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How to get hair dye off skin: Tips to try

Removing stubborn hair dye from the skin has never been so easy.
A hair salon client having red hair dye rinsed from her hair over a basin.
A hair salon cleint having red hair dye rinsed from her hair over a basin.Getty Images stock
/ Source: TODAY

Anyone who colors their hair has probably gotten dye on their skin at some point; and they also know how stubborn it can be to remove.

Whether your colorist missed a spot behind the ear or you're braving an at-home touch-up to cover a few grays, don't let lingering smudges ruin your day.

Gregorio Ruggeri, co-founder of Salon Ruggeri in New York City, told TODAY Style that there are products and hacks that anyone can try at home to remove hair dye. The best part? Some of Ruggeri's favorite methods are affordable — or even free!

Here's how to remove hair dye when you're not in the salon chair.

Consider the time of year

Don't forget that season and climate will affect how skin and hair reacts.

Cold climates will dry out the skin and scalp. That's why it’s especially important to moisturize around the face and hairline before and after a color in winter.

How to get hair dye off skin

Ruggeri uses Wella Hair Color Stain Remover in the salon to remove stains that linger long after treatment.

Wella Hair Color Stain Remover

For those who don't want to spring for an additional hair product, Ruggeri told TODAY Style about one hack that works nearly as well as top-notch salon products.

On a trip to Turkey, where Ruggeri frequents for work, he discovered used coffee grinds mixed with just a bit of water creates a natural emulsifier that can remove streaks of dyes across the skin.

Here’s how:

  1. After brewing coffee, remove some of the excess grinds from the filter and place into a small cup.
  2. Add a few drops of water (you want the texture to remain gritty and thick without too much liquid).
  3. Apply the mixture to areas of the skin where dye won’t come off and scrub gently as you would a face or body scrub.
  4. Rinse the grinds off thoroughly and follow with your favorite moisturizer.

How to prevent hair dye from staining skin

To avoid the big mess that can happen after an at-home dye job, try to take preventative measures beforehand.

Ruggeri uses a barrier cream, such as Wella Service Skin Protection Cream, to block dye pigment from penetrating the skin.

Wella Service Skin Protection Cream

For those who don’t want to use a salon-grade product or just prefer the natural stuff, look no further than your pantry or beauty cabinet. Coconut oil, which can also be used to fight frizz and deep condition hair, also works to create a barrier between gentle skin and tough dyes.

Viva Naturals Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Whether you prefer to use the oil or cream, just place a dime-sized dollop on your finger and rub gently around the areas where you'll be applying dye — where the roots meet the forehead, behind the ears and neck.

With Ruggeri's tips to removing harsh dyes, your skin may be even smoother (and cleaner) than when you started.