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Hair Color

Semi-Permanent Hair Color: How Long Does It Last?

Delve into the secrets of glossy, natural semi-permanent and demi-permanent hair color. Find out how to make yours last longer.

Hair color is amazingly versatile with a rainbow choice of shades. If you’re looking to test out a new color or want to be as gentle as possible with your hair, semi-permanent or demi-permanent color is well worth exploring. Read on to find out more and discover tips to make the color and shine last longer.

Semi-Permanent Hair – The Essentials

Unlike temporary hair color that coats the hair shaft, semi-permanent hair dye uses lightweight compounds that penetrate the outer layers of the cuticle. As the dye stays near the surface of the strand, it usually fades within 12 washes – although darker colors like blue and black may last longer. The final color depends on your natural shade and hair porosity, resulting in a natural, shimmering look. Although you can still go for wild color if you want to make a statement.

Semi-permanent hair dye is ideal for trying a new color without committing. As there’s no ammonia or hydrogen peroxide, it won’t open the hair shaft and is gentle on your hair – but this also means your hair can’t go lighter.

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Semi-Permanent – A Longer-Lasting Compromise

Semi-permanent hair dye is half-way between semi-permanent and permanent hair dye. It doesn’t contain any ammonia, but the developer has a small amount of hydrogen peroxide. The ammonia is replaced by sodium carbonate or ethanolamine. These coloring agents remove less melanin, so you can’t take your hair as light. However, they do penetrate the outer cuticle, meaning the dye lasts longer – usually 20 to 28 washes.

Making Your Semi-Permanent Hair Dye Last Longer

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Wait at least 72 hours before shampooing

It can take a while for the cuticle layer to close and trap the hair dye. If you can wait 3 days, you’ll notice that your color last significantly longer.


Don’t wash your hair every day

You lose color every time you wash your hair. Try using dry shampoo to soak up oil between washes. When you do wash it, use a shampoo and conditioner specifically formulated for color-treated hair as they are gentler on colored hair. In general, it’s best to avoid silicone-based products that can leave color-treated hair looking dull.

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Rinse your hair with cooler water

Super-hot water can damage the outer cuticle and make your hair more porous. Fresh hair color easily escapes through the wide-open pores.


Avoid heat styling

Heat styling also opens the cuticle of the hair, allowing color to fade. If you do heat style your hair, make sure you prep with a heat protectant product.


Minimize exposure to sunlight

Excessive sun exposure, including UVA and UVB rays, can damage your hair’s proteins and pigment, leading to dryness and discoloration. Opt to stay in the shade as much as possible and wear big-brimmed hats or lightweight bandanas for sport.

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