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How to Remove Permanent Hair Dye From Grey Hair

Having second thoughts about your hair color? Don’t worry. We’ll explain the different methods for removing it, including how to remove permanent dye from grey hair in our step-by-step guide below.

How to Remove Permanent Hair Dye From Grey Hair

1. Prepare Your Hair to Have Color Removed

How you prepare your hair to have the color removed depends on how you plan to remove it. If you’re using a color stripper, you’ll want to wash your hair 24-48 hours before you apply it to let your hair’s natural oils protect your scalp. 

2. Choose Your Preferred Method

There are a lot of different methods for removing hair dye that you can try. You’ll want to keep in your own budget, needs, and preferences when deciding but there is an option for anyone. We’ve included a nice mix of chemical and natural methods below.

Wash Your Hair With Dandruff-Control or Clarifying Shampoo

  1. Buy a shampoo for dandruff control, or one that says it’s a clarifying shampoo, and wash your hair thoroughly a few times. 
  2. Make sure it has selenium sulfide in it – this penetrates your hair for deep cleaning that helps the hair dye gradually fade away.  
  3. You’ll have to repeat the technique several times, but the color should gradually lighten and fade.

Wash Your Hair With Baking Soda and Shampoo

  1. Mix one part baking soda to one part shampoo. 
  2. Use one of the types mentioned previously – dandruff control or clarifying shampoo.
  3. Combine it in a bowl and massage the paste through your hair, making sure it’s all covered. 
  4. Let it sit for five to ten minutes before rinsing it out. 
  5. Condition your hair after washing it with baking soda so it don’t dry out. 

White Vinegar

  1. Dilute white vinegar with water, and apply to the hair. 
  2. Put a shower cap or plastic bag over your head and allow it to sit for 20 minutes. 

Vitamin C Tablets

This process works better on recently dyed hair. 

  1. Crush 12 vitamin C tablets into a powder and stir it into as much shampoo as you usually need to wash your hair. 
  2. After 30 minutes, rinse it out and condition your hair.

Color Stripper

This technique uses chemicals to strip the color away. The outcome is usually fairly immediate, which makes it popular. They typically don’t contain ammonia or bleaching ingredients, so they shouldn’t damage your hair too much if you don’t use them often. 

Take care of your hair after the treatment, as it may dry out your hair. If you have very long hair, you may need two packages. Be sure to read the instructions on the label before you use the color-removing product. 


You can also bleach your hair. Bleach dissolves your hair’s pigment, providing a.more subtle and gradual change as new hair grows in. It’s best to have a professional stylist bleach your hair if you decide to go this route.

You can do it at home if you feel confident doing so. For best results, use powder bleach along with a developer you make yourself. The developer helps the bleach penetrate the hair shaft and become permanent.

When using bleach, choose the developer strength you need based on how light you need to go. Use 20 vol when you need to lift by 1 or 2 levels, or 30 vol when you need to lift by three or more levels. 

It’s also better to do this when you haven’t washed your hair recently. Remember to test a strand first and deep condition it to prepare.

Use Baking Soda and Lemon Juice

Mix equal parts of baking soda and lemon juice.

  1. Apply the mixture to your hair, but only leave it on a few minutes before rinsing.
  2. Lemon can dry and damage hair, so remember to rinse it off afterward. 

If you use this method, be careful how much time you spend in the sun afterward. Staying in the sun too long can damage your hair’s outer sheath. 

Let It Grow Out on Its Own

This is not a popular option because it takes a long time for hair to grow. Let your hair grow out a little to speed up the process, then cut the colored sections off. 

Consider using a temporary root touch-up product if you want to grow out your color without drastic changes. This product hides your roots until you’re ready to get your hair cut.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Woman laughing because she just learned how to get permanent hair dye out of grey hair

Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

How Do You Get Dye Out of Grey Hair?

Aside from the methods already mentioned, you can try a few other techniques:

  • Salt or baking soda – Fill a bath with warm water, Epsom salt, and baking soda – however, this only works for semi-permanent hair dye.
  • Dishwashing soap – This also works for semi-permanent hair dye, but it can dry out your hair.
  • Hydrogen peroxide – You can use a mixture of equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and water to lighten hair color that’s too dark. Let it sit for 30 minutes, then rinse. 

Are Color Removers Safe to Use?

The color remover itself is very safe for hair as it only targets the dye. However, following the instructions will likely require you to shampoo your hair multiple times which can also remove the beneficial oils in your hair. 

How Do You Change From Dyed Hair to Natural Grey? 

To begin with, remember that it takes a long time for hair color to fade. Your regular hair appointments will be easier to survive if you plan. A few ways you can transition from dyed hair to grey hair include:

  • Use lowlights – These minimize the shift to grey. They don’t need a lot of future maintenance. The only trick is to choose lowlights that enhance your natural hair color. 
  • Use highlights – If you don’t want to wait until your roots have grown out, you can have highlights blended into your grey hair. This way, you can transition a little at a time, and no one will notice any drastic changes. 
  • Go for a salt and pepper look – The colors here need to contrast, as the name implies. If you want to achieve this look, you need a good hairstylist, so make sure you find a good colorist. 
  • Choose the best colors for transitioning – A lot of dyes allow women to transition smoothly, such as platinum, ash, and metallic blonde. First, decide on the desired tone because a grey hair dye can give silver hair a light purple or dark grey shade, and those tints can stay in for several weeks. 

How Long Does Permanent Hair Dye Last?

Permanent hair dye looks great for up to six to eight weeks after application. How long it looks good on you depends on a few different things:

  • How often you wash your hair
  • Whether the hair products you’re using work for colored hair. 
  • How much time you spend in the sun and seawater. 
  • Your chosen hair dye color – darker colors stay in your hair longer. 
  • Your hair’s texture – If you have more porous hair, it will absorb the dye better, prolonging its life.

How Do I Stop Dying My Hair and Go Grey?

To age gracefully, follow these steps:

  1. Begin with a consultation. A stylist can analyze your hair to determine how grey it is. You can discuss your goals with your hairstylist and learn what to expect. She can help avoid grey roots and the awkward growing-out phase with strategically placed highlights and toning procedures. 
  2. Cut your hair at first. Changing from colored to grey hair can be less noticeable if you cut your hair first. Your hair color will look less conspicuous with a short haircut. Your stylist can tell you what cut is best for the shape of your face and your aging process.
  3. Use the correct shampoo to avoid strands that look dull and yellow. When your hair still has dye or highlights, using the right toning shampoo helps tone it down. This shampoo is like the toner your stylist applies to help make your hair look more silver, except it helps keep the color cool or warm, depending on your preference. 

Colored blondes can use violet shampoo to keep every shade vivid and balanced. Blue shampoo helps brunettes keep their caramel highlights looking rich and warm.

People with entirely grey or white hair can use a shampoo with a violet tint about twice a week and an ultra-hydrating shampoo the rest of the time. 

Use a hair mask regularly for strong, hydrated grey hair. Grey hair tends to be coarse and dry. The best way to make it softer, healthier, and shinier is to use a smoothing and hydrating hair mask. 

So How Do You Remove Permanent Hair Dye From Grey Hair?

To recap, you have a few options when removing permanent hair dye from grey hair:

  1. Shampoo your hair with dandruff or clarifying shampoo a few times to lighten your hair
  2. Use one part baking soda and one part shampoo
  3. Mix white vinegar with water
  4. Crush up vitamin C tablets
  5. Use a color stripper
  6. Use bleach
  7. Let it grow out on its own

That’s what you need to know about how to remove permanent hair dye from grey hair. The process may take time depending on which method you choose, but once the colored hair is gone, you won’t have to worry about getting your roots touched up.

Once you’ve gone entirely grey, consider buying a shampoo made specifically for grey hair. These types of shampoos help strengthen your hair and remove yellow or brassy tones, so your hair looks its best.