You can use soap and water or other household products to remove hair dye stains. But using certain products, like nail polish remover, may also damage your skin.

There are many benefits to DIY hair dyeing at home. But one of the challenges of hair dyeing is that the color can stain your forehead, neck, or hands if you aren’t careful. It can also be difficult to remove those stains from your skin.

We’ll explain how to safely remove hair dye stains from your skin and share tips to prevent staining your skin the next time you color your hair at home.

Hair dye can stain along your hairline and face where the dye was applied. Because facial skin can be more sensitive than skin elsewhere on your body, you’ll want to avoid harsh or very abrasive cleansers in this area.

1. Soap and water

Your first defense when you notice hair dye on your skin should be to use soap and warm water to try to remove it.

If you start to wipe off the dye before it dries or shortly after applying the dye, this may be enough to remove it. If not, or if it has already stained your skin, you may need to try one of the additional methods below.

2. Olive oil

Olive oil is a natural cleanser that may help remove stains from your skin. This may be an especially good option for people with sensitive skin, but anyone can try it.

To use, pour a small amount of olive oil on a cotton ball, or use your finger and gently rub it into the stained area of your skin. Leave it on for up to 8 hours.

If you’re going to sleep with it on, you may want to cover it with a bandage or plastic so it doesn’t stain anything.

To remove, wash it off with warm water.

3. Rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol can be harsh and drying to skin, so this may not be a great option if you have very sensitive or dry skin.

To use as a dye remover, pour a small amount of rubbing alcohol onto a cotton ball or cotton pad. Gently dab it on the stained portion of your skin. Once the dye is off, be sure to rinse the area with warm water and soap.

4. Toothpaste

Toothpaste can help remove stains from teeth, but it may also help remove hair dye stains from your skin.

Use a non-gel toothpaste, and apply a small amount onto a cotton swab or your finger. Gently massage it over the dye on your skin. Leave on for 5 to 10 minutes, and then remove with a washcloth soaked in warm water.

The above techniques for removing dye from your forehead and hairline may also work on your hands. You can also try the following:

1. Nail polish remover

Nail polish remover isn’t safe to use on your face or neck, but it can help remove stains from hands. Apply a small amount of nail polish remover to a cotton swab or cotton ball. Rub it over the stain for a few seconds. The stain should start to come off.

Wash your hands with warm water and soap afterward to remove the nail polish remover.

2. Dish soap and baking soda

Baking soda is exfoliating, and dish soap can help to dissolve the dye.

To use, combine gentle dish soap and baking soda to form a paste. Gently rub the paste over the stained area on your hands, and then rinse with warm water.

To prevent dye from staining your skin the next time you color your hair, try one of the following:

  • Wear gloves to help protect your hands.
  • Apply a barrier between your hairline and your hair. Try using a thick line of moisturizing cream, petroleum jelly, or lip balm around the hairline before applying the dye.
  • Wipe up any spills as you go. You can use a damp cotton swab or pad, or washcloth. Removing stain right away can help prevent stains.

If no at-home methods work to remove dye from your skin, consider making an appointment at a salon.

Hair stylists and color specialists have specially formulated products that can remove stains. They’ll charge you a small amount for this service, but it should do the trick to get the stain off your skin.

The next time you color your hair, follow steps like applying moisturizer or petroleum jelly to your hairline and around your forehead before applying dye. This can help prevent stains.

If you do end up staining your skin, it’s usually easy enough to remove the dye using one of the methods listed above. If the stain still doesn’t come off after you try at-home treatments, see a color specialist at a salon. They should be able to remove it for you.