How long does semi-permanent hair dye really last?

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Semi-permanent hair dye is the perfect option for those who want to change up their look without committing (or spending) too much time or money on the process. But how long does semi-permanent hair dye last?

We know that semi-permanent dyes are more likely to fade after about 8 weeks, but what about other factors like water exposure and shampooing?

In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about hair dye and answer some of the most commonly asked questions.

We’ll also discuss some of the pros and cons of using this type of dye and offer some tips for making it last longer. Problem solved!

So, read on to learn more!

How long does semi-permanent hair dye last?

Most semi-permanent hair dyes are made to last between 4-6 weeks.

How long your semi-permanent hair dye will last depends on a few things:

What is semi-permanent hair dye?

Semi-permanent hair dye contains no peroxide or ammonia. The color coats the surface of your hair shaft rather than penetrating or altering it.

While it’s more gentle on your hair, it’s not as effective at covering greys as demi-permanent or permanent color.

Semi-permanent dye enhances your natural color so you won’t get roots growing out like you will with permanent dyes.

But it’s also not as effective at covering greys as permanent color and the effects won’t last as long – around 8 to 10 washes.

That makes it great for experimenting with color- like adding colored streaks, highlights and even half and half hair!

One thing to keep in mind is that all hair color can fade over time, even if you’re using a permanent dye.

So if you’re looking for a longer-lasting color change, semi-permanent is a good option.

But if you want to switch up your look more often, go with temporary or wash-out dye instead.

yellow semi-permanent hair dye instagram

How long does semi-permanent hair dye last? pink semi-permanent hair dye pinterest

Can semi-permanent hair color lighten hair?

No, this kind of dye won’t lighten your hair as it doesn’t contain bleach.

Bleach strips the color pigment from your hair shafts and leaves you with a good base to dye your hair over again.

However, it can help to tone down any brassiness or orange tones in your hair. If you’re looking for a lightening effect, go with a permanent hair dye instead.

Can semi-permanent hair dye cover gray hair?

No, semi-permanent hair dye is not very effective at covering grey hair.

If you’re looking for great coverage or a more drastic color change, go with a permanent hair dye instead.

Pros of semi-permanent hair dye:

  • Semi-permanent types of hair colors contain no nasties that can damage your hair like ammonia or peroxide.
  • You can switch things up without committing to a permanent color.
  • It gives natural multi-dimensional coverage which means natural highlights will shine through.
  • You can experiment with colors without worrying about the long term effects.
  • It’s easier to remove semi-permanent hair dye.

Cons of semi-permanent hair dye:

  • Semi-permanent color cannot lighten your hair.
  • Not as effective as permanent hair dye in covering grey hair.
  • Only lasts for 8 to 10 shampoos.
  • It will need more regular top-ups and refreshes- so more hair dye or trips to the salon.

What’s the difference between semi-permanent and permanent hair dye?

The difference between semi-permanent and permanent hair color is all in the formula.

Semi-permanent dye is a type of hair color that contains no ammonia and only lightens the hair by one or two shades.

It typically lasts for two to six weeks, but can vary depending on how often you shampoo your hair.

Permanent hair dye, on the other hand, contains ammonia and can lighten or darken your hair, depending on the formulation. (And no, you can’t mix semi-permanent and permanent hair dye together!)

It typically lasts four to six weeks, but can last up to eight if you take care of it properly.

Here’s a great video that explains the difference between the different types of hair dyes in a plain and simple way!

Does semi-permanent hair dye wash out completely?

Yes, semi-permanent hair dye will wash out completely with shampoo. However, it may take a few washes to get all of the color out.

Every time you wash your hair after coloring, some pigment will be removed. But it will take time to see the hair dye totally fade from your hair.

If you want to get rid of the dye more quickly, you can use a color-remover or simply dye over your hair again!

How many washes does semi-permanent hair color last?

Semi-permanent hair dye can last anything from 8 to 10 washes before it becomes faded.

Make sure you use shampoo and conditioners for colored hair that won’t strip your hair color.

Try washing your hair less often to help the color last for longer.

You can refreshen it with a good dry shampoo that contains color pigments to keep it looking and smelling on point.

how long semi-permanent hair dye last?types of hair dye pinterest

Is semi-permanent hair dye better than permanent?

Semi-permanent hair dye lasts for a shorter amount of time than permanent, but has less damaging effects on the scalp and strands.

Is semi-permanent better than permanent hair dye?

Well yes and no. It depends what you are looking to achieve as there both have their own pros and cons in terms of healthiness to your locks.

Semi-permanent hair dye is better than permanent hair dye for:

  • Experimenting with color
  • Temporary color changes
  • Bright colors
  • Not damaging and drying out your hair.
  • Semi-permanent needs to be topped up and refreshed more often than permanent hair dye.

Does semi-permanent hair dye damage your hair?

No, fortunately it doesn’t damage your hair more than any other hair dye.

However, it’s important to note that any type of hair dye can cause some damage if it’s not used properly.

So be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging to avoid over-processing your hair.

How can I make semi-permanent hair dye last longer?

There are a few things you can do to make semi-permanent hair dye last longer.

First, be sure to use a color-safe or gentle shampoo. This will help to prevent the color from fading.

Second, avoid over-processing your hair. This can cause the color to fade more quickly.

Third, use a heat protectant when styling your hair. This will help to prevent the color from fading due to thermal damage.

Fourth, avoid washing your hair too often. Washing your hair everyday can strip away the natural oils that help to protect your hair color.

Finally, consider using a temporary or wash-out dye in between colorings. This will help to refresh your look without having to go through the commitment of a full color treatment.

How long should I wait between semi-permanent hair dye applications?

You should wait at least two weeks between applications of semi-permanent hair dye.

This will give your hair enough time to recover from the treatment and minimize any potential damage.


Parting words.

When choosing your color, it’s important to consider what you’ll be doing with your hair before committing to a dye job.

Everyone wants to know how long their hair color will last. It turns out that the answer is different for everyone.

But hopefully you’ve learnt enough to be able to make an informed decision about your next do! Good luck!

This article was written by:

  • Nicola Freeman, Creative Director & Content Lead
    Creative Director & Content Lead

    With over two decades of passionate hair dyeing experience, I've experimented with nearly every shade imaginable. My journey began long before blogging; as an award-winning copywriter in London and New York, I shaped narratives for iconic brands. However, when friends sought advice during lockdown for at-home hair dyeing, I realized my true calling. Beyond being your hair color expert, I'm a mom of two girls, wife to artist Tony, and an avid soccer player!