"The desperate at-home dye removal methods I tried after a hair disaster."

Image: Supplied.

I’m not what you’d call a rebel when it comes to my hair. In fact, previously the most daring thing I’d ever done was switch my part. (Gasp!)

Then, last year, I decided to do something totally out of character: dye my hair pink.

After hours spent gazing at pictures of rainbow hair, I wanted in. So I got myself some temporary hair dye, enlisted my sister to help me out and a few hours (and many selfies later) I was the proud wearer of electric pink dip-dyed strands.

Me and my pink hair in happier days. Image: Supplied.

It was fun... for a few days. Realising why I hadn't done this before (i.e. I get sick of things very easily), I was ready to return to my normal colour. Prepared that it would take a few washes to rinse out and fade, I washed my hair every night for four consecutive days. The pink remained.

It would have been fine, save for the fact that I have curly hair. To apply and show off the dye, I had straightened my hair where the colour looked fresh and nice. With my hair back to its curly state, the gaps and uneven application of my colour were very, painfully clear.

Watch: You know what's not a hair disaster? This gorgeous, easy milkmaid braid. (Post continues after video.)

At a loss of what to do, I did what anyone would; I went deep into beauty forums. There I found lists and tales of various at-home dye stripping methods which I dutifully wrote down to try.


1. Anti-dandruff shampoo

The first recommendation seemed simple enough; swap your usual shampoo for an anti-dandruff one. The theory was that products designed to combat dandruff are generally harsher on the hair and thus would remove some of the colour.

Being very, very generous with the amount of shampoo I was using, I lathered the stuff on and rinsed, expecting a miracle. The result? Nothing. My hair was still pink. Even worse, a mixture of fading colour and products meant that it wasn't even a nice pink, but rather a gradient of irregular salmon peach.

No. Just no. Image: Supplied.

2. Washing up liquid.

The next day, I took my journey one step further and raided the kitchen for some washing up liquid. Based on the same principles as the dandruff shampoo, the harsher ingredients in this would supposedly help remove some of the colour.

While dishwashing liquid may make your plates as clean and sparkling as new, I couldn't say the same for my hair. The salmon remained... and my hair felt like straw.

3. Vitamin C.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. After reading one woman's convincing experience, I ran to the chemist to get myself some Vitamin C tablets. Reports suggested this would work as a gentler and lighter form of bleaching, helping to lift the colour off a little bit. At this stage, I probably would have done anything to never see pink again.

$20 and sore elbows later (turns out in the middle of winter, Vitamin C tablets are a hot commodity) I had my gold. After carefully crushing them with a spoon, I mixed them with my shampoo, lathered it on and left it on for 45 minutes, as per instructions.

No luck. I now had gross peach hair the texture of straw and a very short temper, much to the amusement of family and friends. (Post continues after gallery.)


While I'd heard of many people who had seen results with these DIY solutions, thanks to my dry, curly and dark hair the odds were against me.

Short of attempting an at-home bleach, I was stumped; there's only so much a hat or bun can hide.

So I decided to do what probably should have been my first move. I went to see my hairdresser, Teneile Robinson at Edwards and Co, and promptly burst into tears.

Doing her best to hide her horrified reaction to my hair, we decided the best option would be to cover it, rather than further damage my hair trying to remove it. I left the salon with a new semi-permanent dark chocolate brown 'do.

The sheer glee of not being pink. Image: Supplied.

Just like the pink, it was something totally new for me, but a much more welcome sight.

I think I'll be steering clear of rainbow colours for a while now...

What's your hair dye disaster story?