How to Remove Hair Dye from Skin

So I had a bit of a disaster on Thursday. My friend turned up at my flat with a bottle of blue hair dye, a towel, wine and some washed out ombré and asked for my help to dye her hair. A huge fan of fun hair, I said yes immediately. Problem was, she didn’t bring any gloves and instead of suggesting we leave it for another night, I jumped right in and started applying the blue dye with my BARE HANDS. Twenty minutes later I had the hands of a Smurf and was frantically Googling ‘how to remove hair dye from skin’ with little success.

The top tips on Google and Wikihow weren’t helpful

Now, I don’t know if these tips just apply to people who have dyed their skin a more natural colour, but they were completely useless when trying to remove bright blue hair dye. The top tips were nail polish remover, non-gel toothpaste, lava soap, baking soda and, bizarrely, WD-40.

I didn’t have lava soap or baking soda, and I wasn’t 100% keen on scrubbing my hands with WD-40, but I did attack the stains with nail polish remover and toothpaste. And while they removed a little, they really weren’t doing the job. In fact, the photo above was taken AFTER a couple of rounds with the nail polish remover. I had visions of walking into work with my Smurf hands. Not massively professional.

So what did work?

All hail hairspray. My friend and I eventually had a little bit of a light bulb moment and remembered that people often recommend hairspray to get hair dye stains out of clothes. Could this have the same effect on skin?

Very, very luckily, the answer was yes.

It does feel a bit weird spraying hairspray on your hands, but after you’ve scrubbed them raw with nail polish remover and toothpaste you’re probably not going to be thinking about that. Have the tap already running to rinse your hands after spraying because, as you’ll know, hairspray can get pretty sticky as it dries.

At first I used a damp cotton pad with the hairspray but actually (due to extreme tiredness at this point) moved on to makeup wipes, which did the job just as well. I have to warn you though, depending on the severity of the stain (and I think we can agree, Smurf hands is pretty severe as far as hair dye stains go), it can take a little while to get all of the colour off. But the hairspray was MUCH more effective than the other methods I’d tried and I’m trying to think of my poor, chapped hands as punishment for not using gloves.

She did love her hair in the end

Because, as you’ll see from the photos, the ombré had faded to a gingery colour, Cheryl’s hair actually went green instead of the bright blue colour in the bottle (and on my skin). But it’s very nice and subtle (and fun!) and she loves it. So that’s a win!

And I’ve learnt a valuable lesson about wearing gloves when using hair dye. Because it’s not hugely fun to spend the night scrubbing your hands over the sink while your fiancé plays Eiffel 65 behind you.

  • lizbin
    July 8, 2015

    Thanks for your post my daughter had this problem tonight and also go the color all over the Formica counter top and hairspray worked wonders!!!!!!!!

    • Gemma
      August 5, 2015

      So glad it helped! My bathroom was blue for a while before discovering the trick!

  • vanessa
    August 15, 2015

    Can i use rave hair spray

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