Best Clarifying Shampoos to Remove Color – Correct or Reset


Best Clarifying Shampoos to Remove Color – Correct or Reset

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Unfortunately, not all hair dye jobs turn out as planned.

Sometimes your lowlights turn out too dark, your color-depositing shampoo plonks on too much color, you overtone your hair, or you just flat-out f*ck it all up by being too hasty.

Whatever the reason, if you want to get rid of hair color you’re not happy with, a clarifying shampoo can help you wipe the slate clean and start again.

But before you take the plunge, peruse our best list of clarifying shampoos that remove hair color and read our guide below to understand how to do it the right way without nuking your hair into oblivion.

The Best Clarifying Shampoos to Remove Color

1. Manic Panic Prepare to Dye Clarifying Shampoo

manic panic prepare to dye strong clarifying shampoo to remove hair color

Color removing shampoo that cleanses and primes your hair for the next color application.


Product Summary


  • Excellent for fading hair dye fast.
  • Contains cleansing agents.
  • Removes vivid hair colors.
  • Removes semi-permanent hair colors.
  • No Ammonia and PPD.
  • Neutralizes hard water mineral deposits.
  • Vegan and cruelty-free.


  • Not always in stock.

Manic Panic’s Prepare to Dye does exactly what it says on the bottle. It’s a pre-dye wash designed to strip everything from the hair to prep it for the next color application. If you’re desperate to lighten hair color that is too dark, correct a botched dye job, or switch it up in favor of a more vibrant and trendy color, go ahead and grab it.

This clarifying shampoo works to remove color by using:

  • High pH – Open the hair cuticles to draw out direct dye pigments.
  • Sodium Chlorine (Salt) – Exfoliates and dissolves buildup, including color.
  • Surfactants – Mild sulfates for stripping color.

Formulated at a higher pH (7.80) than regular shampoos to deep cleanse, it swells and lifts the hair cuticles to dislodge color pigments. The shampoo also contains negatively-charged surfactants that create surface friction to gently scrub and gradually disintegrate the dyes that are attached to the hair strands.

The other key ingredient, Sodium Chloride (salt), is known for its abrasive effect and its ability to dissolve dyes and keratin coating from the hair. Hairstylists usually recommend a salt-based shampoo to reverse a bad keratin treatment. Justin Anderson, the co-founder of dpHue, also confirms that sodium chloride will wash out your hair color and leave you with a dull and faded look.

Although the Manic Panic Prepare to Dye shampoo is labeled as sulfate-free, I noticed some mild sulfates (surfactants) in its ingredients list, which is good if your primary purpose is to lift color. Because sulfates do remove color pigments, says hair colorist Meri-Kate O’Connor.

The shampoo also contains organic ginseng root extract for nourishing and strengthening the hair to add some love and strength.

Overall, Manic Panic’s Prepare to Dye is an excellent hair color remover shampoo and pre-color treatment that can be used at home without assistance or salon visits.

Obviously, the more you use it, the faster the results. But don’t forget to condition your hair after. I recommend using coconut oil in between your washes to prevent your tresses from drying out during the process.

Usage Instructions:

  1. Apply to wet hair.
  2. Gently massage and let it sit for a few minutes.
  3. Rinse with warm water.
  4. Repeat as needed.
  5. Moisturize and condition your hair in between washes.

2. Nioxin Clarifying Cleanser

does Nioxin strip hair color

SLS and salt-based colour build-up removing shampoo.


Product Summary


  • Deep cleanses.
  • Strengthens the roots.
  • Reduces hair breakage.
  • Boosts hair volume.
  • Dermatologically tested.


  • Not suitable for regular use. Can be very drying.

The Nioxin cleanser is technically a hair-thickening shampoo. But owing to its strong scalp cleansing ingredients, including Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Salicylic Acid, Citric Acid, and Sodium Hydroxide, it makes a perfect cocktail for rapidly stripping hair dyes and color-depositing conditioners when used multiple times in a short period.

However, be mindful that this cleanser is also very drying if you go against the recommended usage instructions. To make amends, ensure you follow up with a moisturizing conditioner or a deep conditioning mask straight after washing your hair.

Usage Instructions:

  1. Gently Massage onto hair and Scalp.
  2. Rinse well.

3. Keracolor Fade Effect Color Fading Shampoo

best clarifying shampoo to fade hair dye

Gentle clarifying shampoo to fade hair color at home effortlessly.


Product Summary


  • Erases semi-permanent direct dye pigments.
  • Works on all hair types.
  • Gentle formula (Can be used daily).
  • Lightens dark dyed hair.
  • Results after 2 washes.
  • Rebalances moisture after stripping color.
  • Keeps the hair soft and smooth.


  • Poor packaging.

The Keracolor Fade Effect shampoo uses vitamin C for a gentle color lift while maintaining moisture with its coconut oil-rich formula. The shampoo also contains hydrolyzed keratin and biotin to strengthen against the harsh stripping effects on the hair fibers when color pigments are excavated through the hair’s cuticles.

However, we noticed that it could take a bit of time to see significant results. Ideally, this shampoo will suit you if you want to gradually reduce your hair color over a period of time.

Usage Instructions:

  1. Apply to wet hair.
  2. Lather and leave to sit for 3 mins.
  3. Rinse thoroughly.

4. Suave Essentials Daily Clarifying Shampoo

Product Summary


  • Deeply moisturizing.
  • Fresh lingering fragrance.
  • Very cheap.
  • pH-balanced.
  • Excellent for greasy hair.
  • Hypoallergenic.
  • Anti-residue.


  • Fragrance may not suit everyone.

The Suave Essentials daily clarifying shampoo is a non-color-safe and reasonably good product that gets the job done at a cheaper price tag. You can grab it from your local chemist or high street drugstore on your way home.

Loaded with sulfates and salts, which you can expect from most drugstore shampoos at this price point, it effectively removes color from the hair when used daily.

The only drawback is its musky scent, which may not suit everyone. But if your hair is on the drier side and you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, I’ll say go for this one.

Usage Instructions:

  1. Wet hair thoroughly.
  2. Massage into a rich lather.
  3. Rinse well.
  4. Repeat if necessary.

5. Head and Shoulders Moisture Care 2-in-1 Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

remove semi-permanent hair dye with this anti-dandruff shampoo

Anti dandruff shampoo to remove hair colour. Only when used more frequently than advised.


Product Summary


  • Rebalances Scalp’s pH.
  • Removes flakes from the scalp.
  • Anti-dandruff shampoo.
  • Contains vitamin E, almond oil, and coconut oil.


  • Makes hair dry.
  • Contains Pyrithione Zinc.

The Head and Shoulders 2-in-1 is a strong clarifying shampoo that is primarily used to treat flaky scalps and dandruff. It contains strong SLS surfactants and pyrithione zinc, which Head & Shoulders themselves claim to fade hair color.

“Some anti-dandruff products will indeed damage your hair color. Shampoos that contain zinc pyrithione (ZPT) may fade your hair color over time – so remember to always read what’s on the label.”

They also add, “Our shampoos don’t contain zinc pyrithione, so your hair color is safe with us!”

But looking at the label on this shampoo, it clearly contains Pyrithione Zinc (1%) as an active ingredient at the top of the list. Combined with Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, and Sodium Chloride, the Head and Shoulders shampoo can potentially fade hair color and direct dyes when used up to 3 – 4 times a week (which they don’t recommend). Twice a week is recommended.

So to be fair, when used as advised, it won’t strip your hair color. Only if you exceed and abuse the shampoo, it will. Like many other shampoos, the more you wash, the more your color fades.

We tested it to lighten dyed dark brown hair to medium brown over a period of 1 week, and we saw that leaving the Head & Shoulders shampoo to sit for 10 minutes in the hair yielded better results at removing the hair dye. Our experiment was based on a 4 times per week use. But it made the hair extremely dry, necessitating the use of a highly moisturizing deep conditioner with the baggy method twice that week.

Another experiment I saw on hair forums was the use of vitamin C powder or baking soda mixed with the Head and Shoulders shampoo.

If you want to try these methods, keep reading below. I have covered more tips on natural DIY methods.

Usage Instructions:

  1. Shake well before use.
  2. Apply to wet hair.
  3. Massage onto the scalp.
  4. Rinse.
  5. Use 2 times a week.

6. OUAI Detox Shampoo

Product Summary


  • Contains gentle exfoliating agents.
  • Delicious scent.
  • Curly-friendly.
  • Reduces frizz.
  • Non-drying effect.
  • Removes hard water impurities.
  • Makes hair soft and shiny.


  • Small bottle.
  • Expensive.

Created by celebrity stylist Jen Atkin, the OUAI clarifying shampoo is the holy grail of hair and scalp detox. The shampoo purifies the pores on the scalp, fixes oily hair, eliminates buildup (including hard water and hair dye buildup), and rebalances moisture to leave your hair feeling au naturel.

Plus, its tantalizing blend of floral and woodsy notes, enveloped in its signature Melrose Place fragrance, is bound to make you fall in love with it irrespective of its ridiculous price for such a small bottle.

Despite the claims that it’s sulfate-free and questionably one of the best shampoos for color-treated hair, I found 2 ingredients on its list that tell me it has the potential to remove hair color when used more frequently.

We did a test on slightly over toned hair for 2 weeks, but unfortunately, it did not pull out as much color as we expected.

This shampoo will work best for those who only want a slight fade. It won’t work on hair color that is too dark to lighten.

Usage Instructions:

  1. Wet hair with lukewarm water.
  2. Squeeze out the excess water.
  3. Apply the shampoo.
  4. Lather well and work it close to the scalp.
  5. Let it sit for up to 3 minutes.
  6. Rinse with cold water.
  7. Use 2-3 times a week to gradually fade hair color.

7. Nexxus Clean and Pure

Product Summary


  • Anti-breakage.
  • Keeps hair hydrated for longer.
  • Contains fortifying proteins.
  • Improves hair elasticity.
  • No silicone.
  • Dye-free.
  • Phthalate-free.


  • Don’t like the pump.
  • The bottle is half empty.

Nexxus is known for its admittedly pricey products that boast an exclusive formula of ProteinFusion, elastin, and marine minerals to strengthen the hair from within.

The Clean and Pure is also one of the best sulfate-free clarifying shampoos around. While it doesn’t contain silicone, paraben, and other nasties that you’ll usually find in regular shampoos, it contains marine exfoliating active ingredients that are bound to affect hair color.

Such unique qualities make this an excellent clarifying treatment to remove color from the hair without causing damage or dehydration in the process.

It preps your hair to be in prime condition for your next color job by stripping it clean, removing everything from dulling buildup, color depositing shampoos, excess sebum, brassiness, green tints from swimming pools, and even semi-permanent hair dyes (when used frequently).

You get a generous 1-liter bottle, which is enough shampoo to wash out your hair dye before it runs out. Plus, it leaves your hair feeling soft and silky.

Usage Instructions:

  • Wash hair with the Clean and Pure shampoo.
  • Apply the nourishing detox conditioner.
  • Let it sit for 3 minutes.
  • Rinse out.
  • You can use it every day.

8. Aussie Destress Shampoo

Product Summary


  • Captivating gorgeous scent.
  • Makes hair feel light and airy.
  • Clears up daily styling products’ buildup.
  • Makes hair color fade faster when used 3-4 times a week.


  • Some reviewers reported allergic reactions.
  • Do a patch test before using.

“If you have color-treated hair, avoid it at all costs.” – One reviewer said.

That’s exactly what you want if you’re on a mission to strip hair dye in the safest and fastest way possible without spending a fortune at the hairdressers.

The Aussie destress shampoo washes out semi-permanent hair dyes with ease when used frequently. Although the shampoo is labeled as color-safe, that assumption is based on the premise that you only use it once a week.

If you use it 3 times a week, it has enough sulfates to remove color from your hair.

The Aussie shampoo also contains Sodium Chloride (salt), so expect your hair to feel dry. Use a good conditioner to counteract its stripping effect so that you don’t end up with damaged hair.

Usage Instructions:

  1. Work it into wet hair.
  2. Lather.
  3. Rinse thoroughly.

Use 3-4 times a week and moisturize your hair immediately after.

9. L'oreal Colorista Fader Shampoo

Product Summary


  • Lightens semi-permanent hair color.
  • For blondes, light blondes, bleached hair, and brunettes.
  • Good shampoo to get rid of highlights that are too dark.
  • Corrects over-toned hair.

Color oops moments happen to everyone. Your hair dye can turn out darker than expected due to poor application or not picking the correct shade. Or it could be the high porosity level of your hair over soaking color pigments.

Whatever the reason, if you’ve ever dyed your hair at home, you’ll know that once you go too dark, there’s no going back without the risk of damage.

With the L’oreal Colorista, though, there is no risk. The more you use it, the more your color fades. So you can keep tweaking your shade until you get it right.

What I like about this lightening clarifying shampoo is that it gradually softens the intensity of the color without being too drastic. After every wash, I see how much it’s toning down until I am happy I’ve achieved the exact tone I want. I’ve even used it to fade out my splat hair dye, and it works.

So yeah, this clarifying shampoo can remove highlights that have gone wrong, correct an overdose of purple shampoo, and progressively lighten darker hair without the hassle of scheduling an appointment with a stylist.

Usage Instructions:

  1. Apply to wet hair
  2. Lather.
  3. Rinse.
  4. Use more frequently for faster results.

10. Kenra Clarifying Shampoo

Product Summary


  • Brightens highlights.
  • Removes dye from gray hair.
  • Works for hard water and swimmer’s hair.
  • Natural hair-friendly.


  • Strong smell

Kenra clarifying shampoo is a salon-professional product used for priming the hair before chemical treatments like keratin and coloring. It removes residual hair color, styling products, and environmental pollutants that can impede the effectiveness of these treatments.

When I last tried it, I wasn’t trying to fade or remove color from my hair. I thought it was a color-safe shampoo, but I was very disappointed to notice that my color was fading after 3 washes. Oops!

Read: Why I won’t use the Kenra clarifying shampoo on my color-treated hair.

Usage Instructions:

  1. Massage thoroughly into wet hair.
  2. Leave it to work for longer if you want it to fade out your hair color.
  3. Rinse.
  4. For color-treated hair, use it once a week.
  5. For removing color from hair, use 3 times a week.

Other Color-Removing Clarifying Shampoos That Were Considered But Not Selected

Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo

does Neutrogena anti-residue clarifying shampoo remove color

The Neutrogena clarifying shampoo was one of the first I bought back in the day for stripping my hair color whenever I fancied a change. However, I did not know that it contains DMDM Hydantoin, a known carcinogen that is being investigated for causing hair loss. Many hair brands are facing lawsuits for using this chemical.

It’s probably why it was discontinued. Digging further, I saw this interesting article on LocsLife (2022), where the author claims to have contacted Neutrogena and got confirmation that the shampoo was discontinued.

So if you still see it online or in your local drugstore, avoid it. It’s most probably fake!

Living Proof Clarifying Shampoo

living proof color remover clarifying shampoo

The Living Proof Triple Detox clarifying shampoo uses activated charcoal and highly charged anionic polymers to pull toxins and buildup out of the hair, including hard water minerals. While some people have reported rapid color fade from the first use, we didn’t notice much change.

It’s also hard to find it in stock online, which is why it doesn’t make the cut for our list.

Prell Clarifying Shampoo

Prell shampoo clarifying shampoo

I’ve heard many people talking about the Prell shampoo to remove hair color. However, I couldn’t find it online or in stores anywhere. After doing some research, I found that the Prell shampoo was pulled from the market in 2009.

I thought I’ll mention it here in case you’re searching for it.

Does Clarifying Shampoo Remove Hair Color?

how clarifying shampoos can make dyed hair light in color

To fully understand how a clarifying shampoo neutralizes and dissolves semi-permanent direct dyes from the hair, you need to understand how it works and how it differs from a regular shampoo.

Let me explain …

What is a clarifying shampoo?

A clarifying shampoo is way more intense than a regular shampoo. It uses strong detergents like sulfates, chelators, exfoliators, and demineralizers to deep cleanse and detox the hair shaft and the scalp. It does so by lifting the hair cuticles and reaching between the layers to pull out all the styling byproducts that accumulate from your daily hair care routine.

A regular shampoo, on the other hand, does not open the cuticles. Instead, it cleanses the scalp and hair shaft to make them “feel” clean, soft, and shiny.

Read: Clarifying shampoo vs regular shampoo differences explained.

Because of its ability to swell and open the hair cuticles, a clarifying shampoo removes color by breaking down the dye molecules attached to the hair’s surface.

As Michelle Cleveland, a celebrity hairstylist puts it:

“For a clarifying shampoo, hair dye is just another type of buildup.”

Even though it’s meant to remove mineral buildup, such as chlorine and heavy styling products, it will see the direct dyes as the enemy and attempt to release them from your hair. Michelle Cleveland
Celebrity hairstylist and owner of Hair Addict Salon New York - Speaking to Instyle

To summarize:

Here’s what a clarifying shampoo does to colored hair:

  • It lifts the hair cuticles to loosen color pigments
  • It exfoliates the outer layers of the hair to strip color
  • It eradicates dirt and anything that looks like buildup (including dye deposits)
  • It can also use alkaline reactions to lift the cuticles and allow color molecules to escape

But having said that, this does not apply to all clarifying shampoos. Some are specifically formulated to preserve and enhance color.


Buying Guide – How to Pick A Clarifying Shampoo to Remove Hair Dye at Home

There are many types of clarifying shampoos designed for different hair types and cleansing endeavors. To ensure you get the right one to help you accomplish your hair color removal goal, you must clearly define what you want to achieve.

For example, if you’ve left your hair dye for too long and it’s picked up a slightly darker tone than you expected, you don’t want a strong shampoo that will completely strip the color out and leave your hair too light.

On the other hand, if you’ve completely messed it up due to lack of bleaching or not picking the correct shade and want to start again, you don’t want to be wasting your time with a weak hair color-fading shampoo.

So figure out what you need: A lightening or a strong stripping clarifying shampoo?

Then assess the condition of your hair.

Is your hair high or low porosity?

Will a strong shampoo make your hair brittle and prone to breakage?

When considering these factors, it narrows down your choice to the right product that won’t leave you disappointed. Plus, you won’t end up hurting your hair in the process.

Now, let’s look at the things to consider when picking a shampoo for hair color removal or lightening:

Sulfates and Sodium Chloride

Sulfates (Sodium Lauryl, Sodium Laureth) and Sodium Chloride are the key ingredients required in a clarifying shampoo for removing hair dye. These ingredients generate the surface friction required to pull hair dyes and buildup out from the hair.

Usually, I wouldn’t recommend sulfate-based shampoos as they deplete the hair’s natural oils, causing dryness. But if you’re specifically looking for shampoos that strip color, Sulfates, and Sodium Chloride are a must.

High Ph (Alkaline)

A high pH formula (alkaline) helps lift the cuticles, acting as a strong solvent to displace, dissolve, and strip hair dyes and other buildup cling onto the hair’s cuticle layer. Unlike low PH formulations that smooth down the cuticle layer, alkaline shampoos elevate negative electrical charges on the hair surface to create tension.

Avoid “Color-Safe” Labels

Clarifying shampoos for colored hair are formulated to protect and preserve hair color. They usually don’t contain surfactants like sulfates and salts. Instead, they use alternative gentle cleansers like botanical extracts and natural chelators to absorb impurities without the need to scrub.

When you want to remove hair dye, you need the opposite. You don’t want a gentle shampoo. You need one that scrubs and exfoliates. You want a shampoo that strips hair color. So make sure you check the label and avoid color-safe clarifying shampoos.

Look for an Anti Dandruff Shampoo

Anti dandruff shampoos contain active ingredients like selenium sulfides and zinc pyrithione. The Cleveland Clinic states that selenium sulfides must not be used within 48 hrs of applying hair color, including blonde, bleached, tinted, or grey hair as it can cause discoloration. [3]

Head and shoulders also state on their website that products that contain zinc pyrithione (ZPT) will fade your hair colour over time. [4]

And finally, to borrow a quote from Annie Gonzalez, MD. – A Board Certified Dermatologist:

“The wrong dandruff shampoo on color-treated hair can slowly lift hair dye and cause it to fade, Therefore, when looking to treat your dandruff while having dyed hair, you need to make sure you’re using a product that is clarifying your scalp, while also being color-safe.” Annie Gonzalez, MD.
Board-Certified Dermatologist In Miami - WellandGood

How to Use A Clarifying Shampoo to Remove Hair Color

how to use clarifying shampoo to remove hair dye

It’s simple to use a clarifying shampoo to lighten hair color or completely strip it out. You use a generous amount, lather it onto your hair, let it sit for at least 5-10 minutes, and then rinse with warm water. Use warm water as much as possible as it helps to keep the cuticles open. Repeat the process until your hair color has completely faded.

The only thing you’ll need to be mindful of is to get plenty of moisture back into your strands afterward; otherwise, you risk causing damage.

So let me show you how to strip hair color without damage and the products to use to balance out moisture in your hair.

1. Wet Your Hair And Apply The Shampoo

Use warm water to saturate your hair first.

Then apply a generous amount of shampoo and work it into a rich lather.

If the color is quite intense, use more.

Massage the shampoo thoroughly through your hair.

2. Put A Plastic Cap On

Once your hair is saturated with the clarifying shampoo, place a plastic cap over your head with all your hair inside and let it sit for 5 – 10 minutes. Very similar to the baggy method, this creates concentrated steam that gently lifts the cuticles and melts away the dyes from your strands.

3. Rinse Thoroughly

Start to rinse out the shampoo. You’ll notice some colors coming off, so keep rinsing until the water runs clear.

4. Follow Up Immediately With Moisturizing Mask

A clarifying shampoo uses a higher pH formula to lift the cuticles and flush out buildup, residues, and color pigments.

This process can leave the hair feeling dry and frizzy if not followed by a rich nourishing conditioner to lower the pH and seal the cuticles.

5. Repeat

Repeat the above process a few times in one week. It will gradually lighten your hair color until it completely fades or reaches your desired tone.

Now to get into more specific hair color removal goals, here are some use cases below …

For Blonde Color-Correction

Sometimes, you may want to simply correct a color that has not necessarily gone wrong but has lost its intensity due to factors like brassiness and green tinges that crept in over time – for example, in blonde hair.

While purple shampoos do a good job correcting warm tones, they are not designed to remove oxidizers like chlorine and hard water minerals that make blonde hair look dirty.

Using a clarifying shampoo formulated for blonde hair can make a huge difference. Not only it lifts the brassy tones, but it also brightens the hair to make it sparkle.

makes blonde hair colour look bright

Malibu C Blondes Brightening and Enhancing Kit

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For Over Toned hair

Use the Nioxin clarifying cleanser. It’s an anti-dandruff shampoo and also one of the best clarifying shampoos for over-toned hair based on our review.

See it here → We’ve written a guide on how to remove toner from hair at home.

You’ve Dyed Your Hair Too Dark, You Want to Lighten It at Home

Use the Kenra Brightening shampoo or the John Frieda shampoo. Both are good lightening shampoos for dark hair, although the John Frieda works better on dark blonde.

shampoo to fix hair that is too dark after coloring at home or by a hairdresser

Kenra Brightening Shampoo

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best hair color remover for dark hair

John Frieda Lightening Shampoo

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You Want to Remove Red Hair Dye

Red hair dye is the quickest color to fade but undoubtedly the hardest to strip out. Most people resort to bleaching but that may require a few attempts, which can damage your hair. So if you’re about to bleach, stop.

Here are 2 excellent products you can use for stripping red dye from your hair without bleaching.

Use malibu CPR to remove red semi-permanent hair dye or pink hair dye

Malibu CPR (Color Pigment Remover)

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best hair color remover and stripping kits that are more effective than shampoos for removing red hair dye

Color Oops Extra Conditioning Hair Color Remover

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You Want to Remove Green Tones from Your Hair

Green tones in hair are usually caused by chlorine in pool water or copper in your water supply (hard water) oxidizing the hair. That’s why the hair takes on a green tinge, looking dull and washed out.

To remove green tinges from the hair, use a hard water clarifying shampoo. It neutralizes chlorine and other minerals that attach to the hair, without removing hair color. Instead, it will make your color look rich and vibrant.

Here’s a good clarifying shampoo I recommend for removing brassy green tones:

clarifying shampoo for green hair with vitamin c and chlorine remover

Malibu C Color Wellness

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Also Read: Why purple shampoos don’t work to remove green pool hair.

You’ve Dyed Your Hair Black, Now You Want to Remove It

Stripping black and darker hair dyes is not as simple. Because the pigments are stronger and stubborn, you need to perform multiple washes combined with an extra color remover to get the job done.

I recommend combining a strong clarifying shampoo with a product like the colourB4. But exercise caution by reading the instructions on both products carefully and don’t use them at the same time.

Will A Clarifying Shampoo Remove Permanent Hair Color?

Permanent hair colors are harder to remove because they don’t coat the hair. Instead, the color pigments sit deep in the hair cortex. Yes, it may fade your shades slightly over time, but if you’re looking to correct permanent dye jobs, a clarifying shampoo won’t cut it.

You’ll need stronger treatments that are done in professional hair salons only.

OR you can give these 2 products a try:

Please note: Removing permanent hair color requires too much lifting, which can cause structural damage to your hair. Better consult a professional and do it in a salon.

How Long Does It Take for Clarifying Shampoo to Fade Hair Dye?

A clarifying shampoo may take up to 5 washes to completely remove semi-permanent hair colors, depending on the strength of the dye and your hair type and condition.

If your hair is porous, it will bleed more color after every wash. It may take longer if you have low porosity hair as the tightly-packed cuticles may take more time to release the dye molecules.

Semi-permanent hair dyes do progressively fade when you wash your hair anyway. Most of them last for around 15-20 washes.

A clarifying shampoo simply shortens the lifespan of a semi-hair dye.

Read: How often to use a clarifying shampoo.

How Long to Leave Clarifying Shampoo in to Remove Hair Dye?

Allow the clarifying shampoo to sit in your hair for 5 – 10 minutes before rinsing it with warm water. We also found that using a plastic cap to cover your hair during that time also accelerated the fading process. So try it and see.

The reason the plastic cap works so well is that it creates intense vaporized heat, which is able to get in between the hair cuticle layers to dislodge and disperse color pigments. You should be able to see color lathering out of your hair.

Other Natural DIY Ways To Remove Hair Dye At Home

Other than using a color-lifting shampoo or chemicals, you can also try a homemade hair dye remover.

Let me show you a few tricks you can try at home:

DIY Vitamin C Hair Color Remover

vitamin c and shampoo to remove hair dye

Vitamin C can lighten hair colors due to its antipigmentary properties. [2]

People have used lemon juice for years to lighten their hair colors and skin tones. This is because vitamin C or ascorbic acid helps to fade dark spots and skin discolorations. It also acts as a natural bleaching agent that produces hydrogen peroxide, a reactive oxygen that can disperse color pigments. It can be used on its own or combined with other ingredients such as egg yolk, honey, and water.

Here’s a quick recipe you can try:

  1. Mash up 15 – 20 Vitamin c tablets.
  2. Add the crushed vitamin tablets to a 1/4 cup of regular shampoo.
  3. Mix it thoroughly into a paste-like consistency.
  4. Apply the mixture to your hair.
  5. Let it sit for 20 minutes.
  6. Rinse thoroughly with warm water until the water runs clear

A few washes after, you’ll notice your tresses fading to a few shades lighter until the color is completely gone.

I personally use this DIY vitamin c hair dye removal recipe every time I want to lighten my hair as I find it easier and hassle-free.

But again, be careful not to overuse it. Because it’s highly acidic, it can dry out your hair. Also, avoid sun exposure and moisturize your hair after.

Dandruff Shampoo and Baking Soda

baking soda for hair color removal

Baking soda is an abrasive substance. Combined with sulfides in dandruff shampoos, it doubles up as a highly potent exfoliating formula that works almost like a bleaching treatment to lighten hair colors.

But be cautious if you want to try this at home.

Do a patch test with a small section of your hair first to ensure no adverse side effects. Plus, avoid using this mixture close to your scalp. It may irritate.

So here’s how to prep it.

Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda in a bottle of dandruff shampoo.

Use it as you would use a regular shampoo, making sure you avoid your face and eyes.

I recommend tipping your hair over a sink or bathtub when using this DIY shampoo.

After rinsing your hair, don’t forget to deep condition with a good hair mask.

This method will also take some time. So be patient.

scalp dandruff shampoo and baking soda diy clarifying mix

Head and Shoulders Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

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baking soda to mix with shampoo method

Baking Soda

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long does semi-permanent hair dye take to wash out?

It can take up to 5 washes with a clarifying shampoo for semi-permanent color to fade. It also depends on the strength of your hair dye. But generally, the more you wash, the more a demi-permanent hair dye will fade.

Does baby shampoo strip hair color?

Baby shampoos are alkaline (higher than pH 5.5), which means they swell the hair cuticles allowing color molecules to drop out.

If you want to try it, here are 2 helpful resources to read:

Does vinegar remove semi-permanent hair color?

Yes. Vinegar does strip hair dye due to its high acidity, which breaks down dye molecules.

According to licensed Cosmetologist Laura Martin: “Depending on the type of dye, vinegar may cause the color to fade, but it probably won’t remove the dye completely. However, be sure to avoid using vinegar to remove red dye from hair.” – Via Jane Mott hair and Makeup.

Final Thoughts

To remove color from your hair, do everything that you aren’t supposed to do to maintain it.

Using a clarifying shampoo is one of them.

It is the easiest and safest solution. As long as you support your hair with plenty of moisture in the process, you should be fine.

References & Citations

  1. Insights, tips, and expert advice from celebrity hairstylist Michelle Cleveland (owner of Hair Addict), Kaylee Benetua, and Lionel Atzas at David Mallett Salon New York City talking to Instyle about removing semi-permanent hair dye.
  2. Topical Vitamin C and the Skin: Mechanisms of Action and Clinical Applications
    Al-Niaimi F, Chiang NYZ. Topical Vitamin C and the Skin: Mechanisms of Action and Clinical Applications. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2017;10(7):14-17.
  3. Selenium Sulfide shampoo
  4. Does Head & Shoulders strip color from your hair?
Tina Moretti
Tina Moretti
Creative Writer and Researcher

Tina has a genius knack for transforming complex topics into easy-to-understand content. She is super organized with her note-taking system, often researching and demystifying the sciency bits about skincare and haircare concepts and theories.