How To Get Rid Of Hair Colors
All Your Hair Questions, Answered

How To Finally Get Rid Of Stubborn Hair Colors That Won't Fade

16 April 2019
How to remove hair dye
Jelani Addams Rosa

Jelani Addams Rosa

Associate Editor

Having hot pink or bright blue hair is all fun and games—that is, until you’re ready for a change. Don’t believe us? Just ask a certain global pop sensation. In a recent interview, the 17-year-old singer admitted her signature hair color is not so much by choice—she literally can’t get rid of it. While the star has some of the world’s top hair colorists at her disposal to try and help solve her dilemma, the rest of us aren’t always so lucky.

If you’re dealing with a hair color that just won’t budge, fear not! You’ve come to the right place. We sat down with Karla Valenzuela, Redken artist, to get the scoop on everything you need to know about how to get rid of a stubborn hair color. Whether you dyed your dark brown hair purple or colored your ash blonde locks green, your hair will return to its former glory in no time with Valenzuela’s tips.


Why are fantasy colors so difficult to remove from your hair?

Once you’ve colored your hair it can be hard to remove the dye, but some colors (like pastels) can be more challenging to remove than others. While it may seem like fantasy shades are harder to get rid of because they’re so pigmented, Valenzuela says it actually has everything to do with what happened to the hair before the pastel shade was applied.

Pastel colors can be difficult to remove if they are applied on super pre-lightened hair that needs to be handled with care...Most pastel tones fade on their own since they are so diluted, but the cooler colors like blue and green can be stubborn because they really grab onto porous pre-lightened hair.

If you colorist had to apply several rounds of bleach to achieve the perfect pre-lightened base, chances are good it’ll be much harder to remove whatever shade is applied on top.


What is the best way to remove hair dye?

If you have a stubborn hair color that just won’t budge, the most important thing you can do is make an appointment with a professional colorist.

“You should always see a professional, no matter what kind of color process it’s for because a professional will know how to properly remove color, while taking care of your hair,” Valenzuela explains. “Doing it yourself can risk the chances of banding and can cause over-processed hair.”

Once you’ve made an appointment, your work is done. All you have to do it show up (on time) and let your colorist work their magic. Being the nosy, hair-obsessed beauty editors that we are, however, we just had to know how Valenzuela transforms a hair color disaster.

The stylist says she begins the hair color removal process by pre-treating the hair with Redken Clean Maniac Hair Cleansing Cream Clarifying Shampoo and Extreme CAT Protein Reconstructing Hair Treatment Spray. The shampoo helps to remove excess sebum and product buildup, while the Restructuring Hair Treatment helps to strengthen the strands before the color service. After the hair has been pre-treated, Valenzuela will apply a color remover.

“Taking these steps before starting the removal process will help you work with a clean canvas and prevent future damage,” she explains. “For removing pastel hair color, I like to use Redken City Beats Color Remover mixed with deionized water for fast and gentle removal.”

Even though hair colorists are professionals, they’re not magicians. It is possible for a hair color to be too stubborn to remove without severely damaging your locks. The key here is patience. If it took several appointments to apply your color safely, expect it to take a few appointments to remove your color safely.


Can removing stubborn hair color damage your hair?

Any color service has the potential to damage hair, but a professional colorist will do their best to maintain the look and feel of your strands.

“I always analyze the condition of the hair before proceeding to remove color,” Valenzuela says. “I like to use Redken pH-Bonder to protect the integrity of the hair during the lightening process. I also tell my clients to ‘embrace the fade’ and come in for new color transformations once most of their color has faded to minimize the amount of lightening needed.”


What products can help make this process easier?

If you have a really stubborn hue, chances are good the removal process will require a few appointments. While most of the work happens at the salon, it’s important to take extra special care of your strands in between appointments to maintain the look and feel of your mane.

“I recommend that my clients to use the Redken pH-Bonder Post-Service Perfector at home to help keep their hair integrity intact and strong for their next color transformation, Valenzuela says.

Equipped with Valenzuela’s tips, you won’t ever be stuck with a hair color you don’t love ever again.

Interested in a professional color correction? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.

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