Does Color Remover damage the hair? (2023)

Here's the thin: if you're bored with your current hair color and want to start from scratch, there's no need to bleach your hair again! You heard us right. Instead of using one of the more harsh chemicals on your hair to strip the color, you can use a color remover.

You can find it in stores labeled "Color Extractor" or "Color Stripper", but they are all the same thing: a great alternative to bleaching your hair. Not only is bleach super abrasive, it also damages your hair like no other treatment.

But does bleach damage hair?Like any hair treatment, a color remover can cause long-term damage. But with proper care, knowledge and discipline, you'll find that your hair doesn't look any different after use!

We're not saying that using color remover is an art form or that it's a process serious enough to warrant booking a salon appointment. In fact, using a paint remover is one of the easiest things you can do yourself!

Here we will detail what paint remover is, the care you need to take and the types of removers available on the market.

Why do I need a paint remover?

Let's say you've wanted to dye your hair firefighter red for a long time and finally worked up the courage to take the plunge. Unfortunately, when you take the towel off your head, you realize that red might not be your color.

Instead of living with your mistake, you can use a color remover to remove the artificial color from your hair and restore your mane to its natural state!

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If you're the type of person who changes your hair color every week, you know that dying your hair old colors is difficult and can affect the final shade of the new color. Instead of bleaching over old hair dye to lighten your locks, you can use a bleach.

This will remove any residual color left in your locks and, if you have lighter hair, it will leave a clean base to apply your new color on.

But how does a color remover work?

First, we want to clear up any rumors you may have heard about strippers that remove your natural color. Besides being impossible, there is no product on the market that can alter the hair shaft enough to remove the natural melanin. The only thing that does that, friends, is getting older.

Whether you've dyed your hair with semi-permanent, demi-permanent, or simply permanent hair dye, a quality color remover will do the same thing every time.

When you dye your hair, the artificial pigment is held in the hair shaft. These color molecules are thick, much thicker than natural pigment, and are held in the follicle by molecular bonds.

When you apply the color remover, the mixture penetrates deep into the hair shaft, finding and specifically targeting those big molecular bonds. This will break them up, making it impossible for your hair shaft to hold them and making it easier for the water to wash them down the drain.

If you've dyed your hair several times in the past and you're just using the color remover for the first time, it not only targets the newer color pigments, but also the lingering pigments from previous color jobs. This means your hair is returned to the most natural state possible, and all without bleach or harsh chemicals.

But if you have dark hair and are tempted to use a color remover instead of bleach before dying your hair a lighter color, you're out of luck. Most color removal products do not contain bleach and therefore do not achieve the desired whitening effect.


And if you've dyed your hair a variety of colors in the past and are hoping that a bleach will restore your hair to its original state, you'll be disappointed too. Dyes, especially permanent ones, are extremely damaging to the hair shaft and can affect the hair's natural pigments.

Unfortunately, if you use a paint stripper it will reveal any damage the paints have done to your natural pigment.

While they can't work miracles, color removers are still much gentler on the hair than other treatments because they don't change the structure or integrity of the hair shaft.

While ammonia and bleach-based products can lighten your hair like no other product, they can only achieve this level of shine and color removal because of the amount of chemicals you expose your hair shaft to.

And yes, bleach is fine when used safely and sparingly, but even a single round of bleach is more damaging than multiple rounds of stripper.

Types of strippers

There are actually only two types of color removers on the market: those with bleach and those without.

Bleaching products that contain bleach are still a safer alternative to using bleach alone to lighten your hair. Therefore, if the use of bleach is really necessary in your hair routine, we suggest following this path.

Not only does this color remover dissolve any remaining pigment in your hair, it lightens a few shades, leaving you with a clean slate for your next color job!

(Video) I removed hair dye at home in 1 hour!

This, of course, leaves us with bleach-free color removers. These are the mildest strippers on the market, but read the packaging carefully! Most color removers require a developer to be mixed with them in order to successfully remove the pigment from the hair.

The more developer required, the more damage is likely to be done. Developer isn't a harmful product by itself, but if you're seriously concerned about your locks, try looking for one with as little volume as possible.

Precautions and aftercare when removing paint

Our biggest warning is this: if your hair is seriously damaged or you regularly color it with permanent dyes, avoid using color remover (at least for now!).

While extremely gentle, they still do a superficial layer of damage that just might send your hair beyond the breaking point. Instead, focus on restoring your hair's natural oils and moisture. After everything is cured, you can get a bleach. Trust us, your hair will thank you!

One of the main reasons people use color removers is to prepare their hair for the next dye! While this is a fantastic alternative to bleaching your locks, we don't recommend using too many hair treatments of the same color.

While gentle, hair bleaching is still a minimally invasive treatment, so your hair might not be strong enough to handle dyes (especially permanent ones!).

When you color your hair, you lift the hair follicles, leaving your hair drier and more stripped and, unfortunately, overly porous.

Not only can this affect the final shade of the hair dye, but it can also leave patchy, uneven color in your locks. And it's definitely not worth it considering the amount of work you've done!

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Instead, let your hair sit for at least 3 days before treating it with dye. But if you're blessed with the quality of patience, letting your locks sit for a week will benefit you. This gives your hair enough time to heal and reconnect with the rest of your hair, ready to take on your next hair color!

if you do You decide to dye your hair the same color or if you're in a hurry, we recommend skipping the permanent color for now. It's very harsh and less forgiving than a semi- or semi-permanent dye.

Keep in mind that the color you apply may end up looking much darker than you intended, as your hair is high porosity and adheres to color much more than healthy hair. Because of this, you might want to choose a shade that's a few shades lighter than the end result you want!

And when it comes to maintenance, moisture is your friend. Look out for moisturizing shampoos and conditioners, and be extra careful that none of your hair products secretly contain alcohol! What your locks need right now is a lot of TLC. Go as long as possible without washing your hair after using a color remover.

Not only will this rehydrate your curls, but if you dyed your hair the same day, it will also give the color time to set.

We recommend using a deep conditioner once a week to keep your ends happy and keep heat styling to a minimum. If you've decided to use a color remover to bleach your hair instead of bleaching it, you've made a healthy decision - and the same energy should be put into your locks after treatment too!

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