How to get paint out of your hair?

Any kind of project or activity including step-by-step painting on various services can lead to the staining and accumulation of paint in one’s hands, and on one’s clothes and hair.

As several paint types exist in the market which is toxic to the human body, it is essential to protect one’s hair from such exposure and to remove the paint off one’s hair as soon as possible.

This article is an introduction to the various ways with which we can read our hair off paint, and prevent this kind of situation in the future.


What can paint do to your hair?

The effect that paint can have on your hair for better or worse depends heavily on the paint type you are working with.

Solvent-based paint

Solvent-based paints can be extremely harmful and toxic for your hair and can damage the hair fibers and make them weak at the roots if it reaches your scalp.

This kind of paint is very hard to remove from hair once it dries out. They have harsh chemicals that break the bonds in your hair and make them brittle. 

If a large quantity of such paint has come into contact with your hair, a good idea might be to not attempt to care for your hair at home and to take professional help from your salon or hair specialist.

Once the paint is thoroughly removed you will need to undergo a few nutrition-based hair therapy sessions to bring back your hair’s original luster and shine.

Latex-based water-based paints do not harm hair to that extent. Even then this kind of paint can be toxic. Paints like water-based acrylic wash away very quickly but can leave behind toxic products on your hair and scalp which will act adversely over time.

Heavy based paint

Paints like Akara Elite and heavy-based poster paint can clump away your hair and take away your hair’s natural moisture. This might end up with you needing to cut your hair off.

If any paint has reached your scalp and did cause a mild session of irritation and allergy, the best long-term investment in this situation is to consult your dermatologist about the health of your scalp at present. The human scalp is one of the most fragile external folds of skin on our body.

It dries, creases, and even dies under the influence of harsh chemicals.

Not to mention that some paint is actually designed specifically for your hair, and can be good for it. In addition to the fact, completely naturally derived paint and colors are not toxic to one’s hair. A 100% organic paint often uses ingredients that are also used in similar organic color products for hair. checkout spray painting mistake to avoid for better finish with least damage to your body.

What are the processes to get paint out of your hair?

As pointed out before, different paints have different consistency and bring out different results. Hence, methods of their removal also vary majorly. Some of the most popular methods for their removal are listed below.

get paint out of hair

Is rinsing with water good enough?

When a lot of time has not passed between the accidental application of paint on your hair and the cleaning process, for paints like interior paints or tempera paints a simple process of thorough rinsing and cleaning your hair.

Spending some time gently rubbing your hair with a towel or cotton t-shirt and pulling out the remaining masses of paint can act as the last measure.

This method is one of the first things you should try. Though it may not work that well for solvent-based paints or paint that has already dried up.

Some paints without being formulated for the hair can still penetrate the follicles. And will require other methods, or even redyeing to reverse the process.

What if the paint does not go away with rinsing?

If rinsing in normal water does not work, one should use the application of hot water. Rubbing your hair gently at the region where the paint has been applied with a towel or cotton t-shirt soaked in hot water can help.

Hot water generally loosens the bond between the hare and the paint. And will also loosen the oils that are binding the paint more tightly to the hair. However, in general, hot water is not good for your scalp. And you should never use it too liberally.

Dip your hands and elbows in the water to make sure it is of a temperature that your scalp can handle without any itchiness or irritation.

Should I use shampoo and conditioner to wash away the paint?

You can use shampoo as a cleaning measure. But should definitely give your hair a gap of 24 hours after rinsing it with normal or hot water before adding shampoo to the mix. Until your hair is completely rid of paint do not use conditioner, as that can inadvertently act as a sealant.

You can choose to use a strong clarifying shampoo which will probably be already available in the household. Go for the kind that you would usually procure after a night out or to rid your hair of product build-up once in a while.

Start by combing your hair, especially the region that still contains paint. And add a lot of shampoo in the process. Do not repeat this process more than two times.

What if rinsing doesn’t work?

If rinsing in normal or hot water both failed to give the desired results, shampooing right away is out of the question. You should use the application of baby oil on your hair to remove the remaining paint from it.

Take some baby oil on a cotton ball or towel and apply it to the area that has deactivation of paint. The idea is to wet the dry paint and then rest it for a while so that the oil gets soaked through the paint into the follicles of the hair.

This may take up to a clean 30 minutes. After that, comb your hair with a wide-tooth comb. And you will see some of the paint is coming out in chips. After coming for a while all the paint should come out of your hair quite easily.

If you notice some of the paint still sticking to your hair, apply another coat of oil diligently to that area and repeat the process.

Applying the oil is not harmful to the hair and therefore is one of the safest tips on this list.

 Is it helpful to use dish soap?

Dish soap has a formula made to remove sticky gunk from dishes and other utensils which contain a lot of oil in them. This makes it a good tool to remove paint from hair, especially if it is solvent-based or oil-based paint.

You must look for the kind of dishwashing soap which is gentle enough to not damage your hair in the process. Why? Because harsh soaps can have the same effect on your hair as an over washing session using harsh shampoo does.

All you have to do is to take some of it in your hands and gently rub it on the affected area. Keep it applied to the area for at least 15 minutes before washing it away.

Like in the above methods, repeat the process till the paint comes out. But not so much that it dries out your hair. After that was your hair in normal water.

Toothpaste is always a good hack

While going for the warm water trick you can add a bit of toothpaste to the affected area.

Just like dishwashing soap, toothpaste is designed to extract sticky matter from the edges. And crevices of our teeth and clean them from oils and dirt.

Since our teeth are quite hardy, toothpaste is a rough formulation. It might be too much for the hair or the skin if applied for too long. Make sure to apply toothpaste only to the most specific sections. And spread it uniformly so that it does not bulk in some areas and the layer is really thin.

Do not keep it applied to your hair for more than 15 minutes. Follow this up with washing that area with gentle shampoo one time.

tooth paste

Using vinegar to take out paint from hair?

Can you use vinegar to get paint out of your hair?

Vinegar is usually known to be an acidic product. Most of us would not consider it a great choice for our hair. However, when it comes to removing paint, vinegar is an excellent idea to go ahead with.

One thing to remember about this step is that vinegar might be unhelpful to some distinct individuals, as it causes allergic reactions and irritations to the eyes, nose, and skin. Keeping in mind its potential corrosive nature, gentle vinegar options like apple cider vinegar are the best.

Like with the option to oil your hair, apply vinegar to the paint and let the vinegar soak into it and make it wet.

Come to your hair gently to notice the vinegar causing the paint to come out on your comb bristles or fall on other parts of your clothing and body. Brush them away and clean your comb.

Tip: you can also apply egg mixture on your hair for paint removal as it is viscous and helps in any unwanted partical removal from your head to make hair smooth.

Is WD-40 too corrosive to be used on my hair for removing paint?

You do not want to go with something like WD-40 spray for removing paint from your hair unless the paint is really strong and your hair is of a thick, oily nature. Thin and damaged hair individuals should never be using sprays of this sort on their hair as it can cause further breakage.

However, a cautious application of the WD-40 spray is no big deal.

Spray a very tiny amount of this chemical on your hair. And taking every possible way of ensuring it does not touch your scalp. Rub the chemical around your hair with your fingers and let it sit for around 5 minutes. Then use hot water to rinse it away. Do not repeat this procedure a second time.

 If it is painted, a paint thinner should work, right?

Yes, technically a paint thinner does work. But just like the previous method this method can cause heavy damage to sensitive hair and skin, especially to the scalp, if used hurriedly or multiple times.

Paint thinners or turpentine should be used only when the paint is so persistent that none of the other methods have worked.

At this stage, you should first let your hair heal from the stress of the previous steps. Then try out applying a very tiny quantity of paint thinner to a paper towel or a cotton ball and rubbing your hair gently with it.

While this has a great chance of being successful, repeated and rigorous rubbing should be avoided at all costs. Clean off chemicals like these thoroughly after the procedure is completed. Because leaving them on can have long-lasting adverse effects on your body.

How to prevent paint damage to hair?

We have talked earlier about visiting a hair professional right after an incident of paint damage. And undertaking repeated procedures to bring back the health and shine of your original hair.

In the last segment of this article, we will discuss a few short points of ensuring paint damage to your hair becomes a thing of the past permanently.

  • Always be prepared for paint getting to your hair while taking up painting projects, be they of any kind. Rap your hair around your head in a tight bun and put on a cap before undertaking a painting activity.
  • Apply oil to your hair beforehand to make sure if any paint by chance does get on your hair. It does not stick and you can remove it quite easily.
  • If you have short hair or layers cut out of your hair, always make sure to use hair clips all around your head. It helps to secure every last lock of hair in its place. 

hair bun


Painting is deliberating activity and here should definitely not come in the way of that. Simple steps can be used to prevent such a mishap when paining glass windows, room interiors, house exterior, wood surface, furniture’s, canvases etc. And if it does happen the correct procedures can save us from the situation without any long-lasting damage.


Is latex paint easy to get out of your hair?

Contrary to popular belief, latex paint is actually harder to get out of hair than other variants. Use oil or vinegar for the purpose or else see a medical professional. checkout latex paint properties for better understanding.

Will sulfate shampoo clear my hair of paint quickly?

No, sulfate shampoo is actually worse for your hair when you have paint on it. Because it will further damage your hair follicles without actually doing anything extra to remove the paint. Go for organic, deeply clarifying shampoos instead.

What to do after the paint has been removed?

Now that the paint has been removed, ask your hair professional to treat you to a hair spa. Deep conditioning, and oiling sessions for at least a month to bring back your original health. checkout if you can use acrylic paint of your skin here in the post for better understanding.

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