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Semi-Permanent Hair Color 101: Your Guide to Ammonia-Free Color

Hair Color Application

Semi-Permanent Hair Color 101: Your Guide to Ammonia-Free Color Semi-Permanent Hair Color 101: Your Guide to Ammonia-Free Color Semi-Permanent Hair Color 101: Your Guide to Ammonia-Free Color

Want to make a subtle change to your hair color—without a major commitment or having to shell out a ton of dough? Then you should consider an at-home color kit with semi-permanent hair color instead of traditional permanent dye. Since it generally gradually fades over time instead of creating a clear, visible line of demarcation, semi-permanent hair color is a great way to experiment with a new shade. Don’t like it? Take comfort in the fact that you should be back to your natural hair color in a few shampoos. In love with your new tint? You can either continue using semi-permanent hair color to maintain the effect, or you can switch over to a permanent dye to make a more lasting change. Curious? Here’s what you need to know.

What Semi-Permanent Hair Color Is

Semi-permanent hair color is a gentle and temporary alternative to permanent dye. Unlike permanent formulas, semi-permanent hair color doesn’t contain ammonia or peroxide. That means that it doesn’t require any development or pre-mixing, so you can apply it straight to your hair from the applicator. (Talk about simple!) Semi-permanent hair color generally lasts through eight shampoos—just be sure you’re using shampoos and conditioner systems that are formulated for color-treated hair.

How Semi-Permanent Hair Color Compares to Other Types of Dyes

There are quite a few different types of dye out there—semi-permanent hair color is just one of many. Here’s how they all stack up:

Temporary hair color: This type of dye doesn’t actually change the color of your strands. Instead, it coats the outside of the hair shaft without making it into your hair’s cortex. The results should fade in just a few shampoos, and there aren’t chemicals like ammonia or peroxide in the formula.

Semi-permanent hair color: This is the next step up from temporary hair color, as, like we said before, it lasts for up to eight shampoos. If you have grays but are strapped for time and can’t make it to the salon for a permanent touch-up, semi-permanent hair color might be a good option to hold you over.

Permanent hair color: Now this is the stuff that lasts the longest. Permanent hair dye requires chemical processing—it penetrates your hair, so the results last longest. This type of dye can be used to help lighten, darken, or tone your color, cover grays, and provide full coverage. Unlike temporary hair dye, permanent hair color grows with your hair, creating an obvious line of demarcation and visible roots, making touch-ups a necessary part of your routine.

A Major Perk of Semi-Permanent Hair Color

If you think semi-permanent hair color sounds like it’s the right match for you, you’ll be happy to know that it really does have a lot going for it. In fact, in addition to being a temporary way to try a new color, it can also add gloss and shine to dull-looking hair.

How to Use Semi-Permanent Hair Color

Try a trendy new look without committing to it forever. L’Oréal Paris Colorista Semi-Permanent Hair Color comes in four shades—burgundy, teal, red, and tangerine—for brunette hair. It comes in seven shades—soft pink, blue, peach, indigo, purple, pink, and aqua—as well as a clear mixer, for light blonde or bleached hair.

Ready to go? The L’Oréal Paris Colorista Semi-Permanent Hair Color kit comes with a tube of color, gloves, an instruction sheet, and a brush. The ammonia- and peroxide-free formula is made with pure direct dyes and a conditioning hair mask. It’s also vegan, meaning there’s no animal-derived ingredients or byproducts in it. (Just remember: Before you get started, do a patch test 48 hours prior to each use, because hair color can cause an allergic reaction.)

Here’s how to use it properly: First, shampoo and dry hair fully. Then, with the enclosed gloves on, apply the semi-permanent hair color onto desired areas, saturating your hair. Leave it on for 30 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with water.

Your brand spanking new color can last for four to 10 shampoos, depending on the porosity of your hair (porosity = the ability of your strands to retain moisture). The color will fade gradually and may shift in tone each time you shampoo. What shade will you try next?