How To Get Hair Dye Off Skin, Fast | What Really Works.

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Welcome! You’re here to find out how to get hair dye off skin. (Oh dear).

There’s nothing like spending precious time applying a fabulous new color to your hair only to find after 45 mins that it’s dyed everything within a three-metre radius too.

You forget to put gloves on, it’s all over your hairline or the application process went horribly wrong. Either way, your skin is now stained and you need some hair dye remover.

The perfect hair color looks great on your hair, but not so much on your face, ears, neck and hands.

We’ve all been there!

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It doesn’t matter how careful you are, accidents happen. You might have dyed your hair at home or in a salon, but either way, if you have stained skin then there’s only one place to turn for help – this article.

We’re going to show you all of our tried and tested methods for getting hair dye off skin – even from sensitive parts of the body such as face, ears and neck. So read on…

How can you get hair dye off skin?

1. Use a face cloth soaked in dish soap, olive oil or coconut oil.

2. Apply a layer of Vaseline and wipe off

3. Non-gel toothpaste

4. Bicarbonate of soda

5. Soak a cotton ball in makeup remover

6. Shampoo and warm water

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Act Quickly with Dish Soap.

If you need to remove hair dye from your skin really quickly, then the best way to do it is with a damp washcloth and a drop of dish soap. Here’s what to do:

1. Soak a face cloth in warm water with a touch of dish soap or washing up liquid in a bowl.

2. Press the soaked cloth onto the dyed areas of skin for a few seconds.

3. Wipe away the hair dye in circular motions gently with the cloth.

4. Rinse the area with water to remove any residue.

5. Repeat steps 2-4 until all the hair dye is removed from your skin.

If you don’t want to use dish soap, you can also use baby oil, olive oil or coconut oil to remove hair dye from your skin.

Just follow the same steps as above. You may need to massage the oil into your skin for a few minutes longer. You can also use a soft toothbrush to scrub any stubborn areas.

Be careful if you have any allergies!

Watch and learn: How to remove hair dye stains at home.

Here’s a great video that shows you how to remove hair dye after an at-home dye job with the products you have at home. Find out what really works and see it in action.

Try Make-Up Remover for Fast Removal

If you need to remove hair dye from your skin really quickly, then the best way to do it is with a water-based make-up remover.

Soak a cotton pad or ball in make up remover or use make-up remover wipes and rub it on the affected area. This will help to lift the dye away from your skin.

If the hair dye still won’t come off – and your skin isn’t sensitive – then you can try using a cotton ball or paper towel soaked in nail polish remover. Use this with caution: This is a super-strength method.

Gently rub the cotton ball over the dyed areas of your skin until the dye comes off. Rinse your skin thoroughly with warm water when you’re finished.

Remember, it’s always best to test a small area of your skin first before using any of these methods on your skin.

This will help to ensure that your skin can handle the product and that it won’t cause any irritation.

Does permanent hair dye come off skin?

The short answer is YES. But it’s pretty stubborn!

Hair dye is permanent and will stain your skin, nails, towels and that’s a fact. It’s harder to remove than semi-permanent or direct dyes like Arctic Fox and Manic Panic.

The best thing to do is avoid the staining that occurs by using barrier cream like vaseline all around your hairline to protect it from the dye.

But we all know accidents happen! And sometimes you simply can’t avoid getting hair dye on your skin. And this guide will help you to remove it fast!

Home Remedies for Stubborn Stains.

Hair dye stains can stick around long after your fresh new color has set.

Especially if it’s been there for some time or you’ve used something like henna hair dye which can give you a tattoo!

You might have given up trying to remove it, or just accepted that this is how you look today.

But there are many things you can try at home to remove hair dye with products and potions you have in the house.

How effective they are depends on how much hair dye you need to remove, what type of hair dye you’ve used, how well ‘set’ the dye is and how much your skin is stained.

Many of these solutions will also work on your clothes, carpet, bathroom counter and even your walls!

1. Use a cotton ball soaked in olive oil or coconut oil. Rub it on the affected area and leave it in for a few minutes to soak before wiping away. Repeat the process if neccessary.

2. Apply a layer of Vaseline then wipe off with a damp cloth

3. Non-gel toothpaste – rub it gently on the dye patches with a cotton swab or a cotton ball and rinse it off with water.

4. Bicarbonate of soda – make a paste of bicarbonate of soda and some water and use it like an exfoliator on the trouble spots. Baking soda works too. Rinse it away with warm water.

5. Soak a cotton ball in makeup remover or cleanser and then wipe the area.

6. Try using shampoo – any type will do! Lather up the area then rinse off.

Does Vaseline help remove hair dye from skin?

Vaseline can help to remove hair dye from your skin by creating a barrier between your skin and the dye.

Simply apply a small amount of Vaseline to the stained areas of your skin and then wipe it away with a damp cloth. Repeat this process until the hair dye is gone.

Can baking soda remove hair dye from skin?

Baking soda can help to remove hair dye from your skin by exfoliating the stained area nad removing any dry skin cells that the dye has got stuck to!

Simply make a paste out of baking soda and water and then rub it onto the dyed areas of your skin. Rinse it away with warm water after a few minutes.

Does milk remove hair dye from skin?

Another effective way to remove stains is with milk!

The lactic acid in milk helps to break down the pigment in hair dye, making it easier to wipe away.

Simply soak a cotton ball in milk and gently dab it on the stained area. After a few minutes, you should see the color start to fade. Just be sure to rinse the milk off afterwards so you don’t end up with sticky or smelly skin!

Does vinegar get hair dye off skin?

Vinegar can also be used to remove hair dye from your skin.

Simply soak a cotton ball in white vinegar or apple cider vinegar and then apply it to the stained area. Leave it for a few minutes before wiping it away with a damp cloth. You may need to repeat this process a few times for stubborn stains.

Just be sure to rinse your skin thoroughly afterwards as vinegar can be quite drying. You can also mix it with water in a 1:1 ratio to help dilute it.

How to get hair dye off hands.

Here’s a great ‘How to’ film that shows you how to use these tips and tricks to get dye off your hands (ever forgotten to wear gloves?).

These methods can be used to remove the dye from anywhere on your skin too.

How to get hair dye off your forehead.

If you’ve dyed your hair at home then it’s likely that some color will have ended up on your forehead, no matter how much care you took.

To remove hair dye from your forehead and hairline, firstly wet the area with warm water then apply a small amount of shampoo. Work into a lather then rinse off.

You can also try using olive oil or coconut oil. Soak a cotton ball in the oil then gently rub it over the stained area. Wipe away with a damp cloth.

For those with sensitive skin, try this method: apply a layer of Vaseline to the area then wipe away with a damp cloth.

If neither of these methods work then make a paste out of baking soda and water and rub it into the stain. Leave for a few minutes then rinse off with warm water.

Should I use alcohol to get hair dye off my skin?

Search the t’internet and you’ll discover many articles will suggest using pure rubbing alcohol – don’t do this!

It’s super drying with harsh ingredients and could give you sore patches and even a nasty reaction. 

These are great solutions if you’re trying to get hair dye off your walls, but your skin and hair? Not so much!

There are plenty of products available that don’t have such harsh chemicals and will remove your hair color mishaps from your face and hands without removing your skin.

Does hand sanitizer get rid of hair color stains?

Yes, definitely! Hair dye stains on the skin will come off with hand sanitizer as it is rubbing alcohol based without being so harsh and dries quickly. 

And let’s face it, we all have tons of this stuff at home right now!

It is seriously easy to use. Use a cotton bud or your fingers and start wiping the skin around your hairline, neck line etc.

You don’t have to scrub too hard, but make sure that most of the hand sanitizer is washed off when you are done.

Now let it dry before doing anything else! Most of the time you will be able to wipe clean most of the dye stains in this way.

What really works to remove hair dye?

The safest and most gentle way to strip hair color stains from your face and hands is to use cleansing products that will remove the dye while being kind to your skin.

Some are specially formulated to remove hair dye stains from your skin and are used in salons and by hairdressers and professional colorists in the know.

Some are ‘normal’ cleansing products that are gentle but effective at removing hair dye as well as things like make-up.

We recommend:

  • Hair dye stain remover products – these are made for the job and typically what colorists and hairdressers use to remove the odd splat.
  • Water-based makeup removers – these are especially safe and effective for removing hair dye from your face as well as your makeup!


Always wear gloves and wash your hands after applying hair dye.

Always use barrier cream around your hairline, ears and nape of your neck.

Keep the application process as tidy as possible, using only enough product for what you need at a time so there’s less chance of spilling or over-application.

Use a tint brush if it makes sense – this can often be easier than trying to apply with your fingers and may reduce staining on your skin too.

How long does it take hair dye to come out of skin?

It typically takes hair dye around two minutes and a bit of rubbing to come out of your skin. However, this will vary depending on the type of hair dye you’re using and how long it’s been on your skin.

The good news is that even stubborn hair dye stains will usually fade from your skin within a few days. In the meantime, you can try one of our tricks above to speed up the process.

How to prevent hair dye stains.

Of course, the best thing to do to stop getting hair dye everywhere is to focus on prevention, not cure!

The gloves that come with hair dye can be flimsy and split, putting dye over your fingertips and under your nails and hands which is a pain to remove.

Get yourself a box of disposable gloves that are more durable to protect your hands.

Make sure you protect the skin around your face by putting a barrier cream around your hairline, ears and neck.

We’re fans of good old petroleum jelly, Vaseline!

Parting words.

Hair dye removal is super easy – you just need to know what products to use!

This article has hopefully helped you avoid some of the most common hair dyeing mistakes and given you a few tips on how to remove hair dye from skin when accidents occur.

Good luck!


  • Nicola Freeman, Creative Director & Content Lead
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    With over two decades of passionate hair dyeing experience, I've experimented with nearly every shade imaginable. My journey began long before blogging; as an award-winning copywriter in London and New York, I shaped narratives for iconic brands. However, when friends sought advice during lockdown for at-home hair dyeing, I realized my true calling. Beyond being your hair color expert, I'm a mom of two girls, wife to artist Tony, and an avid soccer player!