How to Get Hair Dye Off Skin (and Prevent Future Mishaps)

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Whether you're shelling out the cash for a salon service or putting your DIY skills to the test at home, hair dye can be a tricky business. If you've ever gotten into a snafu with a box of color (or even been at the hands of a messy stylist), chances are you've ended a coloring session or two with the unfortunate stained hairline, ears, or neck. Getting hair dye on your skin may seem inevitable when working with color, but believe it or not, there's a way to avoid it — you just need to know the insider tricks.

How to Get Hair Dye Off Skin

Hair dye is potent stuff. You wouldn't want your brand-new hair color to disappear after a few days (and if you did, you'd use temporary dye). It's designed to last you months of hair washing so that you get the most bang for your buck. But that also means it's hard to undo mishaps. If you're wondering how to get hair color off skin, you'll be happy to learn that all it requires is a few common household items. We reached out to NYC colorist Domenica Valenti to find out the best ways to avoid the problem in the first place, as well as what to do if you've found yourself covered in dye.

Keep reading to see her tips for how to remove hair dye from skin before you have to go out in public again.

How to Prevent Hair Dye From Getting on Skin

Before you find out how to get rid of hair dye on skin, it's worth nothing the best thing to do is prevent them from happening in the first place. Whether you're at the salon or in the comfort of your own bathroom, Valenti suggests prepping your skin by rubbing Vaseline Petroleum Jelly ($8) or your favorite conditioner around your hairline, the back of your neck, and on your ears to keep the dye off your skin.

"You don't need to put on much — it only needs to reach about half an inch from the hairline," she says. "It will act as a barrier and easily wipe off when you're done."

What Removes Permanent Hair Dye From Skin?

If the deed is already done and you've found yourself in a hair-dye predicament, you're likely wondering what removes permanent hair dye from skin. Luckily, there are a few products in your medicine cabinet that should be able to help.

Your first order of business should be to gently rub the stained skin with witch hazel, like Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel With Aloe Vera ($8). It's safe to use on even the most sensitive skin and should get the job done.

You can also use a chemical exfoliant to get the job done, like the Eve Lom Rescue Peel Pads ($78).

How to Get Hair Color Off Skin That Won't Budge

If all else fails, it's time to head to the kitchen. This next hack is also a great solution for how to get hair dye off hands. You'll need two items: dish soap, like Dawn Dish Soap ($4), and some baking soda. Then, you'll want to make a paste with the two products and scrub your hands, neck, and forehead (wherever you have a dye stain) until it lifts.

Additional reporting by Jessica Harrington

Jessica Harrington is the senior beauty editor at POPSUGAR, where she writes about hair, makeup, skin care, piercings, tattoos, and more. As a New York City-based writer and editor with a degree in journalism and over eight years of industry experience, she loves to interview industry experts, keep up with the latest trends, and test new products.