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5 Types of Hair Dyes Explained: Permanent, Demi-Permanent, Semi-Permanent, Temporary & Organic

Ready for a new hair color but aren’t sure which type of hair dye to choose? We don’t blame you! From permanent to semi-permanent and everything in between, it’s no wonder we ladies get confused or feel overwhelmed when we want to choose a new hair color! Not choosing the right hair dye could make a big difference in how your hair ends up looking, and may even have damaging effects you weren’t aware of.

Before you touch your lovely locks, read up on five types of hair dyes you have to choose from to see which one is best for your hair goals and won’t leave you running to the salon to have those hair mistakes fixed!


Types of Hair Dyes

There are various ways you can alter the color of your hair using salon treatments, boxed dyes, temporary sprays, or natural dye ingredients. Keep reading to learn about the five types of hair dye you can use.

#1. Permanent Hair Dye

Permanent Hair Dye

Permanent hair dye is the longest-lasting hair dye on the market. If you’re confident in the dye color you’re choosing and hope to retain that color for a very long time, permanent hair dye might be for you.


How Does It Work?

Permanent hair dye is activated when it mixes with a developer. A developer is a creamy paste containing hydrogen peroxide. When the two are combined and applied to your hair, it opens up the cuticles that surround your hair.

This process allows the dye to enter the surface of the hair shaft and color the hair deep inside each strand. The cuticles then reclose, and the dye is locked in to create a lasting effect.

This process is what causes the hair dye to stick and not fade away like other hair dyes. With permanent hair dye, your hair will grow out at its roots with its natural hair color before fading.


How Long Does It Last?

On average, permanent hair dye will last around 6-8 weeks. Factors such as hair texture, hair health, natural color, and the number of washes between dying can all lengthen or shorten this time.

Keep in mind that the color may fade, but this hair dye will permanently alter the color structure of your natural hair.


Will It Cause Damage?

The chemicals used in permanent hair dye, such as ammonia, are very strong and are usually left on your hair for an extended time. This makes it the most damaging hair dye.

Application, especially repeated application, will make the hair shafts significantly weaker over time. This can cause the hair to dry out, break, and lose its natural color.

It is vital to make sure you are using good products when permanently dying your hair and taking the necessary steps to keep it as healthy as possible.



  • Long-lasting
  • Wide range of shades to choose from
  • 100% grey coverage
  • Make the color look more natural



  • It can be more damaging than other dyes
  • It contains stronger chemicals than other dyes
  • It cannot be washed out if you are not happy with the color


#2. Demi-Permanent Hair Dye

Demi-permanent hair dye is the second longest-lasting hair dye on the market. It is very similar to permanent hair dye, but it is ammonia-free and contains a smaller amount of developer.


How Does Demi-Permanent Hair Dye Work?

Demi-permanent hair dye acts the same way as permanent hair dye by opening up the cuticles and delivering the dye into each strand of hair. The only difference is that the dye does not go as deep into the shaft.

Due to the smaller amounts of hydrogen peroxide, the color will not penetrate the hair as much as a permanent dye. These formulas will only lift or lighten your hair slightly.


How Long Does It Last?

This hair dye will last up to 28 washes. The less you wash your hair, the longer the color will hold. It also depends on how healthy your hair is before and after applying the hair color treatment. Know the procedure of removing demi-permanent hair dye properly.


Will It Cause Damage?

Demi-permanent hair dyes are less harsh on your hair due to the lower amounts of chemicals in each formula. It is a good alternative for people who have damaged hair already or want to avoid damaging their hair as much as possible.

With that being said, it will still cause damage to your hair, so make sure you are finding other ways to keep your hair healthy.



  • Long-lasting
  • Less harsh than permanent hair dye
  • Ammonia-free
  • Initially covers greys



  • Can cause hair damage
  • Contains chemicals
  • It cannot be washed out if you are not happy with the color
  • Grey coverage does not last


#3. Semi-Permanent Hair Dye

Semi-permanent hair dye is a gentler formula that is popular for those who want to achieve a vivid color but with not as much commitment. This type of hair dye is an excellent choice if you have a hair color you aren’t sure about, but you still want to give it a try.


How Does It Work?

hair coloring effects on hair

Semi-permanent dye is not mixed with a developer, so it does not contain any peroxide. Without peroxide, the dye is unable to penetrate the hair. Instead, it deposits the color to the outermost layer of the hair shaft and acts as a soft coat.

This type of hair dye does not lift the hair, which is the process that needs to take place to be able to lighten your hair. Therefore, you can only use it to make your hair darker, not lighter.

Read: Demi-Permanent Vs. Semi-Permanent Hair Dyes


How Long Does Semi-Permanent Hair Dye Last?

Semi-permanent hair dye will last anywhere from 6-12 shampoos or about 2-3 weeks. It will begin to fade over that time gradually.


Will It Cause Damage?

It does not contain any ammonia or developer, so it will do much less damage to your hair than permanent and demi-permanent hair dyes. Since it is not a lightening agent, it may even give your hair an added shine.

Remember that you will need to apply it much more often because it is a shorter-lasting dye. Constantly re-dying your hair can be damaging in and of itself if you are not careful. Although, you have very little to worry about as long as you are caring for your hair correctly between treatments.



  • Easy to use
  • Little commitment to the color you choose
  • Less damaging
  • Add shine



  • Fade easily
  • Need to be reapplied frequently
  • Do not always result in full gray coverage
  • Can cause an uneven look between roots and ends


#4. Temporary Hair Dye

Temporary Hair Dye

You can use temporary hair dye to try out fun new hair color, cover up greys for your 50th reunion, or complete a costume. It is easily applied and even easier to wash out.


How Does It Work?

Temporary hair dye simply coats the outside protective layer of your hair shaft instead of penetrating the strand. It comes in the form of rinses, shampoos, gels, sprays, and foams.


How Long Does It Last?

The effects of temporary hair dye are very short-lived, coming out entirely with your first wash after application.


Will Temporary Hair Dye Cause Damage?

Temporary hair dye is free of harsh chemicals and will not cause any irreversible damage to your hair. It may cause your hair to become a little dry or knotted, but you can quickly fix that with a wash and deep condition.

In fact, temporary hair dye is one of the safest and healthiest traditional options for your hair.



  • Easy application
  • No commitment required
  • Damage-free



  • Difficult to use with naturally dark hair colors
  • Can get on clothes and surfaces
  • Washes out in one shampoo


#5. Organic/Natural Hair Dye

Organic Hair Dye

Organic or natural hair dyes are a great way to avoid any chemicals when dying your hair. There are natural hair dye brands you can shop with or products you can find at your nearest grocery store.


How Does It Work?

Each organic hair dye works a little differently depending on what you choose to use. Some options for natural hairs dyes can be:

  • Henna
  • Beet Juice
  • Carrot Juice
  • Coffee
  • Sage
  • Camomile tea
  • Lemon Juice
  • Cominations of these ingreients

These all have unique pigments and properties that work to dye your hair in a similar way to semi-permanent and temporary dyes. They focus on dying the outermost layer of your tresses.


How Long Does Natural Hair Dye Last?

Organic hairs dyes can last anywhere from 1-2 washes to 3-4 weeks. They are most beneficial and long-lasting for darkening your hair but can be used to lighten your hair slightly as well.


Will Organic Hair Dye Cause Damage?

Organic hair dyes do not contain any harsh ingredients that you commonly find in other types of hair dye. If you are not making your dyes with fresh produce at home, make sure to check the labels for added ingredients such as ammonia, parabens, and sulfates.

Even if there are no added ingredients, natural hair dyes such as lemon juice can have damaging effects. Do your research on whatever product you choose to learn the best way to use it without causing damage.

As we all know, nature can provide us with many natural vitamins and minerals that benefit our bodies. It is no different when using organic products on your hair. You may find that using these dyes will make your hair healthier, shinier, and stronger.



  • All-natural
  • Difficult to cause damage
  • No harsh chemicals
  • Can add nutrients to the hair



  • Difficult to lighten hair
  • It may not last long
  • May come out dull


Final Thought

Each type of hair dye we’ve discussed has different advantages and outcomes. If you are looking to dye your hair, it is essential to do your research and choose the best type of dye to achieve the results you want.

Life is too short for dull hair. We hope this piece helped you choose the dye you will use to spice things up.