10 Ways To Remove Stubborn Blue Hair Dye
Ok so I LOVED the Turquoise and Blue dyes by Ion that you get at Sally’s, BUT they work so well that it is insanely hard to remove them when you’re ready to move on to the next style.
The blue created such a fantastic bright vibrant colored hair that I seriously I got compliments daily on the blue in my hair (always awesome). HOWEVER, when I decided (after 5 months of blue hair) that I was ready for a summer style of Reds and Yellows I started to fade out the blue. (This was the first time I had ever had blue and I thought it would be as easy as the red I had to fade out before my next hair dye. Boy was I wrong.)
Since my normal “fading” techniques weren’t working, I did what most of us do and turned to the power of the internet. I watched (practically) every Youtube video that talked about removing dye and tried them, BUT THEY DIDN’T WORK. The methods only “faded” the blue a shade – maybe two if I was lucky. In desperation I started looking further back in the google results and came across a forum post with a bunch of SugarSkullWomen commenting on all the ways they remove color.
I tried EVERY one of them – I didn’t do them in the same order, but picked from them based on the “risk/damage” level mentioned in the article. I wanted to go with light damage and speed (because I’m impatient). This post is a review of how well each of those methods worked on removing my once brilliant blue into a platinum blonde that is now ready for my new summer style.
NOTE: all the yellow blocks of text below are quotes from the article and recommendations from the comments. My notes and results are below each yellow section.
Attempt #1 – Color Remover
Colour removers fall into two categories – colour strippers and colour reducers. Colour strippers are very similar to bleach but colour reducers are a great way of removing permanent colour from your hair with minimal damage. Colour reducers won’t touch your natural colour and only remove artificial pigment.
The instructions vary from one manufacturer to the next, but generally you can use a colour reducer 2-3 times to remove a permanent colour. It reverses the colouring process by shrinking the colour molecules in your hair, allowing them to be washed out. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter, both for safety and to ensure you get the most from the product. When the instructions say wash your hair for 20 minutes, do it!
On a previous trip to Sally’s I picked up a Color Remover. I figured it would be good to have on hand if a color didn’t turn out as expected or for one of those days when I get a hair up my… and want to change my color. When I saw it on the list of recommended methods I opted to try this first.
DON’T – It was awful… the smell that comes from this product was putrid. It was so bad I thought my walls would start melting… It took 4 days before the smell started to subside in my bathroom. My husband started using our second bath to avoid the smell it was so bad.
I stuck it out and did the process figuring “If it worked, it was worth gagging for an hour.” …but it didn’t. -_-
Attempt #2 – Vitamin C
You will need effervescent Vitamin C tablets (powder is fine but tablets work slightly better) and shampoo. Use 1 or 2 1,000mg tablets or 1-2g of Vitamin C powder. If using tablets crush them between two spoons and collect up the powder in a bowl. Get yourself ready for the treatment because you’ll need to use it immediately after mixing. I recommend you use an old towel to catch any colour run-off and a plastic cap.
Mix your powdered Vitamin C with a large squirt of cheap shampoo. Apply this to your hair immediately and work it through your hair ensuring every strand is covered. Cover your hair with a plastic cap to prevent it from dripping into your eyes.
Check your hair every 5-10 minutes and leave it on your hair for a maximum of 20 minutes before rinsing out. Follow with conditioner.
After the attempted Color Remover I then tried this method because I already had packets of Emergen-C in my cabinet. I tried both Emergen-C powder which I had on hand and went out an bought the tablets. UMMM NO! Maybe this works within a few days of dying your hair when it’s still fresh, but it definitely did NOT remove even a shade of blue.
I was really shocked that it didn’t work because almost EVERY youtube video talks about this method, but it just didn’t work. I think maybe they were using it on hair that had been dyed within a few weeks… unlike me where my hair was blue for many months.
Attempt #3 – Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
Many hair dye removal tips online discuss using anti-dandruff shampoo. I would consider this method a way of “fading” color faster not necessarily removing all the color. If you plan on changing your hair color in the next month or so, start washing your hair with this shampoo, but know that it won’t remove the hair color within a few washes.
Sidenote: I followed some of the comments and mixed it this shampoo with the vitamin C and still didn’t have any luck. I tried this 3 times across 2 days with no big results.
Attempt #4 – Bleach/Bleach Bath
By this time, I was getting very impatient which means I wasn’t quite ready to fully bleach my hair, but figured I’d give this “moderate” risk option a try. She’s right in that it will fade the color a couple shades.
Again, we’re still fading not necessarily “removing.” As you can see the blue was still really predominant.
Attempt #5-7 – Swimming, Sun, & Soaking
I tried all of the above methods over the course of two weeks. So, for week 3 of Blue Hair Color Removal, I opted to wait a week from any other “processing” and just deep condition my hair each night to help it overcome the damage of all this washing and processing. Over the following week I tried the more “mild” options, which included –
If you need to fade your colour swimming in a chlorinated pool will fade semi-permanent colour, and with repeated exposure can fade permanent colour slightly. Swimming in the sea can also lighten your colour. The effects are subtle but if you’re a regular swimmer you will notice a difference.
Sun Exposure (without a UV protectant on my hair)
While I don’t want to encourage anyone to expose themselves to sun-damage, most unnatural colours are not particularly photostable. If you can safely give your hair a little bit of sun exposure over a few days you will notice a difference in colour. Always take precautions to avoid sunburn to your skin (don’t forget your scalp).[/pullquote]
No, I don’t mean the party drug – I’m talking about the stuff your granny uses to relieve her aches and pains. Bath salts are a mixture of soluble minerals that are added to bath water and usually include Epsom salts and sodium bicarbonate. To use, just run a bath, sprinkle in some bath salts and soak your hair for as long as possible. Colour is drawn out of your hair, and if there’s a lot of pigment in your hair, you’ll see a pool of colour where you’ve been soaking!
I know these swimming and sun work on removing reds from past experience.. but this post wouldn’t be titled “stubborn blue” if all these methods worked on blue hair. The Swimming and Sun methods didn’t seem to do much, but hey… at this point even half a shade lighter and I was ecstatic. I didn’t see ANY change after trying the bath salts – but I did enjoy an hour of beach in the tub… so maybe that was the universe telling me to be at peace with the remaining blue in my hair?
By this point… I was starting to lose hope, so I read through ALLLLLLLL the comments on that post and pulled out a few nuggets of what “worked” for the readers… They did a good job at pointing me to which of the 10 ways was actually working. From the comments I got the remaining 3 methods I would try before giving in and just waiting for the blue to fade naturally.
Attempt #8 – Opposing Colors
Have I mentioned how exhausted I was from all this hair washing? lol… in the grand scheme of life – It’s just hair and I could have just been patient for the blue dye to fade naturally, but I was REALLY excited for 1. trying a new style and 2. blogging about the new style BEFORE summer. So, I went with a method covered in this youtube video that suggests using a color opposite of the blue on the color wheel. I picked up an orange/copper color and a red.
I went to town – I covered my whole head in the orange/red color (except for my bands since I knew I was going to want those yellow). ALL of my hair was doused in orangey/red color dye. I figured worse case scenario red + blue dye would give me a purplish color on the under side of my hair which I could live with. But that didn’t happen -_-
In fact, all of the red just washed out and the blue remained… I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Attempt #9 – Dawn Dish Soap & Baking Soda
I pulled this tip from the comments of the forum post I mentioned before. I had also heard from the youtubers that the dawn dish soap faded the color faster… so I ran to Walgreens picked up a $1 bottle of blue Dawn dish soap and a $1 box of baking soda. I mixed about a 1:1 ratio of each into a small cup and made about 1/4 cup of the mixture. Then I hopped in the shower and lathered it up. I let it sit on the hair for 5-10 minutes while I finished showering and shaving… then I rinsed….and rinsed… and rinsed… lol.
Seriously, the tiny dime sized amount of dish soap that washes your dishes x20 was in my hair. I didn’t take it easy when lathering and payed for it when it came to rinsing – mann were my arms tired.
The good news – this worked INSANELY well. So well, I wish I had tried it first to see how it would affect my hair before all the other fading techniques I tried.
Just take a look at the before and after pics below. Since it worked so well, the next day, I did the same thing and ended up with a very light shade of sky blue the rest of my hair was completely blonde.
Attempt #10 – High-lift Blonde Dye
The old rule “colour does not lift colour” still applies but a high-lift blonde dye can be a handy addition to your dye stash for minor corrections. In some circumstances you can use a blonde dye to remove leftover tint from your hair, tone it or to even out your colour.I recommend only doing this when your previous colour has almost washed out leaving a slightly tinted light blondish colour. This is not a suitable method to lighten dark hair.
I saved this option for last because it’s what was recommended as a last option in the comments and in the article post I mentioned previously. After the Dish soap and baking soda removed most of the blue and all the other colors were faded out of my hair leaving behind an ash blonde color, I went for it and picked up a high lift bleach blonde kit for the drug store.
This got the remaining blue shade out leaving behind a soft shade of blue barely noticeable. Now that I’m blonde again… I rewarded my hair with a week off and a deep conditioning treatment at a local salon.
Do me a favor – if you try any of these methods tag us in your before or after pic so we can see how well they worked for you! Oh and don’t forget to pin this for later… it’ll come in handy when you’re ready for the next new color.
Thanks for reading.