Whether you're in the mood to try out the latest hair color trend or dyeing your hair is already a permanent fixture in your hair journey, it's important to know about the different types of hair color—including permanent hair color and semi-permanent hair color—and how they each interact with your locks. Not all hair color is created equal, and each type serves a different purpose. Understanding the eight different types of hair color will allow you to make the right choice and feel confident in your new beauty look—whether you plan on keeping it permanently or not. Below, we’re sharing everything you need to know to determine which type of hair color is best for you. Behold: The ultimate guide to the different types of hair dye.
HAIR COLOR TYPE #1: TEMPORARY HAIR COLOR
Strands in shades of gray and pastels have been lighting up our social media feeds recently. While these on-trend hair colors certainly make for pretty pictures, not everyone is ready to keep such a bold look for the long term. This is where temporary hair color comes into play. Temporary hair dye, otherwise known as wash out hair color, coats only the outside of the hair shaft, so the results don’t last. This means that when you go to shampoo your hair next, the new color will wash out and your hair will return to its natural shade, allowing you to experience a new hair color without a major commitment. However, you should know that damaged hair that's dyed with temporary hair color can appear stained after continued use over time.
Have an out-there color you want to take for a spin? The L’Oréal Paris Colorista 1-Day Spray is a temporary hair color spray that you can wash out at the end of the day. Try one of the many fun shades available and take a new hue for a test drive. Another option is the L’Oréal Paris Colorista Hair Makeup 1-Day Color, which is another temporary hair color that washes out in just one shampoo and comes in an array of colors. If you like to get super creative, hair makeup may be the route you should go, as you can mix multiple shades together for a custom color. So fun!
HAIR COLOR TYPE #2: SEMI-PERMANENT HAIR DYE
If you're ready to take that temporary look a little further, semi-permanent hair color will do just the trick. These dyes are generally not formulated with ammonia and don’t require developing. What’s better: Semi-permanent color generally lasts for around eight washes. For these reasons, an at-home semi-permanent dye can be a great option for gray hair coverage when you know you can't get to the salon right away.
There are a myriad of benefits to using semi-permanent color, including that it can help add gloss and shine to dull-looking hair, it’s great to use when growing out permanent color, and it can be used to help provide temporary root touch-ups. To reap those benefits, try the L’Oréal Paris Colorista Semi-Permanent Hair Color. The semi-permanent color fades in four to ten shampoos so you can try a trendy color and transform your style without committing to a new color for the long haul.
Editor's note: Like temporary color, if your hair is porous it could retain semi-permanent color more, meaning you may get more wear between applications. Keep that in mind if you're banking on only making a short-term change!
HAIR COLOR TYPE #3: DEMI-PERMANENT HAIR DYE
Want something in-between semi-permanent and permanent? Look no further than demi-permanent hair dye! This type of hair dye is similar to semi-permanent hair dye due to the fact that it isn't permanent and is ammonia-free, though there are some key differences between the two.
Unlike semi-permanent color, demi-permanent hair dye is mixed with a developer, which allows it to penetrate the hair shaft rather than simply coat it. This means demi-permanent color generally lasts longer than the types of hair color we've covered thus far, up to 24 shampoos.
HAIR COLOR TYPE #4: PERMANENT HAIR COLOR
If you're looking to stick to one hair color for a while, permanent hair dye is probably the right option for you. This dye requires more complex chemical processing and will penetrate your hair more deeply. This means that your color can last for weeks without visible signs of fading.
Permanent hair color can be used to help lighten, darken, or tone your hair and can help provide high gray hair coverage.
Despite its long-lasting benefits, permanent hair color will eventually have to be reapplied due to new hair growth. Also, depending on your base color and what you'd like to achieve, you may have to gradually color your hair to achieve your desired look. While it would be great to go from dark to platinum blonde in one sitting, slow and steady usually wins the permanent hair color race. Want a few permanent hair color recs? Take your pick from our best options below.
L’Oréal Paris Superior Preference: This permanent hair dye will give you fade-defying color for up to eight weeks. The hair dye comes in over 50 luminous shades, giving you endless opportunities to change your look.
L’Oréal Paris Féria: Say goodbye to dull, flat color and hello to multi-faceted shimmering color. With over 40 shades, this fashion-inspired hair dye will transform your mane. (Want a little help narrowing things down? Click through to our article, PSA: Check Out These Three Striking Shades of Féria Hair Color.)
L’Oréal Paris Excellence Creme: Need a formula that will cover even the most stubborn grays? This hair dye is for you! There are over 30 beautiful shades to choose from that will leave you with rich, radiant color and 100% resistant gray coverage.
HAIR COLOR TYPE #5: HIGHLIGHTS
Not every look requires all-over color, which is where hair highlights come into play. These are achieved by placing the color on different segments of the hair to help promote depth, tone, and shade. The chunky-looking highlights of the past are no longer the biggest trend, now a more dimensional, subtle look has become the go-to way to help refresh tired locks. Instead of being limited to one type of highlights, there are quite a few you can choose from. These include:
HIGHLIGHT TYPE #1: OMBRÉ
Ombré hair color leaves your natural color at the roots and gradually fades into a lighter highlighted tone at the bottom of the hair. Get the look at home by using the L’Oréal Paris Colorista Bleach Ombré Bleach.
HIGHLIGHT TYPE #2: BALAYAGE
This highlighting technique involves painting on highlights where your hair naturally hits the light, helping to give your hair a more youthful, natural-looking glow. Since balayage involves strategic placement, this highlighting technique is best left to the pros.
HIGHLIGHT TYPE #3: LOWLIGHTS
Instead of picking strands to lighten, this technique involves introducing darker tones to the hair for added dimension that’s perfect for a seasonal hair update.
HIGHLIGHT TYPE #4: TEXTURED HIGHLIGHTS
This style will incorporate different shades of highlights to create a multi-dimensional final look. To try it out for yourself, reach for the L’Oréal Paris Féria Multi-Faceted Highlights, which helps you achieve a multi-faceted spectrum of pure blonde highlights in one easy step.
Editor’s note: Most highlights for hair are done with permanent color, but they are much easier to change out than a full-coverage dye job. If you’re an at-home hair color novice, it’s usually best to consult a professional colorist before trying out a new hair highlighting technique.
HAIR COLOR TYPE #6: ROOT COLOR
For some people, gray hair can be the bane of their existence. In this case, you may not need or want a full color dye job, so a root touch up may be the best way to help maintain your natural color. The great news is that root concealer products can range from temporary to permanent, and there are plenty of new options to cover gray hair quickly and easily. One of our favorites is temporary root cover up spray, which is a great way to help conceal the appearance of gray roots. If you need a quick solution, these sprays distribute a fine-mist of color that washes out with your next shampoo. Temporary root concealers are not a great permanent solution—hence the name—but they are amazing for last-minute events and touch-ups. Sound like what you need? Try the L’Oréal Paris Magic Root Cover Up, which covers up gray roots in just seconds.
For those times when you may be in a pinch and need an on-the-go option, we’ve got you covered there, too! The L’Oréal Paris Magic Root Precision Pen allows for easy, smooth, and precise application to hide even the most pesky grays on any hair type or texture. Even better—the pen is small enough to stash in just about any purse or suitcase.
HAIR COLOR TYPE #7: HAIR BLEACH
If you have naturally dark brown or brunette hair, there is a good chance you’ll need a hair color bleach to lighten your hair before dying it to a lighter shade or going blonde altogether. While bleach is a great way to lighten and brighten your hair, be aware that using it can lead to damage. Here are a few at-home bleaching kits to consider.
L’Oréal Paris Colorista Bleach: This at-home bleaching kit can be used for all-over bleaching, ombré, or highlights.
L’Oréal Paris Féria Extra Bleach Blonding: This bleaching kit is a one-step lightening system that’s gentle and deeply conditions hair.
L’Oréal Paris Super Blonde in Bleach Blonde: With super-lightening action, this bleach delivers smooth, even blonding from root to tip and lightens natural or color-treated hair in one simple step—even dark hair!
HAIR COLOR TYPE #8: HENNA
You're likely familiar with henna tattoos—you know, the ones you used to beg your parents for on the boardwalk during summer vacation. But henna isn't only used to adorn the skin with swirling designs, it's also used to color hair. Derived from the henna plant, henna hair dye typically gives hair a reddish hue, providing shine and color vibrancy in the process. Henna may be a good option if you've previously experienced an allergic reaction when dyeing your hair (don't forget to spot test!), as natural henna is usually hypoallergenic. Henna also may be beneficial for those with dandruff, so it could be worth a try if you're fed up with your itchy, flaky scalp.
Now that you know all about the different types of hair dye, are you ready to try out a new look? We’ve got plenty of ideas! Here’s How to Get Pink Lemonade Hair.