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Want to make a subtle change to your hair color—without making a major commitment or having to shell out a ton of dough? Then you should consider a semi-permanent at-home color kit instead of traditional permanent hair color. Since it 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 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:
Semi-permanent hair color is a gentle and temporary alternative to permanent dye. Unlike most 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 shampoo and conditioner systems that are formulated for color-treated hair.
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 root touch up a necessary part of your hair color maintenance routine.
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.
Try a trendy new look without committing to it forever. L’Oréal Paris Colorista Semi-Permanent Hair Color comes in seven shades—including burgundy, teal, red, and tangerine—for brown hair and ten shades—including soft pink, blue, peach, indigo, purple, pink, and aqua—as well as a clear mixer, for light blonde or bleached hair.
Ready to try one of the aforementioned shades? The 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. (Just remember: Before you get started, do a patch test 48 hours prior to each use, because hair color can cause an allergic reaction.)
How to use it: First, shampoo and dry hair fully. Then, with the enclosed gloves on, apply the semi-permanent hair color onto desired areas and apply as directed on the instruction sheet.
Your brand spanking new color can last for four to ten shampoos, depending on the porosity of your hair. The color will fade gradually and may shift in tone each time you shampoo, so start considering which shade you’ll try next.
Loving the idea of a bold hair color? Check out our article, How to Do Neon Hair for more vibrant hair color inspo.