Model with color-treated short brown hairstyle
Hair Color | Dye Your Hair

Experiment With Semi-Permanent Hair Color

Semi-permanent color treatments require neither ammonia nor alcohol and are therefore gentle alternatives to permanent coloring. Still, even the mildest color rinse adds luster, a deep glow and delicate shimmering light reflections to your hair. These color enhancements are a great way to switch things up with your hair without committing to one color. Below, we’ll answer a few common questions regarding how to use semi-permanent hair color and some useful tips and tricks.



Woman with dyed brunette hair
© EyeEm

Semi-permanent colors are great for when you can't decide

Many women believe that their hair color is boring. The shimmer of reflected light or a deep glow may be missing especially in ash blonde and brown hair. It is this playful interaction of hair with different kinds of light, which adds so much magical radiance to it. Semi-permanent color treatments can add these playful light effects.

Semi-permanent coloring treatments offer a marvelous way to experiment with various hair colors. The temporary option means that you can try things out but don’t have to worry about the long-lasting effects of permanent dye. Most of the semi-permanent color is going to disappear after only six to eight shampoos. This gives you plenty of room to experiment with new, trending colors and decide what might suit you. See if something like temporary white hair dye or even temporary red hair dye looks good on you!

The Effects of Semi-Permanent Hair Colors

While permanent artificial hair pigments penetrate the hair and settle deep in its core, semi-permanent hair pigments only coat the outer hair shaft. Therefore, semi-permanent color treatments don’t have ammonia or bleaching ingredients. This is why they are so much gentler than permanent hair coloring.
Even if you hardly change your natural color, your hair is going to look more vibrant after using semi-permanent hair color. Thin hair gains a lot from the additional pigments because it instantly provides more depth and volume; this means less need for products and more time enjoying hair that looks healthy and full. What's more, semi-permanent hair coloring is simple and can be easily done at home.

How long does semi-permanent hair color last?

With moderate to low use of shampoo, as well as limited exposure to the sun and swimming pools (due to the chlorine), ­­­­semi-permanent hair color should last around six weeks (eight washes). The color will fade naturally over the weeks, but you’ll experience the best version of the temporary dye within the first two weeks. Try to use shampoo and conditioner roughly once a week, using shampoo for colored hair to help prolong the look and prevent fading.

Is semi-permanent hair color safe?

Due to the fact that semi-permanent hair colors don’t contain any bleach or ammonia inside the formula, it’s a lot safer to use than permanent dyes, even with permed or previously dyed hair. It’s still best to check with a professional hair stylist to see if your hair type and current color is suitable for semi-permanent options, but this type of application is simple enough to do at home.

Key Facts about Semi-Permanent Hair Colors

  • First determine your own natural hair color. Use two identical semi-permanent hair color applications if your hair is very thick or long
  • Exposure to the sun, seawater, or a harsh environment may have damaged your hair. If this is the case then you should opt for the shorter leave-in times. You should test the results on a small strand of hair
  • Using quality hair care products can improve the staying power of the pigments in your hair
  • Note the hair color classification on the packages: Class 1 means that the hair color can be washed out. Such color treatments last about six to eight shampoos and can be applied without pre-treatments. However, class 1 color treatments cannot bleach hair. The pigments only coat the outer hair shaft. By comparison, class 2 hair colors contain hydrogen peroxide as a bleaching agent and a separate pigment solution, which need to be mixed before the application. Class 2 hair colors last about 24 shampoos