How to lift hair color at home

When permanent hair colour is used to alter the colour of your hair and ends up being too light or too dark, the experience can end up being a hair-colouring disaster. While it's possible to have undesirable hair colour removed by a professional at a salon, the process can be costly and exposes your hair to further chemical treatment. Lifting hair colour at home is effective and more gentle on the hair and scalp.

Wet the hair with water and lather with clarifying shampoo. Massage the shampoo into the hair from roots to ends to create a thick lather. Leave the clarifying shampoo on the hair for a few minutes, as it works to remove and lighten colour.

Rinse your hair well with warm water. You will see some of the hair colour in the bottom of the shower as it is lifted and rinsed off the hair.

Heat one tube of hot-oil treatment in a microwave-safe container. Set the tube in the container and add a few inches of water. Heat the oil treatment for one minute on the "High" setting.

Apply the heated oil treatment to the hair, coating the hair from the roots to the ends. Use all the oil in the treatment tube and cover all hair thoroughly.

Pile the hair on top of the head, if it's long- or medium-length, then wrap cling film around the head. Wrap a large towel around the cling film to keep the head and hair warm during the hot-oil treatment. Allow the oil to remain on the hair for 15 to 30 minutes.

Remove the hot-oil treatment and hair colour from your hair by washing again with clarifying shampoo. Moisturise the hair with conditioner afterward.


Do a strand test, as recommended by hair-colour kits, before applying colour to your entire head.


Wait two weeks before colouring or processing your hair again, so hair doesn't become dry and break from over-processing.

Things You'll Need

  • Clarifying shampoo
  • Hot-oil treatment
  • Microwaveable container
  • Cling film
  • Large towel
  • Hair conditioner
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About the Author

Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.