Seventeen February 1, 2023



How to Get Hair Dye Off Your Skin, According to Experts


Toothpaste and olive oil have entered the chat.

Committing to dye your hair is a big one, but the results are fun. You get to pick the hair color that works best for you and showcase all your creativity and personality through your new hue. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast testing out viral hair color trends or you're leaving the salon after getting your hair color treated professionally, you may end up with hair dye lingering around your skin in places like your forehead, ears, fingertips, and neck. Before you panic, you should know that there are several no-fuss ways to get hair dye off your skin.

Hair dyes are colorants "designed to lift and change your hair color," celebrity colorist and L'Oréal Professionnel Global Ambassador Min Kim tells Seventeen. When the dye touches the skin, "the color molecule penetrates the first layer of the skin," leaving a stain, Maxine Salon colorist Robert Bennett adds. According to Kim, it's only right to prepare for stains when dyeing, "especially with darker or more vibrant colors."

How do you prevent hair dye stains?

"Dry skin is the number one reason for hair dye to stain the skin," Bennett says, so keeping skin hydrated, especially in susceptible areas like the hairline and the scalp, is a must. Applying a barrier cream before coloring your hair nourishes the skin and prevents the dye from saturating places the dye may transfer.

Products like Vaseline and Aquaphor ensure that your ears and neck are protected from your coloring treatment, too. Just be mindful not to get the barrier cream onto the hair itself because it could prevent the dye from delivering full coverage.

To keep your fingernails and hands clear of stains, be sure to use gloves when handling hair dye. At-home hair dye kits like Love for Hue come equipped with gloves for this very purpose. Look to a beauty supply store or Amazon for a professional-grade cape that'll serve as an extra layer of protection. If you forget to grab one before your dye session, Not Your Mother's Research and Development Applications Manager Madison Thurman suggests covering exposed areas, like your arms and back, with an old t-shirt or towel to prevent stains from getting on other areas of the body.

How do you remove hair dye from your skin?

Removing hair dye stains soon after it happens is important because it could trigger allergy and sensitivity reactions. According to New Jersey-based, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Aanand Geria, hair dyes usually contain ingredients that affect the face more than the scalp, often "leading to breakouts and irritations if the proper protection and aftercare are not followed."

If you've made your way through a coloring treatment and realize you've got dye on your skin once you've finished, there are several removal options to choose from. Bennett suggests the Redken Stain Remover because "the pads are included and already saturated," making it "an easy all-in-one" remover.

Exposed areas of the skin react differently to both hair dye and stain removal options. The longer the shade sits on the skin, the longer it settles and the more difficult it is to remove, so "the best way to remove dye stains is to clean as you go to prevent staining," Thurman says. Factors, including sun exposure and your skin's moisture levels, can also impact how long stains last on the skin, so Kim suggests using "hair dye stain remover, a gentle cleanser or ph balancing shampoo," depending on the areas of the body that have been tinted.

"The skin on your face and ears can be more sensitive than elsewhere, like your hands," Thurman says, she recommends steering clear of "abrasive cleansers" to remove any stains in these areas. Instead, household items like olive oil can also remove hair dye stains from the skin. Bennett recommends massaging olive oil on the affected areas by hand and massaging it with your fingertips. Then, he suggests rubbing the area with a cotton pad until the stain is gone.

Toothpaste is another multipurpose product you can grab to treat your stained skin. Not only does toothpaste remove stains from your teeth, but it also eliminates traces of hair dye. Bennett suggests applying a small amount of non-gel toothpaste to a cotton swab and gently massaging it into the stain.

How to remove hair dye from your hands and fingertips?

Nail polish remover can also get hair dye off your skin. "The skin on your hands and specifically your fingertips is thicker than the skin on your face, so you can take a more vigorous approach to remove color in these areas," Thurman says. "Nail polish remover works well on stains on your fingertips and fingernails." Since nail polish removers are often formulated with ingredients like acetone, they may result in drying and irritation, so Bennett suggests using nail polish removers to strip hair dye stains from fingernails.

No matter how hard you or your stylist may try, there may be times when hair dye will stain your skin. When and if the time comes, use these tips, including items you can find around your dorm, to get hair dye off your skin with no fuss. Happy hair dyeing, besties!