Was your shocking green hair a huge hit at first, but now it won’t come out? Don’t panic. It’s actually pretty easy to figure out how to get green dye out of hair. We’ll show you how in the step-by-step guide below.
The Downsides of Going Green
Isn’t it ironic that the biggest appeal of whacky colored hair dyes—their loud, unignorable, in-your-face visibility—also happens to be their biggest drawback?
A little lingering pigment might not be such a big deal if your tresses are dark enough to conceal its more ostentatious tones as they fade. If you’re fair-of-follicle, however, even subtle shades of green can hang.
And you don’t want your green hair to wear out its welcome and make your head look like an overgrown lawn. Failing to remove all the green dye from your hair isn’t the end of the world, but it can lead to some undesirable situations, such as:
- Side-eyed glances from judgmental strangers
- Difficulty pulling together color-coordinated outfits
- Permanent photographic evidence of your disastrous dye-job (seriously, this is not how you want to remember that dream vacation or your best friend’s wedding)
- That awkward stuck-between-stages look
- Plain old embarrassment
Unfortunately, there’s no way to knock out pea-green highlights in one fell swoop, especially if you were committed enough to use a permanent type of dye.
Fortunately, there are several stylist-approved secrets for speeding up the natural fading process, and we’re about to give them away free of charge.
How to Get Green Dye Out of Hair
Ready to rid your hair of its green hue once and for all? Follow these simple steps. Any one of these methods will work like a charm with a few repeat performances.
If you’re crunched for time and desperate to go back to a more organic color, you can also try combining a couple or giving each one a shot, working your way down the list until you’re free.
1. Wash With Clarifying Shampoo
Clarifying shampoos are specifically formulated to deep-clean hair from root to tip. If you’re lucky, they’ll strip your mop not only of dirt, oil, and foreign substances but also of unwanted remnants of green dye.
Pick up a bottle of clarifying shampoo (we recommend one with argan, avocado, or jojoba oil to help replace some of the beneficial natural oils you’ll lose) and wash your hair as you normally would.
Instead of rinsing the suds out right away, though, let them work their magic for 15-20 minutes before sending them on their way down the drain.
You can repeat the clarifying process as often as once a week along with regular washes, but be careful not to overdo it. Overly frequent shampooing can rob hair of its protective qualities, leading to dry, damaged, brittle strands.
2. Add Some Baking Soda or Vitamin C Into the Mix
Did you know that baking soda and vitamin C both have natural bleaching effects? Well, now you do. And now that you know that, you probably have an idea of what you can do with them aside from de-stinking your refrigerator and boosting your immune system.
That’s right, a sprinkle of baking soda or powdered vitamin C (which you can buy on the cheap at just about any grocery store—if you don’t have luck finding it, lemon juice will also do the trick) can take the cleansing power of normal or clarifying shampoo to a whole new level.
Be warned that while these additives can do a surprisingly good job of accelerating fading, they can also be pretty harsh on healthy hair. Use them at your own risk.
3. Bring on the Bath Salts
If you’re the kind of person that always has bath salts on hand (we salute you for your dedication to self-care), you’ll probably be pleased to learn that they have more uses than just relaxation.
Most bath salts are made from magnesium sulfate, and sulfates act as surfactants, tiny particles that bind to and break down various substances, including hair dye.
To take advantage of these properties, all you have to do is dissolve a package of salts in warm water, then soak your sorry green head in it for 10-15 minutes at a time. Ideally, the color should become appreciably less bold after a single soak. If not, no sweat—just do it again in a day or two.
4. Dye Over It
You might think of this as the “fight fire with fire” approach. One of the neat things about the visible spectrum is that some colors actually cancel others out when superimposed.
If you were to look at a color wheel, you’d notice that red sits on the opposite end of the spectrum from green. Adding a hint of copper or even violet can therefore do wonders for camouflaging a verdant taint, in some cases making it almost invisible.
Masking one color with another is a delicate task. As such, we strongly suggest having a professional stylist handle the dying duties to make sure you don’t just end up making the problem worse.
5. Bleach It Out
Towheaded readers, take note: if you’re a bona fide blonde, the quickest and least tedious solution may be just to drop the bleach bomb and start over again.
Bleaching takes care of unwanted coloration by doing away with color altogether, artificial and otherwise. Sure, you might look like one of the Children of the Corn for a week or two while your head resets itself.
But it won’t take long for your gorgeous golden hues to start showing through again. And, best of all, there won’t be any pesky traces of green left to torment you when you look in the mirror or flip your smartphone camera over to selfie mode.
6. Soak Up Some Sun
Rather than blasting your just-washed hair dry with intense, direct heat, step outside and allow the sun’s rays to gently kiss away the remaining moisture. As they do, the penetrating UV radiation will further the fading you’ve already effected with your clarifying shampoo, household items, or bleach.
Who knows? Some strategic sun-drying might even give you that perfectly tousled, beachy look you’ve been trying unsuccessfully to capture using an assortment of products and appliances.
The only time we don’t advise letting the light of day do what it does best is if you’ve recently re-dyed your hair to cancel out a stubborn green streak. In this case, leave well enough alone and stick to a microfiber towel or quality hair dryer.
Read Next: Best Hair Dryers
Things to Consider
Hair dyes can be a hoot to play around with, but they can also be a pain in the neck once their novelty has worn off. You may want to think twice about dying your hair green (or any other vibrant color, for that matter) if:
- Your hair is especially light in color
- Your hair already shows signs of damage from products or repeated treatments
- You work or go to school somewhere with a strict dress code
- You’ve got an important job interview, recital, or other high-profile event coming up and want to look your best
- You’re not willing to take steps to diminish the dye once it’s set in
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re still in the recon phase of your color correction campaign, you might find something useful in these answers to common questions about green dye and how to eliminate it from hair:
Is Green Hair Dye Hard to Remove?
In a word, yes. In fact, greens and blues are some of the toughest dyes to deal with because of how noticeably they stand out against most hair colors. Temporary dyes aren’t as long-lasting as permanent ones, of course, but even these can take a few washes to disappear completely.
What Color Hair Dye Cancels Out Green?
It depends on the exact shade of green your hair currently is. The closer it is to “true” green, the better true red will help cover it up. If it’s begun fading to a sickly yellow-green, you’ll get the best results from a cooler shade of red—something in the magenta/wine-red/violet family.
Does Apple Cider Vinegar/Ketchup Get Green Out of Hair?
Maybe, but not as well as the methods detailed here. If there is any substance to these sorts of folk remedies, it probably has to do with the fact that they contain low-to-moderate amounts of citric/ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C. In other words, they do the same thing pure vitamin C does, only less effectively.
So, How Do You Get Green Dye Out of Hair?
So there you have it — how to get green dye out of hair. The war against perpetually grassy locks can be long and fraught, but the right armaments will all but guarantee a swift and decisive victory.
Your most powerful weapons are a strong clarifying shampoo, a mild bleaching aid, perhaps an opposing shade of hair dye, and a little bit of patience. Wield them wisely as you go forth to reclaim what’s rightfully yours—your natural hair color.