12 Tips for Hair Dye Removal and Colour Correction

The Expert Guide to Using Hair Colour Removers

New hair colour not quite what you were hoping for? Before you reach for the hair dye remover, read these expert tips to make sure you colour correct like a pro.

1. Hair Colour Removers and Hair Colour Strippers Are Very Different

A colour remover contains a reduction agent, which works only on destroying the artificial colour molecule so that it can be flushed from the hair; it cannot affect the natural pigments in the hair.

A colour stripper contains an oxidation agent and is designed to gently remove both natural and artificial pigments, so you can re-colour immediately to a different or lighter permanent shade.

2. Wash Your Hair Repeatedly to Fade Dark Shades

If you have applied a colourant and the result is too dark, wash the hair in baby or clarifying shampoo immediately, several times. Most home hair colours contain an after-colour conditioner, which is designed to help the colour molecules settle inside the hair. If you’re not sure you are happy with the colour, washing it will remove any barriers from the conditioner and unsettle the new permanent colour.

3. Act Fast to Remove Dark Colours

If a colour is too dark, try to remove it immediately or within 48 hours. The fresher an artificial colour is, the easier it will be to remove it from the hair, especially if you have already washed it several times with baby or clarifying shampoo. Newly applied darker hair colourants that you want to correct will only require a hair colour remover – they shouldn’t need a hair colour stripper.

4. Be Patient With Colour That’s Too Light

If a colour has come out too light for your liking, try to do the opposite and wait at least 48 hours before attempting to re-colour; ideally, wait one week before you make any changes. Lightened hair can look brighter when first coloured, and will often calm down over the following days, so give it time and reserve your judgement before attempting to go darker.

5. a Warm Shade Isn’t Necessarily the Wrong Shade

If a shade has come out too warm, golden, coppery or gingery, there are two possible causes – and you need to identify the source to fix it. You need to work out whether you have applied a colourant which contains gold, copper or red as one of its tones, or whether your hair has lightened in the colouring process and ‘kicked up’ your natural warmth.

If you have applied a neutral or ash-based colourant and are seeing warmth, it’s because your natural shade was too dark for the colourant applied, and possibly needed pre-lightening or stripping first.

6. Use Colour Remover to Remove Unwanted Tones

If you have established that it was the shade that has caused your hair to go warm, golden, copper or red due to the secondary tones featured in the product, applying a hair colour remover should rectify this issue.

7. Strip or Switch to Balance Natural Warmth

If you have established that your hair has gone too warm, golden, copper or red due to the lightening of your natural shade, you have a choice as to how you fix it. You can either strip the hair and apply the desired shade again (onto a lighter base), or you can switch to a slightly darker shade which would cover the unwanted warmth.

8. Hold Back on Using Peroxides After Colour Removal

Do not apply a peroxide-based colourant immediately after using a hair colour remover. The chemistry of colour removal and peroxide contradicts, so you need to leave the hair to normalise before attempting to apply a peroxide-based colourant; ideally, wait for one week.  However, you can use peroxide-free semi-permanent colourants and toners, such as Colour Restore, immediately after using a hair colour remover.

9. Stripper Creates a Blank Canvas for Recolouring

Hair that has been stripped has had both natural and artificial colour pigments removed, therefore you should always have your chosen hair colour/shade at hand to achieve your desired result after the stripping process.

10. Retain a Good Base Shade for Great Colour

The key to successful hair colour is achieving a good base shade. If you are looking to go blonde, obtaining a dark blonde base shade can prove a good canvas for highlights. If you prefer darker or brunette hair, always ensure you only apply colourants to your regrowth and do not apply throughout the hair – this will prevent colour build-up. Using toners and colour-enhancing shampoos will also retain your shade.

Timing is also key; do not attempt to conduct several permanent colour processes on your hair within a one-month period. Frequent exposure to peroxides, ammonia and PPDs can cause the hair to become very porous and damaged. Once hair becomes damaged, it is then difficult to achieve a good colourant result, as the shade could grab initially and appear too dark or patchy, and then fade fast over subsequent washes.

11. Fashion Colours Can Be Difficult to Remove

Be aware that fashion colours such as pink, blue and purple, and often bright red, do not work on oxidation (peroxide) technology to evoke a long-term result; instead, they are a ‘direct dye’ which creates a temporary stain on the hair. If the hair is bleached, these direct dye molecules can deeply stain the hair and make the shade impossible to remove.

A hair colour remover is not designed to remove direct dyes.  A stripper colour cleanse treatment can remove direct dye, but always strand test first to make sure the hair is healthy enough to withstand the treatment.

12. Clarify Your Hair to Improve Colour Results

Prior to any hair colour removal, stripping or correction, be sure to clarify the hair fully. Even if you have just conditioned the hair, there may be a barrier on the surface which will prevent removal, stripping or correction from working effectively.

If you see absolutely no hair colour change from a removal or a stripping treatment, it’s possible that your hair has silicone damage; this means the hair has been encased in a silicone which quite often has been moulded to the hair by heat.


65 thoughts on “12 Tips for Hair Dye Removal and Colour Correction

  • Hello, I would really appreciate your advice on changing my color. I decided it was a good time to let my roots grow out and recolor. I am a light copper red naturally and have been using dark red brown violet. I bought color oops and 7rc medium copper blonde. Should I buy purple shampoo to use after the remover or after the color in case its too orange. I don’t want orange hair, and don’t know what to do. Thank You

    • Hi Leann, It is certainly worth you having a purple shampoo to hand. However, you might find the exposed underlying colour isn’t that bad. If you are naturally a copper 7 and you have been colouring your hair with a red-brown, I would predict the peroxide in the developer of the colourants applied, will have lightened your natural shade a little. Therefore, someone who is naturally a 7/Copper would find their hair is like a warm sandy blonde. Therefore, using the purple shampoo (as you considered) is a good idea, as it will kick out any lingering orange tone and get you to a good shade.

      Remember, the more you use purple shampoos, the cooler your hair will become. So you might need to build the neutralisation up. Best Scott

      • Hi, I’ve used a hair colour remover on my hair which has taken most of the colour off as it was a red/mahogany colour and is now a light brown and the ends are gingery. I would like to go back blonde without paying salon prices, so can I use a hair stripper on my hair even though I’ve already put a colour remover on? Thank you

        • Hi Hannah. Yes you can use Decolour Stripper to get the hair blonde after you have used a hair colour remover. However, always wait 7 days and 3 washes before you put any peroxide based products on the hair after using a hair colour remover. The reason being, is hair colour removers use reduction agent technology (known for that egg smell) and bleaches and permanent colourants are oxidizers. So you have two opposing technologies. There are ways you can use an oxidation product immediately after a reduction agent product but I feel this is best left to professionals. Therefore, I always tell people to wait 7 days and 3 washes before lightening after colour removal. This way, all the residues of the reduction agent will have left the hair and the bleach will work effectively.

  • Avatar

    Bridie Kelly-Doyle

    Hello Scott,
    Someone recommended your colour remover to me today,
    My hair is coloured a dark Brown, which was my colour year’s ago. Due to the pandemic my hair is growing out White/Grey 🙈, I am 57 and I’m now seriously thinking of letting my natural White/Grey shine through.
    If I use the colour remover will my hair go orange? My long term plan would be to try lighten it and to help the process of growing it out to Grey, is there anything I can do to make the transition easier with a metallic colour or something, I’m not in favor of bleach if I can avoid it at all costs, as I had a frizz ball a few years ago and I think it may have broken my hair .
    I hope you can advise me, as I don’t want to buy product s that are not right for me.

    • Hi Bridie. Since lockdown, I am now asked this question a lot, so I will write a full article on the subject of growing colour out to grey.

      In answer to your specific question, if you used Decolour Remover on your hair, you would see warmth, and I here’s why. Grey hair is formed from a mixture of white hair and naturally dark hair. Permanent colourants contain hydrogen peroxide in varying strengths, but often in a strong enough volume to lighten hair by a couple of shades. When the artificial colour molecules are deposited in the hair, you tend not to see this lightening. However, once you remove the artificial colour, that lightning can be seen, and it often looks warm. The hair looks warm because the hair’s underlying natural red and gold pigments were exposed by the lightening action of those previous permanent colourants applied. Also, when natural white hair is treated with hydrogen peroxide (as found in colourants), it decolourises this white hair to yellow.
      Therefore, when people with grey or white hair use a hair colour remover, they do not expose the grey, but instead, tend to get a blonde or warm blonde result.

      If you are not a fan of bleach and want to get the artificial colour out and transition to grey, I would recommend you use Decolour Remover.
      Do not worry about initially exposing warmth from a removal. The exposed warmth is a secondary matter on which I will advise. In the first instance, get a good amount of the brown colour removed from the hair. When exposing natural white hair, you will generally need two Decolour Remover applications one week apart. You tend to need two applications because (over time) artificial colour pigments in darker hair colourants can build up on the hair. Therefore, you will likely require two Decolour Remover treatments to get the pigment build-up out of the hair. You do the two removal treatments seven days apart because this will allow the hair chance to normalise after the first treatment making the second treatment able to work at the correct level within the hair.

      Now, onto the exposed warmth. Firstly, switch to using only a blue shampoo as your regular cleanser. You will need to use such a shampoo once you are grey/white anyway. Next, I would recommend you apply Colour Restore Lilac Grey to the hair. As you have said, using a Metallic colour will help transition you. Colour Restore Lilac Grey can only display as ‘Lilac Grey’ on white hair; if someone with warm hair uses it, the hair will take on a cool-muted tone. Therefore, it’s a perfect product for using after Decolour Remover. In addition, applying the Colour Restore Ash Spray ‘Instant Toner Spray’ as your regular leave-in conditioner Ash Spray Instant Toner Spray will add further cool tone to the hair.

      When trying to expose natural white/grey you need to be mindful that you may not be completely white or silver throughout.
      Many people are very grey around the front and believe they are this silver colour throughout. However, when they remove they discover they are not as grey as they thought they were. The key to this is how coppery your hair looks when it removes. Generally, very grey hair will tend to look a faded nicotine yellow when you remove, whereas less grey hair will look a rusty or coppery brown. Both ways can be toned, but the removal aspect has to be the indicator to what level of grey/white you have. Often, when people remove they find the hair looks as though it has been highlighted, which can be a positive to work with.

      Please let me know if you have anymore questions. Best Scott

      • Hi Scott & Birdie,
        Thanks for your question and answer , it’s helpful as I’m contemplating the very same thing – also prompted by lockdown !
        However, I may have the opposite problem. I have dark blonde/light brown with approx 25-30% grey that’s just past my shoulders. I’ve been lightening to a light ash for 40 years, every 4-6 wks – so not seen my natural colour in decades ! In recent years, this has meant a high-lift tint ( shade 1.11 Ultra Light Very Ash Blonde or similar ) lifting 3-4 levels and giving pale beige & gold shades with the grey showing as platinum highlights.
        I decided lockdown would give me the opportunity to find out what it looked like au naturelle and maybe go for grey but there’s not as grey hairs much as I hoped for ( though the extra at the front looks pretty good IMHO !)
        I may still do it and have tried a Silver Grey Semi-Pernament in an attempt to colour or at least tone in the blonde to make the transition easier but it had little effect. I did use your clarifying shampoo beforehand.
        Should I try a darker grey semi or will it need a permanent ? I’m loathe to do the latter as I’ve had breakage in the past and now am careful to only do the roots each with a tiny “overlap” to avoid over-processing so the idea of using permanent all over is a bit scary !
        I should add: I have Hypothyroidism which has meant I’ve lost about 30% of my hair in the last 5 years – twice ! It’s been growing back for a bout a year now and those sections are 6-8 inches long now. Because of this, I’m very diligent in my care and conditioning so it’s actually in better nick than it was years ago when I used to bleach with abandonment ! However, it does make me a tad “over protective” of my hard-won inches.
        Thank You x

        • Hi Jill, No don’t use a permanent just yet.

          The issue you have found is very common. Media and Fashion depict going grey as this sudden transition to pure white. However, not everyone gets pure white hair. Many of us go grey in patches and the remaining dark areas can cause problems when you try to lighten it up, as it kicks up so much warmth.

          What I would suggest in your situation is you initially do as you (yourself) suggested and apply a semi-permanent (no peroxide or ammonia) grey shade. What you will find is all the time you have lightened areas (as you do from your previous high lift tint) you can apply a blue based semi permanent grey and achieve a very naturalistic grey/silver shade. Strangely, even a very light pastel blue overlaid onto ‘growing out’ blonde hair with darker roots can create a realistic grey. Just keep using blue shampoos on it and keeping the tone in the previously lightened hair as metallic grey/silver as possible. For the forseeable future you will be able to create a good grey shade without the need for any kind of permanent colour intervention. As I said, the contrast between your toned (grey) previously blonde hair and the dark roots will create a very realstic grey/silver. Afterall, natural grey hair is created due to the combination of pure white and dark hairs.

          However, at some point (in months to come) you are going to start see a lot more darker hair appearing nearer the top sections. What it might be worth you trying is to use a tone on tone method. I am mindful of your medical condition and know how this effects hair quality. Therefore, if you started to apply a 9.17 based colourant with 10 volume peroxide your natural white hair will colourise to a silver ash. However, your non grey (darker hair) won’t be lightened, but will take on a cool tone. A permanent colourant with a 10 volume developer is pretty gentle and whilst it cannot lighten it will cover natural white. The 9 base is a light blonde, the 17 pigment is the ash violet. With this approach you are colourizing your white hair to a ivory silver and when this intermixes with the dark hair it will create a more silver medium grey effect.

          Also, natural white hair is quite stubborn to tone (with semi products). However, when you colourize it with a tone on tone colourant (using 10 volume developer) it softens the hair. Therefore, what you can also do is continue to use the grey (semi-permanent) toners on top of this colourized hair. This will enhance and intensify the permanent silver foundation and give your hair a ‘greyed’ edge. Again, opting to apply a light pastel blue semi to this base (your natural white hair coloured with a permanent silver tone on tone) will also produce a more sharp ‘grey’ look.

          Generally, I would have also suggested fine foil bleach highlights through your hair type, covered by the above 9.17 tone on tone. However, I am mindful of your condition. Therefore, work with what you have. Start for now and for the next few months with a no peroxide semi grey, then when you see the hair looking darker, cover over with a 9.17 tone on tone permanent and keep using the semi greys and pastel blues to boost the grey look. Best Scott

      • Hi Scott, Ive just finished my first treatment of the hair colour remover, I am also wanting to grow my natural grey, my hair was red and now its a lightly ginger brown.
        I am wondering should i do another treatment of the remover in a week or should i use the stripper instead? And after the 2nd treatment should i wait for another 7 days before i can put grey in?
        Thanks a lot, reading all the Q&A really helped me understand and this remover is AMAZING!

        • Hi, if you hair is quite grey you shouldn’t need to use Decolour Stripper. Use Decolour Remover again, and you should see the grey exposed as a kind of nicotine yellow (this is normal). Then all you need to do is use only purple shampoos and Colour Restore Iced Platinum to tone this hair white. From this point you’ll see the hair starting to look grey. If you did use Decolour Stripper, only apply it in fine balayage sections and then follow the same above toning principle. If you apply it throughout the whole head it will lighten all the non grey hair and so you won’t get as easier transition into your natural colour as it grows. I hope that helps. Best Scott

  • Hello,
    Desperately needing your advice. My strawberry blonde/red headed daughter decided to put a supermarket permanent brown dye in her stunning hair. We are urgently trying to lighten it as it is very very dark. Normally she has a beautiful light red. I’ve bought your hair stripper but now am unsure if I need the stripper or remover.
    Thsnk you

    • Hi there. You need Decolour Remover, not Decolour Stripper. However keep hold of Decolour Stripper as it could come in useful later on. Firstly, get your daughter to do a bicarb rinse on her hair. I have written an article about this, but it will destabilise the dark colour molecules and make them more prone to fading and removal.

      Next, apply Decolour Remover onto your daughter’s hair and it should get all the dark out. However, redheads tend to suffer the most from re-oxidation (due to the sulphur content in their hair), therefore it is possible she could see some shadowing of the darker colour re-appearing. At this point you can either do a second Decolour Remover or apply Decolour Stripper. But firstly apply Decolour Remover and wait a few days to see if any re-oxidation does occur. If it does reoxidise, come back to me and I will tell you what to do next. But generally, on a lighter natural base you obtain get a full return of the original colour using Decolour Remover. Best Scott

  • Hi, I just did a strand test with the Decolour hair colour remover super strength remover. I bought two boxes as the strand colours on the box should that first it would go a ginger shade, so the second box should remove all of it. I used a natural black die about 6 months ago and I want to go back to my natural. I have 2 inches of my natural colour showing. I left the product on the strand test for 1 hour then rinsed. Nothing had happened at all, the strand was still they exact same colour as the surrounding hair.

    • Hi, it’s good you did a strand test because it sounds to me as though your hair could have a build-up of silicone or product residue that is making a barrier on the hair and preventing Decolour Remover entering and evoking change. Therefore, I would recommend you try a Bicarbonate of Soda Deep Cleanse as I describe in my article. This should remove any build-up from the hair. Next repeat your strand test and you should see removal. If you do not see any removal on the second strand test, come back to me and I will advise further. Best Scott

  • Hi, I have long hair that I’ve been dying black/dark brown for years. I’ve only used semi-permanent in recent years but no doubt have lots of build up, especially the lower half. I’m about 95% grey now and want to switch to lighter shade to blend with grey roots better. I used remover first as advised, followed instructions and left on 1 hour. No colour came out at all. I’m reluctant to use the stripper as it’s taken days to try and get the smell out. Does the stripper smell the same?? What’s your advise on getting my hair to light enough colour to dye ash blonde shade?

    • Hi, sorry I did not see your message before. When you say you have used a semi-permanent, did you use a non peroxide based semi-permanent because this could be why you did not see any removal. Decolour Remover can only work on oxidation permanent colourant.

      Decolour Stripper is not a reduction agent remover, so it does not have the same smell. But I think in the first instance, it would be good to know what colourant you have used on your hair, as it sounds to me like it could have stained the hair as opposed to permanently coloured it. Best Scott

    • Hi, I have medium length hair and have been dying it dark brown/ black for a year now, I’m wanting to go back to my natural colour which is a grey tone brown, what product would best suit for this to happen! Thankyou :))

      • I would recommend you use Decolour Remover. However black hair colour can be the most arduous to get out. So start with an initial application which will generally get the majority of it removed. Then follow up a few weeks later with a second Decolour Remover application. From this point you will start seeing the underlying grey hair appear as a nicotine yellow. I would also recommend you use a violet tone on this hair after you remove. So if your hair is brown and you are removing to expose grey, the hair will initially look quite rusty or warm. You can use something like Colour Restore Black Cherry (which on light brown hair would look a violet mid brown) or even a pastel lilac semi permanent colour. Whilst this sounds a strange suggestion, adding a violet tone to this rusty removed brown hair will combine with the unwanted red tone and give the hair a richness. Once you can see enough of your natural grey is exposed (overtime) you can stop using it and just allow the hair to look grey. I hope that helps. Best Scott

  • H Scott. I have dark blonde hair colour (7?) naturally. I have my hair highlighted. This hasn’t been done since Jan. So I had quite a bit of root re-growth and tried to lighten the roots with Nice and Easy root touch up (blonde) and it went gingery. So left for a while. Then applied a semi-semi-permenant (Wella- true semi) all over hair and wasn’t happy with that, too dark, still gingery. The latest attempt was with an ash blonde semi-permenant (mix 2 bottles though- so has some peroxide in it). Still too dark and ginger. So I used a colour remover (Colourless by Revolution) within about 3-4 days of the latest attempts at colouring. So my hair colour now is more even but has still got gingery tones. I am waiting to let it settle, i’ve put on your ash toner for now. What I would like to do next is go lighter. Can I put on a permanent hair colour next, I was thinking of something like L’oreal Excellence Light Ash blond 9.1 or lighter to achieve a lighter cool blonde look. Many thanks.

    • Hi Janey, right you are heading down a rabbit hole with this one, so you want to hit this correctly with the next process. With previously highlighted hair, you tend to find that once a box colour is applied throughout and ginger is kicked up, it can start to become a real pain to get it evened out and cool if you don’t approach it right. You then keep getting that warmth showing up for months to come.

      Firstly, get yourself a Denman Magicap. These are available on Amazon Prime (see heresee heresee here) for about £9. There are other highlighting caps available, but the genuine Denman Magicap is the incredibly good and will not only give you excellent results, but the cap lasts for years if you remember (after each use) to firstly wash it in shampoo, hang it up to dry for 24 hours and then coat it in talc before storing it.

      Next, I recommend getting a box of my Decolour Stripper. I am recommending this for the process I am about to suggest, because I know Decolour Stripper is kinder on hair that has been multi-processed and will enable you do a second process afterwards.

      So (firstly) what you want to do is clarify your hair, don’t condition but do dry it 100%. Brush it into the correct parting (so it’s sitting as it does when you wear it usually) and pull on the cap. Pull through as much hair as you can from around the hairline and parting. It’s better if you have someone at hand who can pull the hair through the cap. Good tip, is to pluck the crochet hook in very quickly and pull straight out with the hook at positioned at an almost horizontal angle. So kind of like a quick ‘jabbing’ motion. This will pull through finner weaves of hair. Digging the hook in deeper (with a vertical plunge) and literally pulling hair through tends to bring out larger sections. Another good tip is using an eyeliner pencil and drawing 4 inch lines starting at the parting on the hairline and going back to the crown. Leaving an inch between each line. Then do a few similar 4 inch lines at the side of the head. You then pull through the hair using the 4 inch lines as a guide. Pulling maybe 5 weaves through per line, going along the line. This re-creates the pattern salon foils are weaved out in. Once you’ve pulled through sufficient hair comb it from the root area at the cap to the ends, so as to remove any knots.

      Next, mix up and apply Decolour Stripper to all the hair pulled through the cap. Ideally using a tint brush to apply. Using a tint brush helps you can get the mixed product down to the roots and along to the ends. Once you have applied the stripper, wrap the cap up in cling film. Covering the hair in cling film will trap the heat from the scalp between the cap and the cling film, making sure the lifting action of the stripper is boosted. If you are a natural 7, I’d give it a 40 minute development. Next, (with the cap still on), rinse the stripper off the hair and use the conclude balm as instructed in the pack. It is important to understand, you must not pull the cap off. Again, with the cap still on, towel dry the hair, detangle it and dry it off on a low air flow and heat setting. You will likely notice the hair looks yellow, but this is ok. Just make sure you keep the cap on. You want those newly lightened sections segregated from the rest of the hair.

      Next, mix up your L’Oreal Light Ash Blonde as instructed, and apply it to all the hair pulled through the cap that has just been stripped and dried. Because this hair has been pre-lightened, it will lift further and then tone to a very good lightest ash shade. Let this colour develop, then remove the cap and rinse and wash the hair thoroughly.

      With this cap highlighting method of firstly stripping, then re-colouring, you should achieve a really light, cool highlight throughout the hair and it should blend out a lot of the warmth in the surrounding depth.

      If you try and pour another box colour over your whole head, you run the risk of going brassier and creating a more artificial looking blonde shade, plus you will keep getting dark root straps appearing. If you’ve always had highlights, you need to swap back to highlights and use a Magicap.

      After the above treatment, you can add further highlights if you want (to go lighter still). Generally, adding a some highlights every few weeks will break up a root strap and keep the hair blonde and multi-tonal. I hope that helps. Best Scott

  • Hi scott over the years I have dyed my hair alot at the moment my hair is naturally dark blonde/light brown but I put bright red on it then I got bored of that and put blue on it now I have a blue/purple/blonde ombre look not purposely done like that so I bought your hair colour remover now I’m not sure if I needed the decolour stripper what’s your advice x

    • Hi Rebecca, you cannot use Reduction agent hair colours on vibrant colours,unless they were oxidation shades. Meaning, you mixed a developer up with a tube or bottle of colour and then applied.

      A direct dye blue can be very difficult to get out of the hair. Can you remember what brands of colour you had used?

      • Hi Scott I have the same problem I died mine artic fox Transylvania diluted blue and it’s come out from baking soda and shampoo mainly but iv got a a light green tinge I can’t get rid of I tried the colour De colour remover and it’s not worked do you have any ideas please

        • Hi Natalie, that light green tinge is a really weird thing that seems to happen when you get blue out of the hair. It’s a mixture of a reminance of the blue and the yellow of the hair/keratin.

          It’s very easy to get rid of. You just need to use a very mild pastel pink on it. I’d suggest buying a strawberry milkshake coloured pastel pink and firstly coating the hair in some white conditioner, then applying the light pastel pink. Leave it for 20 minutes and rinse. This should counteract the mint green.



        • Live Colour is an oxidizing colour, so in theory Decolour Remover would have got it out. But it sounds like something is blocking it. From your description (blue,purple,ombre) it sounds like the colour is kind of removing, but you have patches of colour. This is indicating parts are trapped and parts are able to flush out.

          Check out my article on the bicarb rinse and give your hair a few treatments with this. As it should break off any deposits of silicone that may be sitting on the hair. If you notice the hair is fading off, you can jump to using Decolour Stripper to get the lot out. But when you use Decolour Stripper, make sure the hair is quite damp so you can work the stripper throughout evenly. Best Scott

  • Hi Scott,
    I have the dreaded blue black coloured hair (permanent) and want a lighter canvas to go a light brown all over, potentially getting bronde highlights in the near future. I previously was chocolate brown with light brown & honey highlift highlights. My natural colour is dark brown with grey around the edges. I have tried the Colour Remover today & the results are a dark red/wine colour & my hair is still as healthy & shiny – it’s a great product. Wondering what I can do to safety lighten it more? I have thinner hair & have managed to keep my hair really healthy by avoiding heavy beaching. Would really love some advice to get a lighter canvas, I know it has a Lot of build up of colour over the years. Thank you in advance! Jay

    • Hi There, well it might be worth giving your hair another application of Decolour Remover if you think there was a lot of build up. I would suggest the next application at maybe the 7 day point from the first application of Decolour.

      If you are thinking about getting highlights in the future, I wouldn’t worry too much about trying to get your overall base lightened. Because your natural colour is dark brown, you are going to see more and more red, the more your natural colour is exposed. Therefore, I’d get the dark removed and expose that red-brown, then switch to using cool toners and blue/purple shampoos to keep the warmth at neutralised. This will not compromise your condition. Then, when you get highlights in the future these can be toned a high ash, and the overall hair colour will become that bronde shade you mentioned.

      In the first instance, remove more of the built up depth. Next, I would consider playing up the exposed warmth by enchancing it. This might sound strange, but using an interim temporary colour could give you a nice healthy shade, until you can get the highlights. If you use my product Colour Restore Black Cherry See here, the hair would take on more of a violet-red. Black Cherry isn’t that dark in reality, but it does have a nice healthy plum tone that works well with exposed warmth. It will also give your hair a healthy colour without any compromising of condition. It lasts a few washes and if you stop using it, it will just fade out. Then you could get the highlights I suggest above and create your overall bronde shade. Best Scott

      • Thank you so much Scott! Extremely helpful advice. I love the idea of black cherry, I think it would really enhance the tones I’ve already got through my hair with the Decolour Remover – my hair feels like it’s in great condition & it’s actually a lovely colour with what looks like cherry highlights

        One question – when you say a cool toner – what colour would you suggest at this stage with the cherry/wine colour? I am considering having this colour for awhile before going the bronde highlight look.

        Thank you once again

  • Hi Scott, I have had grey/white hair for quite a few years and have been dyeing it a permanent pinky purple brown for a long time. I want to lighten it so that the white regrowth isn’t as obvious. I would then like to put a pastel pink in it. I have bought some of your Hair Colour Remover but I’m wondering if I should have got the Hair Colour Stripper. Can you please advise?

    • Hi Lynnda, sorry for the delay in response. If your hair is naturally a white/silver grey then you shouldn’t need to use Decolour Stripper. You should be able to use Decolour Remover on it. When you apply a peroxide-based colourant to natural white/silver hair the peroxide tends to lighten the pure white (of the grey) to a light yellow. What happens here is the natural keratin colour (which is yellow) is exposed. Therefore, when anyone with natural white hair tries to remove an artificial colour, they find the hair looks more of a light brassy blonde than grey/white once removed.

      However, this is a really easy issue to fix. So use Decolour Remover on the hair and get all the unwanted darker colour out. Then immediately after removal use Colour Restore Iced Platinum and tone the exposed yellow hair back to white. This will give you a light pale base. From here, you could apply a very light pastel pink and achieve the shade you desire. But initially just remove the unwanted dark and then work with the exposed base to tone to pale. Best Scott

      PS As a final tip. If you applied a non-peroxide pastel pink on the un-toned yellow hair, it would go rose gold.

  • Just used the decolour product after a dark brown nightmare: note check husband got the right dye next time!!!

    Anyway, 15 minutes and it had gone ORANGE!!!!

    Help can I put on my normal brown shade straight away? Back to work on Monday!

    • Hi Millie. It’s common to see an orange when you remove a permanent hair colour, as some brands of permanent colour use quite strong peroxide developers (the white applicator bottle). Therefore, your natural colour gets lightened (and kicks up warmth), even though the artificial colour may deposit as very dark or even black.

      With orange you want to neutralise it. But if you have a usual brand of colourant you can use it but if you use it too soon after removal, the unwanted dark colour can pop back as you need to leave it a good few days before you reapply another peroxide based colourant. I can’t judge fully unless I see the colour you are at now, but if you use Instagram you could PM me with a photo of the shade now and also the brand of the colourant you want to apply and I can tell you what would be the best approach.

      Generally, I recommend a quick fix for that rusty orange you see sometimes (when you remove) as being my Lilac Grey Colour Restore. But let me know what shade you are now and as said, I will try to advise best route. Regards Scott

  • Hi! I recently coloured my growing out highlighted hair (natural roots a dark blonde) after advice from an online colourist. It was a light brown with copper and gold to add warmth before o could then go a more ashy light brown. This just was super copper and they formulated a light brown pearl to counteract the copper. That faded quickly and I ended up with a copper again. I’ve just used your colour remover (after a strand test which showed a nice Goldy blonde) … but I’m orange! What can I do as it looks hideous and I’m back to work … Help!!!!!

    • Hi Dawn, yes I would expect your hair to have gone very orange based on what you described in relation to the initial colour. The hair had been lightened a lot and the hair already had copper and gold tones. The pearl tone (which would be a pigment 7) faded off quick, so when you removed you took out all the depth and revealed the lightened base – which would have been quite orange. It sounds like the strand test had been unknowingly done on a previously highlighted area.

      You need to apply a 7.71 shade to the hair. This would be a medium golden blonde violet ash. This is the formula to the light pearl brown you already applied. If you look on Amazon you should find brands who are selling the 7.71 shade. But moving forward, this will be the perfect permanent colourant shade for you to use on your hair, as it seems your hair kicks out warmth that needs to be neutralised by a double cool pigment. Best Scott

  • Hi Scott,
    Hope you can help. I have naturally darkest brown hair & have got black dyed hair, with lots of build up over the years (including caramel high lift highlights). I’ve used 2 x boxes of Colour Remover over 3 weeks, which gave me a very dark red colour with a slightly lighter deep red at the roots. I then but a cherry semi permanent, no ammonia dye & it went even darker (the opposite of what I wanted). Then last night I used your Colour Stripper and I went back to a beautiful dark red. This has all been over one month, my hair has shown no sign of damage or weakness which has been wonderful! I want to use another Colour Stripper – can you let me know when would be safe to do so? How many of these can I use safely to get a lighter red base to work with? Thanks a lot!

    • Hi There. It sounds like your hair re-oxidized. This happens when a peroxide is applied immediately after you use a remover. The peroxide is found in the developer of permanent colourants and whilst some brands say they are ‘semi-permanent’ in truth, they are what is known as a quasi or demi colour, that does feature peroxide to evoke a result.

      Generally, if your hair feels strong it would take several treatments. If you apply Decolour Stripper (blue box) to wet hair and work it through, it should go lighter and redder. To get a good base to create a red shade, you want to get the hair stripped to an orange-red level. Then apply a permanent red shade to the hair immediately afterwards. Whilst you cannot recolour with a peroxide based shade immediately after Decolour Remover (red box), Decolour Stripper is designed for the purpose of immediately re-colouring.

      I would say your hair will be fine to have at least one other stripping and the application of the permanent red shade. If you are worried about the condition, you could apply Decolour Stripper then try using my Colour Restore Deep red to obtain a true semi-permanent red shade. You can also mix this 50/50 with my Colour Restore Black Cherry to obtain a deeper burgundy red.

  • Hi Scott
    I’m so confused! I’ve read and reread every word from every product on your website.
    Ok, I have naturally medium brown hair with a few greys. For years I have had foils put in which lighten it significantly to be a light blonde but not to the extent of platinum. I always use purple shampoo so I didn’t have warmth.
    I went to the hairdresser and as it was winter she suggested a gloss, which I didn’t understand to be a semi permanent brownish colour, nonetheless it turned out a lot darker than I would’ve thought as oppose to a gloss which I perceived as maybe a very subtle darker shade with an abundance of shine. It has shine but is too dark.
    I want to go lighter again without warmth.
    From what I can decipher based on the comprehensiveness of your site.
    I clarify my hair, then I strip it (as I do have brown roots with some greys), I then colour to lighten.
    Now, the colour to lighten is what’s confusing me. The foils which I assume are still underneath and because of the bleach or whatever was used to lighten it and keep it that way over the years is essentially going to turn out a different tone/result from my natural colour in amongst it including my roots. I need you to tell me which colour restore to put in my hair.
    Do I go with the Cool Ash or Iced Platinum?
    From what I can gather, Cool Ash is what you recommend however, I can’t help but think that I would essentially be going through the process to end up with still brown hair a couple of tones lighter than I am now with the “gloss” and it’s only an assumption that it is really a semi permanent colour or rinse as we call it in Australia.
    I know I can’t miraculously have exactly what I want/had within a day, unless I cut it ten inches shorter because I’ve shrivelled it up and wrecked it from overusing products.
    I’m not unrealistic, I know it’s a constant work in progress. Even then, let’s face it, I’m sure I will get it to the desired result I want right now but as the progression happens so does my desired result being, in two weeks time I will undoubtedly desire a result a lot lighter than I am wanting today.
    It’s always the way 🤷‍♀️

    • Hi Francesca, OK, so let’s deal with this issue a bit at a time.

      Firstly, you need to get the brown artificial colour from the hair. If you use my Decolour Remover product (which is the red box) you will get the brown out, but you are going to see warmth. This happens, because peroxide has been applied to your natural brown hair and it will have lightened it. When you apply a colour remover, it takes out the artificial darker pigment but exposes that underlying warmth. This warmth then needs to be counteracted by a cool tone.

      You have also said you have darker roots with some grey. So this is indicating to me your hair needs the lightening method it used to have. So the below would be my suggestion to you:-

      If you are willing to have foil highlights put back into it, go to a salon and get them to apply foil highlights throughout. Ask them to lift the hair (in the foils) as pale as they can get it, then after they have rinsed the lightener out, they should cover the whole hair in a permanent silver ash toner. This will do two things, a) it will neutralise the warmth in the non highlighted hair but b) it will create a very cool ash in the highlighted hair. When this cool highlighted hair mixes with the rest of the base shade, it will create a nice neutral cool medium blonde.

      If you cannot get to a salon (due to the world issues), then go down the Decolour Remover method and get the brown out. But remember the hair is going to look very warm when you first remove it. Do not panic but just appreciate you might have to suffer this warmth for a week, because you cannot apply a permanent colourant immediately after using Decolour Remover.

      So remove the brown, and you will likely find your hair appears to be a warm shade with golden/copper tones in the previous blonde areas towards the ends. It sounds an odd suggestion, but I would actually recommend you apply a pastel lavender shade to this hair (after removal). I don’t mean a purple, but a very light pastel lilac/lavender. In the UK I have a shade called Colour Restore Lilac Grey for this purpose, but I don’t believe that is on sale in Australia. But my experience was, that after removal the hair took on an uneven copper tone that was balanced out to a cool neutral tone via a Lilac/Lavender tone.

      From here, if you then use the Lilac toner and only wash in blue shampoos, you should find the hair takes on a lighter/cooler appearance without you needing to applying any bleaches. Best Scott

  • Hey Scott,
    I have dyed my level 6 hair with an 8.1 dye which came out brown so i tried removing this colour with a vit c and shampoo. The resulting colour is now a brassy red orange natural pigment. Am I safe to now dye my hair with a high lift? – it was been a week since stripping the original dye.

    • Hi There, if you believe the colour you are now seeing is your natural colour (as it would be) then it is fine to use a high lift tint. Just make sure you use 40 volume developer and choose a highlift tint that has a double cool tone. So you need a ‘1’ tone in there (for age) as this will neutralise the red and then you need either a ‘2’ tone which is blue based (that will neutralise the orange) or a violet tone. Best Scott

  • Hi Scott,
    I dyed my hair with the colourista denim blue shade during lockdown (7-8 weeks ago) I have used the brands fader and it worked but it won’t fade anymore now. it has now stained a minty (swimming with blonde hair Green) how can I get this out? I need it out by July 20th!! please help

    • Hi Jordyn,

      That’s a common and easy issue to fix. Usually with blue shades, the blue comes out but it kind of warps the natural yellow in the hair with a mild blue tinge, this causes a mint green colour – as you say, like you get from a swimming pool.

      To neutralise this, buy a very light pastel pink. It MUST be light pink (not a hot or vibrant pink). It should be the colour of a McDonalds Strawberry Milkshake. Coat your hair in a standard white conditioner, comb it fully then apply the light pastel pink shade to the hair and work it through. Leave it for about 20 minutes then rinse out. Applying the white conditioner to the hair (before the pink), dilutes the pink a little.

      The pink contains a small amount of red molecule, which is enough to neutralise a small amount of green (aka mint). What you should find, is the hair turns to a silver or pearl blonde. If you find the hair looks a tad pink, it’s fine just clarify it once and this should balance it out. If you feel the hair still has a green tinge (after the pink), just repeat the pink application again.

      After this correction treatment and moving forward, you should start using violet shampoos and toning the hair as you would any standard bleached blonde base. The reason you were seeing green is because the underlying yellow was showing through and mixing with the last of the blue tone in the hair. Therefore, that yellow tone will start to come back if you don’t remember to neutralise it.

      But generally, I find the initial pink treatment balances out that mint green and sets you back to a blonde principle, whereby you can maintain with standard blonde toning treatments.



  • Hi Scott – I am after some advice please? I have been dyeing my hair using a permanent dark brown, and then switched to using a non-permanent dark brown a few years ago, but only using on my roots.

    My goal is to get back to my natural colour which is a reddish brown (with some grey now) and to then just use a semi permanent on the roots to cover the grey.

    I used your colour remover about two weeks ago, it worked really well and pretty much took me back to my natural colour, but this gradually darkened again after a few days. I followed the instructions properly.

    I then bought a second one and used again last week. I checked your articles and FAQs for further advice. I started with a bicarbonate cleanse then used the colour remover. When I got to the rinsing stage, I rinsed for 5 mins, and as per one of your other responses to hair re-darkening, I wrapped in a towel for half an hour and then rinsed again.

    This time it has not really worked at all, in fact, I think it looks a bit darker than after the first time I tried it. When I was rinsing it looked lighter but once I had finished and it had dried, it was darker. I didn’t use any other products except the finisher in the box.

    Can I use the colour remover again? If so, do you have any further advice please?

    • Hi Andrea, the hair is re-oxidizing and there are several reasons why this happens. I will at some point write an article on re-oxidation and what causes it, as it’s a very strange phenomena and can sometimes be hard to pin down.

      In your situation you will need to keep trying to use the colour remover until you can get the dark out and stop it from bouncing back. A quick tip I can give you is to keep a mug of salt water by you as you rinse and midway run this through the hair. Salt water tends to keep the cuticle open. Another tip is to use as hot (as you can stand) steaming water to rinse. Please don’t scold yourself, but when the water is steaming the cuticle remains open and it allows the shrunken colour molecules to be flushed from the hair. If the water is too much on the cool side, this can cause the cuticle to start to close and it traps the colour molecules inside the hair. These colour molecules then start to enlarge again and this causes the re-oxidation.



  • Hi, I dyed my hair a dark brown (naturally a lighter brown) and it went very dark, I used your hair colour remover to try take it back to its original colour, although it’s gone very ‘warmth’/ red, is it okay if I now re dye it a lighter cool brown colour (closer to my natural colour) or will that not work?

    • Hi Kate. You will be fine to re-colour your hair if you have waited 7 days and 3 washes since using the remover. Generally, recolouring after this time will give good results. Best Scott

  • Hi Scott,
    Around Christmas I dyed my hair with a metallic purple dye, not knowing the problems it would cause me! I dyed it the same shade once more, and now am unable to dye it again as I don’t want to damage my hair further. I’ve been trying to find a product that will strip the colour without damaging my hair – will the Decolour Remover be safe to use? Thank you!

    • Hi Elizabeth, if you intermixed a tube of colourant with a developer to achieve the metallic purple colour, then you can use Decolour Remover (pink box) and you will get this shade out without any problems.

      However, if you only used one tube (and did not have to intermix) and the shade is a more vibrant purple, you might have more issues with removing the colour. This would indicate the semi-permanent colour has stained and is going to prove more problematic to take out. In this situation, you are better off trying to get the purple to fade off with clarifying and coconut oil treatments.

      But as stated initially, if you used a permanent purple, Decolour Remover will take this out without damage. Best Scott

  • Just wondering if you use the colour stripper (blue box) do you have to dye your hair or can you just leave it if you like the colour it comes out with. The box just saids you can apply colour straight after.

    • Hi Jessie. You can leave it and a lot of people do. But be mindful that the hade will be (what I call) ‘raw’. This means it will be a stripped lightened colour that will likely be quite warm. Some people like this and want to keep it, so you don’t have to colour it. Indeed a lot of people use Decolour Stripper to lighten out their roots to blonde. I hope that helps, best Scott.

    • Hi, if you mean the Colour Restore Iced Platinum yes you can use it immediately after using Decolour Stripper. But remember Decolour Stripper is designed to create a canvas so you can apply a new permanent colourant. Therefore, if you strip your hair and get it to yellow Iced Platinum will tone the hair to a light blonde. But if your strip the hair and it’s quite orange, Iced Platinum won’t be strong enough. You need to get hair to a pale yellow to get it to tone to a white/light blonde. Best Scott

  • Hi Scott,
    You’ve given some great detailed answers to others so I thought you could help. Sadly I had a nightmare salon experience with my hair ending up dark brown instead of the warm auburn I requested, I managed to fade it into a chestnut colour and then thought I’d be able to apply a nice Red copper to it, it’s now only taken to parts of my roots and some of the top of my hair but my mid lengths and ends are still a washed out chestnut.
    How would I strip my hair so it was even and not as two toned (or 4 toned)… so I then have an even base to apply the copper red to? Do I need to apply it at different times to different areas? Feeling very confused.

    • Hi Emma. This is a complicated one, because your hair is patchy so (generally) the colour will take differently on different parts of the head, unless you kind of break it up.

      I think the best approach would be to undertake a stripping but via a balayage application. So here, you want to apply the stripper in panels from root to tip throughout the hair. What this will do, is create lightened vertical threads throughout the hair and break up these patchy areas. I would next suggest you look for a true semi-permanent copper-red, as opposed to a permanent one. There are some good wash in shampoo brands on Amazon who offer copper-red. I used to do Colour Restore Warm Honey (which was a Copper) but I discontinued it, so I cannot recommend one of mine. But generally, if you apply a semi-permanent in the shade you want to the hair (after stripping with balayage panels) you should get a really nice vibrant copper-red. Yes, this will fade with washes, but don’t worry initially. Just keep it topped up. Then after about 6 weeks to 2 months opt for a permanent shade throughout.

      Do not do a whole head stripping, as because your hair is now patchy it won’t strip evenly. You need to apply those balayage panels (via stripping) as you want to break up all those uneven areas. Next, the reason why I don’t want you to use a permanent copper-red is your hair has porous areas. Therefore, if you apply another permanent colourant (at the moment) it is only going to grab and fade again. By stripping in panels, then spending 6 to 8 weeks allowing the hair to rest and only using a semi-permanent colourant, your hair will normalise and in a couple of months take a permanent colourant well.

      I hope this helps.



  • Hi there, I need advice please. My hair was a fading bleach blonde and then I put a silver grey semi permanent color through it. Its now a patchy gingery/lilac almost, I need to know, if I use a colour remover and then a wella t18 toner will this work to bring me back to blonde? I’m guessing toning over the silver grey wont do much? Or is bleach & tone my only option?
    Thank you

    • Hi, no toning over silver-grey wouldn’t work because that colour is basically over deposited tone. I’d use Decolour Remover on the hair, but be cautious about using the T18 toner as it might over deposit again. Instead, I’d get all the tone out and then start by just using purple shampoos and perhaps something like Colour Restore Iced Platinum. Best Scott

  • Hello just came across your colour remover in the supermarket so googled for reviews and come across this post… I have naturally blonde hair but have used box dyes (brown to now black) for a fair few years now would the colour remover work or would it be better to strip it?
    Would appreciate any advice. Thankyou in advance 🙂

    • Hi there, if your hair is naturally blonde and you have used darker box dyes then Decolour Remover is perfect for you. You won’t need to use Decolour Stripper as your underlying base is already light. Therefore, just use Decolour Remover and see how much of your original colour comes back with the first application. If you have a lot of built up dark, you might need two applications a week apart. But start with the first and see how you get on, it could be the case that is all you need. Best Scott


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