So, this year's hottest color just isn't for you, huh?

By Caroline Shannon-Karasik
Updated Feb 20, 2020 @ 2:15 pm
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Credit: Jen Grantham/Stocksy

OK, so you sprang for winter's hottest purple hair color for brunettes. But now you're having second thoughts and, well, now what? Whether you went to the salon or spent your Saturday night on a DIY job, it can be tricky to figure out the best way to remove semi-permanent hair dye without completely damaging your hair. But there are a few solutions.

Ahead, celebrity hairstylist and owner of Hair Addict Salon Michelle Cleveland dishes on the best at-home steps you can take to remove semi-permanent hair dye, as well as when it's time to call on the professionals.

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Try a clarifying shampoo.

First things first, it's important to note that Cleveland always recommends you see a professional when your hair color has you bumming.

"We are trained to protect the integrity of your natural hair," she notes. "[But] if you insist on removing your hair color at home, there are some DIY alternatives."

The first option? A strong clarifying shampoo, like one of Cleveland's favorites Nioxin Clarifying Cleanser. While she maintains that the important thing to keep in mind is that a semi-permanent hair color — which is made of small molecules that can penetrate slightly under your hair cuticle, but not all the way into the center (or cortex) of your hair — is that it will eventually wash out, and a clarifying shampoo will help speed up the process.

"Even though it’s meant to remove mineral buildup, such as chlorine and heavy styling products, it will see the direct dyes as the enemy and attempt to release them from your hair," she says.

Raid your kitchen pantry.

While you're at it, Cleveland says you might want to try adding a dash of baking soda to your clarifying shampoo to really "kick the process into high gear."

She recommends adding the baking soda to the shampoo in a one-to-one ratio, and then leaving the mixture on your hair for about 10 minutes before rinsing.

Take time to nourish hair.

Even though clarifying shampoos and baking soda are safe alternatives to, say, using chemicals to strip your hair of unwanted color, Cleveland says you'll still want to set aside time to follow up the clarifying shampoo with a deep conditioner or restorative hair mask. After all, the shampoo and baking soda's job is to remove unwanted color, but in doing so, Cleveland says they will also take away the natural oils your hair requires to stay healthy. Her favorite follow-up treatment is Wella Fusionplex Intensive Repair Mask, which can help restore hair hydration.

"After washing with the shampoo mixture out, apply a generous amount of the repair mask and allow it to sit on your hair anywhere from five to 15 minutes, then rinse," Cleveland says.

Do a trial run before making a full commitment.

The number one way to avoid getting stuck with unwanted semi-permanent hair dye? Don't try a new all-over color before first opting for a strand test, Cleveland says.

"Sometimes just adding a focal piece of hair with your favorite fun color is more than enough to make you realize it might not be for you," she says.

You can also always try out a wig in the color you are considering before going all-in on a new hair dye. Cleveland says some hair salons, including her own, even keep some on hand so clients who are unsure about a new hair color can give it a whirl first.