Removing artificial color from your hair can only be achieved two ways; either with the use of a bleach, or through the use of a chemical haircolor remover (also called haircolor extractor). Both processes involve the use of chemicals and are best left in the hands of a skilled and experienced professional stylist.
Bleaching is the most commonly used method for removing color from the hair, and if done properly, will not overly damage the hair. However, since bleach is a rather strong substance, it is impossible to bleach the hair without incurring at least some damage to the hair. This damage occurs to the hair’s cuticle layer, which may leave the hair feeling dry and with a lack of luster and sheen. In the hands on an inexperienced individual, bleach may also damage the cortex layer of the hair. This type of damage is more severe, and cannot be repaired with conditioners or styling products. Hair that is overly damaged must be cut off.
In order to prevent severe damage to the hair, bleach must be mixed with the proper developer. Developer, which is a hydrogen peroxide liquid, is available in various strengths. Mixing a bleach with a higher-strength developer will certainly remove color, but it will also damage the hair. Therefore, when bleaching the hair, a lower-strength developer should be used.
The second method, known as haircolor extraction, uses a chemical formula to remove artificial pigment. This differs from bleach, which not only removes artificial pigment, but will cause lightening of the natural hair as well. Haircolor extractor does not cause any change to a person’s natural color. In other words, if you have brown hair and dye it black, you cannot achieve a blonde color by using the haircolor extraction method.
Which method is right for you? This will depend on the final result you wish to achieve. If you have dyed your hair a few shades too dark and wish to go back to your natural color, then haircolor remover is the safest bet. However, if you are planning a radical change with your color, then bleach is probably the best way to go. Haircolor extractor also has limitations: it can only remove professional dyes, not store-bought dyes. Unless you have a strong knowledge of haircolor chemistry, it will probably be easier to work with bleach.