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Want Long-Lasting Color? Here’s How to Make Semi-Permanent Hair Dye Last Longer

So, you want to try out a new color using semi-permanent dye? Using this more temporary hair color can be fantastic for testing out what you might look like as a blonde, seeing if red is your thing, or if you’re simply feeling like changing your hair to suit your mood. To really get the most bang for your buck, it’s worth knowing how to make semi-permanent hair dye last longer.

But first, what exactly is semi-permanent dye? Unlike traditional hair dye, semi-permanent color does not penetrate the entire hair strand. Rather, it coats only the shaft of the hair. Because of this partial penetration, semi-permanent dye only lasts 4-6 weeks.

Key Takeaways

  • Root touch-ups and sprays can extend the life of semi-permanent hair color.
  • Color depositing products, like Biolage ColorBalm Depositing Conditioner, can add pigments and brighten hair color.
  • Avoid unnecessary color stripping by using natural and gentle products, like Act and Acre or Redken Color Extend.
  • Hair primers, like make-up primer, provide a protective base against UV rays and other color-stripping culprits.
  • Rinsing hair with cold water after conditioning can lock in moisture, seal the hair cuticle, and prevent heat damage.
semi permanent hair dye

How you treat your hair during that time, especially within the first few days, can determine how quickly your color will fade. To get the most life out of your new locks, consider the following tips for making that color last as long as possible.

What to Do to Make Semi-Permanent Dye Last Longer

  1. A great way to extend the life of your color is to add more. Root touch-ups and sprays enhance the life of your semi-permanent locks considerably.
  2. In just a few minutes, adding a color depositing product can take your hair from blah to brilliant. Like this Biolage ColorBalm Depositing Conditioner, these products add pigments to your hair through dyes that brighten. Many come free of parabens and sulfates, making them perfectly gentle on your locks.  
  3. To avoid unnecessary color stripping, choosing either natural shampoos and conditioners like Act and Acre or a set that is designed as a color protectant, like Redken Color Extend. Natural and gentle products are ideal next to their sudsy and aggressive counterparts.
  4. Like many of the other options on this list, a primer simply ups your color’s defenses against the common culprits of color stripping. Much like a make-up primer, a hair primer provides a protective base that is effective against things like UV rays that damage color.
  5. Rinse with cold water. Regardless of the type of dye used on your hair, rinsing it with cold water after you’ve conditioned is the surest way to lock in moisture, seal the hair cuticle, and prevent damage from heat that may follow. 

What to Avoid to Make Semi-Permanent Dye Last Longer 

things to avoid to make semi permanent dye last longer
  1. 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.
  2. 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. 
  3. You had to have known heat would be on this list! Heat styling wreaks havoc on all hair types, but it’s especially ruinous for temporary hair color. Avoid the use of hot tools as much as you can and be sure to use a heat protectant if you must.
  4. 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. 
  5. 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. 

As you can see, there are lots of ways you can damage your semi-permanent hair dye, but just as many ways to help preserve it. Your best bet is to avoid heat and products that strip while sealing the cuticle with products that hydrate and protect.