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How can I Remove Hair Dye Stains from my Skin?

Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco

Although it's best to prevent hair dye stains as much as possible by wearing gloves and applying dye carefully around the forehead, it can be difficult to avoid getting dye on your skin. Wiping off any spilled dye quickly and washing the area with soap and water can often prevent the dye from coloring your skin. If you end up with stains, there are a few home remedies, including toothpaste, dish soap mixed with baking soda and lemon juice, and nail polish remover, that will remove hair dye stains pretty quickly. Be careful not to get any of these removers on the dyed hair itself, as they can remove the color there too.


Toothpaste can sometimes remove hair dye stains.
Toothpaste can sometimes remove hair dye stains.

The best way to ensure hair dye does not stain is to prevent it from getting on your skin as much as possible. Although hair coloring can be messy — especially when done at home — you can protect your hairline and neck by applying a thin, even layer of petroleum jelly or conditioner to the area. As these products are typically oil based, they prevent the dye from sticking to your skin and are easily washed off when you're rinsing the color from your hair. If the color does drip onto unprotected areas, wipe it off quickly with a damp cloth.


Baking soda and lemon juice can help remove stains.
Baking soda and lemon juice can help remove stains.

While toothpaste does not seem to work on all skin types, it's a good first step since it is readily available, is relatively soft, and usually does not irritate or damage the skin. For this option, simply rub a small amount of toothpaste, preferably the kind that contains scrubbing granules, on the area until the stain lifts and then rinse with cool water.

Dish Soap, Baking Soda, and Lemon Juice

A hair dyeing kit.
A hair dyeing kit.

Mixing dish soap with either baking soda, lemon juice, or a combination of both can be an effective way to remove hair dye stains. The soap cleans the area, the baking soda provides scrubbing power, and the lemon juice acts as a bleaching agent. Mix equal parts of all three, and then rub this over the affected area until the stain is gone. Finish by rinsing with clean water. Some people recommend cigarette ash in place of the baking soda.

Nail Polish Remover

Nail polish remover can be used to remove hair dye stains.
Nail polish remover can be used to remove hair dye stains.

You can use nail polish remover to remove hair dye stains in small areas, but never use it near the eyes, nose, or mouth. To try it, soak a small ball of cotton with the remover and rub the stained area a few times until the dye lifts; in most cases, an acetone-based product works best. Always work in a well-ventilated area, as the fumes can be strong, and apply a light moisturizer after.


Cotton balls are helpful when cleaning.
Cotton balls are helpful when cleaning.

It's usually not a good idea to use straight bleach on a hair dye stain, as it can be very damaging to the skin. If you have a particularly stubborn stain, a small amount on a cotton ball could be used to remove it. Be sure to wash the area thoroughly afterwards, and moisturize. Don't use bleach on the face or near the eyes.

Other Options

Other home products you can use to remove hair dye stains include rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and aftershave; simply wet a cotton ball with any of these and rub it on the stain. While these products are effective, they should only be used on your hands, as getting any of these in your eyes can be painful and unsafe. Tea tree oil may also work, and many people recommend using baby wipes to clean up any drips. People with sensitive skin who need to remove hair dye stains should invest in a professional hair dye remover, which can be found in beauty supply stores and most hair salons.

Discussion Comments


I was dyeing my hair for years and I kept noticing a black spot near my ear. I thought it was a mole. But each time I had my hair colored at a hairdresser, it was getting bigger and bigger, to the size of a dime. Then I started scrape the area with my fingernail until just about all black came off. It took two hours. My skin was sore, of course, and then I had a black ring. I couldn't get the rest off and my skin was sore.

I looked up this web site on removing dye from my face and I mixed baking soda and dish detergent and put it on the area and I put the sticky part of a band aid on the area and three hours later, it fell off. I noticed some of the dark area had lightened and the skin was pink, so I put more of the mixture on my skin and gently wiped it and the rest of the black dye came off. I have a big pink spot and the skin has to heal but all that black dye is gone. All this was done in a matter of 24 hours.

I'm going to change where I go to get my hair done because they should have noticed and said something and they didn't. I had been going there for two years. I'm also changing the brand of hair color I use. It was my fault because I should have taken care of it long ago. But the point of all this is that dish detergent and baking soda does work and I wish I had known about this before I irritated my skin. But, it's gone now and I have to wait for my skin to heal. I didn't use lemon juice because I didn't have any and it still worked. Hope this helps somebody.


Use milk on some cotton wool and rub gently. Then wash your face with soap and water.


Ash works. Just use some ash and water mixed together and rub it off. It sounds, smells and feels yucky, but it works.


Be natural. Do not go for hair color!


How do I keep the dye from dying me skin? My beard is not very thick, and every time I color/dye it, my skin gets colored too. How do I keep it from getting stained or how do I remove the stain from my skin without removing the color off my beard too?


Got an answer for hair dye getting on my ears that I'm going to try. When doing my hairline I use an old toothbrush. It really works well at the hairline. Just wash the brush until the next time.


I tried all those things before. My go-to fixit was window cleaner. It worked all the time, no fail and cleaned up little dots that would fling onto the sink, wall, floor and my arms! How horrifying to dye my hair jet black and have my go-to not work. I scrubbed at my poor skin with everything, imagining having my skin fall off in the sink and my skull stuck with hair dye on it!

My last resort: hair styling spritz -- hairspray in a pump, not spray! I sprayed it on and nearly fainted with relief that my dye faded! It could've been all those chemicals I subjected my face to beforehand, working together with the styling spritz, I have no idea. Just glad my hairline's OK!

By the way, I did put vaseline around my hairline, but if I put it any closer, my grays would have been covered in vaseline and not dyed at all.


Hair spray and rub it with a paper towel or cotton ball.


Worst mistake I've ever made when dying my hair at home is rinsing my hair with warm water instead of cold water. I did this once in winter and my face got all stained! Well, what I did, however, was scrub my face using sugar and little bit of water all over (acne products with the little mineral balls work as well) and basically when my face was red, I used a little bit of alcohol to remove it all. It worked but was a little painful. I recommend my method in extreme cases because my case was extreme.


toothpaste works well, but best of all is eucalyptus oil!


Shave with your razor and shaving cream. just the affected areas where you can afford to lose a little. like shave along your hairline and if you dye your beard, then same principle. just touch your beard up. I had harsh face stains from dying my beard then i just touched up with my shaver and shaving cream then massaged off with warm water and a bit of soap. worked in 30 secs literally.


I just dyed my hair black, a first for me. i got some dye on my neck and ears. the toothpaste, dish soap, alcohol, and even distilled white vinegar! none of these worked. i might have to ask my aunt, ugh!


i tried using toothpaste and left it on for 15 minutes and it worked a little. after i tried that, i used rubbing alcohol and it removed the hair dye from my skin so both really help to remove it.


All of this is crap. I tried all of these methods and none of them worked!


I tried the conditioner and petroleum jelly around my face, but then have trouble getting the dye to stick to the hair.


Forgot to do the vaseline this time and I used a darker color than usual. I used the nail polish remover. Worked fast thank goodness. Too many places to go today!


Just used dishwashing liquid and baking soda. Worked wonderfully.


i am sorry but I used everything and nothing worked for me. The dish soap and baking soda worked a little, but not that much! i sat up for four hours trying everything, but nothing. now I've got it to where if i went out i would have to wear my hair down. other than that, it's up and I let it be! but i don't know. maybe it was because the hair dye was really good!


The dishwashing detergent and baking soda mix worked wonderfully. Every time I would color my hair I would have to hide out for a few days until the dye on my hairline would fade. Not this time. Yeah!


i used vaseline along the hair line but i still ended up with dye in that area so i rubbed toothpaste on (dry face) and it worked. It removed the dye. thanks for the tip.


I put a tiny bit of shampoo around my hairline. I also make sure my face is a little oily before I dye my hair, not scrubbing when I take a shower the day before. This makes the dye stick a lot less.


Another tip: hair dye can stain your earrings or cause them to tarnish so be sure to take them out before coloring your hair. If you do get dye on your earrings, soak them in hydrogen peroxide or clean them with a good jewelry cleaner.


I have never had a problem removing hair dye stains from my skin. The best solution for me is to rinse my hair in the shower and wash with soap and water the areas that came in contact with the dye. It works just fine. However, I do agree that petroleum jelly as a preventive measure is also a good idea.


It's much easier to avoid stains than to get rid of them, so don't forget to put Vaseline or something around your hairline and on your ears (where most hair dye stains happen!)

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    • Toothpaste can sometimes remove hair dye stains.
      By: Laurin Rinder
      Toothpaste can sometimes remove hair dye stains.
    • Baking soda and lemon juice can help remove stains.
      Baking soda and lemon juice can help remove stains.
    • A hair dyeing kit.
      By: Tim
      A hair dyeing kit.
    • Nail polish remover can be used to remove hair dye stains.
      By: travis manley
      Nail polish remover can be used to remove hair dye stains.
    • Cotton balls are helpful when cleaning.
      By: Vibe Images
      Cotton balls are helpful when cleaning.
    • Hydrogen peroxide will remove hair dye stains on the skin.
      By: Jim Mills
      Hydrogen peroxide will remove hair dye stains on the skin.
    • Applying vaseline to the hairline before dying your hair can help prevent stained skin.
      By: ra3rn
      Applying vaseline to the hairline before dying your hair can help prevent stained skin.
    • Avoid stains on the skin by applying a thin line of petroleum jelly near the hairline.
      By: blueee
      Avoid stains on the skin by applying a thin line of petroleum jelly near the hairline.
    • Some people use cigarette ash and lemon juice for removing hair dye.
      By: bizoo_n
      Some people use cigarette ash and lemon juice for removing hair dye.
    • Many hair salons sell hair dye remover.
      By: gemenacom
      Many hair salons sell hair dye remover.
    • When dying hair, it's recommended to wear gloves to prevent staining the hands.
      By: steinerpicture
      When dying hair, it's recommended to wear gloves to prevent staining the hands.