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What removes dark hair color?

Having dark hair can be fun and stylish, but sometimes you may want to lighten it or remove the dark color entirely. There are a few options for removing dark hair dye or your natural pigment, depending on how drastic a change you want to make.

Removing dark hair dye

If you dyed your hair a dark color like black, brown, or a rich shade of red, you have a couple options for removing or lightening it:

  • Color remover – This type of product is designed to strip out artificial dye pigments. It makes your hair a lighter shade, but won’t remove all the color.
  • Bleach – Bleach is a strong chemical that opens up the hair cuticle and oxidizes the melanin pigments. It can remove dark hair dye and take you to a light blonde shade.
  • Highlights – Getting partial highlights placed throughout your hair is another technique. The foils bleach only certain sections to create a multi-tonal look.

Risks of removing dark dyes

While removing dark hair color is possible, keep these risks in mind:

  • Damage – Bleach and color strippers use harsh chemicals that can damage hair and cause breakage. Always use the products carefully by following instructions.
  • Brassiness – When dark pigment is removed, warm underlying tones can come through, causing orange or brassy results.
  • Multiple sessions – It usually takes multiple applications over several weeks or months to safely remove dark dye without extreme damage.

Removing natural dark pigment

If you have naturally dark brown or black hair, the pigment comes from melanin in the hair structure itself. Here are some ways to reduce natural melanin:

  • Bleaching – As mentioned above, bleach opens the cuticle and oxidizes melanin. It’s the most effective way to produce drastic lightening.
  • Sun exposure – The sun’s UV rays can gradually lighten hair over time. However, sunlight can also cause damage, dryness, and brassiness.
  • Stripping shampoos – Some sulfate-free shampoos claim to slowly reduce natural pigment with regular use. Results are subtle and take time.

Permanent options for removing dark hair

If you want to get rid of dark locks for good, permanent solutions include:

  • Laser hair removal – Laser treatments target pigment in the hair follicle to stop growth. It takes several sessions but offers longer-lasting results on dark hair.
  • Electrolysis – This method uses shortwave radio frequencies to permanently destroy individual hair follicles. It takes numerous treatments but is very thorough.

Dye options for covering dark hair

If you don’t want to fully remove your natural dark shade, you can cover it with an artificial dye. Here are some options:

Dye Type Process Lasting Power
Semi-permanent Deposits dye on outside of hair 4-8 washes
Demi-permanent Penetrates some of hair shaft 20-25 washes
Permanent Penetrates full hair shaft Until hair grows out

No matter which product you choose, perform a patch and strand test first to check your hair’s tolerance. Seek professional help if unsure!


Removing dark hair color can be achieved through bleaching, highlighting, color stripping, or permanent hair removal methods. But keep in mind these processes can damage hair severely if not done properly. Always consult a licensed stylist if you want to dramatically lighten your locks. With the right techniques and care, you can gradually remove unwanted pigment or dye your hair a lighter shade.