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How to Remove Hair Dye From Skin

There are a lot of things to love about dying your own hair. It’s quick, it’s (for the most part) easy and it saves like a million dollars. What we don’t love? When some rogue box dye ends up on our skin and the frantic rubbing that ensues.

We obviously try our best to take protective measures before we apply our color, but a bit of dye inevitably somehow ends up streaking our face or neck. If we act quickly, a lightly wet a cotton ball with some warm water can do the trick — but let’s be real, we usually don’t notice the blobs of wayward color until it’s too late.

Preventative measures

Like we mentioned above, when it comes to getting dye off the skin, the best offense is a good defense.

Before you put on your plastic 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.

Removing hair color stains

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.

More: A Hair Gloss Treatment Gives You a Color & Shine Kick Without Commitment

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.

Next Up: Olive oil and baby oil

Originally published November 2011. Updated May 2017.

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