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How Long Does Semi-Permanent Hair Dye Last?

Most women are familiar with semi-permanent hair dye. But when it comes to dyeing hair, the first question most have in mind is, how long does semi-permanent hair dye last?

Well, the answer may surprise you. With a name like semi-permanent, you might expect the dye to last several months. But instead, the color will generally stay for about six weeks, though you might see it fade.

How Long Does Semi-Permanent Hair Color Usually Last?

Usually, semi-permanent hair color lasts about 5-6 weeks.

How long a semi-permanent hair color lasts on your hair varies from person to person and depends on several factors, i.e., hair washing frequency, the product used, etc.

Swimming in treated pools also lessens semi-permanent color’s ability to last.

How Long Does Semi-Permanent Hair Color Last infographic

How Many Washes Can Semi-Permanent Hair Dye Last?

If you’re not using harsh shampoo and the semi-permanent dye is intense, it will take about 28 washes before the color disappears. Or else it will fade before you reach that many washes—usually in eight to ten shampoos.

How Can You Make Semi-Permanent Dye Last Longer?

How to Make Semi-Permanent Dye Last Longer

Semi-permanent dye keeps your hair softer, while permanent dye uses harsh chemicals that can damage your strands.

Permanent dye includes peroxide or ammonia, which opens the hair shaft to change the color at the core. Semi-permanent dye only tints the outer layer of your hair.

Knowing that semi-permanent dye coats the outside of your strands makes a difference in how you treat your hair. You can take steps to make your semi-permanent hair dye last longer.

  • Before using a semi-permanent dye, wash your hair with a chelating shampoo. This approach removes build-up that would prevent the color from adhering to your strands. Don’t use conditioner after this step, as that will give your hair a protective coat that prevents the dye from absorbing completely. Let your hair air dry completely.
  • Follow the instructions on the dye. It’s tempting to leave the color on longer to saturate your hair, but that won’t impact the color. Coat your hair thoroughly to ensure you don’t miss a spot. Divide your hair into sections and saturate every strand.
  • When the time is up, rinse your hair with cool water. If you can’t handle a cold temperature, you can use lukewarm water, but stay away from heat. The cool water keeps the cuticles flat so your hair seals in color and looks glossy. Don’t use shampoo for the first wash.
  • Try to wait up to three days before shampooing your hair. This period gives the dye more time to adhere to your hair before you start soaping it away. Since color fades as quickly as eight washes after application, going as long as you can between shampoos helps the color endure.
  • Use color-safe products when you need to wash and style your hair. These shampoos and conditioners are milder than standard options, so they’ll keep your color brighter. You can mix a tablespoon of your leftover semi-permanent dye into your conditioner. This approach allows you to brighten the hue whenever you wash your hair.
  • Continue washing your hair in the coldest water you can stand while you have dyed hair. Hot water and heated styling tools will negatively impact the color’s brightness, and you’ll see it fade more quickly. The sun can also fade your hair color, so wear a hat or hold an umbrella if you’re going to be outside for a long time. Swimming in chlorine will also cause your dye to fade.

Semi-permanent dye is a safe way to color your hair. You’ll enjoy silky strands with a pop of color instead of carefully treating peroxide hair. Take care of your hair before and after you use a semi-permanent dye so the color lasts longer than six weeks.

Avoid These to Make Semi-Permanent Dye Last Longer

  • The shower! Within the first 72 hours after applying color to the hair, avoid shampooing hair entirely. It takes about 3 days for the cuticle to close and completely absorb the dye, so the best thing you can do for your semi-permanent dye is to chill and let it work its magic.
  • Additionally, keep your hair washings to a minimum all throughout the weeks of rocking your semi-permanent dye as hot water and shampoo work to strip hair of its color. The process is inevitable but is limited when you reduce your washings. Try out braids or dry shampoo to extend the life of your hair. 
  • Avoid heat. Heat styling wreaks havoc on all hair types, but it’s especially ruinous for temporary hair color. Avoid using hot tools as much as possible, and be sure to use a heat protectant if necessary.
  • Much like hot tools, the sun works to strip color, turning blondes brassy and other colors dull. Throw on a hat and stay in the shade as best as you can if you’ve recently dyed your hair. 
  • While clarifying shampoos are excellent for removing lots of product build-up on the hair, they aren’t so great for semi-permanent dye. Its stripping nature will take away your color in no time, and that’s a big no-no! See the list above for the best types of shampoos and conditioners that are worth the investment. 


Now you know how long you can expect the semi-permanent hair dye to last and a few methods to prolong your color treatment. If you need more information, check out the answers to these frequently asked questions.

Will semi-permanent hair color wash out fully?

Yes, semi-permanent hair color washes out over time. It can take several shampoos before you notice the color fading.

At that point, you’ll see a loss of color more rapidly with each wash. However, you can sometimes still see a hint of color even after 16 weeks of the application.

Are there any benefits of semi-permanent hair color?

Yes, semi-permanent hair color has many benefits for your scalp. It’s a safer way to color your hair because it doesn’t contain the harsh ammonia or peroxide of permanent dyes.

Many semi-permanent dyes include conditioner in the product to keep your hair soft while you color it.

Can I use semi-permanent hair color over bleached hair?

Yes, bleached hair is ideal for semi-permanent hair color. However, using a permanent dye on bleached hair can severely break and damage your hair.

If you don’t want to keep your hair stripped of color, semi-permanent dye can soften your locks. It often contains conditioner to treat your hair while coloring it.

Can semi-permanent dyes lighten hair?

No, semi-permanent dye can only darken hair. A dye needs to contain bleach or peroxide to lighten the hair.