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Difference Between Permanent & Semi-Permanent Hair Dye: Explained (2024)

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difference between permanent and semi permanent hair dye explainedDo you want to change up your hair color but don’t know where to start? You’ve likely heard of permanent and semi-permanent hair dye, and may be wondering what the difference between them is.

Permanent hair color permanently changes the melanin in natural strands while semi-permanent merely coats it with a gloss that washes out after several shampoos. We’ll discuss how each type works, their respective benefits and drawbacks, plus when it’s better to choose one over another.

So sit back, relax — let’s get into understanding this important distinction!

Key Takeaways

  • Permanent hair color changes melanin in natural strands and lasts indefinitely.
  • Semi-permanent hair color coats hair with a gloss that washes out after several shampoos.
  • Demi-permanent hair color offers improved gray coverage and longer-lasting effects.
  • Permanent hair color penetrates deep into the hair cuticle, while semi-permanent color only coats it.

What is Permanent Hair Color?

difference between permanent and semi permanent hair dye explained 1
You can achieve a long-lasting, natural look with permanent hair color. It lasts indefinitely on average and offers up to 100% grey coverage. It opens the cuticles of your hair shaft so that dye is delivered deep inside, then reseals them to prevent the color from escaping.

Permanent hair colors are used for lightening or darkening your current shade as well as covering greys. For best results, you should test a strand first before committing all over and highlight with foil in order to blend better if needed.

If done correctly by an experienced professional hairdresser at one of Hertford’s best salons like ours – which has 13 years’ worth of expertise – you can expect beautiful natural-looking color that will require no reapplication until desired otherwise!

Compared with demi-permanent colors or semi-permanent dyes, which only stain the outside layer of strands without changing its texture nor lasting more than 12 shampoos when applied properly, permanent ones offer much longer duration while still matching tones closely resembling real human hair’s hue variations so perfectly they could easily pass off for naturally grown pigments even upon close inspection!

How Does Permanent Hair Color Work?

How Does Permanent Hair Color Work?
Permanently changing your hair color requires a careful process that opens the cuticles and delivers dye deep inside, then reseals them to prevent any fading or leakage. This type of coloring involves a chemical reaction between the ingredients in the hair dye and your natural melanin, which is why it lasts longer than other methods.

It also provides greater color depth and better gray coverage for long-lasting results.

Permanent dyes are ideal if you’re looking to correct faded hair colors or want more control over an outcome since they’ll last until you decide otherwise! Demi-permanent dyes usually last 12 – 24 shampoos, while semi-permanent ones won’t stay for more than 4 – 12 washes.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Permanent Hair Color

Benefits and Drawbacks of Permanent Hair Color
With the right application, permanent hair color can last indefinitely and provide long-lasting results with over 85% gray coverage. It’s perfect for those looking to lighten or darken their locks as well as conceal grey regrowth without worrying about fading effects.

Semi-permanent color is a great alternative if you’re not interested in making such a drastic change but still want some longevity. This type of dye will wash out gradually over time and won’t cause any damage while depositing shine onto lightened or highlighted hair.

Whether you choose permanent or semi-permanent coloring, both types offer many benefits that can help transform your look with minimal effort – so why not give them a try?

What is Semi-Permanent Hair Color?

What is Semi-Permanent Hair Color?
Discover the subtle, long-lasting look of semi-permanent hair color for an effortless transformation. Semi-permanent dye is a great choice as it offers more natural-looking results than temporary solutions and can last up to 12 washes before gradually fading away.

Not only does this give you more control over your desired look, but it also helps keep your hair healthy with its ammonia-free formula that won’t strip or damage the cuticle like permanent coloring would.

Demi-permanent formulas are available too, which offer improved grey coverage and longer-lasting effects. However, they still require some commitment since these dyes generally need re-application every 6 weeks or so in order to maintain vibrancy throughout the fading process.

So if you’re ready for a detailed comparison between permanent and semi-permanent hair color options, then why not visit one of Hertford’s best hairdressers? With experience spanning 13 years in the beauty industry, our staff is equipped with all the required knowledge needed when deciding on what type of coloring is right for you!

How Does Semi-Permanent Hair Color Work?

How Does Semi-Permanent Hair Color Work?
You’ll find semi-permanent hair color stains the hair shaft without altering its structure, so it washes away gradually after several shampoos. It’s a great choice for those looking to enhance their natural hue and get more control of the desired look with no damage from an ammonia formula or developer mixing required.

  • Hair lifting is not an option – this type of dye is only able to deposit color onto the surface and won’t lighten existing hues.
  • Color shades will be limited when compared with permanent options as there’s no texture change involved in this process.
  • Temporary dyes cannot cover new growth or completely hide grey strands either; however, they still provide a nice boost in vibrancy that lasts until reapplication becomes necessary.
  • If used on previously treated hair, expect colors may appear darker than initially applied due to inconsistent absorption rate based on individual’s strands texture/color depositing properties.
  • Demi vs semi – while both types offer similar results such as adding shine and refreshing faded tones, demi often provides better gray coverage but needs reapplication every 6 weeks for best results. So if considering between these two types, always consult a hairdresser who has expertise over 13 years in the industry.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Semi-Permanent Hair Color

Benefits and Drawbacks of Semi-Permanent Hair Color
Using semi-permanent hair dye can be a great way to add some fun, temporary color without the commitment of permanent dye. It’s also an excellent choice for those who want to enhance their natural hue or cover grey strands without using harsh ammonia formulas and developer mixing.

But like any other type of hair coloring process, there are both advantages and disadvantages that come with this option.

The table below outlines these pros and cons so you can make an informed decision about whether it’s right for you:

Pros Cons
Dye removal Color fading
Gentle blend Grey coverage
Low-ammonia formula Limited selection

Semi-Permanent Hair Colour offers a unique opportunity to try out different styles while keeping your base color intact. It is gentle on the hair shaft and low maintenance compared to more traditional forms of dyes that require regular topping up once they have begun fading after several washes.

Moreover, because it does not penetrate deep into the follicle layer like its permanent counterpart, demi-permanent color is able to use less aggressive chemicals such as low volume developers, which further reduces damage caused by repeated applications over time!

Finally, even though semi-permanent hair color will only last between four to twelve wash cycles depending upon an individual’s chemistry, if used correctly, one should still get plenty of enjoyment out of each application before needing reapplication or complete removal altogether!

Choosing Between Permanent and Semi-Permanent Hair Color

Choosing Between Permanent and Semi-Permanent Hair Color
When deciding how to color your hair, you have the option of choosing between a permanent or semi-permanent dye. This allows you to get creative with vibrant colors and playful highlights without committing long term.

Consider factors such as the time it takes for the dyeing process, any potential damage caused by chemicals on your hair growth, available color selection, and fading results.

Permanent dyes penetrate deep into the hair cuticle, while demi vs semi-permanent color only coats it. Depending on which type of temporary color is applied, it will affect how long-lasting each application is.

Permanent color can last indefinitely, while semi-permanent color tends to fade within four to twelve washes.

Ultimately, deciding between permanent and semi-permanent color depends upon personal preference in terms of desired outcome versus maintenance required over time!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does permanent hair color last?

Permanent hair color can last indefinitely, depending on the individual’s hair. Its unique formula opens cuticles and delivers dye deep inside, sealing them to ensure your beautiful shade won’t fade away anytime soon.

Is semi-permanent hair color damaging to hair?

No, semi-permanent hair color is not damaging if applied correctly. It coats the surface of your hair without penetrating it, so you can enjoy a temporary change in color without fear of damage or long-term effects.

How many shampoos does semi-permanent hair color last?

Semi-permanent hair color can last up to 12-24 shampoos, depending on the individual.

Does semi-permanent hair color cover grey hair?

Do you want to cover gray hair with semi-permanent color? No, it won’t work. Semi-permanent only stains the surface of the strands and cannot penetrate deep enough to alter your natural hair color or cover gray hairs.

How do I know which type of hair color is best for me?

You have options, so see a stylist to determine which dye suits you best. They will assess your hair’s condition, desired result, and upkeep. With expertise guiding you, you will leave confident you chose the optimal color method for your unique hair.


It’s clear that choosing between permanent and semi-permanent hair dye is a personal decision that requires careful consideration. With the understanding of the differences between the two, you can make the most informed choice for your hair.

Permanent hair dye is a strong formula that penetrates the hair shaft to alter its structure, while semi-permanent dye is a much weaker formula that only coats the hair surface.

Permanent dye is better for covering grey hair, and semi-permanent is best for adding shine. Ultimately, the decision of which hair dye is right for you depends on your desired outcome.

For the best results, consider visiting a professional hairdresser and discussing your options. With their expertise, they can help you decide which type of dye and color is best for you.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.