10 Best Hair Color Removers to Reverse A Failed Dye Job

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase.

Don’t you love it when your hair color turns out precisely how you want it to?

a woman wearing white longsleeves is combing her hair sadly

But when deciding on getting a new look, you have to accept that there’s a high probability of not getting picture-perfect dream hair — whether it’s from a salon appointment horror or a DIY gone wrong.

Whichever it is, are you up for the challenge of reversing a hair color mishap?

Introducing the power of hair color removers! Let’s find out the best ones in the market.

Color Oops Extra Conditioning Hair Color Remover
Editor's Choice
  • Removes color without peroxide, ammonia, or bleach
  • Quick and easy application
  • Protects and conditions fragile hair
Malibu C Blondes Wellness Hair Remedy
Budget Pick
  • Increases shine and infuses moisture
  • Intensifies color on natural or bleached blondes
  • Eliminates discoloration
Olaplex No. 4 Clarifying Shampoo
Premium Pick
  • Adds airy volume and softness
  • Restores shine and color vibrancy
  • Repairs damaged hair while cleansing it from the scalp down to each strand

How Do Hair Color Removers Work?

We already have a guide regarding the different types of hair dyes and how they work. But what if there’s a need to reverse the process? 

Removing the hair’s previous color may sound scary and messy, but it’s better than feeling constantly uncomfortable and conscious of how you look.

So how do color removers work?

Like hair dyes, color removers penetrate deep into the hair shafts, targeting the artificial pigments in the cortex of your hair, breaking them down, and washing them off your hair. 

The color-removing formula usually doesn’t alter the hair’s natural color or lighten the hair. That means there’s a lesser chance of getting further damage from chemicals like peroxide. 

But even if you’re reaching for the gentlest formula without ammonia and bleach, you’re still at risk of having dehydrated locks, which can cause serious problems. 

Hair color removers originally worked only for permanent hair dyes.

Nowadays, there are hair color removers that are formulated explicitly for demi and semi-permanent hair dyes too!

What to Look for in A Hair Color Remover

Knowing which hair color remover to use can save your hair and save you from costly treatments and procedures. 

While it’s best to leave it to the hands of professionals for a more reliable one-time process, some people want to be their own hero and resort to home treatments. 

If you’re among the latter, the best you can do is to secure the appropriate hair color remover.

a close up image of a girl's hair with shampoo for hair color remover on a pink background

Below are some key components and features you should look for.


To cut the story short, bleach and ammonia are among two of the ingredients to avoid when you’re planning to remove dye from your hair. 

Stripping the hair color using the same components you used to apply the color can only cause more harm than good. The hair coloring process is damaging enough; you wouldn’t want to repeat this as you reverse its effects. 

Avoid the abovementioned chemicals as much as possible, and opt for those packed with vitamins, minerals, and organic ingredients.

Formula and Features

Are there any additional benefits you can get aside from the color removal? Will the hair color remover you’re eyeing leave your bonds stronger, smoother, or more manageable? Will it help you with the damage?

You have to look for these things to confidently remove the color without taking an additional toll on your hair.

Another thing is to look at features and freebies. 

There are stand-alone treatments, kits with all the necessary steps and parts for the process, and color removers that would require you to purchase other components separately.

Type of Dye Intended

When hair color removers came out, they were initially made to target and erase the aftermath of permanent hair dyes.

But the good thing about beauty essentials is that they never stop evolving. 

Today, there are hair color remover variants for demi and semi-permanent dyes and temporary and other accidental tints. 

The indication as to which type of dye it’s most suitable for is always included in the label, so make sure you read them before you add them to your carts.


We’re not saying cheap finds aren’t worth the price.

But for a hair procedure this crucial, you’d want to make sure you’ll get the best out of what you pay for. Or else we’ll resort to a costlier solution.

Always read and research the product before purchasing. Check to see if you’re settling for something safe and effective.

Don’t let the prices influence you to add them to your carts instantly.

10 Best Hair Color Removers

Color Oops Extra Conditioning Hair Color Remover

The most trusted at-home hair color remover that’s affordable, gentle, and effective!

Primary Benefits: Removes color without peroxide, ammonia, or bleach; quick and easy application; protects and conditions fragile hair


  • Formulated with aloe vera and soy protein
  • Easy on the hair so you can do same-day recoloring
  • Safely removes permanent and semi-permanent hair dye

If there’s one hair color remover to bring to a deserted island, this could be it!

If dyeing the hair can already be drying, then stripping the color off leads to further drying.

Rebuild, restructure, and hydrate your processed hair with a color remover infused with healing soy protein complex and aloe vera.

Since this color remover uses no harmful chemicals like ammonia and bleach, it provides a gentle yet fast-acting color removal process by shrinking the dye molecules using hydrosulfite, which is ideal for dry and brittle hair.

It usually takes 20 minutes to work and condition the hair. It’s suitable for semi-permanent and permanent colors, and the convenient and efficient application is perfect for home use. Plus, it’s cruelty-free!

One n’ Only Colorfix Hair Color Remover

Say goodbye to permanent hair dye no matter how long you’ve had it.

Primary Benefits: Easily removes any hair color with precision, gently removes hair color no matter how long it’s been there, works on all hair types


  • Cruelty-free
  • Contains nourishing argan oil
  • Free from ammonia, bleach, and formaldehyde

Box dyes might be strong, but One n’ Only is stronger! It’s one of the best color removers for black box dyes. Plus, it has argan oil!

The road to reversing the effects of a permanent hair dye may seem like a very tough journey, but not until you try One n’ Only Colorfix Hair Color Remover. 

It’s customizable so you can measure and decide how much you want to use based on the length and thickness of your tresses. Its three-step system is also infused with argan oil for extra nourishment. 

The box comes with a well-explained manual, and the labels are pretty visual.

Note that it says “permanent hair colors” on the box because it is specifically formulated for that type of dye and may not be as effective or may be too harsh if you have demi or semi-permanent colors.  

This work for all hair types, even for the curly ones! 

Scruples Color Delete Permanent Hair Color Remover

Eliminate the color and add layers of protection against further damage and breakage!

Primary Benefits: Extracts oxidative dyes gently and evenly, minimizes breakage during application, hydrates and strengthens the hair


  • Gluten-free and fragrance-free
  • Enriched with avocado oil and bamboo extract
  • Fortified with Scruples Protective Barrier Complex

There are no hair dyes that Scruples can’t erase!

Scruples Color Delete is the heavy-duty hair color remover for you, from pastels to bright or dark pigments. When you want to get rid of stubborn permanent dyes, Scruples Color Delete is the heavy-duty color remover for you!

There are two options when using this: mix it with water to subtly remove lighter colors or fewer dye deposits, or mix it with a developer for stronger and complete color removal. 

But opposite to how strong it sounds, its formula is actually gentle and nourishing.

It has a protective complex that reduces the risk of breakage and has hydrating and strengthening ingredients such as avocado oil and bamboo extract.

It’s the best color remover for black dyes and all shades of permanent dyes!

Color X-Change Phase-Out Gentle Dye Decolorizer + Intensive Hair Mask

Wake up to nourished and decolorized hair, ready for the following styling session!

Primary Benefits: Vitamin-based hair treatment; gently lifts semi-permanent colors from the hair; recoloring can be done right after the treatment


  • Comes with a hair mask
  • Made with vegan, gluten-free, and cruelty-free ingredients
  • Free from fragrance, paraben, PDD, ammonia, peroxide, alcohol, and sulfates

The best overnight color remover for semi-permanent colors. 

If dryness and unwanted hair are slamming you in the face, there’s only one product you can trust. 

This product gently and effectively removes stubborn hair color from semi-permanent dyes without using ammonia, bleach, parabens, sulfates, and more. Instead, it uses ascorbic acid and vegan and cruelty-free ingredients. 

It’s easy to use, but it’s a vitamin-packed leave-in decolorizer you’re supposed to keep overnight or at least eight hours. 

And the next day, you’ll use the intensive hair mask to condition that come in the pack to bring moisture back into the hair.

This combo is infused with shea butter and nourishing oils such as argan, avocado, coconut, and olive oils.

Malibu C Blondes Wellness Hair Remedy

Stay away from brass and other unwanted tints, and keep those blondes bright, cool, and healthy!

Primary Benefits: Increases shine and infuse moisture, intensifies color on natural or bleached blondes, eliminates discoloration


  • Vegan, cruelty-free, and eco-friendly
  • Has provitamin B5 and a patented, nature-identical vitamin C complex
  • Free from preservatives parabens, gluten, fragrance, and sodium chloride

No, it won’t leave you with straw-like bonds. Leave the softening to its nourishment-packed formula!

No one is an exception when it comes to hair color issues, not even the blondies. In fact, their light bonds are the most prone to discoloration.

So if you need a handy solution to keeping your blondes free from unwanted colors, this plant-based shampoo is for you!

It’s a one-step process and comes in single-use sachets for easy storing and traveling.

Like the rest of the Malibu products, it contains vitamin C, a potent ingredient that detaches color pigments from the hair while leaving them in good condition.

Head & Shoulders Classic Clean Dandruff Shampoo

Itch-free, dandruff-free, and free from unwanted hair color stains.

Primary Benefits: Proven dandruff protection; prevents and washes away the itch, dryness, and oil; cleanses the scalp with a pH-balanced formula


  • Paraben-free
  • Uses scalp shield technology
  • Leaves a cooling effect and a light, fresh scent

This one is so affordable and easy to find, you might even have this at home!

Head & Shoulders has been a household staple for fighting dandruff, but did you also know it works so well in removing stubborn tints from your temporary or semi-permanent dyes?

Whether you’re new to toning, have overtoned your hair, or tried out a strong toner, if your hair turned lilac instead of lightened, give clarifying and anti-dandruff shampoos a go. 

Especially the mentholated ones!

They can give you a soothing sensation while cleansing your hair and reversing the colors to their original canvas before the tint. 

Olaplex No. 4C Clarifying Shampoo

The best professional-quality clarifying shampoo that also doubles as a mild color remover for freshly dyed hair.

Primary Benefits: Adds airy volume and softness; restores shine and color vibrancy; repairs damaged hair while cleansing it from the scalp down to each strand


  • Vegan, gluten-free, and cruelty-free
  • Works on a broad-spectrum clarifying system
  • Formulated with clean ingredients and bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate

We’re sure Olaplex wouldn’t disappoint. Even if it doesn’t wipe everything off instantly, it’ll still leave you with great-quality hair, so it’ll always be a win-win. 

Speaking of clarifying shampoo, this one is a standout! It’s salon quality experience at home.

Olaplex No. 4 is usually a color-safe treatment, but if you use it on freshly dyed hair, it can make it fade faster. 

There’s also a home color-removing treatment that involves using a vitamin C tablet mixed with Olaplex No. 4, then you add water to the mixture, and then leave it in your hair for 10 to 15 minutes. 

But for safer results, consulting your stylist would be best.

Roux Clean Touch Hair Color Stain Remover

Wipe off the color from your skin like it’s never been stained.

Primary Benefits: Removes stains from clothes and skin; eliminates excess color build-up on porous hair ends; quick results


  • Cruelty-free
  • Budget-friendly
  • Suitable for all hair types; not irritating on the skin

Do an all-around stain removal with just one swipe of this product. 

Applying hair dye may be challenging, but removing the stains could be harder! 

Amid the dyeing process, you may get so focused on your hair that you slowly become unaware that the color is all over your clothes and skin. 

If there’s one product you need for cleaning the stains and removing excess color at the ends of your hair, then here it is!

Roux Clean Touch Hair Color Stain Remover is one of the market’s most versatile yet gentle color removers.

It would be best to pour this on a cotton pad, apply it to the stained area, and gently massage it. The same goes for the tips of the hair. 

This product isn’t free of ammonia, so you must be cautious about the places where you apply it. 

Framar Kolor Killer Wipes

Keep a stylist’s choice in your next hair color experiment.

Primary Benefits: Easily removes hair color stain from hands, neck, and face; gentle on all skin types; Leaves a fresh, clean scent


  • Has 100 wipes per can
  • Comes in an easy pop-up out of the top container
  • Gentle, hydrating, and exfoliating due to its lactic acid, and aloe content

Let us not add the stains to your worries. The power of this wipe does all the removing anywhere!

Although stain-removing wipes may have been the last thing on your DIY hair dye checklist, let us share a secret shared by dermatologists and stylists. 

Framar Kolor Killer Wipes is specifically formulated to eliminate the toughest stains you’ll get from hair coloring. 

Each soft sheet is pre-moistened with aloe, lactic acid, and sea salt for a gentle and a soothing cleanser that will leave a moisturized feeling and a fresh scent.

The scent part could be arguable, however. Some say it’s too strong for their liking. 

Colortrak Hair Color Remover Wipes

Hair color stain removal is now a grab-and-go!

Primary Benefits: Non-irritating; gently corrects dye spills and stains on the skin; travel-friendly and convenient


  • Comes in three sizes
  • Formulated with aloe
  • Leaves a fresh, pleasant smell

The best travel-friendly wipes just got friendlier with its individually packed sheets!

Applying hair dye can be messy, and the formula can be just as irritating on the skin as on the hair and scalp.

If you want reliable stain-removing wipes to pop into your bags easily, then Colortrak has the best wipes to get you covered!

It comes in a canister dispenser with 100 or 50 sheets, or you can have it in a box containing 36 individually packed wipes. 

Each sheet is pre-moistened with a non-irritating formula infused with aloe, so you’re also soothing the skin as you wipe off the mess.

How Clarifying Shampoos Work For Color Removing

Seeing those shampoos on the list may leave you wondering…

“What do clarifying shampoos have to do with stripping off the unwanted color from my hair ASAP?”

We’re all aware of shampoos’ fantastic job cleansing away the gunk, residue, and buildup from our scalp and hair. Plus the fact that they can strip artificial color over time. 

While regular formulas do this gradually, clarifying shampoos can speed up color removal, especially on semi-permanent and temporary dyes.

This is because their chemical compositions — such as sulfates, detergents, and higher pH formulation — can lift the cuticles and loosen the grip of the dye molecules that have been sitting on your bonds. 

Clarifying shampoos can also color-correct your tinted locks, but be careful when using it on blonde hair. You wouldn’t want to make it brassy. 

a girl wearing white top is pulling her purple hair angrily


Are hair color removers damaging?

Removing color still allows the hair to through a chemically induced change; therefore, it comes with the risk of damage as it will interfere with previously color-treated hair. 

The best way to prevent this is to use products free from ammonia, ethanolamine, peroxide, and bleach

What happens if you leave it on for too long?

Attempting to speed up the process by leaving the color remover on longer will only give you a higher chance of making things worse. 

Leaving color removers for too long will make hair more brittle, dry, and porous as the formula may also strip your hair of its natural oils. Also, the odor of the color remover will be stronger and will stay in your hair for longer.

Can I dye my hair after using a hair color remover?

Some hair removers claim to have a gentle formula to let you do another hair coloring session afterward.

But to ensure your hair is in good shape, let it rest for at least 48 hours before getting another chemical treatment. 

How long will it take for shampoos to remove my hair color?

Ordinary shampoo usually takes 10 to 15 washes before your color fades. But with clarifying shampoos, you can see the difference in just 5 washes.

Found the Hair Color Remover to Try?

Changing hair colors can be fun, but have you looked closely into how you shift it from one shade to another?

Stacking one color on top of the other can cause massive pigment buildup, and over time, they get harder to remove. 

Sure, bleaching can strip it all off, but your hair can only bear a few procedures before its health collapses, leaving you with hair so alarmingly damaged that it could fall off. 

And that’s when hair color removers enter the scene. They answer your constant hair color shift without being as harsh as your regular bleach. 

Always do product research before lathering them onto your hair. Otherwise, seek professional help; your hair has got to be flaunted beautifully and healthily. 

Let’s keep those locks healthier! 

Read these related articles:


  • Stephanie Martin

    Stephanie Martin blends her beauty industry background with expertise in communications to lead in the fashion and beauty world. As a fashion and beauty editor, she is known for engaging and informative articles. Her lifelong passion for fashion, makeup, and hair shines through her work, earning her widespread respect among readers and clients. Stephanie's style, a mix of classic and contemporary, makes her a dynamic and influential figure in the industry, inspiring others with her knowledgeable and approachable insights.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *