The back of a woman's head, her hair tied back and full of colour, with colour all over her white shirt

Remove Hair Dye Stains From Skin Quickly And Easily

Whether you are new to the world of hair dye or a seasoned veteran, we’ve all struggled with the challenges that arise from staining. It can leave you with oddly coloured skin, flooring, sinks, clothing, and more! Looking for the secret to remove hair dye stains from skin? Look no further!

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If you’ve been around Alternatively Speaking either here on the blog, or on social media, then you already know that I’m a HUGE fan of hair dye. It’s a great way to express yourself creatively and bring a little colour and fun into your life. For some, hair dye is a great way to hide those early gray hairs or mark a new chapter in your life. For others, it’s about tapping into and expressing your most true, genuine self. Whatever it is for you, I say power to you!

However, there is one challenge that routinely plagues those who tackle their dream hair colour at home – the fact that hair dye stains EVERYTHING, including our skin! If you find yourself staring into your mirror with a smurf staring back thanks to your beautiful blue locks, you’re not alone!

There are many steps that you can take during the hair colouring process to prevent this problem before it arises, but even the most careful DIYers are unable to prevent every situation! For the record, there are times that I will go all out on the prevention, and there are times that I slack off a little (and I pay for it). While these stains WILL fade naturally over time, if you’re looking to avoid rocking rainbow skin in the coming days, I’ve got you covered!

Please note, there are many options that have the potential to be EXTREMELY harsh and damaging to the skin. I have not included these options here, as there is no need to create another problem in our efforts to solve the first one. This includes commercial cleaning agents and harsh chemicals. The option listed below may not be easy on your skin, but they are far less likely to cause damage if applied carefully.

Check Out These 8 Tips To Remove Hair Dye Stains From Skin Quickly And Easily:

Take Your Time

Honestly, one of the biggest changes you can make during the dying process is simply to slow down and tap into your patience! Often staining occurs due to rushing, leading us to make unnecessary mistakes and messes. Take on your next dye job when you know that you have the time to work through it at a comfortable pace, paying careful attention to where you are applying your dye and how much you are using at any given time. This will reduce the risk of dripping, smudging, etc.

Cover Up!

This point is common sense, and yet one that many will overlook. Before you crack that bottle or tub of dye open, take the time to cover up exposed skin where possible. For example, wear older clothing that you aren’t concerned about staining (hair dye stains in fabric are nearly impossible to remove). Obviously, a t-shirt will cover more of your skin than a tank top, for example. You can also drape older towels over your shoulders, pinning or clipping them like a cape, to protect yourself from exposure to the dye.

Please note: Fabric isn’t 100% guaranteed to protect you. In fact, the dye can make it’s way through the fabric, especially if you allow a large amount to drip onto a thinner shirt.

The back of a woman's head, her hair tied back and full of colour, with colour all over her white shirt with the title remove hair dye stains from skin quickly and easilyPetroleum Jelly/Conditioner Barrier

One of the oldest tricks in the book, you can actually create a barrier on the skin that is impossible to cover up, such as along the hairline. While the traditional advice says to use petroleum jelly many newer reports substitute simple hair conditioner instead. The idea is to carefully apply it to the skin, but don’t rub it in You want it to create a barrier of product that will prevent the dye from actually making contact with your skin. After you have finished applying your hair dye, allowing it to process and rinsing it clear, carefully wipe the area clean with a warm washcloth.

Just as we discussed in the previous post, this barrier isn’t going to be 100% effective so don’t put too much trust in its ability to keep you stain free! You still want to take your time and try to avoid exposing your skin to the dye any more than necessary.

Dawn Dish Soap

Has anyone else noticed that Dawn liquid dish soap seems to be a solution to everything? This multi-use product has also been credited with having the cleaning power to effectively remove hair dye from your skin. Simply apply the soap to the stained area as you would a basic hand or body soap. Warning: Scrubbing too hard may lead to irritation, so take it easy!

Some people also suggest adding baking soda into the mix in order to create a ‘miracle scrub’ to remove the unwanted stains. Simply apply the mixture in the same way you would a beauty scrub, working it in a circular motion carefully and gently before rinsing it away. In both cases, avoid getting these products into your eyes.

Repeat as necessary.

Liquid Laundry Detergent

If you don’t have any Dawn dish soap kicking around, another widely talked about solution is liquid laundry detergent. These products are designed to lift tough stains from your clothing, so the rationale behind this suggestion is solid. However, they can be really harsh on your skin, especially sensitive skin! As suggested in the previous point, avoid over scrubbing.

The best approach to remove hair dye stains from skin with liquid laundry detergent is to apply the detergent, allow it to soak on the skin for approximately 30 minutes and then gently blot the area. Repeat the process as necessary to remove as much of the colour as possible.

Baby Oil, Olive Oil or Coconut Oil

The idea behind this suggestion is that oils will work to naturally break down the colour itself. While I can honestly say that I have never tried this to remove hair dye stains from skin, I have used coconut oil in the past to fade dye out of my hair with success.

This is a solution that would be much easier on your skin than Dawn dish soap or laundry detergent, however, it’s certainly not an instant fix. When using it in my hair, I would leave the oil sitting on my hair for hours before rinsing it out, and it would be a process requiring multiple applications. Simply rub the oil into the stained skin with your fingers and allow it to sit. Unlike other the processes mentioned, oil soaking shouldn’t be removed with a wiping action. Instead, rinse your skin clear with running water. You can also wash your skin clear with a mild soap. As with previous approaches, repeat as necessary.


Another popular suggestion is to use toothpaste to remove the stains. Simply apply a small bead of non-gel toothpaste to the skin and then gently scrub it in with a cheap toothbrush. Rinse clean with warm water or a warm washcloth. One bonus to this approach, all the necessary supplies are either sitting around your home or could be purchased at a dollar store, so you won’t break the bank! This is one of the tips on here that I have tried with some success. It did, however, take multiple rounds of scrubbing and didn’t actually remove the entire stain. However, it lightened it considerably, to the point that it may not be noticeable to the general public.

My Personal Favourite: Annabelle Eye Makeup Remover

I’m going to be honest and say that while I preach to be careful and take your time, cover up your skin, etc., I don’t always follow my own advice… In fact, this last late-night dye job was completed wearing a tank top and I had teal dye EVERYWHERE! Teal streaks graced my shoulders, neck and back from the freshly dyed hair resting against my skin and drops of dye were found not only on my arms but also on my bare feet! I was a bit of a slob.

However, the next morning I was teaching at a band retreat free and clear of the unnecessary staining. How? My personal secret? Annabelle Long-Wear and Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover!

It’s incredible how quickly and easily this product works, and it has been designed to be sensitive enough to be used around your eyes, both paraben and alcohol-free! Therefore, it causes no irritation. Furthermore, the fact that the product is sold as a presoaked pad means that you can use it on the go. Throw these in your bag, and you’ll be prepared in the event of an unexpected rain causing dye trails down your face and neck.

What are your go-to solutions to remove hair dye stains from skin? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below!

28 thoughts on “Remove Hair Dye Stains From Skin Quickly And Easily”

    1. Thank you! I feel like it’s something everyone who dyes their hair struggles with at one time or another lol

  1. I’d heard of covering the skin with vaseline before, and using baby oil, but the rest of them are new to me (obviously not the take your time part, I just choose to ignore it!).

    Wonderful advice 😀

  2. Oh wow these are great tips thanks! I get lazy and don’t take the time to protect my skin at times when dying my hair. All of your tips are so practical I have no excuses lol – even toothpaste who knew?! Thanks again!

    1. I think we all have at one time or another lol Or those moments when we get everything cleaned up only to have it rain haha

  3. Great post! I actually had no idea about the petroleum jelly! And Dawn is good for just about anything, it seems 🙂

    1. I have noticed the same – Dawn seems to come up as the solution to nearly every problem hahaha!

  4. These are all great! I’d never considered eye makeup remover pads. I will definitely try that next time I dye my hair and notice I have funny colored ears.

    1. It’s amazing how easily it cleans everything up. Without them, I’d certainly be walking around with blue hair!

    1. It can be quite messy, can’t it! I am so bad for just not caring and then having to work through the clean up afterwards… skin, tub, flooring, you name it

    1. I am a hair dye addict and I will fully admit that I learned many of these through first hand experimentation over the years hahaha
      I was definitely one of those girls with stripes for days lol

  5. I’ve never used proper hair dye before but I used to put temporary pink streaks in my hair when I was a teen – ugh the colour of the towels afterwards! These are great tips 🙂

    1. Yes, the towels are horrible. Or your pillow cases the first few nights, especially if they are warm nights and you’re sweating lol

    1. It’s a great way to prevent much of the staining before it even happens if you have the patience to apply it first!

  6. Fabulous tips and truly loved the post. I am bookmarking so I can share with my 17 year old daughter who is into the bright and bold colors like these. These are great tips that she will appreciate.

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