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How To Get Hair Color Off Your Skin, According To A Pro Stylist

how to remove hair dye from skin

Whether you’re at the salon or making the best of it with an at-home hair color kit, most color formulas are meant to grab onto your hair strands and stay put—lasting through washing, environmental stressors, and daily heat styling. While we always stress the dangers of box dye at, we get it, life happens! With salons closed for months on end, you might’ve resorted to DIYing your color. So, what do you do when an accidental splash of black hair dye gets on your forehead instead of your roots?

For expert advice on how to get hair color off your skin—and how to minimize the chances of it getting there in the first place—we called on Shelby Maguire, L’Oréal Professionnel brand ambassador and stylist. From the tools you need to the right technique, she’s got you covered in any crisis situation.

Photo Credit: @espacodr.

Can hair color damage your skin?

If you’re wondering whether or not hair dye can damage your skin, the answer is: no. If your skin was dyed in the process of coloring your hair, there’s no need to panic. While hair dye won’t damage your skin, hair color formulas can stain your skin and leave unsightly color splotches behind—pretty inconvenient if you have a job interview or big event coming up. What’s more, color around the hairline creates a messy appearance that can ruin the illusion that your hair color is all-natural.

Photo Credit: @chelseahaircutters.

How long does hair dye stay on skin?

Hair dye can stain skin for a few hours to a few days depending on a few factors. According to Maguire, It all depends on the choice of hair color and your skin type.

“Most hair color, even permanent or direct dye colorants, will be removed quickly from the skin or scalp. This can [take] a few hours or maximum time being a day or two,” Maguire says.

It’s not just pigmented formulas that can get on your hair, either. If you’re aiming for colorful hair or a bright blonde, you or a stylist will use bleach to lift the color from your skin. Bleach on the skin can be painful and damaging to your body, so it’s best to take precautions when using it.

How To Prevent Hair Color From Getting On Your Skin

Before we dive into removal, there are a few steps you can take before coloring your hair that will make it much less likely you’ll need a fix. According to Maguire, this starts with a moisturizing cream applied all over your face before going near hair color.

“Dry skin can absorb hair color much easier than nourished, moisturized skin,” she says.

Lay down a barrier between your skin and any potential dye stains with the help of petroleum jelly or baby oil. Whether you’re at home or in a salon, be sure to take advantage of the extra protection.

“Petroleum jelly works great as a barrier cream to put along the edges of your hairline prior to a color service,” Maguire explains. “You can ask your stylist to put a barrier cream on your skin, especially if you know that your skin absorbs hair color easily.”

Finally, make sure you’re covered up. A towel over your shoulders, gloves on your hands (if you’re applying the color), and careful color placement can all help ensure you escape your color service unscathed.

How To Get Hair Color Off Your Skin At The Salon

If you’re getting a color service done at a salon, chances are slim you’ll end up with bleach or pigment on your skin. These are professionals! They know how to manage so that you’re not stuck with pink ears for days after your appointment.

Should hair color get on your skin accidentally, don’t panic. A professional stylist will get hair color off your skin by using a dry paper towel, according to Maguire.

“Using a wet towel may set the hair color into your skin quicker, depending on the type of color,” she explains.

Some professionals totally eschew traditional dye formulas for oil-based versions that are less prone to staining. Maguire stands by L’Oréal Professionnel’s INOA formula, an ammonia-free hair color with Oil Delivery System technology.

“[The formula] aids in easy removal of hair color from the skin. INOA hair color lifts away from the skin as it is emulsified—massaged—at the shampoo bowl before rinsing,” the stylist explains.

If bleach has fallen on your skin, a wet towel can help to minimize any harmful effects.

Photo Credit: @dremalczewska.

How To Get Hair Color Off Your Skin At Home

Those working in front of their bathroom mirrors to produce salon-like color results should take as many precautions as possible to ensure they don’t end up covered in dye. On the off chance that you’re reading this two-thirds of the way into a home dye job, however, there are still steps you can take to remove the unwanted color from your forehead.

“If hair color is on your skin and has stained it, I recommend first trying to use more of the hair color to remove itself,” Maguire says. “Often, if the same hair color is gently massaged into the stained area, it wipes away with a dry or damp, warm towel.”

If wiping doesn’t work, try a formula specifically designed to remove hair color from the skin. Color-removing products should be available at your local beauty supply store.

Photo Credit: @blownawayby_kimberly.

Will coconut oil get hair dye off skin?

Coconut oil is a powerhouse ingredient for hair (hydration, softness, you name it), but it can also work as a barrier to prevent hair color from staining your skin as well as a gentle way to remove it. Simply rub a dime-size amount of coconut oil in circular motions around the stained spot to remove the color in minutes.

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