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Your hair was perfectly chic when you dyed it months ago, but now you’re ready for something new. Whether your color has faded, you want to try a new shade or what used to be your favorite hue has morphed into something hideous, you don’t have to stick with your color until it grows out. Color strippers are designed to sap away unwanted hues — and there’s nothing wrong with using one if months have passed since your dye job.
Hair Color Removal Kit
The safest way to strip your hair color is to use a commercial dye removal kit. They aren’t as harsh as bleach — some are completely peroxide and ammonia-free — but they’re still effective at removing dark shades. Also, if you opt for a kit, it may come with all of the tools you need to give your hair its extreme makeover, such as an application brush, a bottle and gloves to protect your skin.
Using Bleach to Strip Color
Bleach is very effective at stripping color from your hair, but there are a few things to consider before using it. First, you must make sure you use hair bleach — regular household bleach will destroy your hair and can burn your skin, too. Before you douse your entire mane in hair bleach, test a hidden strand of hair to see how long it takes for the color to lift away. When you do apply bleach to all of your hair, dab it on the roots last: Your roots will dye faster than the rest of your head due to the heat from your scalp.
It may be better for your hair to cover it up with a new color than to strip the old one out. To tame down orange or red tones, use medium or dark golden blond dye. Dyes with words like “neutral” or “ash” should also work to balance bright hues. You can also use a toner to neutralize unwanted color — just pick a toner that’s the complement of the shade you want to remove — green toner to lift red hues, or lilac to lift yellow.
If you’re planning on sporting a new shade after stripping your old one, proceed with caution. It’s best to find the shade you want in a semi-permanent dye, because these products contain few damaging chemicals. However, if you want to go lighter than your current color, you’ll have to pick demi-permanent or permanent dye to get the effect you want — semi-permanent color can only darken or add subtle lowlights to your tresses. To avoid a dyeing mishap that might require more color stripping, look at the chart on a hair-dye product before purchasing to see how the color will take to your hair. When in doubt, stay within two shades of your current color.