Color Remover vs Bleach: which works best to remove hair dye without damaging your hair?

orange hair

If you just want to remove the dye, choose a hair color remover. If you want to erase a bad dye job and lighten your natural hair color, to blond, for example, it’s better to use bleach.


We’ve all had a bad hair dye job at some point. What if you dyed your hair, but now want to remove the color?


If that your situation, you have two options.

  • Use a traditional hair color remover
  • or use bleach


A few years ago, the only way to remove hair dye was using bleach.

But new hair color removers have appeared on the market. The two most popular are probably Colour B4 and Color Oops.


These color removers come in a kit with everything you need to remove a color you don’t like or are simply bored of.  There’s similar to box dye kits, but with remover instead of dye.

Now you might be wondering, what’s the difference between bleaching your hair and using a hair color remover?


The main difference is that hair color removers don’t contain oxidizing agents (such as peroxide), while hair bleach does.

This means that hair color removers do precisely what their name suggests: remove dye from your hair. Bleach, on the other hand, uses peroxide to remove the dye but also lightens your hair’s natural color.


Take, for example, hair that’s been dyed auburn.

If you used hair color remover, your hair would return to its natural color. (or whatever color I was before being dyed. If you bleached your hair before dying it and it had orange tones, it will go back to that color.)

If you bleach your hair instead, it the result will most likely be a copper-orange shade, because bleach fades the dye instead of removing it.

See the difference?


  • Hair color remover simply removes the dye.
  • While bleach removes the color, but also “erases,” whatever color was under the dye.


After reading all of that, you might be wondering which option you should use. Hair color remover or beach?


If that is what’s going through your mind, keep reading. That’s precisely what we’re going to discuss next.


When should you use a hair color remover?

ammonia and bleach free

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  • If you want to go back to your natural color, or only want to remove an undesirable color, choose hair color remover.
  • Basically, if you want to remove the dye without lightening your base color, use a hair color remover.
  • If your hair is fragile or damaged, hair color remover might be your only option.
  • Lastly, if your hair is stiff or dry, I also would recommend using a hair color remover instead of bleach.


When should you use bleach?

dyed hair brown

As I said earlier, bleach lightens your hair, so it's only recommended if you're ready for a drastic change.

For example, bleach would work great if your hair is dyed black or red, and you want to change it to blond, or a blond balayage. Bleaching your hair would remove the dye and lighten your hair a few shades at the same time, making it closer to the blond you want.


How long does using a hair color remover take? How about bleach?

If you're trying to remove a dark or black dye from your hair, you'll need two or three treatments with the hair color remover.

Bleach, on the other hand, can remove dark hair colors with only one treatment. But remember, bleach will also lighten your hair.


 The darker the dye in your hair is, the more times you'll have to apply the hair color remover. 


Which method is easier to use? Which is safer?

If you have little or no experience bleaching hair, I would recommend opting for a hair color remover.


Like I said earlier, hair color removers come in a kit, similar to boxed hair dye.

Hair color removers also comes with very clear and easy to follow instructions.

Not only that, but since it doesn't have peroxide or ammonia, it's 100% safe.


Now bleach is entirely different.  It's important to be very careful when bleaching your hair, as the process changes your hair's structure.

 Therefore, if you've never beached your hair before, I highly recommend going to a qualified professional. 


A professional stylist will be able to evaluate your hair beforehand and make sure it can withstand the bleaching process. If you choose to bleach your hair at home, make sure you can assess your hair, measure the correct proportions of bleaching powder and developer, and know, how long to leave it in your hair.


That's a lot for anyone who's not a professional stylist. Although I could answer some of those questions here, it's important to remember that everyone's hair is different, with unique needs.  And will, therefore, react to bleach differently.

Therefore, I can't emphasize enough that if you have never bleached hair before and want to remove your hair dye yourself, hair color remover is your only option.


Other differences between hair color remover and bleach

Hair color remover smells awful. And I'm not the only one who thinks so. Just read some product reviews. The good news is the smell dissipates in a couple of days.

Bleach, on the contrary, does not leave a bad smell in your hair.


If you're sensitive to odors, it's essential to know about the smell in advance. Many women start the process and only discover they can't stand the smell when the hair color remover is already in their hair.

In this information age, there's no reason now to know the good and bad of a product before using it. And now you know. Hair color removers often leave a strong smell that can take a couple of days to go away.


Bleach doesn't leave a bad smell, but it can irritate your scalp. Especially if you have a sensitive scalp.


Which option is less expensive?

Hair color remover tends to be more expensive than bleaching products.


  • A hair color remover kit, such as Color B4 for example, can cost between twenty-five and thirty dollars.
  • While you can buy all the products needed to bleach your hair for half that amount or less.


Of course, that's the cost of the materials alone.

Paying a professional to bleach your hair is significantly more expensive.



And now, you know the difference between traditional bleaching and hair color removers.


If you're still unsure which one is best for your situation, leave a comment below.

Let me know your current hair color, and your hair color goals, and I’ll see if I can provide some helpful information.


Remember, what method is best for you much depends on the results you're trying to achieve.

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