Does Hair Colour Remover Work?

Brands like Colour Oops have made a name out of helping people correct their hair colour mistakes.

Made an embarrassing miscalculation when dyeing your hair? Hate your current hair colour and would like to get rid of it? Just apply some colour remover, rinse thoroughly and things are back to normal.

But do these colour removers really work? And are they okay for all kinds of hair colour corrections?

Yes, they work

Hair colour removers do work. You just need to check customer reviews for products like Colour Oops to see people’s success stories. There are also plenty of videos of ladies successfully stripping of their hair colour within no time using a colour remover. Here is one of them where she removes black dye from her hair.

The best thing about colour removers is that they don’t use any bleach nor do they contain ammonia. This makes them much safer for your hair than a bleach-based hair colour remover.

While most people say hair colour remover leaves your hair a bit dry, it’d be much worse if you used bleach. Other than the dryness, which you can rectify with a conditioner, hair colour removers are safe.

They are also easy to use. You don’t have to go to the salon to get your dye removed. Just follow the instructions on the label and you can have your artificial hair colour off in less than half an hour.

Does hair colour remover work on all types of hair colour?

Technically yes. There are hair colours that can remove both temporary and permanent dye.

However, the majority of hair colour removers work only on permanent hair colour. This may seem weird considering that temporary dye seems easier to strip off. But it’s all in the chemistry.

When you apply permanent hair dye, it gets past the outer layer, the cuticle, and goes into the cortex, the inner layer of a hair shaft.

It then replaces your natural hair colour molecules with artificial colour molecules that expand inside the cortex. That’s why you just can’t wash out permanent hair colour.

Temporary or semi-permanent hair on the other hand works differently. The molecules don’t replace your natural pigment. They just coat them. Temporary hair colour attaches onto the outer layer of your hair. So it’s easier to wash off with shampoo. It also fades on its own with time.

Most hair colour removers are formulated to only interact with permanent hair colour molecules. Molecules from the remover get inside the cortex, dissolve the molecular links between dye pigment molecules and make the molecules small enough to find their way out through the cuticle.

That’s why you need to thoroughly rinse your hair after using a colour remover. It ensures all the molecules have been washed out.

If you want to remove temporary hair colour, look for removers that are labelled as ideal for both permanent and temporary hair dye. These removers will often contain extra ingredients that target semi-permanent hair colour.

In addition, there are also products called hair colour strippers that are different from colour removers.

Factors that affect hair colour removers

Not all hair colour removal experiences are similar. Don’t expect the same results as your friend even if you had the same hair colour. This is because the effectiveness of a hair colour remover is based on several factors.

They include:

  • Your current hair colour. Certain dyes such as black and red are harder to get rid of than blonde hair dyes, especially at the roots. You may need several sessions before they are completely gone.
  • Level of developer used. If you used a level 10 developer, it’s going to be harder for the colour remover to strip off the hair colour than if you had used a 20 or 30 level developer. It will be even more difficult if you used a no-lift developer.
  • How long you’ve had your hair colour. The longer you have had your hair colour on, the harder it will be to remove it. It’ll take a few more applications to get rid of the build-up especially around the roots.

Things to keep in mind when using a hair colour remover

One, do not expect your hair to revert back to its natural colour. Sometimes you’ll get your natural pigment back but the final colour depends on what strength of developer you’d used and whether you have bleached your hair in the past.

Second, with most hair colour removers, you can re-colour your hair immediately or on the same day. So even if you don’t get the final colour you wanted after using a remover, you don’t have to wait to dye it to your desired colour.