Semi-Permanent Hair Dye: The Ultimate Guide

semi permanent hair dye

Photo by Maksim Chernishev on Unsplash

Thinking about trying a new hair color? You’re not alone. In fact, more and more people are turning to semi-permanent hair dye instead of permanent dyes. That’s because semi-permanent dyes offer all the benefits of permanent hair dye without nearly as much commitment. You don’t need to make an appointment with your hairstylist or spend hours in front of a mirror every time you want to switch up your look.

Instead, you can quickly and conveniently update your locks as often as you like with semi-permanent hair dye that washes out after about 10 washes at most. If you’re interested in learning more about this type of dye, keep reading for everything you need to know about semi-permanent hair dye...


What is Semi-Permanent Hair Dye?

Semi-permanent hair dye is a type of hair dye that lasts longer than non-permanent hair dye, but not as long as permanent hair dye. For this reason, it’s often the first choice for people who want to try something new with their hair but don’t want to commit to a new color for a long period of time.

With semi-permanent hair dye, the chemical process (called oxidation) is much slower than with permanent hair dye. This slower process means that semi-permanent hair dye only penetrates the cuticle of the hair by about 1/8 of an inch, compared to the 1/2 inch that permanent hair dye penetrates.


How Long Does Semi-Permanent Hair Dye Last?

Semi-permanent hair dye lasts between 10 and 20 washes, although the exact number varies by brand. Since it’s not as potent as permanent hair dye, it’s also less likely to stain your skin, towels, clothing, or bed sheets.

For the best results, be sure to follow the directions on the box and apply it during the recommended time frame to get the longest lasting results. If you delay or rush the application process, you may find that your new dye job washes out much sooner than you expected.


Benefits of Semi-Permanent Hair Dye

1. Fast and simple

With semi-permanent hair dye, you can try a new shade in as little as 30 minutes. No matter what, it’s much easier than committing to a new hair color for months on end with permanent dye.

2. Less commitment

While semi-permanent hair dye lasts longer than non-permanent hair dye, it’s less likely to last as long as permanent dye. This makes it a great option for those who generally want to keep the same color but like to switch it up every now and then.

3. No commitment

If you’re the kind of person who likes to keep their options open, semi-permanent hair dye is a great choice. You don’t have to commit to a particular color or style for months on end, which gives you more flexibility to try new things.

4. Low risk

Semi-permanent hair dye is less likely to damage your hair than permanent dye because it doesn’t penetrate as deeply. This means it’s less likely to cause long-term damage, breakage, or other issues.


Before Trying Semi-Permanent Hair Dye

1. Use gloves

The gloves included in most dye kits are there for a reason — they help protect your hands from damaging chemicals. Always use them whenever you’re applying dye to your hair so you don’t end up with stained and/or damaged hands.

2. Watch the timing

It’s important to follow the timing instructions on the dye box. If you leave the dye on your hair for too long, you risk damaging your hair and scalp. If you leave the dye on for too short a time, the color may not show up as well.

3. Apply semi-permanent hair dye to dry hair

To make sure the semi-permanent dye coats every strand, it’s best to apply it to dry hair. If you apply it to wet or damp hair, it may wash out much sooner than you expected.

4. Patience

Semi-permanent hair dye takes longer to work than permanent dye, so it’s important to be patient. You can’t rush the process or expect immediate results.


Which Shades Should You Choose?

If you’re thinking about trying semi-permanent hair dye, there are several things to keep in mind. First, it’s important to choose a shade that’s similar to your natural color. This ensures that you don’t end up with an entirely different shade than you expected.

Depending on your natural hair color and desired shade, you may be able to choose from a range of different semi-permanent hair dye colors. If you have dark hair, for example, you may have options such as red, blue, or purple. If you have light hair, however, you may have fewer options.


Applying Semi-Permanent Hair Dye Tutorial 

1. Make sure your hair is clean

The best time to apply semi-permanent hair dye is when your hair is clean. This will allow the dye to coat each strand and work more effectively.

2. Prepare your hair

When you’re ready to apply the dye, make sure your hair is combed and tangle-free. You can use a clean comb to make sure there are no knots.

3. Apply the semi-permanent hair dye

Once your hair is clean and untangled, apply the semi-permanent dye according to the instructions on the box. Always follow the directions carefully!

4. Let the semi-permanent hair dye sit

After applying the dye to your hair, make sure you don’t touch it for the amount of time recommended on the box. This allows the dye to coat each strand and set.

5. Rinse and condition

When the time is up, rinse the dye out of your hair. Then, apply a deep conditioning mask to seal in moisture and protect your strands from damage.



When it comes to hair dye, there are two main types: permanent and semi-permanent. Permanent dye lasts anywhere from 6 to 24 weeks, while semi-permanent dye lasts anywhere from 1 to 10 washes. While permanent dye is permanent, meaning it will last until your hair grows out, semi-permanent dye only lasts 10 washes. Which dye you choose depends on how long you want it to last and how much commitment you’re willing to make!

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