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How long does semi-permanent hair dye actually last?

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How long does semi-permanent hair dye *actually* last?

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 color...

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 colors, 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 colors 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 colors 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 colors, semi-permanent dyes come in one bottle. So, you don't need to mix the developer with the creme color to create the perfect shade.

  • They enhance your natural color. 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 color for a sheer hint of a tint, or even use it to refresh already colored hair.

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

Not all semi-permanent hair colors 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 color for a few weeks before it gradually fades.

We work with the highest quality ingredients in our semi-permanent dye, Clairol Color 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 colors like Toasted Almond Blonde, to bold colors like Blazin' Red. The color-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 color if you want:

Low-commitment color

Color trends change fast, so if you're not ready for a long-term commitment to one color, the up to 15-wash wear of Color Gloss Up will make it your perfect choice. You could work a bright color like Teal Time in summer, autumnal Terra Copper in fall, rich Mocha Me Crazy in winter, and then Toasted Caramel Blonde 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 color is ammonia-free, which means it only tints the surface of strands without impacting the inner cortex.

Color and care in one

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

Quick color correction

Semi-permanent hair dye doesn’t have to be used instead of permanent color; you can actually apply Color 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 color correction.

When to choose permanent hair color:

Longer-lasting wear

As we mentioned before, permanent hair colors work by depositing pigment inside the cuticle layer, so the color lasts for a longer period of time. If you’re ready for the commitment, this is the type of dye for you. All of our permanent dyes – from Nice‘n Easy to Natural Instincts Bold and Perfect 10 – stay flawless for up to 8 weeks. 

100% gray hair coverage

A permanent shade, like Nice‘n Easy or Perfect 10, is the ideal type of hair color for you if gray blending is high on your agenda. They each give you 100 percent gray 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 color intensity

While semi-permanent hair colors lend a more translucent finish, permanent hair colors offer up a rich, intense and vibrant color finish. They’re great for dramatic transformations, with Nice‘n Easy giving you an array of shades to choose from, while Natural Instincts Bold goes high on shine and brilliant tones. Think glossy and gleaming, like you’ve stepped out of the salon.

How to care for your semi-permanent color

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 color...

1. Wash with a color-safe shampoo

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

2. Avoid too hot water when washing hair

Did you know? Hot water can actually make hair color 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 color 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 color 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 color, 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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