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How to Get Oil Based Paint Out of Hair? 8 Easy Answers

Painting is a messy process. The paint gets everywhere. And then you have to worry about getting it out. The real challenge is when the paint is in your hair. Processes for getting your hair paint free are simple but require some work.

How to get oil based paint out of hair? 

There are a number of options for you. Scraping it off with your nails or a comb will usually be the first choice. In case that takes too long, you can use toothpaste or dishwashing soap. If you have olive oil you can soak the spots with it and rub. And if nothing else works, you can use turpentine or paint thinner. 

In short, that’s everything you can do to get oil-based paint out of your hair. Follow along to find out the details of each method.

Let’s dive in!

Getting Oil Based Paint Out of Hair

Getting paint in your hair is nasty. And when that paint is oil-based it feels even grosser. It gives your scalp a slick and oily texture. So you’d want to get it out of your hair fast. Luckily for you, we’re about to list a number of ways to do that.


Try scraping the paint out of your hair if it has completely dried. 

This method sounds too simple but might actually work. You can do this with your nails or use a fine-toothed comb. Just locate the blotches of dried pain and scratch with your. Then run a fine-toothed comb to get the loose pieces of paint out.

Alternatively, you can just run the comb through your hair a few times. But, be rough. That will scrape off the dried paint and get it out. 

The process is simple. But it will take some time to get it all out. It can also get really tedious. So, we suggest you look into some of the other methods. 


Try shampooing the paint out if you have time for a long shower.

A good clarifying shampoo should get the job done. Going over a number of products to pick one can be a hassle. That’s why we’re providing our suggestions:

Product 1
Product 2

Either of these will do the trick. Just follow the directions provided below while using it.

First, comb through your hair. This will get any dried-up or loose paint out of your hair. Next, apply shampoo to your hair generously. Scrub your head well. 

Let the shampoo stay for 20-30 minutes. This will work similarly to soaking and will loosen up the paint. Finally, rinse off the shampoo. 

If there’s paint in your hair still, repeat the process.

Using Toothpaste

If the shampoo didn’t get the paint out, try a more abrasive solution. 

Toothpaste may be considered a kind of abrasive cleaner. It can get any sort of gunk out of your teeth. The same properties that allow it to do that might also help get the paint out.

First, smear some paste over the paint and rub. Keep rubbing till the paste foams. Once the foam forms, rinse with water. Repeat the process if the paint isn’t gone after the rinse.

Using Dishwashing Soap

In case you’re not too worried about the health of your hair, use dishwashing soap.

It cleans the grease and oil from your plates. Therefore, it might remove the oil-based paints from your hair as well.

Apply dishwashing soap and water to your hair and lather. Let the lather sit on your hair for 15 minutes. This should loosen up the paint. Then run a fine-toothed comb through your hair.

Lastly, rinse to get the soap out. In case the paint isn’t gone completely, repeat the process.

Using Vinegar

A good alternative to shampoo or dishwashing soap is vinegar.

It’s a staple of almost every pantry. And it does a great job of getting paint out of hair. There’s just one drawback. It will leave a distinctive smell in your hair.

Any sort of vinegar will work but we suggest you use apple cider vinegar. It’s already used as a way of getting oil or product build-up out of hair. And it nourishes your hair too. 

Apply a good amount of vinegar. Work it into your hair with your fingers. Be especially attentive to the affected regions. Let it sit for half an hour. 

Then comb your hair. Pieces of paint that have come loose will come out easily. The remaining paint can be just rinsed out.

Soaking with Olive Oil

Let’s say you don’t like the smell of vinegar. And you wanna keep the quality of your hair intact as well. In that case, you can use oil to get the paint out. 

Since oil-based paints use oil as the solvent, any oil can get the paint out. For this method, we suggest using olive oil. It will get the job done and nourish your hair in the process as well.

First, you need to soak your hair in olive oil. Be very generous while soaking. If the paint spots are large you’ll need to take a few extra steps.

You’ll have to soak the spot with olive oil first. And then you’ll need to wrap it with a plastic sheet. Once you’ve wrapped it, let it sit for 2-3 hours. 

This will loosen the paint. At this point brushing with the comb should get most of it out.

Spreading Peanut Butter Over It

A faster alternative to soaking with olive oil is using peanut butter.

The prime ingredient in peanut butter is oil. Therefore, it should work the same in removing paint from hair. 

Use peanut butter with chunks in it. This chunky texture will give it a sandpaper-like effect. Spread the peanut butter over the paint spots. Then massage it into your hair with your hands. 

Keep it like this for 10-15 minutes. After that, check if the paint is coming loose. If not, apply more butter and rub it into your hair. 

Shampoo your hair thoroughly when the paint starts separating from it.

Using Chemicals

Use this only as a last resort. Turpentine or paint thinner will get the paint out of your hair for sure. But, it won’t be kind to your hair either. 

For this process, you’ll need a rag and your chemical of choice. Just wet the rag in turpentine or paint thinner and rub your hair with it. Rub a few times till all the blotches of paint are completely removed. 

Make sure that you thoroughly shampoo your hair after you bathe it in chemicals.

The Worst-Case Scenario

The worst possible case is that you’ll have to cut your hair. 

Any one of the described methods should get the paint out of your hair. Some will work better than others. However, there might be cases where you can’t get the pain out chemically or by scraping.  

And while method 8 will remove the paint, the chemicals will damage your hair and scalp. So, cutting your hair might be better than drenching it in chemicals. 

Keeping Hair Paint Free

The worst-case scenario isn’t a very convenient one. And the other processes are time-consuming as well. 

Therefore, the best thing to do is to prevent paint from getting into your hair. Doing that is pretty easy and a lot less troublesome. 

Tie your hair back if you can do that. Next, take a piece of cloth and wrap your hair. Place the bottom of the cloth on your forehead and wrap it around your hair. 

In case you’re thinking about painting inside a kitchen cabinet then this will be enough. But when painting the ceiling you’ll need to protect the top of your head as well. 

You can do that by using a plastic bag. Cover your head with the bag first. And then, wrap a cloth around it to keep it in place.

This will help keep the paint out of your hair and save you additional hassle.


Question: Can I use any oil other than olive oil?

Answer: Yes, you can use any type of oil to get the paint out. This method works as the oil paint uses oil as the solvent. That means any oil will dissolve the paint.

Question: Can vinegar damage my air? 

Answer: No, vinegar will not harm your hair. On the contrary, certain types of vinegar, such as apple cider vinegar, are good for hair. 

Question: Will dishwashing soap damage my hair?

Answer: Yes, it can. Dishwashing soap is extremely abrasive and it will strip your hair of the natural oils. In case you use the dishwashing soap method, use oil in your hair afterwards.


That covers everything about how to get oil based paint out of hair. The methods will definitely get your hair paint free. However, some might take longer to work than others.

Pick a method based on the amount of time you can spare. And then follow along to get your hair paint free.

Good luck!