How to Get Pesky Hair Dye Off Your Skin

Ashley Okwuosa
How to Get Hair Dye Off Your Skin
Photo: Lisa Müller/EyeEm/Getty Images. Design: Allison Kahler/StyleCaster.

Getting a new hair color is always exciting, but dyeing your hair at home tends to be a messy process—and if you’ve done it, then you’re probably familiar with that special brand of terror that comes when you can’t figure out how to get the excess hair dye off your skin.

So what are we supposed to do when we want to color our hair at home but not deal with dyed skin, too? Prevention is key. Plus, you can use products you can find in your own home to get rid of the dye. Follow the tips below to learn how to get hair dye off your skin, and you’ll never be afraid of a DIY dye job ever again.

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Before Dyeing Your Hair

Apply baby oil or petroleum jelly to the hairline and surrounding areas like your ears and neckline. The product makes the skin slippery, therefore making removal of the dye much easier. Plus, hydrated skin will not absorb dye as quickly as dry skin.

It’s best to dye your hair on a day when you haven’t washed your hair or skin. The natural oils produced by the skin and hair also keep the surface of your skin moist, protecting it from any staining that may happen.

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While Dyeing Your Hair

Keep as much skin covered as possible with towels or shirts you don’t mind ruining. Also, make sure you’re wearing a pair of plastic gloves to keep your fingers protected.

How To Remove Dye Off Skin

  • Hair dye is what got you in this predicament in the first place, but it can also get you out of the situation. Apply some leftover hair dye to stained areas of the skin, rub it in and use soap and a washcloth to wipe it off. Reactivating the hair dye will help to make it removable.
  • Rubbing alcohol and soap is another way to tackle dye stains. Wet a cotton ball with some rubbing alcohol and soap, rub it gently onto the affected area, and rinse when done.
  • Mix baking soda and dishwashing liquid, applying this soapy mixture to the affected area with a washcloth. Rub gently and rinse off. If possible, use a dishwashing liquid that contains lemon.
  • Dip cotton wool in a bowl of vinegar and rub around the stain. This product works to gently remove dead skin cells, exfoliating away the skin that was dyed.
  • Use a non-gel toothpaste on an old toothbrush to scrub at the stain.
  • Apply makeup remover to a cotton ball, start rubbing, then wait five minutes before rinsing.

A version of this article was originally published in January 2014.