In this post, I’ll be discussing something that is not very conventional these days: How to remove permanent hair dye from grey hair.
For years, society has put pressure on us to hide our aging. Products are consistently pumped out for eliminating wrinkles, spots, and blemishes. Products for evening out your skin tone, and masking any signs of your latest birthday.
Of course, hair dye to cover grey hair is included in all of this.
How dare you get older, gain more experience, wisdom, and mark off another year of relationships, happiness, sadness, loss, change, success, and acquisition? I say grey hair is something to be proud of, no matter what your age is.
You cannot control when you will start to turn grey, and a lot of the influence is in your genes.
Personally, I prefer the natural salt and pepper look, and no matter what, there are ways to make your natural hair look amazing!
So, show it off and be proud of your hair!
What causes grey hair?
There are a plethora of reasons as to why our hair turns grey.
Genetics and the amount of stress we are under both have a big role in this life milestone, but what actually causes our hair to lose its color?
The basic answer is: As you age and your hair goes through its natural cycle of growing, dying, and regenerating, your hair follicle begins to produce less color.
Melanin cells are what gives our skin and hair their color, and as you age, your hair produces less melanin until it stops production altogether.
Generally, once you hit your mid-thirties or so, you may start to notice some grey.
Stress is another factor that can impact when you get grey hair.
While stress, in itself, does not cause grey hair, it causes hair to fall out more quickly, and your body reacts by growing hair more quickly.
This speeds up the growth cycle of your hair, meaning your hair is producing less and less melanin sooner.
That is why you can see middle-aged men in stressful jobs, (like the president of the USA) turn grey in a shorter amount of time.
There are also other contributing factors to why and when you begin to get grey hair, like the genetic history of your family.
Sometimes you could start greying at an early age because it’s hereditary.
If your parents, siblings, aunts, or uncles started greying early, then it’s genetic.
Certain medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism and vitiligo can either slow down or destroy melanin in the hair follicles.
This leads to the greying of hair.
A poor diet that is devoid of minerals, vitamins, copper, and protein can also contribute to turning your hair grey.
Fade the dye…
The upkeep with constantly covering your grey hair and new growth can be exhausting, time-consuming, and expensive.
Even more so, if you have it done professionally at a salon because you’re unable to do it at home, or lack the help you need.
It may feel like you’re stuck in this cycle of constant upkeep and dyeing because you have already started dyeing it, and you cannot stand the sight of your roots when they come in.
Well, I have good news for you.
There are ways to safely fade the dye that is already in your hair so that you can transition back to your natural color and growth.
That way, you can spend your time on what’s important, and doing what you enjoy, without having to worry about your next root touch-up.
The truth is, turning grey is a fact of life, and instead of being shamed and desperate to hide it, we should embrace and celebrate it.
So, if you’re exhausted from all the root touch-ups and dyeing processes, but can’t stand the sight of your natural hair growing alongside the hair that is already dyed, you will find the help and advice you need in this article.
What does hair dye do to your hair?
How hair dye changes your hair depends on a few factors.
First, did you make your hair lighter, or just deposited color to make it darker?
What volume developer have you used, and what hair type do you have?
Getting back your natural hair color needs to be based on the methods you used to change your hair in the first place.
Making your hair a lighter color is much more permanent than only depositing color.
This is because you must use a bleaching agent to put your hair through a chemical process called oxidation.
During the lightening process, your hair cuticle is actually opened up to allow the bleaching agent in.
Once in, the bleach literally dissolves the color pigment out of your hair.
This is the only way possible to make your hair a lighter color.
On the other hand, if you just wanted to cover your grey hair with a color that is darker than your natural color, then you, at most only needed a 10 volume developer, which doesn’t cause any bleaching to occur.
Instead, the color molecules only coat the outside of the hair.
Sometimes, a darker hair color doesn’t even use a developing agent.
If no developer was used during the dyeing process, the chances are the dye you used is semi or demi-permanent and should naturally fade out over time, and there are ways to speed up this process.
The color removal process
We’ll look at the process of getting rid of deposit-only color, as well as lightened hair.
Deposit-only color (darker)
The good news is this should be easier to remove due to the color only coating the outside of the hair, and not chemically changing it.
Washing your hair usually fades this color, so a few rounds of a tough, but loving scrub can go a long way, especially if you use a clarifying shampoo.
There are a few options you can choose from to get the color out of your hair.
Bleached or lightened hair
This can get a bit more tricky since you can’t actually get your natural hair color back until the new growth comes in.
You may need to use a filler to add some of the undertones back into your hair, depending on how dark your natural grey is.
You will have to dye your hair as close to your natural grey as possible and use the correct products and care to maintain this color, so you can transition in your natural hair color.
Prepping your hair for color removal
What you want to be concerned with, above all else, is maintaining the health of your hair.
Hair processes work best on healthy and hydrated hair.
Removing color can damage your hair causing breakage, and leaving it feeling dry and straw-like.
If you are using any lifters on your hair, you should refrain from washing your hair for at least a few days before doing so.
That way, your scalp is able to produce enough natural oils to coat the hair and protect it.
Also, the lifting agent generally is more effective on dry, unwashed hair.
A few things you can do is cut back on washing your hair and avoid using heat on it for a couple of weeks before you try to remove the color from it.
Heat styling and overwashing can dry out your hair and make it susceptible to breakage.
It is also recommended to use hair masks and a few deep conditioning treatments to nourish and hydrate your hair.
How to remove permanent hair dye from grey hair
Please note: You should perform a strand test before attempting any of these methods on your whole head.
This will save you from unwanted damage or unpredictable reactions.
The quickest and easiest thing you can do is purchase a dandruff shampoo or clarifying shampoo, and wash your hair thoroughly a few times.
You should be able to see the color lighten and fade over a couple of washes.
Baking soda and shampoo
Mixing 1 part baking soda with 1 part shampoo (again dandruff or clarifying shampoo is recommended).
The abrasiveness from the baking soda works to loosen the bond between the color molecules and your hair.
This may dry out your hair a little, so be sure to hydrate it before and after.
Mix 1 part white vinegar with 1 part water, and apply the diluted vinegar to your hair.
Then, put on a shower cap or a plastic bag over your hair.
Let it sit for about 20 minutes.
The acidity from the vinegar will help remove the dye from your hair over time.
Vitamin C tablets
This method is more effective if you have very recently dyed your hair.
Mash up vitamin C tablets and add hot water so that it has a paste-like consistency.
Cover your hair with a shower cap or plastic bag and let the mixture sit on your hair for about an hour.
Rinse your hair with hot water.
Products to look for
There are several products on the market that are made specifically to fade hair dye out of your hair.
Here are some products that have received great reviews from users.
These are added as a guide.
Please, do your research and make an informed decision about what will work best with your hair type.
- Color Oops Extra Conditioning Hair Color Remover
- L’Oreal – ColorZap Haircolor Remover
- Color X-Change Phase-Out Gentle Dye Decolorizer
- Colour B4. Hair Colour Remover Extra Strength
Making the transition to your natural grey less noticeable
Another option you can choose is to go through the bleaching process to dissolve all of the color pigment from your hair.
From there, you can use a toner to mute your yellow or orange tones, and dye your hair a grey that matches your natural grey.
That way, when your new growth starts to appear, it is a much more subtle transition.
To bleach your hair, I would highly recommend going to a professional colorist.
However, if you feel comfortable enough, there are ways to bleach your hair at home safely.
Avoid a box bleaching kit; you will get much better results with powder bleach and a developer you mix yourself.
Start with a strand test first.
You want to make sure your hair hasn’t been washed for a few days and is dry.
It will be a good idea to do some deep conditioning treatments leading up to bleaching.
Depending on how dark your dyed hair is, you will probably want a 30 volume developer.
This will give you a good lift, without causing a lot of damage.
If your hair is very dark, however, you may want to try a 40 volume developer.
Section your hair
For longer hair, you want to divide it into four equal sections.
First, by parting your hair down the middle.
Then, you want to section off each of those parts starting at the top of your head, parting down past your ear.
Always start with the very back and bottom of your hair to bleach.
Never start with the roots when applying bleach.
Your scalp gives off a lot of heat, and heat makes the bleaching process faster.
When you start with your roots they will turn out to be several shades lighter than the rest of your head.
You should start mid-length and work the bleach down to the ends.
Use small sections about ¼ inch in width.
Work with one of the very back sections bottom-to-top.
Once you cover your whole hair you can go back and do your roots, or let it process for ten minutes and then go back and cover your roots.
Once the bleach is applied, you will want to take a shower cap and spritz a good bit of water on the inside, and then place it over your hair.
You want to create a steamy, very humid environment for the bleach.
Do not let it get too dry.
Keep checking on the lifting process every ten minutes.
Usually, bleaching takes anywhere from 35 to 60 minutes.
Do not exceed 60 minutes.
Rinse out the bleach with lukewarm water and be sure to use a conditioner.
If you did not achieve the desired lightness, I would wait a few days and do some deep conditioning hair masks and treatments before attempting to bleach your hair again.
A toner will help to mute any yellow or orange brassiness in your hair. (Blue for orange, purple for yellow.)
From here, you can add the grey color to your hair, and your natural grey should grow in more naturally then.
Maintaining a healthy grey color
Bleaching your hair can cause a lot of damage so it is important to keep your hair hydrated and to close the cuticles to prevent further breakage.
Using a bonding agent such as Olaplex can help close your cuticles.
To maintain your grey color, you will want to wash with a silver shampoo.
Usually these are tinted with blue or purple tones, to keep your silver or grey hair vibrant and lively. At the very least, you want a sulfate-free shampoo.
It is also a good idea to undergo regular Purple Hair Mask treatments to keep your hair color looking healthy and bright.
If you’ve been wondering how to remove permanent hair dye from grey hair, there you have it.
If you’re ready to embrace the natural and flaunt your silver locks, then you have plenty of options to choose from.
As always, I recommend seeing a professional colorist, but there are plenty of safe things you can do at home, it is just up to you to do your research and decide what is best for your hair and dye situation.
You know your hair best.