How to get hair dye off scalp

Dyeing your hair at home could be a great way to save a few bucks, but it also means struggling with some challenges on your own.

A DIY hair dyeing could result in brittle hair or staining both your hands and scalp in the process and it’s harder to come off than you'd originally imagine.

Getting the dye off the skin is time-consuming, even going beyond making a mess on the bathroom sink.

Read on to learn how to get hair dye off stains off the scalp without affecting your hair color.


How to get hair dye off scalp but not hair

How to get hair dye off scalp but not hair

Not everyone would expect it, but you can find the treatments for removing hair dye from your scalp within your bathroom.

1. Baby oil to the rescue

It's better to use baby oil on your scalp BEFORE dyeing your article. But if it's already there, you can also use it as a stain remover. 

Put the oil around your ears and hairline while avoiding sensitive areas like the eyes since they could become irritated.

Baby oil is known to have stain-removing properties, so you could safely use a spoonful of it in this case. But don't apply it directly to the hair.

Since oil and hair dyes aren't compatible, it's likely that your dye wouldn't work if the baby oil penetrates the hair. 

If you're worried about baby oil, you can use olive oil instead. Use your finger to measure the oil to cover the stain.

Next, let it sit overnight while wrapped in a bandage or clean cotton cloth to prevent it from staining the pillows and sheets.

Once you've done that, use warm water and soap to rinse it off quicker, and pat the area dry with a towel.

2. Wipe off with makeup remover

You could never go wrong with a little bit of makeup remover. It’s not just great at removing makeup but also efficient in removing hair dyes.

Makeup removers are powerful enough to remove residues, but be careful using them as they can irritate the skin.

Coat the hairline and scalp section with makeup remover. Feel free to use a liquid one, though they might not be as potent as the cream.

Massage the affected area in a circular motion while applying minimal pressure. Let it sit for 5 minutes to allow the pores to absorb the substance and wipe it off afterward.

3. Use toothpaste

Toothpaste not just helps remove plaque. The mild abrasive it contains, like baking soda, makes it great for stain removal too.

It’s best to use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid irritating your skin. 

Put on a small amount of toothpaste. Use it to massage the stain for a minute using gentle pressure from the brush or your hands to cover all affected areas.

Leave it for 5 to 10 minutes so the stain can come off before cleaning it up with a wet washcloth.

4. Solve it with a cotton swab

On another note, if you have a cotton swab at hand, you can use it to clean off the excess dye you couldn't remove earlier.

Do circular movements for at least 30 seconds in parts of the scalp stained with hair dye.

Use an exfoliating soap, but a simple soap should do the job if you don't have one.


What happens if you get hair dye on your scalp?

It's no secret that hair dyes are a mix of harmful chemicals that could strongly react once you've applied them to your hair.

You should know that hydrogen peroxide, ammonia, and paraphenylenediamine (PPDA) make up your favorite hair dyes.

Thanks to them, it's easier for the material to ruin your perfect mane by lifting hair cuticles, which are the protective layer around your hair.

Meanwhile, the hydrogen peroxide can destroy your lipid layer, making you vulnerable to a rougher texture of hair in the future.

Not to mention that there's the possibility of allergic reactions, such as itchy skin, prone to hair loss, face swelling, burning or redness of the skin, and breathing issues.


What happens if hair dye is left on the scalp?

What happens if hair dye is left on the scalp

Unfortunately, there are some ugly side effects when hair dyes are left longer than necessary, which can burn your scalp.

A scalp burn occurs when you leave the dye for more hours than recommended, and the hydrogen peroxide starts acting up.

The agent is an acid, making it dangerous to the skin. The contact would become irritating, leading to a gradual chemical burn.

Even if most cases consist of minor injuries, some escalate to a more severe condition that may require hospitalization.

It usually happens when the skin has prolonged exposure to the dye, resulting in blisters, pain, swelling, and moistness as early symptoms.


How do you remove hair dye from your scalp?

Stephanie Johnson, a stylist, mentioned rubbing shampoo around the scalp's perimeter to eliminate the excess color near your hairline.

Ideally, it would help if you did this before you let the color sit since an oxidized hair dye is something you can't get away with.

If you have no shampoo available, she advises using even your standard cigarette ash as it has the properties that could address your concern.

This would be odd, but Stephanie also suggests finding a Windex as it apparently works like magic, too!

Besides this, Michelle Michelle, who has a decade of experience in the beauty industry from Westchester Beauty School, also shared some tricks on her sleeves.

Michelle stated that the Color Oops brand mainly sells hair dye protectors and brought wipes to their catalog.

You can purchase it from Walmart, CVS, and other local retailers. Michelle swears on its intense ability to remove the hair color that stained any part of the skin.

With its aloe vera formula, you could look forward to a gentle and safe solution that eliminates either a permanent or semi-permanent hair dye.

Just pull one wipe at a time before wiping your stained scalp or skin and do this until the dye disappears or becomes minimal.

Immediately wash your hands after use since the product may encourage skin irritation in some people. Plus, any contact with the eyes is dangerous for you.


How to get hair dye off scalp when dried

In Dr. Joshua Zeichner's interview, he mentioned using a combination of water and a non-soap cleanser like Dove, or any exfoliating products containing glycolic acid.

Hair dyes were designed to penetrate the hair's outer cuticle and infuse it to maintain a long-lasting effect.

Since glycolic or salicylic acids help your scalp shed, the body could regenerate healthier skin cells.

If this method is unsuccessful, you could opt for rubbing alcohol instead. Use a pre-moistened cotton ball and lightly rub it against the area.

Of course, hydrogen peroxide should be among the stars on one of your shelves. This chemical cocktail works wonders in removing all stains imaginable.

Lucky for you, you can do this safely in low concentrations from 3% or lower since its properties could do so much more than just clearing up hair dye stains. 

Like the alcohol, you would need to dab a cotton ball with hydrogen peroxide and let it sit for a minute on the scalp.

Dab another cotton ball into the solution and thoroughly clean the area again.

The first application is meant to loosen the dye, while the second one aims to remove the color that came off.

You could repeat the process as much as needed but always rinse with water after.


The quickest way to remove hair dye from scalp

The quickest way to remove hair dye from scalp

It won't be the end of the world if you can't immediately remove hair dye stained on your scalp. But if you're in a rush, I advise massaging it with petroleum jelly.

Wear gloves because this could get messy. The petroleum jelly absorbs most of the stuck hair dye.

Wait for a couple of minutes before wiping it all away. If that didn’t solve the issue, feel free to use an unscented laundry detergent.

Let it sit for a couple of minutes, then thoroughly rinse it. Repeat the process until you're satisfied with the results.


Color with Caution

Dyeing your hair is a great way to change up your look. It’s best to let a professional stylist do it for you, but there's no harm in trying it out for yourself.

But be prepared for the clean-up after! Luckily, I've compiled these simple yet tried-and-tested solutions. Try one or try them all and let us know what worked for you.

Lastly, please take extra care to avoid damaging your hair while coloring at home.

Last Updated: July 19, 2022

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