How to Remove Purple Hair Dye from Hair

Perhaps once upon a time, you thought it was a great idea to use purple dye on your hair. But that was then, and this is now. And the last thing you now want on your hair is that color.

It could be that you are in a new phase of your life and want to claim back your natural hair color. Alternatively, you may be bored, no longer enjoy seeing your hair purple, and want a new color. Whatever your reasons, if you no longer enjoy seeing that vivid color on your hair, you need to learn how to get purple hair dye out of the hair.

Luckily you have several options. But it helps to understand the nature of hair dyes before deciding on the removal method.

Permanent vs. Semi-Permanent Dyes

Hair dyes come in two primary forms: permanent and semi-permanent hair colors. And they work differently.

Permanent Hair Dyes

Typically, permanent hair colors are created to penetrate the hair shaft and, thus, last longer. However, suppose you opt for these kinds of dye. In that case, the hydrogen peroxide and ammonia (or ethanolamine) components will open up your hair cuticle, change the structure of your keratin and melanin, and deposit the hair color. As a result, they change the hair tone and can make it darker or lighter.

Permanent hair dyes usually last up to two months. But they require a touch-up every four weeks, thus making them high-maintenance in the long term. If you want to change your hair color one time, they work pretty well. However, if you keep coloring your hair, you will experience significant damage.

Due to the chemical processing nature of permanent hair colors, they are a much better option if you want to cover grey hairs. They won’t easily wash off when you shampoo your hair.

Semi-Permanent Hair Dyes

Semi-permanent hair dyes don’t usually contain ammonia or hydrogen peroxide as their main active ingredients. So, they don’t work on the hair cuticle. As a result, they only last for a short time – about three weeks.

You can use these hair colors to add gloss or shine, add depth to your hair, or grow out permanent hair color. In addition, because the semi-permanent hair colors don’t penetrate into the hair cuticle, they cause less damage over a long-term period compared to their permanent counterparts.

Due to how semi-permanent hair colors work, they are low maintenance in the long term and require a shorter commitment period. In addition, you can easily change your hair’s appearance because it wears off quickly. Therefore, if you used semi-permanent purple hair dye and no longer desire it, you will have an easier time removing it than if you used a permanent hair dye.

How to Get Purple Hair Dye Out of Hair: 8 Ways

As previously stated, you can remove the unwanted colors from your hair in different ways. But what is a good option for one person may not work for you. That is because permanent and semi-permanent colors work on the hair differently.

Also, the nature of your hair may determine how it reacts to your chosen removal method. But the goal is to loosen the molecular links that bind the hair dye to your hair.

So, it helps to try a few things until you find an effective way of getting rid of that purple hair on your head. Below are a few strategies you could try.

1. Treat Your Hair with a Vinegar Solution

One way to remove a purple toner or dye is by using a white vinegar solution. Below is the process you should follow:

  • Mix equal parts of white vinegar and warm water.
  • Pour the white vinegar solution all over your hair.
  • Cover your head with a shower cap
  • Wait for about 15 minutes and rinse

Vinegar may not always be effective in stripping off your hair dye. But it could lighten it significantly. So, for example, if you have dark purple hair and want to make it lighter, vinegar could do the trick.

But even if vinegar doesn’t do the job, it will detangle your hair, remove shampoo build-up, and make the hair smoother and shinier.

2. Apply Vitamin C Hair Mask

If your hair dye has not stayed long or you want to lighten your hair, it is a good idea to use Vitamin C, which is usually present in lemon juice, to remove the purple hair color. It’s acidic and will break down the hair color molecules. Here’s how to use it.

  • Buy and crush about 15-30 Vitamin C tablets (the white powder form kind).
  • Pour some clarifying shampoo into a bowl (preferably dye-free shampoo) and pour in the vitamin C powder. Aim for a ratio of two parts shampoo to one part Vitamin C.
  • Apply the vitamin C and shampoo paste into the affected area and ensure everything is well coated.
  • Put on your shower cap.
  • Leave the hair mask in for 30 to 60 minutes.
  • Shampoo, deep condition, and rinse well as you usually do.

Since everyone’s hair is different, you won’t know the results of your vitamin C hair mask until you try it. But you are likely to experience the best results if you use this hair mask on semi-permanent hair colors or lighter dyes. However, it is unsuitable for anyone with a sensitive skin or damaged hair from harsh treatments.

3. Use Baking Soda and Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

In the same way baking soda removes stains, it can also remove hair dye or lighten it when mixed with anti-dandruff shampoo. The latter usually contains selenium sulfide, which helps hair color fade.

Below are step-by-step instructions on using baking soda to remove hair color.

  • Buy an anti-dandruff shampoo of your choice (the latter is a better option than regular shampoo because it is stronger).
  • Buy baking soda (ensure you don’t confuse it with baking powder).
  • Wet your hair with warm or hot water (cold water will not open hair shaft cuticles up as effectively).
  • Get a bowl and pour in equal parts of baking soda and shampoo. If the consistency is not smooth and even, add more baking soda or shampoo until you get it right.
  • Apply the baking soda and shampoo mixture and rub it until your entire head is covered.

You are unlikely to see the results you want after one treatment. But you can repeat the treatment severally until you manage to remove most or all of the purple hair dye. Remember though, that baking soda is mild, so it’s unlikely to remove permanent hair dyes.

Also, if you don’t have an anti-dandruff shampoo around, you can use water or hydrogen peroxide to create a hair-lightening paste.

4. Fade Hair Color with Lemon Juice and Baking Soda

Below are instructions on using lemon juice and baking soda to remove that purple shade on your hair.

  • Squeeze a lemon or two into a bowl and remove any seeds.
  • Put two tablespoons of baking soda into a bowl and pour equal parts of lemon juice into it slowly while stirring until it forms a paste.
  • Dampen your hair and apply the mixture to the affected parts.
  • Leave the lemon juice and baking soda mixture in for about 20 minutes.
  • Shampoo your hair and use a deep conditioner.
  • If you don’t like the results, you can repeat the treatment for three or four days consecutively.

It helps to stay out in the sun when the lemon juice and baking soda mixture is in your hair for better results. However, remember that lemon juice on lighter hair, such as blonde hair on which it creates highlights. It is not as effective for darker hair, such as black hair or dark brown hair. In fact, if you have the latter color, you may end up with orange tints.

5. Wash Your Hair with Dish Soap and Shampoo

You can also try to remove any unwanted tones using dish soap and shampoo by following the procedure below.

  • Mix a few drops of dish soap into some shampoo.
  • Wash your hair with hot water and rinse well.
  • If you don’t like the results, you can repeat the treatment for up to a week.

Dish soap works better when you have just applied the hair dye to your hair. So, if you decide early on that you hate that purple color, it’s a good option to use. However, it can have a drying effect on your hair since it removes natural oils. So, you may want to repair the dry hair using a deep conditioner and coconut oil or something that works similarly.

6. Use a Commercial Hair Color Remover

You have the option of using commercial hair color removers to strip away the purple hair dye you dislike so much. Below are tips on using these hair products.

  • If you don’t want to touch your natural hair color, opt for color reducers, only affecting the hair dye. They are excellent for getting rid of permanent hair dyes and come in liquid form. However, they tend to stink.
  • You can also use hair color strippers to lighten the hair color. These usually break apart the hair dye and melanin bonds and come in powder form. So, if you have bleached your hair, you won’t regain your natural color.
  • Buy your hair dye remover online or in your local store after asking for expert advice or reading reviews. If you have long hair, you are better off buying at least two products.
  • Be sure to mix the remover and activator if it is necessary. Not doing so will result in an effective product.
  • When using the hair color removers, first wash your hair with an anti-dandruff or clarifying shampoo if it is dirty. It works best on clean hair.
  • Always apply the remover in small sections of hair until your entire head is covered in it.
  • Always follow the manufacturers’ application and safety instructions concerning hair dye removers, which vary. It’s the only way to get the best results. So, ensure you wear latex gloves if asked to, wait for the required period before washing off the hair remover, and shampoo your hair afterward as aoften as the instructions state.

7. Neutralize the Purple Shade

You can neutralize the purple shade by adding a differently colored toner instead of removing it or bleaching it. It’s all about finding complementary colors.

For example, if your hair is blue, you can tone it with orange or peach. But if you have purple, you should opt for orange or yellow tones. The latter is better for dark purple hair color, while the former work best for lighter purple shades.

Here’s how to tone your purple-dyed hair.

  • Mix equal parts of a volume developer and a toner of your choice.
  • Wear your latex gloves and apply the mixture to your hair from the roots upward.
  • Wait for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the tone effect you are going for. You can keep checking the color periodically.
  • Rinse your hair well and shampoo it.

You can use a purple shampoo about three weeks after applying the toner. The same applies to a conditioner.

8. Bleach your hair

Bleaching your hair is not usually the best way to get rid of a bad dye job or when you hate the tones you applied. But a bleach wash is one of those options that you want to use as a last resort if you don’t want to buy a hair color remover or if it has failed to work because it changes your hair color permanently.

Below are the steps you should follow when bleaching your hair.

  • First, ensure you have all the necessary ingredients. These include a volume developer (10 or 20), bleach powder, deep conditioner, shower cap, latex gloves, shampoo, etc.
  • Mix equal parts of bleach powder and volume developer to create a bleach wash.
  • Dampen your hair (or leave it dry if you prefer), and wrap an old towel around your shoulders for protection before applying the bleach bath solution evenly on your hair. Ensure you have worn your gloves.
  • Cover your head with a shower cap for the desired period. Use a timer to be safe. If you already have bleached purple hair, you can wait up to 10 minutes, while deep purple hair requires 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Before the waiting period elapses, you can test the resulting bleach color by piping off a small section with a towel.
  • If the time is up or you love the color you have achieved, you should rinse your hair thoroughly.
  • Apply a new hair color if you want or deep condition your hair. It depends on what you want.

You have many options concerning the removal of purple dye from your hair. However, each person is unique, which means their hair reacts differently to the listed removal options. For that reason, you should manage your expectations.

Also, it would be best to begin by using the most available, natural, and affordable purple hair color removers first. Then if they work, you would have saved money while preventing your hair from getting damaged.

Photo of author

Brandi Miles, BSW, MS Human Services

Brandi Miles, BSW, MS Human Services is the mother of two adult children and three beautiful grandchildren. Brandi has 20+ years of experience helping people with developmental disabilities.
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