If you're wondering how to remove semi permanent hair color, the odds are you've just spent an hour in the bathroom standing in front of the mirror, staring at yourself, and trying not to cry. Remember, it could be worse. It could be a bad perm. Luckily, as long as you act quickly, there are some things you can do to alleviate the damage.
Timing Is Everything
It takes 48 to 72 hours for dye to permanently set in the cuticle of the hair. If you're still in this window of opportunity there are several solutions available to you.
Consult a Professional
If a professional colorist performed the offending dye job, ask her to fix the damage for free. Most stylists are too concerned about their reputations to say no. If your wounds are self inflicted, go to a stylist you trust, show her the box from the dye you used, and ask her what she recommends. While home dyes do differ from salon dyes, most colorists know the home dye ingredients well enough to be able to suggest something.
If You're on Your Own
If you created the mess and can't consult a professional, you still have options. The first thing to do is to call the consumer help line listed on the dye box and see if they have any recommendations. If they don't, you can start by rinsing your hair in hot water. Amazingly, if you're within the 72-hour window, this may cause the dye to fade significantly from your hair. Washing repeatedly with a volume enhancing shampoo, which works by opening the cuticles of the hair, can also help the dye fade. If this doesn't work, you might try applying hot oil treatments, which can help strip chemical dyes.
Bring Out the Big Guns
If none of these home remedies help, there are two products on the market that might. One ‘n Only's Colorfix and Clairol's The Uncolor System are both marketed as semi-permanent hair dye removers. Before you apply either product, make sure to strand test them on hair pulled or cut from the nape of your neck to make sure they don't produce disastrous results. If you used henna to dye your hair, don't use either of these products. Henna will fade fairly quickly, and trying to strip it from your hair with dye removers may lead to very unpredictable results.