Getting Hair Dye Off Your Hands

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How to cite: Wong M. Getting Hair Dye Off Your Hands. Lab Muffin Beauty Science. July 26, 2020. Accessed June 22, 2024.

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).

blue dyed hair

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.

dye hands

dye 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.

soap dye hands

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:

hand after soap

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.

Bondi Sands Tan Eraser

Bondi Sands Tan Eraser

I dispense a bit into my hands, then rub them together like I’m lathering up a liquid soap.

Fake tan remover foam

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:

Hand after fake tan eraser

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.

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4 thoughts on “Getting Hair Dye Off Your Hands”

  1. I dye my hair at home, too, and I always had a problem with getting dye on my skin near my hairline. My hairdresser told me to use any cheap clarifying shampoo (the kind of stuff you use to wash your combs and brushes), and dab it on the skin. make sure NOT to wet your hair or skin while doing this. Wetting the hair or skin locks in the dye; using cheap shampoo on dry skin or hair will strip the dye.

    So after rubbing the shampoo on my skin, I go into the shower to wash the dye out. Presto…perfectly clean and dye-free skin while the dye clings to the hair where it belongs.

    Oh, and the comment about using the cheap shampoo on your combs and brushes…you should be washing them every time you wash your hair. Just clean the hair off them, put a dollop of cheap shampoo in the sink with the stopper in, and use as hot water as you can stand. Swirl the combs and brushes around and use your fingers to really get in there on the bristles. Let them soak while you shower.When you’re done, rinse them off and dry them with your towel. Now you have squaky clean hair tools to go with your squeaky clean hair (you should also be using this on barrettes, hair ties, clips, and anything you put in your hair.)

    Cause who wants to use dirty, oily hair implements in clean hair? 🙂

  2. I use P50!! I have naturally dark blonde hair and dye it black. My colorist has a color remover he rubs on my hairline with a dry towel, but I honestly prefer P50. I’ve used both formulas PIGM 400 and P50V, and they work equally well and require less rubbing. Another trick I learned when dyeing my hair at home during quarantine is to use the Biologique Recherche mini massage gloves to remove built up color around the hairline during the rinse. The silicone spikes help massage and exfoliate and it feels great.


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