with your fingertips into the stained areas will break up the dried hair dye and the stains will eventually fade out. If you don’t have baby oil at hand, you can use facial oils or any other oil that you know will not break you up. 

Also Read: How to Remove Henna from Hair: 5 Ways That Work

How Long Does It Take for the Dye to Come Off the Scalp?

Removing hair dye stains from the scalp should not take you too long if you are using an effective product to get it off. Generally, 5 minutes should be enough to get rid of hair dye on the scalp by means of rubbing alcohol, baking soda, and vinegar, or other cleansing agents.