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How To Use Hair Color Remover If You Love Switching Up Your Hue

Dealing with a dye job gone wrong? Our expert breaks down everything you need to know about hair color remover.

Let’s face it: After a few weeks cooped up in the house (and a few weeks too long between touch-up appointments), that box dye you bought on an impulse starts to look pretty appealing. Even after following the directions on the box to a T, however, you may end up with hot roots, blonde that looks a bit too brassy, or a shade of brown that’s a level or two darker than you planned.

While we usually advise leaving chemical services to the professionals for these reasons, hair color mishaps are bound to happen while salons are closed. Thankfully, brands like Matrix offer hair color removers that can help your colorist give your mane a clean slate.

Wondering how a hair color eraser can help to remove hair color the right way? Jessica Kittredge, Matrix brand ambassador and stylist, breaks down everything you need to know about color remover.

Photo Credit: @xcellenthairsquare.

What is a hair color eraser?

Whether you’re coming off of a quarantine dye job gone wrong or just love switching things up regularly, a hair color eraser is a product you need to know about. A hair color eraser, better known as a hair color remover, is a product formulated with a color-reducing agent to remove semi-permanent or permanent hair color from your strands, without stripping your natural hue.

Similar to bleach, color remover enters the hair shaft and breaks up any dye that exists in the hair. Color remover, however, doesn’t remove your natural pigment—so you can use it without worrying about stripping your natural hue.

Is hair color remover damaging?

There are quite a fewhair color removers available, so what works for a friend may not work for you. While there are tons of hair color erasers on the market that you can DIY at home, for the best possible results, it’s best to leave removing unwanted to salon professionals. Typically, your colorist will create a color remover formula customized to fit your specific hair needs that will result in the least amount of damage.

Photo Credit: @row_house_hair.

What is the best color remover for hair?

You should always schedule a consultation to see what is best for you and your mane, but Matrix offers a salon-only product akin to a pink pencil eraser: the SoColor Cult Color Eraser. Kittredge says the formula is ideal for women who often change their minds about what color suits them best.

“Color eraser helps remove all artificial pigments from the hair—both direct and oxidative dyes—while maintaining the natural hair’s tone and integrity,” she says. “It’s great for clients wanting to completely change their hair tone or [who] want to go lighter but already have color on their hair.”

In other words, Color Eraser makes light work of even the most stubborn shades. In addition, the powerful formula leaves your hair feeling healthy and looking beautiful. While it looks more like a powder than the blocky pink tool you might remember, the Color Eraser serves a similar purpose.

The formula is designed to be used by a professional hairstylist during a salon appointment. There, a pro like Kittredge will mix it with a developer to lift the added color from your strands.

“Unless I know for a fact that [the guests] don’t have direct dyes on their hair, I start with a mild application to remove those from the surface of the hair first using distilled water. Then I continue to slowly strengthen my formula with developer to remove pigments that are layered deeper into the cuticle until my desired amount of removal is achieved,” Kittredge explains.

By the end of the Color Eraser application, your stylist will have a blank canvas to work with. There’s no stopping you from turning your hair rainbow, holographic, or even trying out a neon shade. Just like your grade school eraser created a blank canvas for creativity, the Color Eraser allows your stylist to start with a fresh canvas. From a professional’s viewpoint, Kittredge loves that the formula leaves hair livable and makes the salon appointment simpler.

Dye formulas each work differently, but it’s important to note that box dye formulas can be extra challenging to lift from your hair. That’s why it’s essential to be honest with your stylist if you’ve colored your hair at home. That way, they can customize a color remover formula that will work best for you.

How do I get permanent dye out of my hair?

As always, we recommend seeing a salon pro for all of your color removal needs. The process of removing hair dye, however, depends entirely on the state of your mane when you make your appointment. If your strands are pre-lightened or over-processed, it might take a few trips to the salon for your colorist to get your hue exactly the way you want it.

If you’ve opted for black hair color, keep in mind that super dark hues are notoriously stubborn and even professional colorists have a difficult time removing them. There are, however, a few steps you can take pre-appointment to make the color removal process a bit easier. Before your appointment, use a clarifying shampoo like Redken Clean Maniac Hair Cleansing Cream Clarifying Shampoo.

Photo Credit: @lisafarrall.

Can baking soda remove hair dye?

A common DIY color removal method involves combining baking soda with dandruff shampoo and using it to wash your hair. The truth is, while dandruff shampoos and baking soda have clarifying properties, there’s no evidence that they effectively remove hair color. We always recommend booking an appointment with a salon pro.

How do you care for your hair after hair color removal?

While your colorist will work to keep your strands as healthy and strong as possible, there’s always a chance that salon color will leave your strands dry, brittle, or damaged. That’s why we recommend adding a few nourishing hair care products to your at-home hair routine. First, swap out your shampoo and conditioner for a moisturizing system like Kérastase Nutritive Bain Satin 1 Shampoo and Lait Vital Conditioner. This system nourishes and softens dry hair.

If your strands are feeling extra dry, add a weekly hair mask like Redken All Soft Mega Deep Conditioning Treatment Mask to your routine. This two-in-one hair mask is both an intense conditioner and care extender designed specifically for your dry, brittle hair.

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