how to get hair dye off of skin
Image: Olena Yakobchuk /

There is a proverb that: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

This same formula applies to coloring hair, and also how to get hair dye off of skin. One of the worst things that can occur when coloring your own hair is the dreaded “ring-around-the-face” color stain. This happens when processed hair dye has gone into the pores of the skin. But take heart! The fix for this is really pretty easy.

How to get hair dye off of skin

Apply oil to the skin before applying the dye to the hair. The extra oil on the skin will act as a protective barrier for the hair dye. If you have washed your hair and face, you can still protect it by carefully applying a very thin layer of petroleum jelly around the perimeter of the face and neck. Do not forget to apply it near the ears. 

If you do not have jelly, you can also use hair conditioner or shampoo. Just make sure you apply it in on thin. Shampoo can stop the processing of the hair color, so make sure you do not get it on the hair.

Black hair dye is the absolute worst! Even the best perimeter protection will not totally keep the dye from staining the skin a little. The good news is that in the coming weeks after shampooing at home several times, it will finally come off. 

Shampoo can be used the same way. In fact, if you get into the shower to do the final color rinse, make sure you scrub a little extra around the perimeter of the face and neck. And again, do not forget those ears!  

Sometimes hair dye will stain the skin at the bottom of the outer ear. Some may collect in the small concave area. Do not let a few dye stains on the skin stop you from being your own colorist.

Most women who choose to color their hair do it at home. It is not that difficult and you can do it just the way you want. Unfortunately, you often do a little more than you want and are left wondering how to remove the hair dye from a variety of surfaces, including you! So you’ll definitely need to know how to get hair dye off of skin. 

How to get hair dye off of skin- More ways

The first tip is that when dying the hair, apply a border of Vaseline around the edges of the scalp. Make it an area perhaps an inch wide or more. Yes, it will be greasy but it will save you the work of trying to scrub off dye stains at the base of your neck where it is hard to see what you are doing.

If you do have hair dye stains, there are commercial removers that can be bought at hair salons (after all, they make mistakes too), but you can get the same results with toothpaste. The makeup of toothpaste means that it contains just enough abrasives to help remove the dye from the skin without irritating it. Rub it in with your gloved fingers or use an old toothbrush.

Just in case the dye falls on clothing, get it off and put it into cold water immediately. Soak until the stain is all or mostly removed. Wring out and place the clothes on a firm surface, then use an old toothbrush to work a dishwashing detergent into the stain. Rinse and launder as usual but air dry in case the stain is not completely gone.      

Do you have any methods for how to get hair dye off of skin? Let us know in the comments!