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How to Get Paint Out Of Hair | Step-by-Step Guide

Wondering how to get paint out of hair? Don’t worry — you’re in the right place. We’ll show you the steps to take to reclaiming your beautiful locks, sans paint. Read on to learn all you need to know.

How to Get Paint Out of Hair 10 Ways

It’s easy to get paint trapped in your hair, but luckily, all you need are a few basic materials from around your house to get it out of your hair. Use one of the methods below: 

  1. Using shampoo
  2. With paint thinners
  3. Using olive oil
  4. Using other tools
  5. With dish soap
  6. Using toothpaste
  7. Soak your hair
  8. Using WD-40
  9. With nail polish remover
  10. Using apple cider vinegar

These are some of the quickest and easiest ways to get paint out of your hair. Although they won’t work for everyone, they’re the best first steps to try before doing something more drastic like reaching for the scissors! 

Step 1: Use Shampoo 

It might seem obvious, but if you get paint in your hair, the first thing to do is hop in the shower. You can often get paint out with simple suds and water, especially if the paint hasn’t had a chance to dry. 

Bring a brush or comb into the shower with you and try to work the paint out manually. The combination of bubbles, water, heat, and brushing will often work the paint out without resorting to more drastic steps. 

Step 2: Use Paint Thinners 

Many people think that the first solution to getting paint out of your hair is turpentine or another paint thinner. But this is a fairly extreme fix and should be done only when other methods fail.

Paint thinners are effective at removing paint from hair, but they also have plenty of side effects. First off, they have chemical compounds that release fumes. Don’t ever use a substance like this unless you are in a well-ventilated area and take care to use them in small amounts and wash them out as soon as they are effective. 

Bear in mind that these chemicals can damage your hair. If your hair is dyed, it may also cause the color to fade.

Step 3: Use Olive Oil 

If the paint in your hair is oil-based, olive oil (or baby oil) is one of the best fixes you can use. This will break up the paint and make it soft enough to comb out of your hair. 

Rub the oil into your hair and follow up with a fine-toothed comb to work out small amounts of paint. 

If you have a lot of paint on your hair, you might need to take some more serious measures. Work a liberal amount of oil through your hair and let it sit for a few hours, wrapped in plastic. Then try to comb it out. It may also be a good idea to get into the shower and tackle the paint with a combination of oil, water, and heat.

Step 4: Tools 

Sometimes, your fingernails are the easiest way to get paint out of your hair. If the paint has dried, you may be able to peel it off gently by scraping it with your nails. 

To get the paint out of your hair using just your fingernails, pull your hair taut, then pinch the shaft with your nails and pull.

Alternatively, reach for a brush or a comb. Try a fine-toothed comb that will effectively pull dried paint out of your hair and your pores. If you go this route, you’ll want to wait until the paint has dried before attempting to remove it. Otherwise, you’ll just spread it around your hair. 

Of course, this method is for small areas of hair. Don’t try to do this if you have a lot of paint on your hair.

Step 5: Use Dish Soap 

Simple dish soap such as Dawn can be a good way to remove paint from your hair. This is a substance most people have in their homes, so it’s a quick and easy fix. 

Dish soap works best on oil-based paints but can be effective at getting other types of paint out as well. It is made to wear down grease, so it is a great choice for getting paint out of hair. To use it, simply wash your hair as you would normally, substituting the dish soap for shampoo. Repeat as needed. 

It can also be a good idea to let the dish soap sit on your hair for a while to let it penetrate the oils of the paint. 

Step 6: Use Toothpaste 

Toothpaste is excellent for removing stains from teeth, but it can also be an effective paint remover. Because of its gritty texture, it acts as an abrasive and strips substances like paint away. 

To use toothpaste as a paint remover, smear it liberally over your hair and massage it in with your fingers. You may have to do this for a while until the paint begins to break apart. A comb might also help you work the paint out. When it begins to loosen, rinse your hair thoroughly. Repeat the whole process if necessary.

Step 7: Soaking Your Hair

If the paint in your hair is water-based, you might be lucky enough to remove it with water alone. To do this, fill a bucket or bowl with warm water and soak your hair in it until you see or feel the paint start to lose its grip and break up.

Then shampoo your hair, as usual, to further dissolve any remaining paint. This can reduce the time and effort of cleaning your hair if you’re lucky enough to have used water-based paint. 

Step 8: WD-40 

If the paint in your hair is latex-based, you may have some luck removing it with WD-40. Of course, you don’t want to get too much in your hair. Try to spray it just on the hair that is covered in paint. 

Let it sit for a few minutes to soak in. Then, using your fingers, rub the WD-40 into your hair. After a while, you should see it begin to break up. You can also try to comb it out. 

Make sure to wash your hair with hot water immediately. WD-40 can damage your skin and hair if it stays in contact for too long. For this reason, use it only as a last resort, after you’ve tried other methods without success.

Step 9: Use Nail Polish Remover

Like other paint thinners, nail polish remover (acetone) can effectively break up paint on your hair, but it should only be used as a last resort. Acetone can cause damage to your hair and emits harmful fumes

If you do decide to use acetone on your hair, make sure to use a small amount and work in a well-ventilated area. You may also want to consider wearing a pair of disposable gloves to protect your hands. 

Step 10: Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is routinely used to remove natural oils from hair, and it works on oil-based paints, too. Although it is pungent, it doesn’t contain the harsh chemicals or toxic fumes that many other paint thinners do. 

To use apple cider vinegar, pour a small amount at a time onto your hair. Use a comb to work the paint out a little at a time, adding more vinegar as needed. It won’t hurt you, so feel free to use it as much as necessary. 

When you are finished, shampoo your hair as usual. This will get rid of any excess vinegar in your hair. This is by far one of the gentlest substances to use to get paint out of your hair! 

Things to Consider

Young lady wearing gloves and a mask to protect herself when taking the steps we outline in our how to get paint out of hair guide


When you start the process of getting paint out of your hair, make sure you consider the following things:

  • Think of the type of paint. Paints can be oil-based, latex-based, or water-based. The type of paint will determine the type of substance that will loosen and get the paint out of your hair. 
  • Protect your skin and lungs. If you decide to use a product like paint thinner, WD-40, or acetone, protect yourself from fumes and chemicals that can hurt your skin and airway. Always work in a well-ventilated area, consider wearing disposable gloves, and clean your hair and skin thoroughly as soon as possible.
  • Work with tools. Sometimes, getting paint out of your hair requires more than one aid. The most effective way to remove it might be to use the substance of your choice combined with the right tool, like a fine-toothed comb.

So, How Do You Get Paint Out of Your Hair?

Getting paint out of your hair isn’t as difficult as you might think. The trick is using a few basic things you can get around your house and knowing what kind of paint you’re trying to remove. With the proper knowledge and tools, you can remove paint from your hair painlessly.

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