How to Wash Out Temporary Hair Dye, According to Celebrity Hairstylists

October 30, 2023
Reece Andavolgyi
By: Reece Andavolgyi | by L'Oréal
A pink, orange and yellow gradient background with a picture of a person with pink wavy hair.

Halloween weekend has come and gone, and you had an amazing time — but now the temporary hair color that you sported for the festivities isn’t washing out as you expected. Or maybe you decided to change up your look for fall with a new hair color using semi-permanent hair dye, and now you’re ready to go back to your natural hair color. If either of these scenarios sounds familiar to you, you don’t have to worry just yet. We tapped celebrity hairstylist Jonathan Colombini and Schwarzkopf professional ambassador Kat Collett to share their tips on fading temporary and semi-permanent hair color without having to find the time for a salon visit. 

Semi-Permanent Hair Dye

What Is Semi-Permanent Hair Dye?

According to Collett, “semi-permanent hair color is a deposit-only color that has no ammonia or ammonia derivative.” Semi-permanent hair color may also be referred to as a color gloss or a toner. “It’s known for its qualities of adding shine to dull or faded hair color without lifting or darkening down the existing color,” Colombini previously told

How Long Does Semi-Permanent Hair Dye Last?

“There are many variables that affect how long semi-permanent colors last,” notes Collett. Of course, the product you choose and how pigmented it is will have an effect. Be sure to read the label on the box before making the switch, so you’ll know what to expect. Your base color or “canvas,” as Collett calls it, can also play a role. In other words, the porosity and lightness of your natural hair color (or whatever color your hair is when you’re coloring it) will partially determine how long the dye lasts. 

Finally, Collett says proper aftercare and maintenance is the most important factor. The more frequently you wash your hair, the faster your color will fade. That being said, “pastel tones can stay anywhere from two to four weeks and more pigmented tones can slowly fade and still be in the hair even up to eight weeks later or more,” depending on how often you wash your hair, she says.     

How to Remove Semi-Permanent Hair Dye in 3 Easy Steps

If you’re hoping to remove your semi-permanent hair color at home without a trip to the salon, your best bet is to let it fade on its own. “My suggestion is to always let the hair naturally fade as much as possible,” says Collett. However, there are steps you can take to help your hair fade faster. Frequent washes with warmer water will accelerate the fading process and eventually cause it to completely fade. You can also incorporate a clarifying shampoo into your hair-care routine. When professionally removing semi-permanent hair dye, Collett takes the following steps.

Step 1: Create a Bleach Wash

To start, “I will create a very gentle ‘bleach wash,’” using BLONDME All Blondes Detox Shampoo,” Collett explains. 

BLONDME All Blondes Detox Shampoo

Step 2: Apply the Wash

After shampooing, Collett then towel dries and gently massages the bleach wash into the hair, “trying to not disrupt the cuticle too much with aggressive rubbing.” Then, she waits. “After applying, I will watch for a visible change or removal of the color from the hair,” she says. “I try to not leave the wash on longer than 10 minutes to not cause any damage.”

Step 3: Neutralize With a Toner

As an optional final step, Collett may neutralize the color with a toner in some cases.

Temporary Hair Dye

What Is Temporary Hair Dye?

You may be wondering what the difference is between semi-permanent and temporary hair dye, and the truth is, they’re very similar. “Temporary color sometimes gets mixed in with the semi-permanent category, but my understanding of how a true temporary color differs from a semi-permanent [dye] would be a color that will not stain or stay in the hair,” says Collett. Think colored hairsprays or chalks.  

How Long Does Temporary Hair Dye Last?

Temporary hair dye as described above (meaning chalk and spray formulas) is meant to only last until you wash it out. “These colors will wash or rinse from the hair and without any additional chemicals,” Collett confirms.

How to Remove Temporary Hair Dye In 2 Easy Steps

“Since most of these will be in the form of a product such as a gel, spray or chalk, having a warm rinse using the BLONDME All Blondes Detox Shampoo will remove the remaining color,” says Collett. “Follow with conditioning and style as usual.” That being said, it may depend on the product you choose and you can take additional steps to ensure the color fully fades. 

Step 1: Read the Label

If you’re planning on using temporary hair dye, pay close attention to the labels. A formula like  the L’Oréal Paris Colorista 1-Day Washable Temporary Hair Color Spray lasts until your next shampoo, whereas semi-permanent hair color can last upwards of six weeks. Both are temporary, but one lasts a lot longer than the other. If you’re looking to rock a new hair color for an event or special occasion, make sure it’s labeled as a wash-out or temporary formula that lasts for one shampoo. Of course, the only thing you’d need to do in that circumstance is simply wash your hair. 

L’Oréal Paris Colorista 1-Day Washable Temporary Hair Color Spray

Step 2: Use a Hair Color Removal Treatment

Clarifying shampoo is great; however, there is only so much it can do,” says Colombini. “A very mild yet effective way to remove color is with a product called Malibu.” He recommends choosing one that removes artificial color, like the Malibu Hair Color Pigment Reducer. This powdery treatment mixes with water to form a gel consistency that removes artificial color without lifting your natural hair color.

While TikTok has a variety of different at-home remedies for removing temporary hair color, you’ll want to avoid most of them. So what about that dish soap hack you’ve seen all over the platform? “Dish soap has a high pH to cut through cooking grease, so it will also remove artificial pigment from hair,” notes Colombini. It could help to fade the temporary color, but these formulas are not made with hair and scalp health in mind. Before trying this trick, we recommend reaching out to your dermatologist to ensure it won’t irritate your scalp or cause damage to your hair.

How to Nourish Your Hair After Removing Semi-Permanent or Temporary Hair Color

Use a Protein-Rich Hair Mask

“After putting your hair through anything invasive like removing hair color, at-home hair care is a must,” urges Colombini. Once you remove your temporary hair color, your hair may feel dry — and a good way to fix that is with a hydrating, protein-rich hair mask. Colombini recommends the L’Oréal Paris Everpure Sulfate Free Simply Clean Elastic Fiber Masque, which includes vegan proteins that help to revitalize the hair and boost shine.

L’Oréal Paris Everpure Sulfate Free Simply Clean Elastic Fiber Masque

Use an At-Home Toning Gloss

If your natural hair color looks lackluster and dull after you’ve removed all the temporary hair color, Colombini suggests using the L’Oréal Paris Le Color Gloss One Step In-Shower Toning Gloss. The in-shower glossing treatment revives dull, faded hair color. It’s also formulated with a coconut oil-infused base that deep conditions the hair while it corrects.

L’Oréal Paris Le Color Gloss One Step In-Shower Toning Gloss
Photo: @lauren_bickerton_hair, Design: Juliana Campisi Additional Reporting By: Jordan Julian

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