While coloring hair at home isn't for the faint of heart, it doesn't have to be the messy, perma-stained experience you remember from middle school. Besides taking protective measures before you apply, there are several ways to erase one of the most common at-home coloring mistakes and telltale signs that you used dye from a box. We're talking about hair color applied to your skin.
There are plenty of old wives' tales about how to treat the common problem of stained skin as a result of dyeing hair. If you can act quickly, your best bet is to lightly wet a cotton ball with some warm water and gently wipe the stray hue away before it can set into the skin (it usually takes several minutes before the color has a chance to truly permeate).
The other foolproof method lies in preventing hair color skin stains before they start. Before you put on your colorist gloves, apply a dab of conditioner, Vaseline or lip balm around the hairline and other areas you know are subject to dripping color (like earlobes, eyebrows, the jawline and the nape of your neck). This will provide a barrier that color can't attach to or stain. Further, having a visual cue of your danger zones can help to mentally manage your color application.
If you're past the point of creating a color boundary and you've now got a full-blown stain to contend with, Kari Hill, expert colorist for L'Oreal Paris, advises clients that when stains are faint, patience may just be the best policy. "If there is a shadow, I tell my clients to go home and wait a bit until some of their natural oils have returned to their skin. Then I have them use an oil-based eye makeup remover with a cotton ball," shares Hill.
There are loads of other old wives' tales out there when it comes to removing hair color from the skin. Though many of these will depend on how much color has seeped, how permanent the dye blend is, where it is located and how sensitive your skin is, one of these home-tested methods might just do the trick for you.
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