How to Get Hair Dye Off Skin

Janis

By Janis | Updated January 3, 2023

This is a more common situation than you think, given how often we use dyes nowadays. But though it is common, it is still unpleasant, and with hair dye containing a lot of chemicals, you want to get the dye off your skin as soon as you can.

How to Get Hair Dye off Skin

Start by understanding why the dye got on skin

It’s important to start off by understanding why the dye got on your skin in the first place.

It is often the case that people have spilled some when applying it. It can be a tricky thing to do neatly. If you have not used latex gloves, then it is quite likely the application process has caused it.

Sometimes dye leaks from the brush or bowl, however, and this can be a difficult thing to avoid if you are unprepared. Often people under-prepare for hair dyeing, and the truth is it can be a complicated process that benefits from a significant focus on preparation.

Start by understanding why the dye got on skin

Using gloves is extremely important

It is absolutely essential to use gloves when dyeing your hair in order to protect your skin from the chemicals in the dye. The best gloves to use are tight fitting latex gloves that are very thin, so that you have maximum grip and as natural a feeling for what you’re doing as possible.

It is not merely a matter of avoiding chemicals. Using gloves can also make the dyeing process more effective, as your hands won’t be left with residual color. Given that sometimes the dye on the hands can affect the uniformity or control of the application of the dye to the hair it is wise to have the reassurance that at any one time you can put on a clean pair of gloves.

Using gloves is extremely important

Preparing the area with warm water and soap

It may sound simple, but there are actually some processes to be aware of. 

  1. The first step is preparing the area with warm water and soap. This helps make sure that the dye will come off effectively and it also reduces the risk of it staining the skin. 
  2. Start by running the affected area of skin under warm water. Then use a mild complexion cleanser or a gentle liquid soap. You do not need an excessively abrasive cleaner, and in fact that approach to cleansing will potentially damage your skin by making it burn slightly, so ensure you use a cleanser suited to gentle cleansing. 
  3. Work the soap into a healthy lather and gently massage the area with your fingertips. This should help to release a significant amount of the dye. 
  4. Then rinse off with warm water. 

It may be the case you have to follow this process a number of times until all the dye has gone. You are far better repeating this process a couple of times with a gentle soap than trying with a harsher soap to get rid of all the dye at once in one rinse. 

Preparing the area with warm water and soap

Consider skin sensitivity

Before you start down a dyeing process, you need to check the nature of the product in relation to your skin. If you have sensitive skin, it can be very risky dyeing your hair alone at home. But if you do have sensitive skin and have some dye on it, it really is important that you take care to act promptly and also that you use a soap suited to your skin type. 

Different cleaning solutions 

The nature of the cleaning agent you use may depend on where the dye is on your body. 

If it is on your face, you will have to exercise extreme care, as the chemicals from the dye may mark your face more significantly than they might other parts of your body. In addition, facial skin is often very sensitive and it can be harder to scrub it clean than to scrub clean an elbow or forearm, for example. 

If the dye is indeed on your arms or hands, then rubbing them with lotion could work. Alternatively, as these tend to be less sensitive areas of the body, you may be able to use makeup remover, or even nail polish remover, so long as it is not too harsh on your skin. 

Whatever approach you take, ensure to have warm fresh water to hand and some cotton wool or cotton swabs, as these will make the removal process softer and more gentle, and it may be the case that you need to have warm water to help the process along. 

If the dye is on materials, such as fabric or carpet, you can much more easily use harsher cleaning agents, though be careful not to use any that will bleach the color. Washing up liquid is a good option, and you may also find other forms of washing detergent effective. In addition, white vinegar, lemon juice, or baking soda can also be effective ways of taking dye out of a fabric. Use them in a warm water solution for best effect. 

Different cleaning solutions

Why did the dye get on the skin?

Combating careless mistakes

We have to accept human error sometimes! If you haven’t got gloves to hand, one interesting way of protecting exposed skin is to apply a light layer of vaseline to it beforehand. If dye does spill or leak in the processes, you will find it much easier to get rid of if you have this protective layer of lubricant. 

In some cases, the dye may seep through the vaseline and reach the skin, but hopefully this will still be a much more dilute and weaker amount of dye than would otherwise be the case. 

If you have sensitive skin, be sure, of course, to check that your skin is fine with vaseline or any equivalent protective cream. Alternatives can be coconut oil or olive oil, though be careful as these will not always be as immediately responsive to some soaps. 

Why did the dye get on the skin

Glove types 

These can be various, but the key is that they fit well and do not intrude into the workings of the application. 

Common types of gloves for dyeing processes are vinyl gloves, nitrile gloves, or latex gloves. Vinyl gloves are cheap and disposable, but the downside is that they can be quite weak and can tear easily. Nitrile gloves are a stronger glove, but on occasions they can become hot and constrictive. In terms of overall protection, latex gloves are the most effective, but their issue is that they are more expensive. Ultimately, a degree of trial and error may be necessary to see what works for you personally. 

Glove types

Ensure that all areas are covered 

Be careful to give yourself a good overall check after you have apple dye. Though the most visible parts of you may be clear, there may still be dye behind ears, behind the back of your arms, or at the back of the neck below the hairline. Having some cleansing wipes handy to ensure that all these areas can get wiped is essential. 

Prepare the area

Gather necessary materials

Before the process begins, you need a checklist. This will ensure you are prepared and that there is less likelihood of any spillages or undue staining of the skin.

  • Gloves
  • A protective skin barrier, such as some form of petroleum jelly
  • Warm water
  • Cleansing wipes
  • A cleansing soap
  • A clean towel or face cloth to assist in wiping you clean
  • Cotton wool or cotton pads

These things being to hand will make a difference to how cleanly and safely you dye. 

Prepare the area

Wet skin with lukewarm water 

It is important to use warm or lukewarm water, as this helps to open the pores and loosen the dye. Avoid cold water, as cold tends to close pores and will make the removal of the dye significantly harder. It will leave some dye blocked in your pores, which you absolutely do not want. 

Wet skin with lukewarm water

Avoid over-scrubbing 

One important piece of advice is to ensure that if the dye does not come off straight away that you avoid scrubbing hard at it. This is only likely to spread it. Much better is to allow the soap to sit on the skin for a few minutes before you attempt to scrub again. This will help loosen the dye from the skin and make it easier to remove.

Understand Skin Sensitivity

If you have highly sensitive skin, be aware that you may be wise to consult with a professional before attempting to apply hair dye alone. Not only could they advise on good techniques to use, but they could also recommend products specifically designed to help remove hair dye without causing any irritation.

Understand Skin Sensitivity

Cleaning Solutions 

Cleaning Solutions

Summary options 

As a summary of options for cleaning the dye from your skin, the following is a useful list to take note of. 

  • A shampoo or body wash used in a warm shower where your pores are opened up by the heat
  • Make-up removing wipes
  • Cotton wool with a small amount of alcohol – only if your skin is not sensitive and the dye is not on the face
  • A mild cleanser applied on a clean cloth or on cotton wool swabs
  • Home remedies, such as a dilute vinegar solution, but not on the face or on sensitive skin
  • A baking soda paste solution
  • Hydrogen peroxide. If you opt for this approach, be very careful to read any instructions very carefully, as it can be a strong chemical in itself, and it is not always wise to have it in contact with the skin for long.