This article was originally published on Real Simple.

You have the home hair coloring technique down pat, except for those annoying dark spots that inevitably speckle your neck or face post dye job. You’re not alone. Even expert at-home colorists, not to mention the pros, end up with telltale splotches of dye on the skin. While there are lots of odd home remedies for removing dye—baking soda mixed with detergent, vinegar, or even cigarette ash—these aren’t the most effective or skin-friendly solutions.

“There’s no need use harsh ingredients which can irritate the skin,” says Michel McKrieth, a colorist at the Rita Hazan Salon in NYC. “At the salon, we remove color the most old-school and gentle way possible: With a damp towel. Here’s how to remove any stray spots without scouring your face or breaking out a drastic remedy like rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover. Plus, how to avoid those stains in the first place.