Semi Permanent Hair Color

There's a wide variety of semi permanent hair color products. Some contain no ammonia or peroxide and are similar to temporary hair color. Other products contain varying amounts of ammonia and/or peroxide to create results closer to permanent hair color. Generally, color fades faster and grey is covered less effectively when using products that contain less ammonia and peroxide.

Choosing a semi permanent hair dye depends on what result you want. How long do you want the color to last? Do you want to cover grey? If so, how much grey hair do you have? The answers to these and other questions will determine the best product for you. Learn how to color hair  to get the results you want. Find out more about the top semi permanent products that consistently get high ratings in hair color reviews.  Popular hair dye brands to choose from include Clairol Natural Instincts and Wella hair coloring products.

Is Semi Permanent Hair Color Right For You?

Semi permanent hair color is a great choice if you want to change to shades darker than your natural color. Use it for experimenting with hair color ideas for brunettes or other dark hair color ideas before committing. Hair color levels range from 1-Platinum to 12-Black. These products work best if you stay within 2-3 levels of your natural hair color. The final result is determined by your original hair color and condition. Semi permanent dyes are the best hair dyes to create subtle shade variations. It's the slight differences in shading that makes hair look more natural than permanent hair color, which can sometimes appear flat and one-dimensional.

There are basically four different hair dye types: temporary, semi, demi and permanent. Semi permanent hair color products that contain no ammonia or peroxide work by coating the outer hair without penetrating the inner cortex. The color gradually washes out and usually lasts about 6-12 shampoos. A demi hair color product may be a better choice if you want demi color which typically lasts longer and covers grey a bit better. For those who want to try funky hair color ideas, some semi-perm products  offer rainbow colors as well as metallic and neon hair dye. Find the best products and get some wild hair color ideas here.

These non permanent hair dye products simply deposit pigment molecules on the hair surface.The fundamental underlying color inside the cortex is unchanged. Grey or white hair appears as a lighter color shade that blends in naturally as highlights. The less grey hair you have the more pronounced color you'll get with semi permanent hair color.

If you have only up to 20% grey hair, semi permanent hair color will be most effective at subtly covering and blending away the grey. Also, the re-growth will be less visible. If you have over 50% grey hair you might want to try a product that contains a little more ammonia for coloring grey hair more completely.

If you want extra shine in your hair after using semi permanent hair color, consider using a clear hair glaze or gloss. Your hair will shimmer with the reflected light off your smooth, glossy locks. Or you can dye your hair with a colored glaze or gloss containing semi-perm pigments to get the shade you want in addition to shine. Find out whether a glaze or gloss is best for you and get recommended products too.


Gentle hair color, adds shine and improves condition

Can be used while getting other treatments, such as permanents

Semi permanents are safer for damaged or fragile hair

Contains no or low levels of ammonia and peroxide

Enhances natural color

Easy, do it yourself hair color


Semi permanent hair dyes cannot lighten hair color

Should stay within two shades of natural hair color

Doesn't cover the gray as well as permanent hair color

Some products may contain toxic chemicals such as p-Phenylenediamine

As hair color fades, you may have unattractive shades for awhile

Tips For Best Results

Using a mild shampoo will help semi permanent hair dye last longer. Avoid shampoos that contain sulphates, especially those formulated for dandruff. Shampoo less frequently and use warm water, not hot. Use a deep hair conditioner and leave it on for 10 minutes or more, especially if you have dry hair. This improves overall texture of hair and enables color to adhere better. After shampoo, rinse with a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and warm water. The slightly acidic solution helps to 'fix' the color so it won't fade so quickly.

Many users comment that semi permanent hair color tends to fade fast. Here's an excellent article  with  practical tips on how to prevent hair color fading. Alternatively, if your hair color results are disappointing and you want color to fade faster, do the following. Wash hair frequently with hot water using a  shampoo with sulphates, then apply hot oil treatments  to loosen color.

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