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Demi-Permanent Vs. Semi-Permanent Hair Color

You have probably heard about permanent hair color before, and probably got caught up in between demi vs semi-permanent hair color. Well, permanent hair color is exactly how it is described: permanent. It is filled with a multitude of ingredients that actually penetrate the hair cuticle and change the overall hue on a permanent level.

It cannot be washed out and will change your natural pigment completely. Permanent hair color should only be used for those who are absolutely sure about their hair color change and want something that is going to last indefinitely until of course, they need their roots touched up.

If you’re thinking about coloring your hair and you’ve never done it before, you probably have a ton of questions. One of the most concerning questions probably concerns the type of product that will be used and what effect it will have on your hair; and since there are a few different options when it comes to hair coloring, this can be a tough question to answer.

However, there are two other types of hair color treatments that aren’t talked about as often. These two techniques include demi-permanent hair color and semi-permanent hair color.

Demi-Permanent Hair Color

Demi-Permanent Hair Color

To start off learning about the difference between demi-permanent and semi-permanent, let’s talk about demi-permanent hair coloring first.

Demi-permanent hair color should be used for those who are looking for a more drastic change in their hair color, but they don’t want to be left with permanent color or any of the other nasty side effects which can come from permanent hair color (including less healthy or dried out manes).

There is still no ammonia found in demi-permanent hair color, however, there is a small amount of peroxide found inside of these products. With the addition of this small amount of ammonia, the product is able to lightly open up the hair cuticle, allowing for some color to be more thoroughly absorbed into the hair shaft. For this reason, demi-permanent is an awesome choice for anyone who is looking to make their hair a darker shade.

One important thing to note about demi-permanent hair color is that it does NOT lighten up the hair, so if you’re trying to go any extent of light brown or blonde shade, you will not be able to achieve it. And that is why this type of hair coloring is definitely only useful for those who want darker manes.

Last but not least, demi-permanent hair color will last anywhere from 12 to 24 shampoos, making it a wonderful short-term option for anyone who doesn’t want anything too drastic or permanent but still wants to try on a new color.

Who Is the Demi-permanent Color Best For?

Demi-permanent hair color is best for enhancing your natural color or covering grays. They use low-volume developers which partially penetrate your hair follicles. Demi-permanent color is perfect for people who want to change their hair color less often.

Semi-Permanent Hair Color

Semi-Permanent Hair Color

Next, let’s take a look at what semi-permanent hair color is all about.

For starters, semi-permanent hair is typically referred to as a ‘hair stain’ or even a ‘wash color’. This color technique gets the name because it is completely free of any ammonia or developing agents. Instead, semi-permanent hair color works to simply coat the hair with color before it is washed out. No color is actually absorbed inside of the hair cuticle whatsoever.

Those who want to try a new color out or simply want to enhance their natural hair color will get a great result from using semi-permanent hair color.

The downside (or the upside, depending on your own personal wants and desires) is that semi-permanent hair color is generally washed out in as little as six shampoos, although it can still be noticeable for up to 12.

This does not give you a lot of time to enjoy the color depending on how often you wash your hair, but it can be a great thing if you end up not enjoying the color. If you do love the color or want something different you will definitely want to consider demi-permanent or permanent coloring.

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Who Is Semi-permanent Hair Color Best For?

Semi-permanent color is perfect for people who like to experiment with color. It is also useful for people who want to tone their hair. Toning refers to adding an extra layer of color to your hair to add overtones or undertones. It is a way to customize your hair color and keep your hair looking fresh.

Because semi-permanent color does not use developers, it washes out and fades much faster. Semi-permanent color is, therefore, best for people who want to change their hair color frequently or want to avoid using chemicals that can damage their hair.

Demi-Permanent vs Semi-Permanent

Demi-Permanent vs Semi-Permanent

We now know the actual demi vs semi-permanent hair color difference, but to get a better idea of which one to choose, we’ve come up with an easy-to-follow list:

  • Semi-permanent hair color is less damaging on the hair, however, it does not last as long as demi-permanent hair color.
  • Demi-permanent hair color CAN cause a pinch of dryness and even frizziness due to the opening of the hair cuticle and absorption of color.
  • Demi-permanent hair color can last up to 24 washes, while semi-permanent will likely fade after as little as 12 washes.
  • Both are incredibly useful for hiding gray hair.
  • Semi-permanent is for more natural enhancing and quick coloring, while demi-permanent offers more color- but it must be darker.

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Are Semi or Demi Hair Dyes Stronger?

Demi-permanent color is stronger because it is mixed with a developer, which allows it to penetrate deeper into your hair. In contrast, semi-permanent hair dyes do not penetrate your hair cuticles. This makes semi-dyes both less damaging to your hair and the weaker option of the two.

Semi and Demi-permanent Hair Dyes – Which One Lasts Most?

Demi-permanent color lasts longer than semi-permanent color. The distinction between the two lies in their chemical composition and how well they cover or penetrate your hair shaft. Because demi-permanent dyes penetrate the hair follicle’s outer cuticle, they last twice as long as semi-permanent color.

When To Use Demi and Semi-permanent Hair Dyes

If you want to cover grays or add richness to your hair color, use a demi-permanent dye. The demi-permanent color lasts for about 12-25 washes.  If you want a certain hair color for about 3-6 weeks, use a semi-permanent dye instead. Semi-permanent dye only lasts for about 10-12 washes. 

Remember, demi-permanent dyes are generally for darkening hair, so do not expect to lighten hair with these dyes. Semi-permanent dyes might lighten the hair a shade, but they also do not lighten hair much.

Caring for Your Hair

hair care for semi permanent hair

The only way in which demi-permanent and semi-permanent hair colors are NOT different is the way in which you treat them. Since they both wash out in a short amount of time, you must take proper steps to keep the color lasting as long as possible.

  • Always use moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, and try to find products that help lock in artificial hair colors.
  • Try and tie your hair back when doing any strenuous activities that may cause you to sweat, as the sweat can cause the hair dye to wash out more quickly.
  • Try not to wash your hair so often! I know it may be hard, but the less you wash your locks, the longer the color is going to stay on, no matter what type of hair color treatment you decide to use.
  • If you can, try to keep your hair out of the sun as much as possible. Exposure to the sun can accelerate the speed in which your hair color fades, so shield it whenever you can.

Needless to say, both semi-permanent hair color and demi-permanent hair color have their own pros and cons. Choosing the hair color treatment that is right for you will depend on what YOU are looking for in your hair color. Referring to the demi-permanent vs semi-permanent section in this article will help you to decide which type of treatment will work best for your hair.