The best hair color remover

My hair is currently a gingery red. A week ago it was a deep chestnut brown. Before that, blue-black. Last year? Blonde, pink, blue, purple, and back to blonde. No, my hair hasn’t fallen out, but that’s got nothing to do with anything other than my two secret weapons: Demi-permanent hair color and Color Oops Hair Color Remover.

You’ve seen it in drugstores, perhaps even been frightened by the box cover or the possible ingredients inside that promise to scrub your hair free of unwanted color. I know I was back in college when I began my hair color frenzy. Back then, I tried everything from baking soda and dish soap to other brands of color removers and, unfortunately, all were sub-par…and so became my hair health. It wasn’t until my second quarter-life crisis (hi, 2021) that I decided to go for the Color Oops and…see what happens.

I haven’t looked back.

post wanted pick

A box containing two bottles of hair dye


  • Easy to mix and apply
  • Doesn’t leave hair damaged
  • Can be used the same day as you re-dye your hair
  • Ammonia-free
  • Removes permanent, demi-permanent, and semi-permanent hair color


  • Must be rinsed out for 20+ minutes
  • Doesn’t remove all of red tones (the hardest to remove)
  • Strong, lingering odor

How I tested

I tried Color Oops on everything from permanent to semi-permanent dye. With some, it had already been colored for months. For others, it was one day of color, the next day: removal. Each time, I followed the instructions to a T; I would apply, cover with the included plastic cap, and wait 20 minutes. Then, I would shampoo and rinse for as close to 20 minutes as I could get before shampooing a second time and rinsing for another 5 minutes.

The first time I used it, I had pink hair. I’d used a semi-permanent dye over the top of my naturally dark blonde hair. When I went to remove the color, it was completely gone — I was actually hoping for a pastel pink result, but Color Oops worked too well…so, I reverted back to my original blonde without a cinch.

A woman holding her pink hair
Kendall Cornish

The second time I used it was when I went from blonde to electric blue. It actually took all the color out — again — so I went in with the same blue mixed with conditioner to give it more of a pastel blue tone.

A woman with blue hair taking a selfie
Kendall Cornish

I most recently went blue-black, and Color Oops was able to take me from that to a gingery red, which I emphasized with a few true-red money pieces. I’m loving the results that the color remover gives me each time and feel like I have more room to play when the process is done.

kendall Cornish taking a selfie
Kendall Cornish

The verdict

Color Oops is the only hair color remover I trust. It doesn’t completely ruin my hair like other competitor products might, and I trust it to do its job of removing as much color as is physically possible in 40 minutes or less. It’s been on the market for decades, and for good reason. Now, I only use the Extra Conditioning version of Color Oops, which I believe delivers on its promise. Whether you’re in a pickle with your at-home color or looking to make a change ASAP, Color Oops is the answer. Trust me.

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