Bad Dye? How to Fade Permanent Hair Color {There’s Help…}

When you decide to color your hair, you don’t always end up with the perfect colored hair you see in your head. Panic sets in, and you worry you’ll be stuck this way until it grows out. Have no fear, there is a solution to your hair color woes.

How Long Does Permanent Hair Color Last?

Permanent Hair ColorUnlike semi-permanent dyes that can be washed out in only a couple of weeks, permanent dyes are a stronger formula that can actually alter your hair’s natural pigmentation, according to the experts at eSalonThis is because of the stronger ingredients in the permanent formula, which will absorb into the hair cuticle to deposit the color. This means that permanent hair dye cannot be rinsed away in a dozen washes like temporary dyes can.

This also means that you can lighten or darken your hair within a few shades. If you lighten your hair and are unhappy with the results, you can revisit your hairdresser and darken it up a bit with their help. If your hair is dyed a darker shade, you may fear there is no hope but to suffer until it grows out but this is not true. There are a few methods you can follow to help you fade away that unwanted color and leave you with one you can live with until you can safely dye it again.

How to Safely Fade Your Permanent Hair Color

There are numerous methods to fade your permanent hair color. Some include products you may already have in your home, while others may require a trip to the pharmacy or a salon. One method from Betsy Gallup uses a mixture of small amounts of baking soda and peroxide with a healthy dose of shampoo. Thoroughly wash the hair with this mixture and then rinse it away. Apply conditioner as usual to soften any dryness this method may cause. This will help to fade your color, though it is not recommended to repeat this process too often because it could cause irritation to your scalp as well as lightening your hair more than you plan.

Frequent hair colorer and writer for, Jude, also offers a few suggestions for those wishing to rid themselves of an unwanted permanent hair color. Her best suggestion is using a color remover. There are two types of these including color strippers and color reducers. The results of a color stripper are similar to what one would achieve when using bleach, while a color reducer is excellent for fading permanent color.

Baking SodaThe reason color reducers are so effective is that they will only remove the artificial pigments deposited on your hair during the dying process while not changing your natural hair color. It does this by withdrawing the color molecules from your hair so they can be washed away. This process is safe enough to repeat two or three times to achieve the color you want, but be sure to follow the instructions exactly or it may not work for you. Every manufacturer has different timing on their product, so read the directions before you begin.

Jude also suggests a bleach bath, which is an equal mixture of bleach powder and 20 volume peroxide added to the same amount of shampoo. Wash your hair with this mixture, checking every five minutes to see what color your hair has faded into with the mixture. Do not leave for longer than 30 minutes. This is a bit tricky to do because you want to make sure you protect your skin and clothing from the bleach. Bleach can damage your clothing, so don’t wear your favorite outfit when performing this task. Skin irritation is also a negative side effect of this process. The issue with a bleach bath is that it will not only fade your permanent hair color but can also lighten up your natural color. Be advised it is necessary to be very careful and check the color often while the mixture is in your hair so you don’t lighten it more than desired.

The experts at oVertone also include a few simpler methods for fading your hair, including using a shampoo with sulfates, which can draw out the color faster especially when used with hot water. A clarifying shampoo is also an option because the stronger formula designed to strip away unwanted buildup and oils in your hair can also help to wash out the color as well.

Some people even suggest using a mixture of vitamin C, coconut oil, and your favorite shampoo to fade the color but this is not an effective method as shown in this video. Though you may want to go natural, the truth of the matter is that this type of color needs a stronger treatment.

How Fast Will Your Color Fade?

SunlightHow quickly these methods will work depends on a few factors. One is how porous your hair is. Dyes can deposit easier on more porous hair, which means it will also fade faster, according to oVertone. The water you use also has an effect on your hair color. If you have hard water, it will fade your hair color faster due to the minerals in it. Sunlight can also lighten your hair but this will take a long time for those with darker hair to achieve their desired look. Washing your hair daily will also fade your hair color faster, so if you are one of those people who prefer to shower every two or three days, maybe bump it up to daily to help remove your unwanted color quicker.

Hair Color Fade Final Thoughts

While hair color mishaps happen more often than anyone would like, there are options to help fade your hair color. While we have provided several options and methods to fading your hair color, we strongly urge you to discuss your plan of action with your stylist to avoid damaging your hair any further. If you are looking for more hair care articles check out our blog and our hair care buyer’s guides.