How do I stop the post-hair-dye bleed?
August 26, 2019 5:59 PM   Subscribe

Now that my daughter has crossed the teen Rubicon of at-home hair dyeing, how does she get the color bleeding to stop? We used Splat 's Midnight Amethyst 30 Wash today, and she...well, her hair is fine, it's just that she's looking like Violet Beauregarde in her blueberry stage. Help?

Face, neck, ears...still blue, from after the dye job. Is there some secret to washing her hair out that will stop the color bleed? (Please tell me this can be accomplished without wrecking the shower/white tub.) "Fixing" a dye job has popped a million unhelpful results.
posted by MonkeyToes to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Cold water, head under the tub faucet. The first wash out gets shampooed twice. The key is that the water running out of her hair does not run over her face/body. Gloves are a must for the first wash out. Wet hair will still stain towels/pillows/hats/etc.

Sounds like you’re beyond that point now, though. Some dye remover might help clean her up now.
posted by mollymayhem at 6:13 PM on August 26, 2019 [2 favorites]

One upshot here is that blue fades the fastest of all unnatural dye colors, especially in sunlight.

Anyway, I have found that hand sanitizer, the goopy kind in a pump, does a great job of pulling up pigment from where it shouldn't be. Something about the alcohol content combined with the thickness of the sanitizer medium that keeps it from evaporating too fast.

You can also try a paste of baking soda and dish soap, but this can be very irritating to skin. Scrub gently! Moisturize like crazy afterwards! It will help on hard bathroom surfaces though.

She's going to see a whole lot of pigment washing out for at least the next three showers, especially if you have hard water. A handheld shower can be a big help, or even a spray attachment to a kitchen sink and then shower cap for normal washing. Flip your head down and wash it as it hangs upsidedown. As long as she doesn't let the water sit on her skin it shouldn't dye anything else, although it can also help to use cool water instead of hot.

Back when I had my hair blue for a few years I bought cheap navy pillow cases for when I'd recently done a touch up, as well as matching navy towels. It was a lot easier than trying to keep it off of everything. I got pretty great at slathering my hairline and ears with vaseline and tucking wash cloths around my neckline. Prevention is much easier than removal when it comes to hair dye.
posted by Mizu at 6:14 PM on August 26, 2019 [6 favorites]

Windex will help remove it from the skin. You can buy "proper" hair dye remover too which has basically the same ingredients as windex if you prefer something more official, but most people have windex around. The dye isn't a permanent one & will fade away over the next few washes, leaving traces over her clothes & your pillowcases which won't fade but can most likely be bleached if white. Old pillow cases or towels at night when she sleeps. Only wear black clothing for the next few hair washes specially while her hair is wet. Bleach will return your bathroom to white. It looks worse than it is, it always looks like I've murdered a Unicorn in my bathtub the first few washes after I've hair colored.
posted by wwax at 6:28 PM on August 26, 2019 [3 favorites]

Wash in cold water. Look into touch ups with other brands too and use vaseline as a barrier on the skin when touching up hair. I personally have had good luck with Manic Panic overall. I find that makeup removers like Micellar Water help get staining off.

A BIG thing is drying the hair right away so it doesn't have a chance to drip/stain/sit wet on the skin. (Generally combined with not washing every day, because that's best for hair/dye anyway.)
posted by Crystalinne at 7:36 PM on August 26, 2019

Oh and PS hair color remover/hair stain remover may not work. Those are often for chemical dye. Splat and other brights are pigment/direct dye - like fabric dye.
posted by Crystalinne at 7:38 PM on August 26, 2019

Next time, smear Vaseline on her hairline.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:58 PM on August 26, 2019 [4 favorites]

The advice here is great so far for dealing with her current blueness. I'm currently aiming for emerald to forest green, so this is what I'm doing:

To prevent the hair losing any more dye, rinse it with a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water. This closes the cuticle of the hair and will help prevent more of the pigment coming free. It'll set the dye, basically. She should rinse with this whenever she washes her hair, preferably before shampooing and after conditioning.

On that note, she should be using a colour preserving shampoo and conditioner. Even a cheap brand from the drug store will help if it's color preserving. I like the Schwarzkopf color preservation lines as a decent entry level brand. This will also help the colour stay in the hair, not on the tub.

For future dye jobs liberally applying vaseline or sorboline cream as a barrier on ears, neck and face has saved my technicolor bacon on more than one occasion. I use a pump pack of sorbo, and keep a pile of cotton balls to hand to mop spills off my face as we go. I also go nutso on my arms just above where the gloves sit, because even though I am 37 and have been doing ridiculous things to my hair for over twenty years I still dye my wrists from time to time. I also have a collared button up shirt that sits almost to my hairline at the back which is my dyin' shirt. Collared as in "you could wear a tie with that". I wear it to put the colour in, buttoned all the way up, so there's a minumum of skin exposed in the first place. It's a really exciting 90s nylon cotton elastane blend, basically plastic. Does a great job. Any junker high collar shirt should do, though, providing it's heavy enough. Button through so you can take it off without going over your head. Just pop it straight in a bucket of water, then rinse and wash as normal.

Oh! And on the subject of gloves, I don't know if her kit came with them or not, but food grade gloves for food prep are almost always better than the ones you get with dyes. I just buy a box of 100 from the supermarket every now and then.

Good luck and here's to a blue future.
posted by Jilder at 9:08 PM on August 26, 2019 [2 favorites]

In my experience, Splat is the worst of all the pigment type dyes for bleeding. A vinegar rinse can help set the dye and reduce how much bleeds out. She should keep her hair dry as much as possible to make the color last and minimize collateral damage to any nearby textiles. Dark pillowcases and towels are a good idea.

For next time, definitely use Vaseline liberally along the hairline and on the ears and the nape of the neck to prevent staining the skin.

I hope she loves the blue! One of my favorite colors to sport.
posted by vortex genie 2 at 9:13 PM on August 26, 2019

seconding vaseline at the hairline to keep it off the skin.
posted by Toddles at 11:30 PM on August 26, 2019

I used to use rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad to remove hair dye stains from my skin. Yes, rubbing alcohol is hard on skin - but a nice face wash and bit of moisturizer after and I was fine.
posted by hilaryjade at 1:34 PM on August 27, 2019

Thank you all so much! Her skin is MUCH less blue today, thanks to the effective and simple hand sanitizer trick. Good to know! (Daughter's comment: "Ewww, I am not putting Windex on my skin!" But thank you so much, wwax, for the reassurance about bleach clean-up.) I under-applied Bag Balm, a Vaseline-like substance I had on hand, to the places where skin and scalp meet, and it was not enough; I will slather her down next time, in addition to making her wear a collared shirt. Good idea!

Next time. Ugh, after this go-round, I said never again, but here I am trying to improve my process for future dye jobs...
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:17 PM on August 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

Look. It's better to get this stuff sorted now than turn your first apartment's bathroom into a magenta bloodbath and lose your security deposit. Consider it an investment. :)
posted by Mizu at 6:33 PM on August 27, 2019 [4 favorites]

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