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When should you use color remover?

Color removers, also known as color strippers, are formulated to remove permanent hair dye from your hair. They work by breaking down the permanent dye molecules so the color can be washed away. Knowing when to reach for a remover depends on your goals and hair health. Let’s explore some key times when using a remover can help.

You Want to Go Lighter

One of the main reasons people use color removers is to lighten their existing dye and remove buildup. Removing some or all of the artificial dye creates space for applying a lighter shade. This can be a great option if:

  • Your hair is too dark and you want to go lighter.
  • You have highlights or balayage you want to brighten up.
  • You used a darker temporary dye and want your natural color back.

Color removers work to strip away layers of dye, taking you back to a lighter base. This makes them ideal for anyone looking to go blonde or add lighter highlights.

You Have Color Damage

Frequent dyeing, especially with permanent color, can damage hair over time. The peroxide and ammonia many box dyes contain dry out strands and cause breakage. Color remover can rehabilitate hair by:

  • Removing old buildup so moisturizing treatments absorb better.
  • Giving damaged areas a clean slate for fresh growth.
  • Removing metallic salt residues that further dry hair.

If your hair feels brittle or looks dull from excess dye, a remover treatment can restore strength and shine. Focus on damaged mid-length to ends first if needed, then do roots later.

You Want to Change Colors

What if you dyed your hair an unflattering shade or just want something new? Color removers allow you to switch hues by stripping away your current color. Some scenarios where removing dye can help change colors:

  • Removing a neon shade to go back to natural tones.
  • Changing color palettes from warm to cool or vice versa.
  • Removing old highlights before a new application.

Since color removers bring your hair to a blank slate, you can switch shades without having to wait for fade-out. Removing dye first prevents unwanted color mixing.

You Have a Job Interview

If you have a conservative workplace or important interview, colorful hair may hinder your chances even if you style it neatly. Using color remover 1-2 weeks beforehand can help. Reasons to remove unnatural shades include:

  • Avoiding judgment over hair color by interviewers.
  • Presenting a polished, professional appearance.
  • Complying with workplace dress code policies.

Eliminating bright hues for networking or interviews prevents your hair from overshadowing your skills. You can redye it after getting hired.

You’re Pregnant or Breastfeeding

OBGYNs generally recommend avoiding hair dye during the first trimester of pregnancy. Chemical exposure risks harming fetal development. The ingredients in hair color also enter breastmilk if you dye right after giving birth. Reasons to use remover include:

  • Safely reversing dye already applied during early pregnancy.
  • Avoiding root touch-ups until after breastfeeding ends.
  • Preventing infant exposure to chemicals through milk.

Check with your doctor before using hair remover while pregnant or nursing since formulas vary. Getting dye removed can buy you time until it’s safer to recolor.

You Have an Allergy

Some people develop allergic reactions to hair dye ingredients, especially the common sensitizer p-phenylenediamine (PPD). Symptoms may include:

  • Itching and swelling around the scalp, ears, or neck.
  • Rash or raised welts.
  • Burning or stinging eyes.

If you experience a reaction shortly after dyeing, remove the color as soon as possible. This eliminates ongoing contact with the allergen. Ask your colorist to perform a patch test before applying new dye.

You Used a Low-Quality Dye

Sometimes hair turns out oddly hued, brassy, or just less vibrant than expected after dyeing. This often results from using cheap, low-quality box kits. Reasons to remove drugstore or leftover dye include:

  • Odd results like green, muddy, or brassy tones.
  • Using old dye that didn’t take properly.
  • Poor performance from inaccurate color selection.

Dye removal lets you start fresh with a professional-grade color for improved results. Don’t be afraid to strip out falta attempts.


Color removers allow you to hit reset on your existing dye job and change course when needed. Whether you want to go lighter, repair damage, change shades, or reverse a reaction, removers offer an eraser. Avoid overusing them since stripping processes still involve chemicals. But when used properly at the right times, they can improve color results and hair health.