I’ve had coloured hair for 2 years now, and I’ve been doing all the recolouring at home with temporary (direct) dye – it’s gone from a dye session every week (purple) to coloured conditioner in the shower (pink), and now to a dye session every 2 weeks (blue). So I’ve dealt with a lot of stained skin!
The best way to deal with stained hands is, of course, to prevent it in the first place. You can wear gloves, but I find that I prefer being able to feel for dry undyed bits in my hair (I am not a professional).
Here’s the process I’ve found most effective and least damaging to make my hands reasonably presentable so far.
This is my hand after 15 minutes of dyeing – only the ends of my hair are bleached now so the process is a lot faster than it used to be, but I’ve used this method successfully with much more intensely-coloured hands.
Step 1: Soap
Direct dye has a conditioner base, so it tends to be on the oily side. I use a bar soap to wash as much as possible off my hands afterwards. The physical action of the solid soap rubbing on my hands seems to help.
Also see the blue foam coming off – that’s how you know your method’s still working! I do this until the foam is pale.
My hand after this step:
Step 2: Fake tan remover
Fake tan remover contains urea. Urea acts as an immediate chemical exfoliant – it gets your skin to shed its top layer. If your hands are already sensitive or chapped, it’s probably a good idea not to do this step, since chemical exfoliants can be harsher than you’d expect, but I’ve generally found this to be gentle enough not to worry too much.
I’ve been using Bondi Sands Self Tan Eraser, which comes in a self-foaming pump bottle.
I dispense a bit into my hands, then rub them together like I’m lathering up a liquid soap.
Again, if the foam is coloured that means the urea’s still working, so I keep going until the colour fades again.
At this point my hands mostly looks good:
Which gets us to the last step…
Step 3: Towel exfoliation
A standard terry cotton towel is actually pretty good for exfoliating your hands. Your skin is probably pretty hydrated and soft at this point, so rubbing your hands firmly on the towel will rub off some skin (the urea also helps).
Don’t go too firmly or for too long, since your skin is probably quite tender with all the rough treatment. And make sure it’s an old towel, or a dark coloured towel, because hair dye will stain!
After this, my hands are usually pretty normal-looking, with a faint coloured glow. If not, I repeat the towel rubbing after I shower and rinse the dye out of my hair.
Here’s my hand before dyeing, and after the soap + urea + towel combination:
Do you have any tips for getting hair dye off your skin?
Bondi Sands Fake Tan Eraser was provided for editorial consideration, but as always these are my honest opinions. This post also contains an affiliate link – if you decide to click through and support Lab Muffin financially (at no extra cost to you), thank you! For more information, see Disclosure Policy.