Permanent, semi-permanent, temporary, wash out, hair rinses, balayage, ombre, highlights, dip dyes…there are a fantastic mix of all types of hair dye and colour treatments painting our world right now and it’s hard to work out which one we need to get our must-have look.

Hair colour ideas 2021 that you can do at home, has given us loads of ideas and inspiration.

hair color ideas pinterest

Now, we’re here to explain the different types of hair dye, so you can decide which one is right for you!

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hair dye kit

What are the different types of hair dye?

The main different types of hair dye you’ll find are below. Each has their own pros and cons to bringing coloured gorgeousness to your head. Just click on one to find out more!


Permanent hair dyes.

permanent hair dye instagram

What is permanent hair dye?

Permanent hair colour changes the actual makeup of your hair. It does this by the use of peroxide which opens the cuticle of the hair shaft which lets the colour penetrate deep into the core of your hair shaft. Tiny molecules enter all the way into the cortex, where they react and expand to a size that cannot be washed out.

Phew! That’s the science. What it really means is that permanent hair dye is the strongest and most long-lasting of all hair dyes. It might fade with time or in the sun, but it won’t wash out like other hair dyes. But that doesn’t mean it lasts forever – you’ll need to re-dye your hair to cover root growth and refresh your colour every few weeks.

Is permanent hair dye right for me?

Permanent hair dyes are the best type of hair colour for covering stubborn greys. They’re also best for you if you want to achieve these awesome on-trend looks:

Pros of permanent dye:

  • More coverage.
  • A bigger change in hair colour.
  • Absorbs into your hair and last longer.
  • Can lighten hair colour.
  • Takes 30-45 minutes to achieve maximum colour change.

Cons of permanent hair dye:

  • Fades in time.
  • Contains peroxide.
  • Can leave your hair feeling dry and damaged with over-use.

What is the best brand of permanent hair dye?

If you want to dye your hair a permanent colour at home, John Frieda’s Precision Foam are the top types of hair colours we recommend because of their easy to apply, non splash wonderousness and lasting colour. You can read about why they’re the best in our John Frieda Precision Foam review here.

John Frieda Precision Foam Hair dye.

How do I apply John Frieda hair dye?

How to dye your hair at home | The foolproof guide for beginners.


Demi-permanent hair dye.

demi permanent instagram

What is Demi-permanent hair dye?

Demi-permanent dyes are the type of hair colours that contain no ammonia – but they do contain a low-level developer (hydrogen peroxide).

Like permanent hair dye, demi-permanent sinks into the shaft of your hair, but it doesn’t penetrate as deep as permanent hair dye. Because of this, it’s not as long-lasting as permanent type of hair colour but it lasts longer than semi-permanent hair dye.

Demi-permanent is also known as semi-permanent dye without ammonia and is a vegan friendly hair dye.

Is demi-permanent hair dye right for me?

Demi-permanent is the best type of hair colour for you if you’re looking for a subtle colour change or if you’re looking to experiment with a new, natural colour.

Remember you can’t lighten your hair with demi-permanent, so choose a shade the same or darker than your current colour. You can always switch to permanent if you’re happy with the results.

Pros of demi-permanent hair dye:

  • Natural colouring, allows for regrowth.
  • Demi-permanents are much more effective at covering grey hair than semi-permanents, but less so than permanents.
  • Great for colour correction.

Cons of demi-permanent hair dye:

  • It lasts 20-28 washes.
  • Contains peroxide which can dry out your hair.
  • It can’t lighten hair colour.

What is the best brand for demi-permanent hair dye?

If you want to dye your hair a permanent colour at home, Clairol Natural Instincts is the top hair dye we recommend for its gorgeous range of natural colours and eco-friendly ethos. You can read more about why it’s so fabulous here.

Clairol Natural Instincts No Ammonia Vegan Hair Dye.

clairol natural instincts

How do I apply natural instincts hair dye?

How to dye your hair at home | The foolproof guide for beginners.


Semi-permanent hair dye.

semi permanent hair dye instagram

What is Semi-permanent hair dye?

Semi-permanent hair dye contains no peroxide or ammonia. The colour coats your hair shaft rather than penetrating or altering it, so it’s not as effective at covering greys as demi-permanent or permanent colour.

Semi-permanent dye enhances your natural colour 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 colour and the effects won’t last as long – around 10-12 washes.

Is semi-permanent hair dye right for me?

Semi-permanent is best for you if you want a subtle change of colour or you’re ready to experiment with something different. You can also have fun with bright colours and on-trend pastel colours with semi-permanent as the effects do not last long or damage your hair. Go on!

Pros of semi-permanent hair dye:

  • Semi-permanent types of hair colours contain no nasties that can damage your hair like ammonia or peroxide.
  • You can switch things up without committing to a permanent colour.
  • It gives a natural coverage which means natural highlights will shine through.
  • You can experiment with colours without worrying about the long term effects.

Cons of using semi-permanent hair dye:

  • Semi-permanent colour cannot lighten your hair.
  • Not the best at covering greys.
  • Only lasts for 8 to 10 shampoos.

Which is the best brand for semi-permanent hair dye?

If you want to dye your hair a semi-permanent colour at home, absolute top of the list is the L’Oreal Colorista Washout range. The colours are hot, with loads of on-trend pastels to transform you locks. We also love the permanent Colorista range for when you find the colour that steals your heart. Swoon.

L’Oréal Colorista Washout Aqua Blue Semi-Permanent Hair Dye.

How do I use L’Oreal Colorista Washouts?

How to dye your hair at home | The foolproof guide for beginners.


Temporary hair dyes.

temporary hair dyes instagram

What are temporary hair colours?

Temporary types of hair colours come in various forms – from rinses, shampoos, crayons, gels, sprays, and foams. They’re fun, they’re crazy, they’re fabulous, and only last as long as the next wash so you can be adventurous as you dare!

Are temporary hair colours right for me?

Temporary types of hair colours are right for everyone! As long as you don’t want them to last more than one wash. They’re great for parties, Halloween, birthdays and rainy days (indoors obvs). These are perfectly safe colour options so kids can join in too. Be bold! There are plenty of fabulous colours to try out.

Pros of temporary hair colours:

  • They’re temporary! You can wash them off whenever you like.
  • You can experiment with different colours for every occasion.
  • You can experiment with streaks, highlights and dip dye looks.
  • You can try out a colour you’re thinking of making more permanent.
  • They’re also great for kids!

Cons of temporary hair colours:

  • They can be messy to apply!
  • You won’t achieve all over coverage.
  • They don’t look natural – but that’s the fun!

What is the best brand for temporary colours?

If you want to get some temporary colours to experiment with at at home, L’Oreal top the colour charts again with their Colorista Hair Make Up. The colours are splendid and can be mixed together to create any shade you choose. Go wild!

Colorista Hair Makeup 

colorista temporary color

How do I use Colorista Hair Make Up?

How to dye your hair at home | The foolproof guide for beginners.

Types of hair colours at a glance.

ColourProsConsBest brandBuy now
PermanentMore coverage.
A bigger change.
Lasts longer.
Lightens hair colour.
Contains peroxide.
Can leave your hair feeling dry and damaged.
types of hair colours john frieda
Demi-permanentNatural colouring.
Great for colour correction.
Contains peroxide.
It can't lighten hair colour.
types of hair colours clairol
Semi-permanentContains no nasties.
Natural coverage.
Good for experimenting.
Cannot lighten your hair.
Not the best a covering greys.
types of hair colours
TemporaryWash them off whenever you like.
For streaks, highlights and dip dye looks.
Great for kids!
They can be messy!
No all over coverage.
types of hair dyes colorista

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