Color remover vs bleach

If you’re a newbie to hair coloring, there’s a ton of things to learn to get the color you desire. There are tons of different types of dyes to choose from, developers, bleaches, with all kinds of lifting powers. Oh my!

So it might not surprise you that even in removing colors, there is quite a bit to choose from. 

And with that, it pays to know what kinds of products are out there and how you can best use them for precisely what you need. 

You may think that color remover is the same as bleaching, right? They both sound like they do the exact opposite of what a hair dye might.

But are they really the same? Let’s try and figure that all out. And along the way, you can start to see which one is best for you. 


Is  Color remover the same as bleaching?

Is  Color remover the same as bleaching

First, we’ll have to start by answering the question: Is hair color remover bleach? Well, the most simple answer to that is no. It’s absolutely not. 

Hair color remover and bleach do a lot of similar things, but they work differently when it all comes down to what they’re able to remove and lighten. 


What is the difference between color remover and bleach? 

Well, simply put, color remover only takes away any artificial color you’ve put in your hair. It goes in below your hair shaft and dissolves artificial color while leaving your natural hair unscathed.

So, say, for example, you’ve used some boxed dye on your hair and only want to remove that. Then color remover is the way to go. 

But take note that color remover only fades permanent colors–so these are things like your boxed dyes and most salon dyes. (Just double-check to be sure!) 

The best part about color remover is that it doesn’t fade your own natural hair color. So, if you want to go back to au naturel, a color remover is the way to go. 

If you have semi-permanent dyes or natural dyes in your hair, you’re better off waiting for nature to take its course. It’ll wash out in the shower, and that’s your best bet for removing it! One limitation to color remover is that you can’t fade semi-permanent hair color with it. 

On the good side, because it doesn’t touch any of the pigments you naturally have, it’s a lot safer and less damaging than bleach. 

Meanwhile, bleach is kind of infamous for being pretty fickle to work with and with good reason. In untrained hands, it can definitely do a lot of harsh damage and fry your hair. 

But it’s also great for the people who want to strip all the color that’s currently in your hair–both natural and artificial. And if you're going to clear out any semi-permanent color, and need it out now, then bleach can definitely do the trick. 

Bleaching uses hydrogen peroxide and ammonia to lift all colors from your hair. 

So, if your next step is to try and go a lighter color than your natural hair, or maybe have a really bold, bright look, then bleaching is the way to go. 

But now you may be wondering, which of these products is better? 


Is color remover better than bleach?

Is color remover better than bleach

The only way to answer this depends on what you want the outcome to be. If you wish to remove permanent dye, and go back to your natural color without causing much damage, use a color remover. 

But bleach will be your best friend if you want to go with bright colors, go lighter than your natural color, or if you want to remove semi-permanent hair dye fast. 


Should I use color remover before bleach? 

Now that you know the difference between the two, maybe you’re thinking about using color remover and bleach together. And if you can, should you remove color before bleach?

Well, the good news is, you can definitely use them in tandem. 

Just make sure to always use color remover first. It’ll be a gentler way to get you to a good starting point for bleaching. 

That way, you don’t have to start with such a harsh chemical while there’s still lots of pigment in your hair. 

Bleach can come in after, just to remove and lift the color that remover can’t fully get out. 

CHECK OUT: How to get Manic Panic out of hair


FAQs 

Is color remover damaging?

Is color remover damaging

If you’re not interested in going lighter or dyeing your hair a bolder color, then stick with color remover. It’s a lot less damaging than bleach. 

Although it does penetrate the hair shaft, the way color remover works is that it only breaks down artificial color. 

So, the proteins that make up your natural color and the rest of your hair are essentially safe from any damage. 

You can definitely use some conditioner just to stay even safer, but generally, color remover is already pretty safe on its own. 

Rit color remover vs. bleach

While it may be tempting to use, never try to put Rit Color remover in your hair. It’s made mainly for fabrics and is designed to dissolve more potent dyes than what we use in our hair. It’s definitely harsh and damaging. 

In cases where you only have Rit Color remover and bleach, just go for the bleach instead. (As long as it’s the kind meant for hair!) And don’t forget to do lots of deep conditioning after. 

Can I use color remover on black hair?

Color remover on black hair can work for as long as it’s an artificial permanent dye. It is tougher to break down than other colors, but the beauty of color remover is that you can use it a couple of washes in a row. 

And if after a few washes, the black dye doesn’t come out, you can always follow it up with some bleach–that is, if you don’t mind going a few shades lighter. 

So, now you know the best way for you to fade your color. Whether you’d like to switch to a new, lighter, or brighter color with bleach or go back to your natural roots with color remover, you’re all set with the info you need to make a safe change. 

You can even combine them to get the best results just for you!

Last Updated: April 11, 2022

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