how to get hair dye off skin

How To Get Hair Dye Off Skin: 5 Easy Ways

Getting hair dye off skin isn't rocket science. By using simple everyday products, you can make dye stains on the skin a thing of the past.
Updated: October 19, 2023
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Dyeing your hair can be a messy business. No matter how experienced or careful you are, it’s inevitable that at some point you’ll slip up and stain your skin with brightly colored hair dye. Thankfully, learning how to get hair dye off skin is pretty easy and straightforward.

Today, we’ll be listing our top 5 methods for removing hair dye from the skin that you can do from the comfort of your own home. There’s no rocket science here, just good old common sense and handy life hacks.

So before you turn your hair into a rainbow, take a few minutes to read what you should do if things go a little wrong. Let’s dive in.

The chemistry of hair dye

Permanent hair dye is notoriously difficult to remove, and for good reason. To keep this as simple as possible, hair dye is made up of a collection of powerful chemicals that work to stain the hair.[1]

First, a potent oxidizing agent known as hydrogen peroxide interacts with the melanin in the hair to lessen its color. This can also be referred to as bleaching the hair. Next, other added compounds in the dye act to change the actual color of the hair to whatever the user has chosen.

With all of this chemical interference, it’s no surprise that repeatedly dyeing your hair can lead to hair damage in the long term. You should take care when dyeing your hair to avoid causing irreparable harm to the follicles and cells.[2]

How to protect your skin from hair dye stains

Before we get to the cleaning solutions that will help to get hair dye off your skin, we should mention some helpful prevention techniques. Stopping the hair dye from getting on the skin in the first place is a good thing to practice, and we have some tips.

Wear plastic gloves

Next time you want to express yourself through some wild hair coloring, remember to wear gloves. A cheap pair of plastic gloves can be lifesavers when it comes to protecting your hands from hair dye. There’s nothing worse than getting green hair dye underneath your fingernails, it doesn’t look very pleasant, to say the least. Wear gloves, and keep hair dye off the skin.

Wash as you go

A lot of frustration and mess can be avoided by simply washing as you go. Keep a pack of baby wipes or cotton pads nearby to quickly rub away accidental spillages in real-time. The faster you act, the more chance you have of stopping hair dye from staining the skin.

Make a hairline barrier

The most common place where hair dye gets on the skin is the forehead. This makes sense since it is the closest skin near the hairline. Using certain products, you can create a hairline barrier that protects the forehead from hair dye stains. Apply a thick line of petroleum jelly, moisturizer cream, aloe vera gel, or lip balm along the top of your forehead and hairline. This will help to keep the hair dye at bay and provide a protective wall between the dye and the skin.

How to get hair dye off skin

Removing hair dye from your skin can be a game of patience and trial and error. We’ve put together our best tips below, but different people may have different results. The key is to stay consistent and try all of them to get an idea of what works best for you.

1. Soap and water

Okay, this sounds a little too obvious, but we wouldn’t include it if it didn’t work. Regular lukewarm water and gentle soap may be enough to significantly fade hair dye stains on the skin. However, this method will only work if you act quickly. Ideally, as soon as you notice a spillage on the skin, you should try to wash it off with soap and water. Leaving the hair dye to stain the skin for longer than 5 minutes might make it too tough to remove.

Remember, don’t use hot water. Hot water can irritate the skin and potentially damage it. Using lukewarm water is the best and friendliest solution.

2. Rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is used in many cleaning products and is generally seen as a very effective solution. Apply a small amount to a wipe or cotton pad and gently rub it into the dyed skin. Use circular motions to properly merge the alcohol with the hair dye. Repeat the process until the hair dye is removed from the skin. Pro tip: This will also help get hair dye off the wall if you’ve suffered some unfortunate splashing!

A word of caution. Rubbing alcohol can dry out the skin rather quickly. If you already have naturally dry or sensitive skin, you should reconsider this option.

3. Olive oil

Olive oil, while being an essential cooking aid, is also fantastic as a cleanser. Olive oil, as well as other oils, have proven useful when cleaning excess wax from the skin, as well as other irritants. If you have hair dye on the skin, olive oil might be an effective and underrated method of removing it.

Simply apply a generous amount of olive oil to a cotton pad and rub it into the hair dye on the skin. Keep this up until the oil is absorbed, and leave it for 6-8 hours. Over time, hopefully, the olive oil will break down the components of the hair dye, and remove the dye from the skin.

4. Petroleum jelly

Petroleum jelly is a jelly-like mix of healthy waxes and mineral oils. It has traditionally been used as both a moisturizer and a tool for healing minor skin damage. Additionally, it can be used as a powerful cleanser too. We’ve already recommended using petroleum jelly for removing wax and getting rid of nail glue on the skin, and we’re happy to suggest its use for getting hair dye off skin.

Rub a decent amount of the jelly on the affected skin until the dye begins to fade and break away. Repeat this for as long as it takes before rinsing it off in lukewarm water.

5. Aloe vera gel

Considered to be one of the best natural ingredients on the planet, aloe vera has a ton of amazing skin benefits. From cleaning, and moisturizing, all the way to soothing irritation and inflammation. It’s no surprise that aloe vera can also be useful when getting hair dye off skin. The natural components in the gel may be able to significantly weaken and fade the harshness of the dye stains.

Simply rub it into the skin and leave it to sit for an hour or two. Rinse away with lukewarm water and soap, and see what progress it has achieved. Again, different people may have different results, and it could be reliant on the type of hair dye you have used. Aloe vera gel is well worth a try.

How to get hair dye off hands

When it comes to removing hair dye from your hands, there’s a handy technique that may yield positive results.

While the methods listed above can also have a good impact, here’s a tip that we recommend for your hands only.

Nail polish remover

Obviously, due to the strong nature of nail polish remover, we can’t recommend its use on your face. However, when it comes to getting hair dye off your hands, it could be a great option.

Apply a sensible amount to a cotton pad and rub it into the dye-stained skin. If things go well, the dye should start to wash away in quick time. Repeat this process multiple times to remove all the dye from the skin. Rinse the nail polish remover with lukewarm water and soap when done.

Keep a moisturizer nearby to replenish and hydrate the skin, as nail polish remover may cause mild irritation and dryness when used on the hands.


Learning how to get hair dye off skin isn’t as complicated as some people make it out to be. In most cases, if you act quickly, hair dye can be washed away with simple everyday products.

Be sure to take preventative measures next time you dye your hair, such as wearing gloves and creating a hairline barrier on your forehead to reduce dye stains on the skin. When it comes to getting hair dye off your hands, nail polish remover will do a good job.

Good luck, and happy hair dyeing!

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