Hair dye can leave stains on a person’s skin or nails. There is a variety of different techniques that can help remove hair dye stains.

This article covers some of the various methods that people may use to remove hair dye from their skin and nails. It also looks at how a person can prevent staining from hair dye occurring in the first place.

a woman rubbing soap and water into her face because that is How to get hair dye off skinShare on Pinterest
Soap and water may help remove hair dye from the skin.

Dying hair is a potentially messy process, and staining along the hairline is common. Facial skin is sensitive, so a person should avoid using harsh chemicals to remove hair dye stains from the face and hairline.

There is no scientific research to support the use of these methods for hair dye removal from the skin. The following techniques are anecdotal:

Soap or face cleanser

  1. Wet face with warm water.
  2. Pump face soap, or facial cleanser, into the hands and work into a lather.
  3. Gently rub the lathered soap onto the stained area.
  4. Rinse face with warm water.
  5. Pat face dry with a towel.
  6. If the stain does not lift after 2 or 3 washes, try another method.

Makeup remover

  1. Apply makeup remover to a cotton ball.
  2. Gently rub the stain with the cotton ball.
  3. Leave makeup remover on the face for 5 minutes.
  4. Rinse with warm water.
  5. Pat face dry with a towel.
  6. Alternatively, use a makeup wipe to rub the stain away gently.

Baby oil and olive oil

A gentle solution to remove hair dye from the skin is baby oil. People can safely use baby oil on the face, although they should avoid getting it in their eyes as it may irritate.

Olive oil is another natural solution. According to some research, olive oil has stain-removing properties. However, the research involved removing hair dye stains from woolen fabric rather than skin. There is little research into olive oil’s stain removal properties on the skin.

  1. Use fingers to apply enough oil to cover the stain, but not so much that it drips down the face.
  2. Let the oil sit on the stain for at least 8 hours. If leaving on overnight, wrap the area in clean cotton cloth or bandages to prevent the oil from staining any sheets or pillows.
  3. Rinse off with warm water and soap or a mild shampoo.
  4. Pat skin dry with a towel.


Toothpaste contains mild abrasives, such as baking soda, to help remove stains from teeth. There is no research into using baking powder to remove hair dye stains

  1. Using a non-gel toothpaste that contains baking soda, dab a pea-sized amount onto the hair dye stain using a cotton swab or fingers.
  2. Gently massage into the stain for at least 30 seconds.
  3. Leave for 5 to 10 minutes, then remove the toothpaste using a damp washcloth.


Hairspray can help remove hair dye from the hairline. However, hairspray is not suitable to use on all skin types, and there is no evidence to support hairspray’s use against hair dye stains, so exercise caution. Do not spray directly onto the stain as it may get into the eyes.

  1. Spray hairspray onto a cotton ball or pad.
  2. Dab the pad lightly against the stained area.
  3. Should signs of irritation occur, stop immediately, and rinse with warm water.

People can use many of the same methods to remove dye from other parts of the body. However, there are some additional techniques that a person can choose from to use on areas of skin that are not as sensitive as the face.

There is no evidence to support the use of these techniques on hair dye stains.

Dish soap and baking soda

Baking soda is a mild abrasive and can exfoliate skin cells stained with hair dye. Dish soap can help to dissolve the hair dye. Together, these chemicals can remove hair dye from the skin.

  1. Combine equal parts of gentle dish soap and baking soda and stir into a paste.
  2. Use hands or a cotton pad to apply to stained skin.
  3. Scrub the area gently in circular motions.
  4. After scrubbing for a few minutes, rinse the skin with warm water to remove all the paste.
  5. Repeat as necessary.
  6. Should any discomfort or irritation occur, stop immediately and rinse with water.

Rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol can help remove hair dye stains from skin. However, caution is advisable, as rubbing alcohol can be harsh and drying on the skin.

  1. Combine a small amount of rubbing alcohol and liquid hand soap onto a cotton ball.
  2. Gently rub the solution onto the stained area.
  3. Rinse the area thoroughly with warm water and soap.

To limit staining on the hands, always wear gloves when coloring hair at home. However, should hair dye get onto hands or nails, the following methods are potentially helpful.

There is currently no scientific evidence to support these techniques as methods to remove hair dye from nails.

Nail polish remover

Nail polish remover can help remove hair dye from hands and nails. However, prolonged exposure of nail polish remover to the skin can cause discomfort or burning, so caution is recommended, especially on sensitive skin.

  1. Soak a cotton ball with nail polish remover.
  2. Dab the skin on the hands with the cotton ball and pause for a moment to make sure there is no adverse reaction.
  3. If there are no issues, rub the nails or hands with the soaked cotton ball in a circular motion.
  4. After no more than 30 seconds, rinse hands thoroughly with soap and water.

Lava soap

Heavy-duty hand soaps, such as Lava soap, are designed to remove stubborn stains from the hands.

  1. Lather soap in hands.
  2. Scrub hair dye stains thoroughly.
  3. Rinse hands with warm water.

Taking steps to prevent hair dye coming into contact with skin can limit the need for stain removal methods.

Although there is no scientific evidence to support the following techniques, they can be useful to prevent hair dye staining the skin:

  • use baby oil, coconut oil, or petroleum jelly along the hairline and ears to act as a barrier against the hair dye
  • avoid showering before dying hair to build up natural, protective oils in the skin.
  • use a thin headband along the hairline to prevent contact with the dye
  • use an old towel around the neck to prevent drips from staining the skin.

Anyone who feels any lingering discomfort or pain after using hair dyes or the methods to remove stains should contact their doctor.

Hair dyes contain a range of chemicals and ingredients that can cause allergies, irritation, and worse. To prevent an allergic reaction, always do a patch test to see how the skin responds to the dye before every hair coloring

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, symptoms of an allergic reaction to a substance on the skin can include:

  • rash
  • very dry skin
  • burning
  • stinging
  • hives
  • blisters, either fluid-filled or oozing and crusty
  • flaky, cracked skin
  • scaly skin
  • dark, thick, leathery skin

Learn more about hair dye allergies here.

Occasionally, a person might experience a severe allergic reaction to hair dye. A person experiencing the following symptoms should seek medical help immediately:

  • itchy skin, or skin with a red, raised rash
  • swollen eyes, lips, hands or feet
  • swelling that causes the eyelids to shut
  • feeling faint or lightheaded
  • swelling of the tongue, throat, or mouth
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • wheezing
  • stomach ache, pain, or nausea
  • collapsing or fainting

Dying hair can leave stains on the skin. However, there are techniques available to help prevent hair dye stains occurring.

If a person is unable to remove hair dye from their skin, they should contact a specialist, such as a hairdresser, to remove it.

After dying hair, a person should watch for any signs of allergic reaction and contact a doctor immediately if they notice any worrying symptoms.