Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Using Semi-Permanent Hair Colour
Semi-permanent hair colour is vastly underrated. It delivers vivid colour without (too much) commitment. In fact, the four- to six-week lasting period is roughly equivalent to that of most colour trends, meaning you can switch from rose gold to blorange to champagne pink and back again. It’s a trend spotter’s/lazy girl’s dream to start back at square one with natural colour, no wait required.
Most people, though, aren’t completely familiar with the concept of semi-permanent hair colour, which is why some of us are hesitant to try it. And for good reason, as there are some important questions that need answering. For example, does it wash out all at once? And what about haircare? Does a semi-permanent colour require different maintenance products than a permanent dye? (Spoiler alert: The answers to these questions is a resounding no.) To learn more about semi-permanent hair colour, including how to care for it and which brands and products to turn to, keep reading!
1. Semi-permanent hair dye will fade out evenly with proper care
If you've stayed away from semi-permanent colour in fear of a spotty, uneven fade-out, don't worry. According to AJ Lordet, senior celebrity colourist at Pierre Michel Salon, "Many semi colours will start to fade away after 15 or so shampoos where as permanent colour won't fade away, it just fades." With proper care, the colour should leave nice and evenly, diminishing indiscriminately to the naked eye. Take it from Tiffanie Richards, colourist at Nunzio Saviano Salon, who says, "The awesome thing about semi-permanent colour is it will never grow out with a line of demarcation." In fact, she says that semi-permanent hair colour is "a favourite" among her clientele.
2. It requires the exact same care as permanent hair colour
Ali Ozel, celebrity colourist and stylist, also at Pierre Michel Salon in NYC, says the care of permanent and semi-permanent colour is "just the same. Make sure you have a shampoo and conditioner that works for your hair, and do deep treatments when needed."
Michael Canalé, celebrity colourist and owner of Canalé Salon in Beverly Hills, stresses the importance of colour-safe formulas. "I suggest using a mild shampoo that cleanses well. Regular shampoos are harsh and dull and damage colour treated hair, while mild shampoos don't often clean adequately, making your hair appear lifeless." There's nothing worse than shampoo that leaves behind product buildup. To ensure you get squeaky clean strands without colour fade, reach for a sulfate-free formula for dry hair.
3. It's available in different strengths
According to Lordet, the strength and longevity of semi-permanent colour relies on the peroxide in the formula: "The level of peroxide you use to mix the dye with can vary from product to product." Stronger peroxide equals more coverage and brighter shades, though you may see a small root line grow in before the colour fades away. Weaker peroxide will provide less coverage and brilliancy (especially in "fashion tones," like "reds, golds, and ashes").
This is why she chooses to work with L'Oréal Professional Dia Lite, which is a salon exclusive formula that offers "three different levels of coverage by providing three different strengths of peroxide."
4. Semi-permanent colour is great for covering grey hair
According to Richards, "For clients who have 50% grey or less and want to just minimise or erase the grey while still having their natural colour, this is the way to go." That's because it fades and covers grey without showing a harsh root line. "It is the lowest of maintenance for grey coverage," she says.
5. You can still go to a salon for a semi-permanent dye
Ozel is all for a professional treatment. "Don't try it on your own," she says. "Seek a professional to pick the right semi-colour for you! You want to make sure you get the results you are after." After all, four to six weeks can seem like an incredibly long time if you're not confident in the way your hair looks.
Next up, read a foolproof guide to choosing the best hair colour for you!