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How long does semi-permanent hair dye actually last?

Looking to try semi-permanent hair dye but not sure it will last?

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You know that semi-permanent hair dye doesn't last forever – the clue's in the name, after all! But how long will it stick around? Here's everything you need to know about this low-commitment colour...

What is a semi-permanent hair dye?

First up, what actually counts as a semi-permanent dye? While different formulas have different benefits, they all have these properties in common:

  • They're ammonia-free. For the uninitiated, ammonia is an ingredient commonly found in permanent colours, which opens up the hair cuticle so pigment can be deposited inside the hair strand. By contrast, semi-permanent dyes lay on the surface and are able to get just under the cuticle layer where there is some porosity, giving a beautifully sheer and blended result. Vibrant semi-permanent colours work by ‘staining’ the outer layer of hair that’s been bleached previously. Semi-permanent will last longer on bleached hair because it is more porous.

  • They don't damage hair. Because there's no opening and closing of the hair cuticle, semi-permanent colours are actually damage-free. You can apply them to locks without worrying they're going to leave strands dry or prone to breakage.

  • They don't need mixing. Unlike permanent and demi-permanent hair colours, semi-permanent dyes come in one bottle. So, you don't need to mix the developer with the creme colour to create the perfect shade.

  • They enhance your natural colour. That soft layering effect of semi-permanent dye helps to enhance your existing tone, so you maintain plenty of dimension, no matter which semi-permanent shade you use. You can apply it over your natural hair colour for a sheer hint of a tint, or even use it to refresh already coloured hair.

So, how long will semi-permanent hair colour last?

Not all semi-permanent hair colours are made the same. They each have different formulas and different usages which means they each last for varying amounts of time. The typical lifespan of a semi-permanent shade is usually around 6-8 washes, which means you can enjoy your perfect colour for a few weeks before it gradually fades.

We work with the highest quality ingredients in our semi-permanent dye, Clairol Colour Gloss Up. With this hair gloss, you can work your dream hue for up to 15 shampoos depending on how porous your hair is. The more porous your hair, the longer the semi-permanent hair dye will last. Choose from a range of shades – from natural blonde hair colours like Toasted Almond Blonde, to bold colours like Blazin' Red. The colour-depositing hair mask will tint locks in up to 15 minutes (or less for an extra translucent result).

Semi-permanent and permanent hair dye: which one should I pick?

Choose semi-permanent hair colour if you want:

Low-commitment colour

Colour trends change fast, so if you're not ready for a long-term commitment to one colour, the up to 15-wash wear of Colour Gloss Up will make it your perfect choice. You could work a bright colour like Pretty In Hot Pink in summer, autumnal Terra Copper in fall, Hot Espresso in winter, and then Rose All Day in time for spring.

Damage-free shades

Semi-permanent dyes are great for all hair types, but if you have dry hair or damaged hair, you're really going to love these kind-to-locks formulas. As we said before, semi-permanent colour is ammonia-free, which means it only tints the surface of strands without impacting the inner cortex.

Colour and care in one

We pack our semi-permanent colours with conditioning ingredients for healthy locks. Case in point? Colour Gloss Up treats strands in a conditioner with a boost of Shea Butter and Argan Oil. Think of it like a colour treatment; it gives you a sheer pop of colour, show-stopping shine, and prevents hair damage by leaving locks soft and hydrated.

Quick colour correction

Semi-permanent hair dye doesn’t have to be used instead of permanent colour; you can actually apply Colour Gloss Up over your permanent shade or after a salon visit, when hair needs a quick refresh. Choosing a cool shade – like Play It Cool Blonde for blondes or Hot Espresso for brunettes – helps you tone down orange tones or brassy tones, so you can do a DIY colour correction.

When to choose permanent hair colour:

Longer-lasting wear

As we mentioned before, permanent hair colours work by depositing pigment inside the cuticle layer, so the colour lasts for a longer period of time. If you’re ready for the commitment, this is the type of dye for you. Our Nice‘n Easy permanent hair dye stays flawless for up to 8 weeks. 

100% grey hair coverage

A permanent shade like Nice‘n Easy is the ideal type of hair colour for you if grey blending is high on your agenda. It gives you 100 percent grey coverage, so blending away those silver strays is easy at home. If you just want to target regrowth, you can also use Root Touch-Up By Nice‘n Easy, which comes with an applicator brush for precise and seamless camouflage.

Vibrant colour intensity

While semi-permanent hair colours lend a more translucent finish, permanent hair colours offer up a rich, intense and vibrant colour finish. They’re great for dramatic transformations, with Nice‘n Easy giving you an array of shades to choose from and beautifully smooth, shiny hair.

How to care for your semi-permanent colour

How you look after your freshly dyed hair will have a big impact on how long the shade stays around. Follow these tips to get extra mileage out of your semi-permanent colour...

1. Wash with a colour-safe shampoo

Now's the time to upgrade your hair care kit. Make sure you have a colour-safe shampoo on hand, so you can gently cleanse locks without causing your colour to wash out too fast. Are you working with blonde hair? Then you might want a purple shampoo too, which features violet pigments to neutralise any brassy tones.

2. Avoid too hot water when washing hair

Did you know? Hot water can actually make hair colour fade faster – plus, it's actually bad for hair health and skin health. That's three very good reasons to turn the temperature down. Instead, stick to warm water. You can even go for cool water when rinsing out your conditioner.

3. Treat tresses to a deep conditioner

Give your colour extra glow with a deep conditioner. Remember: healthy hair is beautiful hair, so the more nourishing your products are, the more radiant your locks will appear.

4. Apply heat protection when using hot tools

Don't forget to protect strands from potential damage when you're heat styling. Every time you blow-dry, straighten or curl your hair, it's important you apply a heat protectant first so your colour doesn't start to look dull and brassy.

5. Soak strands before you go in the swimming pool

That chlorinated pool water is no good for your colour, so try this trick to protect strands: Before you take a dip, quickly drench your hair with clean water. Your strands are like a sponge, meaning they can only absorb so much before they reach saturation point. If the hair has already absorbed clean water, it won't soak up as much of the pool water. Simple, right?

Want to learn more about the different types of hair dyes available? Read up on the differences between semi-permanent, demi-permanent and temporary hair dye.

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