How Long Does Semi-Permanent Hair Dye Last?

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a girl's hair in a bun with teal highlights
Author Name: Lucas Cook
Date: Sunday January 28, 2024

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There are so many things to love about semi-permanent hair dyes. They can give you the gorgeous color pop of your dreams, but they can fade after a few washes. If you don’t know how long does semi-permanent hair dye lasts, you’re in the right place.

Here’s all you need to know about semi-permanent hair dyes and other types of hair colors.

What Is a Semi-Permanent Hair Dye?

A semi-permanent hair dye allows you to add color to your hair without too much commitment. Whether you’re preparing for a special occasion or simply want to switch your look every couple of weeks, this type of hair color is an excellent choice.

There are many ways to color your hair using a semi-permanent dye. You can use a single color or combine different hues to create your unique shade. It allows you the freedom to experiment with colors and your hair.

How Long Does Semi-Permanent Hair Dye Last?

woman with hair color

The longevity of the hair dye depends on many factors, such as dye formula and daily activity. With moderate to low shampoo use and limited exposure to swimming pools and sunlight, your semi-permanent hair dye can last around six weeks. This dye penetrates the hair shaft, usually lasting five to 10 washings.

How To Make Semi-Permanent Dye Stay Longer

Now that you know how long does semi-permanent hair dye lasts, you can follow these steps to keep your hair in its healthiest and most vibrant state:

Limit Shampoo Usage

Wash your hair with shampoo and conditioner only once or twice a week. Avoid using hair care products that contain sulfates, which strip your hair of valuable moisture and color. Use a color-safe, silicone-free shampoo packed with nutrients to keep your crowning glory healthy.

Avoid Too Much Exposure to Sunlight

Your hair color can fade when you spend too much time in the sun. It can damage your hair proteins and fade both natural and artificial pigments.

Stay Away From Chlorine

Chlorine in swimming pools can fade the vibrancy of your hair. Using a leave-in conditioner or a protectant before getting in the pool can help retain your hair color.

Use Coconut Oil

This natural hair treatment nourishes and hydrates your hair without fading your color. It consists of vitamins A and E, two antioxidants that protect your hair from damage and environmental pollutants.

Permanent, Semi-Permanent and Demi-Permanent Hair Dye

With so many options in the market, it can be challenging to know the differences between the three main types of hair dye: permanent, semi-permanent and demi-permanent hair dye. Before coloring your hair, learn more about the pros and cons of each type and know which one is right for you.

Permanent Hair Color

This type of dye interacts with your hair’s natural pigment, which can change its structure. With the help of ammonia, it penetrates your hair’s cuticle, causing moisture loss from the strands. Permanent hair color can withstand multiple washes, making this an excellent choice for those who want to maintain their vibrant hues longer.

Pros of using permanent hair color:

  • One-time application: Unlike semi-permanent and demi-permanent dyes, permanent hair color doesn’t have to be applied occasionally
  • More natural-looking: Permanent hair color offers more natural colors than temporary, low-commitment hair dyes
  • Can cover gray hair: This type of dye is ideal for those looking to conceal their gray hair, providing long-lasting results than any temporary hair color.

Cons of using permanent hair color:

  • Prone to damage: The formulation of permanent dye contains strong chemicals to attain long-lasting color, which might contribute to dryness. Additionally, it can weaken hair fiber, resulting in weaker hair.
  • Can cause allergic reactions: Some people can experience contact dermatitis, characterized by red, scaly, inflamed or bumpy skin after contact with a particular substance. Many permanent dyes contain paraphenylenediamine (PPD), a known irritant and allergen.

Semi-Permanent Hair Dye

This temporary hair dye can temporarily enhance the appearance of your hair. It’s ideal for people who want a more temporary shade than demi-permanent hair dye.

Pros of using semi-permanent hair color:

  • Creative freedom: Mix and match colors to create your unique dye. You can continually experiment with new hues and be as creative as possible with your crowning glory.
  • Great for first-timers: If you want to try a new color but aren’t ready for long-term commitment, you can use a semi-permanent dye.
  • Refresh faded color: This type provides a more convenient way to revive your hair’s faded vibrance.
  • Ammonia-free: Most semi-permanent hair colors don’t contain ammonia, which causes an unpleasant chemical odor in the dye.

Cons of using semi-permanent hair dye:

  • Might not work on dark hair: This type of dye might only adhere to your hair when bleached.
  • Messy application: Mixing and matching colors can stain clothes, floors, hands and other tools. Thankfully, they are just easy to remove.

Demi-Permanent Hair Dye

Demi-permanent hair color has more staying power than semi-permanent choices. This type can last up to 30 washes without much exposure to sunlight, hot showers and swimming pools. It’s the perfect balance of temporary and permanent dye choice.

It uses mild peroxide developer to allow color molecules to penetrate the hair’s surface layer. It may not be ideal if you want to go blonde, but it’s an excellent choice for blending uneven colors, toning brassy blondes and adding shine.

Pros of using demi-permanent hair color: 

  • Ammonia-free: You can rest easy because your hair dye is free from ammonia, which can damage or dry out your hair.
  • Low-commitment: It’s a healthy way to spruce up your hair without the worry about root touch-ups.

Cons of using demi-permanent hair color:

  • Doesn’t last long: It’s not the perfect choice if you want something that’ll last for many months.
  • Not versatile: Demi-permanent dyes only work for colors darker than your natural hair color. 

Are There Health Risks When Exposed to Hair Dyes?

woman with red hair

A study in The BMJ shows a slightly higher risk for basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer, in hair dye users. There’s also a sign of increased risk of breast and ovarian cancers with longer-term use of permanent dye. However, it’s worth noting that additional research is needed to move the needle on recommendations for proper hair color usage. 

Until more research is conducted, consider your health status and personal history when deciding whether to color your hair.

Color Your Hair Responsibly

Semi-permanent hair dye is an excellent way to express your personality through colors. However, you want to ensure you’re using quality products. Remember the discussed tips and information to enjoy vibrant, healthy hair.

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