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How to Get Hair Dye Off Scalp But Not Hair | 5 Steps

How to Get Hair Dye Off Scalp But Not Hair | 5 Steps

Have you ever wondered how you get hair dye off your scalp but not your hair? If you’re trying to avoid getting your hair professionally colored in a salon every six to eight weeks, I’m sure you’ve found yourself asking this question at least once.

Dying your hair at home might be a cost-effective way to spruce up your hair’s color, but it can also be a hassle if you have no one to help you apply it to your strands. 

You know how it goes; you carefully mix that foul-smelling concoction. Then meticulously apply it from root to tips, making sure to cover every strand, and somehow you slip or get too close, and the dye ends up applied below your hairline and onto your skin. 

Lovely! With those dye stains, you now get to contend with the embarrassment of people knowing you dye your hair at home.

Worse yet, if you use a semi-permanent or permanent hair dye, those stains will remain on your skin for one to two weeks! When you experience an unfortunate situation like this, knowing how to quickly and effectively get hair dye off the scalp but not the hair is essential.

Removing Hair Dye From Scalp But Not Hair

Even if the hair dye you’re using is permanent, don’t fret; it’s not the end of the world. If you get it on your skin, you can remove it, but because of hair dye’s toxicity, it’s best to get it off quickly and thoroughly.

Like with most things, the best way to achieve something is to have the right tools and knowledge of how to use those tools. Below is a simplified example of how different methods of getting hair dye off the scalp but not the hair works.

  1. Prep the product and yourself
  2. Apply the product to the location affected by the hair dye
  3. Massage the product gently until the hair dye comes off
  4. Wipe away excess product from the area
  5. Clean the affected area with water and pat dry

The 3 Best Methods to Get Hair Dye Off Scalp But Not Hair

Luckily, there are several methods of removing hair dye from your scalp without removing or fading it from your hair. We’ve included the top three methods and step-by-step instructions to ensure that you successfully get the dye off your scalp but not your hair.

So, you never have to leave home again with hair dye stains on your skin, detracting from your beautiful and new hair color.

Method 1: Petroleum Jelly

Man putting his hand in a container of petroleum jelly for a piece on how to get hair dye off scalp but not hair

Towfiqu Ahamed Barbhuiya/Shutterstock

One of the best ways to remove hair dye from the scalp but not the hair is by using petroleum jelly, such as vaseline. Because petroleum jelly is safe and good for the skin, it is one of the best ways to remove hair dye from the scalp.

1. Prep

Because color transfer is possible, it would be best to wear clean gloves before proceeding. However, if you don’t have clean gloves, you can use a cotton swab or pad to massage petroleum jelly into the skin to avoid color transfer.

2. Apply

Apply a dime-sized amount of petroleum jelly to the affected area.

3. Massage

Gently massage the petroleum jelly onto the affected area with your fingertips or cotton swab/pad.

4. Wipe

Now wipe away the excess petroleum jelly with a clean rag.

5. Clean

Lastly, clean the area with soap and water and pat dry.

Read Next: How to Get Vaseline Out of Hair

Method 2: Olive Oil or Baby Oil

Several containers of olive oil pictured in jars on a wooden table

Dusan Zidar/Shutterstock

Another great way to remove hair dye from the scalp but not the hair is by using olive oil or baby oil. Both are gentle, effective ways to remove hair dye from the skin but not the hair.

1. Prep

Since color transfer can happen, it would be best to wear clean gloves if you’re going to use your fingers. A cotton swab or pad is also a great way to massage the olive or baby oil into the skin without worrying about color transfer.

2. Apply

Apply a dime-sized amount of olive oil or baby oil to the affected area.

3. Wait

Give the olive or baby oil a minute or two to rest on the affected area to break apart the dyes.

4. Massage

Gently massage the olive or baby oil onto the affected area with your fingertips or the cotton swab/pad.

5. Wipe

Next, wipe away the excess olive or baby oil with a clean rag.

6. Clean

Lastly, clean the area with soap and water and pat dry.

Method 3: Baking Soda and Dish Soap or Non-Gel Toothpaste

Container of baking soda for a guide to how to get hair dye off scalp but not hair

Ekramar/Shutterstock

Lastly, the third best method to remove hair dye from the scalp but not the hair is by using a baking soda mixture or toothpaste. In this instance, baking soda is the preferred product, but if you don’t have it on hand, you will most likely have toothpaste handy. 

However, the toothpaste cannot be gel based, which means it shouldn’t have a transparent gel-like appearance because it won’t have baking soda included; without the added baking soda, it won’t work.

1. Prep

If you’re using baking soda, mix it with some dish soap to make a paste. Then, you can apply the baking soda paste or toothpaste to a soft-bristled toothbrush for additional exfoliation. 

2. Apply

Apply a dime-sized amount of the baking soda paste or toothpaste to the affected area or a soft-bristled toothbrush.

3. Massage

Gently massage the baking soda paste or toothpaste onto the affected area with your fingertips or a soft-bristled toothbrush.

4. Wipe

Next, wipe away the excess baking soda paste or toothpaste with a clean rag.

5. Clean

Lastly, clean the area with soap and water and pat dry.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Woman getting her blonde hair dyed pink in a salon

Yurich20/Shutterstock

After reading this article, you may still have some questions, or you may find yourself with new questions that you need clarification on; below is a list of the most common questions regarding hair dye and how to get it off your scalp but not your hair.

Can Hair Dye Cause Cancer?

While hair dye is known to be toxic, it has yet to be confirmed if it can cause cancer or increase cancer risk. The studies on whether hair dye can cause cancer are mixed. 

Half of them noted that it could increase cancer risk in those who dye their hair regularly, while the other half did not determine if it could increase such a risk. So, unfortunately, the long-term effects of regularly using hair dye are unknown.

Is Hair Dye Bad for Your Skin?

Like most products that include ammonia, not to mention the other 25 ingredients included in hair dyes, it can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions in those with sensitive skin.

That’s why almost every at-home hair dye or salon dye session requires a spot test to determine how your skin will react to the hair dye before fully applying it.

How Do You Prevent Hair Dye From Getting Onto the Skin?

Apply petroleum jelly along the hairline (but not on it) before applying hair dye. The petroleum jelly acts like a barrier and stops the hair dye from sticking to the skin. After applying the hair dye while waiting for it to set, you can wipe away the petroleum jelly.

Is Hair Dye Bad for Your Hair?

Because hair dye strips the hair of its natural color and replaces it with the chosen color using many different chemicals, it can cause damage to your hair’s follicles and cause thinning in the long run.

Is Permanent Hair Dye Harder to Remove Than Semi-Permanent?

Because permanent hair dye lasts longer than semi-permanent hair dye, it can be more challenging to get off the scalp. However, that doesn’t mean you should worry. You will just need to put in a little bit more elbow grease to remove the permanent hair dye successfully.

So, How Do You Get Hair Dye Off Scalp But Not Hair?

Now that you have a few different ways to get hair dye off the scalp but not the hair, you’re ready for the next time you dye your hair at home. Depending on what you have available at home, you should be able to use one of these methods to get the hair dye off your scalp but not your hair without needing to leave the house. 

In addition, with the ability to successfully remove hair dye from your skin, you’ll have an easier time faking a salon-quality hair color treatment without actually having to pay up.

Additionally, the three methods we’ve included for you aren’t just the best ways to get hair dye off your skin because they’re effective but also because they’re the gentlest.

They don’t require harsh chemicals like rubbing alcohol, which can further irritate sensitive skin. You can rest easy knowing that you’re not damaging your skin in the process.