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You decide to switch up your look and coloring your hair seems like the perfect route to take. But…the makeover doesn’t turn out the way you envisioned and now you’re scouring the internet for ways to revert your hair back to its original style. Many of us have been there! If you have accidentally dyed your hair a shade that you don’t like, or if the color has faded away, there are natural ways to remove hair dye with vitamin C. Plus, with the added benefits that vitamin C has for hair, it’s a great way to support your locks in the process.
These methods are much gentler for the hair compared to traditional, chemically-laden color removal products. It is important to note, however, that these methods to remove hair dye with vitamin C will not magically bring your hair back exactly to its original state. They work best in scenarios where hair has been dyed a darker color (an additive process) than your natural hair color because of vitamin C’s natural anti-pigment process. In cases where hair has been lightened or bleached (a subtractive process), it is much more difficult to restore the hair’s natural pigment. Results can also vary from person to person, as our hair types and textures range. For those with highly sensitive scalps, vitamin C in this form can be irritating and is not recommended.
If, however, you are someone who has dyed your hair a darker shade or you are looking for ways to lighten your hair, check out these four different ways to know how to remove hair dye with vitamin C!
Ways To Remove Hair Dye With Vitamin C
1. Using a vitamin C paste
Using vitamin C in a paste for your hair helps to break down the hair dye, making it easier to wash out. And while the vitamin C paste may fade the color, this method may not remove the hair dye entirely.
- Mix a tablespoon of vitamin C powder with enough hot water to make a paste.
- Apply the paste to your hair (like you would a hair mask), and let it sit for 20-30 minutes.
- Rinse the paste out of your hair, then shampoo and condition it as usual.
2. Making an ascorbic acid rinse
To remove hair dye with vitamin C and an ascorbic acid rinse, please take the following steps:
- Mix 1/2 cup of white vinegar with 1/2 cup of water. Add 2 tablespoons of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) powder, and stir until the powder is dissolved. For easier application, pour the mixture into a squeeze or spray bottle.
- Wet hair with warm water and apply the ascorbic acid solution to your hair, making sure to saturate all of the dyed hair. Gently massage the solution into your hair for about 5 minutes, making sure to focus on the areas where you want the dye removed.
- Leave the solution on your hair for at least 20 minutes and finally, rinse your hair thoroughly with warm water and non-toxic hair care products to nourish strands back to a state of healthy-looking shine.
It may take several applications to achieve the desired results. Additionally, ascorbic acid does have a tendency to dry the hair out, so don’t skip the hair conditioner afterward in order to give your hair necessary moisturization.
3. Applying lemon juice to remove hair dye naturally
Lemon juice contains both ascorbic and citric acid, which help to break down hair dye as well as lighten the hair. Here’s how you can apply lemon juice as a color remover:
- Mix equal parts lemon juice and water in a spray bottle. Then, apply this mixture to your hair.
- Gently massage and work the solution into your strands and leave on for about 20 minutes.
- Like the other methods, rinse hair thoroughly with water and shampoo and condition as usual.
4. Using baking soda and ascorbic acid rinse
This fourth method is a dual-action process that utilizes a similar recipe from above with an additional step to naturally remove hair dye with vitamin C.
While our scalp has a pH of around 5.5-5.6, our hair has a slightly more acidic pH of around 3-4. Because baking soda is alkaline, it can help to open up the hair cuticles, which allows the ascorbic rinse to break down the color molecules more easily. Additionally, the baking soda acts as a light abrasive to scrub away the color.
To start, you will need two containers.
- First, mix ½ cup of baking soda and ½ cup of water and set aside in one bowl or bottle.
- Next, in a second bowl or bottle, mix 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar with 1/2 cup of water and add 2 tablespoons of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) powder. Stir until the powder is dissolved.
- Apply the baking soda mixture first and leave it on for 15-20 minutes.
- Once the time has passed, rinse with warm water and follow up by soaking your hair with the apple cider vinegar and ascorbic acid mixture, which you will want to leave on for an additional 15-20 minutes.
With each solution, be sure to saturate all of the dyed hair and gently massage the mixtures into your hair.
Is Vitamin C Damaging to Hair
Vitamin C is known to improve the overall condition of hair by promoting growth, strengthening the hair shaft and preventing breakage. As a powerful antioxidant, this vitamin helps to protect hair from environmental stressors, keeping your locks luscious, strong and resilient.
However, if you have a sensitive scalp and are looking to remove hair dye with vitamin C, the above recipes—despite being gentler than conventional color removal products—may still be too harsh. Sensitive skin types should steer clear of using vitamin C (especially unstable forms) in too high of a concentration or applying it too frequently, as it may cause irritation.
Instead, opt for hair care products that incorporate the highly stable vitamin C derivative, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (THDA), which is oil-soluble, gentle, yet incredibly effective to give your hair a vitamin C boost!
Helpful Tips To Remove Hair Dye With Vitamin C
If you are ready to try these methods out for yourself, keep in mind a few of these tips to remove hair dye with vitamin C before you start:
- Saturate the desired areas entirely with your vitamin C paste or solution to ensure your hair is properly covered with the product for optimal results.
- Try using some baking soda before applying your vitamin C solution, as baking soda opens up the hair cuticle, as well as buffs away color living on the outside of your strands.
- Always follow up with a natural conditioner that has a moisturizing formula after washing your hair (especially with any of the above solutions) to minimize dryness or breakage.
- Apply the above methods in situations where the hair has been dyed using an additive process (where color is added to the hair rather than stripped away from it).
If you enjoyed learning how to lighten and fade the color of your hair dye naturally with vitamin C and are interested in more information on natural hair care, check out one of our most popular articles that dives into 7 ways you can color your hair naturally as well as the best natural hair dye without any chemicals or toxins!
Frequently Asked Questions
How does vitamin C remove hair dye?
Vitamin C breaks down the dye molecules in the hair. The acidity of the vitamin C helps to lift the cuticle of the hair, allowing the dye molecules to be released from the hair shaft. This process can take some time and may require multiple applications to remove a lot of the dye. It’s important to note, however, that vitamin C can be harsh on hair if used too frequently, so be sure to use a conditioner after washing your hair to reintroduce moisture and nourishment.
How long should I leave vitamin C on hair?
When applying homemade vitamin C mixtures to remove hair dye, start with 15-20 minutes and monitor how your hair responds. If there are no sensitivities, leave it on for up to 30 minutes and work your way up to 1 hour if your hair can withstand it. Typically, the longer you leave it on, the more effective the paste or rinse will be. But do consider that vitamin C can be harsh on hair if left on for too long, so it’s best to start with less time and gradually increase the time if needed. The time may also vary depending on the type of hair dye and how long it has been in your hair. In some cases, multiple applications may be necessary to achieve the desired result.
Can vitamin C remove permanent hair dye?
Using vitamin C to remove permanent hair dye may not be as effective as it is for semi-permanent or demi-permanent hair colors. Semi- and demi-permanent dyes coat the outside of the hair, while permanent hair dyes seep into the hair altering your hair’s actual pigment. Permanent hair dyes are also formulated to last longer and to be more resistant to fading, which makes them harder to remove.
Vitamin C, while it can strip hair color, is not as strong as other methods, and thus may not fully remove the dye if a permanent dye is used. Even though it may lighten the color, it’s likely that some of the dye will still be present. Using vitamin C to remove hair color will usually work better, if not best, on semi- or demi-permanent hair colors.