How to remove hair dye from hands and nails

Some hair dye will always get on your skin, regardless of whether you do it yourself at home or visit a professional. It may be on your head, in your ears, on your neck, or in another location. According to Joshua Zeichner, M.D., Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Mount Sinai Hospital Department of Dermatology, “the pigment in hair dye is intended to penetrate the outer cuticle of the hair and remain there, infusing colour into the hair shaft for a long duration.” According to Zeichner’s statement, this is correct. It can also penetrate the outermost layer of skin if exposed, leaving behind a partially permanent color.

Getting dye on your skin is, for the most part, annoying and unsightly, but in rare instances, “it can cause serious skin irritation or allergies,” Dr. Zeichner explains. Your skincare regimen may also be to blame: “All skin types are equally susceptible to dye staining, but if you use topical retinoids or products containing alpha- or beta-hydroxy acids, the dye may enter the exfoliated skin more quickly and cause more irritation to the skin.”

Luckily, there are easy ways to remove (and prevent!) dye stains on your skin. “The sooner you can remove the hair dye from the skin, the better,” Dr. Zeichner advises. This prevents the dye from settling further into the skin. Before your next hair color touch-up, study up on our experts’ tips to get rid of hair dye stains on specific areas:

How to get rid of dye stains on your face

“I recommend a simple non-soap cleanser and water,” such as the classic Dove Beauty Bar. Any oil, including coconut oil, baby oil, and argan oil, can be used as a cleanser to get rid of hair colour. In addition, several cosmetic companies sell items designed expressly to remove hair colour stains from skin, such Framar’s Kolor Killer Wipes. They are incredibly good at getting rid of stains from your face, neck, and hands while still being kind to your skin.

In addition, look for products that contain chemical exfoliants like as glycolic acid or salicylic acid. These components will help in the process of removing your old, discoloured skin cells and bringing forth new, healthy ones in their place. However, celebrity colorist Nikki Ferrara, who also owns and operates Nikki Ferrara Hair Color in New York City, strongly discourages attempting to remove facial dye with a manual face scrub because “they can cause irritation and tear the skin.” Ferrara’s business, Nikki Ferrara Hair Color, is located in the Big Apple.

If all else fails, “you can try rubbing alcohol,” Dr. Zeichner says. “Apply it to a cotton ball or use a pre-moistened alcohol swab and gently rub it against the affected area, taking caution not to overly scrub the skin.” You can use hydrogen peroxide instead of rubbing alcohol if you don’t have any in your cabinet. It’s known to remove all kinds of stains, but it’s also safe to use on your skin in low concentrations (3% or lower).

Use Some Home Remedies

“These are home remedies like rubbing alcohol and soap, baking soda and dishwashing liquid, vinegar, or non-gel toothpaste,” she says. “Another simple trick I use is rubbing body oil on the skin then rubbing it on your hair. This can also remove the dye stain.”

Buy Wipes

If home remedies aren’t your thing, Marcia swears by these two wipes.

“To remove hair dye from skin, I use Revlon Roux Clean Touch or Framar Kolor Killer Wipes,” she notes.

P.S. Those are affiliate links, meaning we may make a small share of the sale off any purchase you make.

Mix Together a Bleach Wash

Hairstylist and owner of Modest Spot Stephanie Carrillo offers a tried and true method for this dilemma, one most stylists will find helpful.

“I always just mix lightener with 20 vol and add shampoo to do a bleach wash on my hands. It’s not off until you have no fingerprints,” she jokes.

Try Rubbing Alcohol

For individuals at home who don’t have these supplies, there’s another remedy that works just as well.

“I’ve been told rubbing alcohol on a cotton round will get it off and I would recommend washing with soap and water after,” Stephanie mentions.

Wear Gloves

Colorist and owner of Halogen Hair Co. Ashley Evert notes that the best way to prevent dye from staining your hands is by taking preventative measures.

“The best way to remove color from your hands is to prevent it from getting there in the first place—wear gloves,” she states. “Not only do they prevent stains, but stylists can actually develop allergies to color from repeated contact with their bare skin.”


Hair dye can cause serious skin irritation or allergies. There are easy ways to remove (and prevent!) dye stains on your skin. Try a simple non-soap cleanser and water, or opt for products with exfoliating ingredients like glycolic acid or salicylic acid. If you don’t have rubbing alcohol in your cabinet, you can use hydrogen peroxide. Another simple trick is rubbing body oil on the skin then rubbing it on your hair.

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