How Do Hairdressers Remove Colour?

Stripping is the process of breaking apart the bonds between the melanin that gives your hair natural colour and the hair dye itself. This results in removing unwanted hair colour when you’ve had a dye mishap!

This chemical procedure involves the application of a sulfur-based product to make hair more porous and reverse the oxidation of colour modules. Sound complicated? Look at how to safely strip hair colour at home and find out how do hairdressers strip hair dye to remove colour?

Understanding the basics

Your hair colour is determined by the type and amount of melanin found in the thickest part of your hair known as the cortex. You can change this colour by removing the melanin as in bleaching or using a hair dye to add artificial pigment to your hair.

Hair dyes can be:

  • Temporary: these can be washed out in a single shampoo.
  • Semi-permanent: these dyes enter the cortex but don’t chemically mix with your natural pigment so they gradually fade after a number of washes.
  • Permanent: these hair dyes penetrate the outermost layer of hair known as the cuticle and mix with your natural colour in the cortex.

Stripping hair colour at home

You can find hair stripping products online or in many retail outlets. The factors you need to take into account are whether you’ve already bleached your hair before dying as this means it won’t be possible to regain your natural colour. Bleaching your hair will have lightened both your natural pigment and any hair dye.

Sulfur-based strippers work by opening the hair cuticle and breaking down the dye molecules that are attached to the cortex allowing them to be washed away. As these products specifically target hair dye they won’t change your natural hair tones.

Stripping black hair colour needs an extra-strength dye-removal kit as black is the most difficult dye to remove without damaging your hair. A clarifying shampoo should be the first step as this can really help to remove a lot of the dye build-up. The more colour you can remove here means less drastic measures will need to be taken later on.

Washing several times with a clarifying shampoo followed by the application of a quality deep conditioner will relieve any dryness. The hair dye remover will need to be mixed to start the chemical reaction needed to break down the permanent or semi-permanent hair dye modules. You can then apply it by brush or hand.

Typically the dye remover needs to sit for around 25 minutes before rinsing out. Then you’ll need to shampoo your hair at least twice to get rid of any residue, and use your deep conditioner again or conditioning treatment.

Need a hair colourist in London?

Frankie Cochrane is a boutique hair salon in Holborn, London, with hairstylists skilled in colour treatment. 25 years of experience makes them the go-to salon when you’re looking for a colour rescue service!

When you need to remove a permanent hair dye it's best left to the professionals. There are different techniques, products, and processes used to remove hair colour and it can be complex in achieving the desired result. Your colourist may use bleach or sulfur-based stripping products to lighten your hair back to enable it to be re-dyed safely.

You’ll get all the help and advice you need when colouring disasters strike, alongside assessments of your hair for damage and the best treatment options. You’ll leave the salon looking and feeling a new you.