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Does Semi-Permanent Hair Dye Wash Out Completely?

You may have come to this post because you’ve probably been asking yourself: “Does semi-permanent hair dye wash out completely?”

The thing is, experimenting with semi-permanent dye is a fun, creative solution for when you feel like your hair is starting to look boring.

These dyes come in countless shades, from shocking pinks to sexy chocolate browns. They even add a healthy luminosity to the hair to give it more light-reflective depth!

But even when you play around with semi-permanent dyes, you’re bound to get tired of the color someday.

And then you’ll be on your way to discovering yet another new color to make your tresses glow. You might even realize that you want to go back to your natural shade.

Can you go back to your real shade and start on a clean slate again?

Read on to learn more about how semi-permanent dye washes out, and whether it ever fades completely.

does semi-permanent hair dye wash out completely

How Does Semi-Permanent Hair Dye Work?

To fully understand how semi-permanent hair dye washes off, first, you need to know about the opposite – how it goes on and colors hair.

How does it actually work, and why do lots of people swear by it instead of permanent hair dye?

Let’s talk about the latter first.

See, permanent hair dye is formulated with very strong active ingredients like ammonia and peroxide.

These chemicals work to lift your hair cuticles so that the color pigments can deposit color into the deepest layers of your hair shaft.

Sounds harmless, right?

That’s where you’re wrong.

By lifting your cuticles, permanent hair dye breaks up that outermost layer, leaving it with lots of gaps and holes in your strands.

This causes your hair to be rough and dry because of the damage.


Deposits Color On The Cuticle

On the other hand, semi-permanent hair color doesn’t have ammonia or peroxide.

Instead of trying to force its way into your hair shaft, it deposits color only on the cuticle.

That means it doesn’t need to raise your cuticles just to penetrate the hair cortex.

does semi-permanent hair dye wash out completely
Hair structure


Therefore, it’s much gentler on the hair!

Another wonderful thing about semi-permanent dye is that it’s usually cream-based and formulated with nourishing ingredients.

Top brands infuse their dyes with essential oils, vitamin E, and even shea butter to condition dry locks as you color.

Semi-permanent formulas are so easy to use and friendly even to those with no prior knowledge about hair coloring.

That’s why many people don’t even go to the salon anymore to get their hair colored with it.

They simply do it themselves at home.

So, semi-permanent dyes don’t just change your hair shade – they add shine and depth to your tresses too!

And they do so without altering and hurting the structure of your hair.


Does Semi-Permanent Hair Dye Wash Out Completely?

Yes, semi-permanent dye washes out completely

As I explained above, semi-permanent color doesn’t actually deposit color deep into your hair shaft.

It only sits on the cuticle layer of your strands.

It doesn’t alter your natural pigment at all, which means that your real hair color is still waiting underneath the colored cuticles.

Because the dye only coats your hair strand and doesn’t bind with your hair cortex, it’s super easy to wash out.

Several shampooing days are all it needs to fade, leaving your hair in its original, natural shade.

Over time, you’ll rinse out all of the color, giving you a clean slate again.

Of course, you can always stretch out the time between your hair wash days, allowing you a longer time with your fabulous temporary color.

Since semi-permanent dye washes out completely, it’s perfect for trying out new hair colors that you’re not sure you want to commit to.

It gives you a fresh start once it’s faded.

And once you’re back to your natural color, it will look so clean that no one will be able to tell that you had it colored just a month ago!

So, you can use semi-permanent hair dye as a safe gateway to permanently change the color of your hair when you are 100% sure that you like it on your hair.

does semi-permanent hair dye wash out completely


How Long Does It Stay In Your Hair?

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Just because you’re assured that the semi-permanent dye will wash out completely one day, it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen overnight.

It still takes a significant amount of time until your new hair color fades, depending on your lifestyle and hair habits.

If you do things like wash your hair every single day or heat-style daily before you go to work, then your hair color will fade much faster than you anticipate.

Semi-permanent color can fade after 8-10 washes, so you’ll have a couple of weeks at most to enjoy your new, vibrant hue.

But if you change up your habits and stay away from things that can fade your color faster (like high temperatures and harsh surfactants in your shampoo), your color can stay rich and vivid for 4-6 weeks.

After that, you can play around with more colors or flaunt your natural shade once again.


Semi-Permanent Dye Can Take Longer To Fade For Some

Please note that semi-permanent color completely washing out after the six-week mark isn’t universal.

There are some shades and hair types that might have it for longer.

One example is darker hair shades.

If you color your hair jet black or a rich, deep red, you’ll likely have a harder time washing it out than say, a silver or pale green color.

Darker colors mean more pigments in your hair to wash out.

So, you may get to keep your color for up to eight weeks before it fades completely.

This is also the case if you have highly porous and damaged hair.

This usually happens if your strands have been bleached or chemically treated a fair amount of time in the past.

Chemical processes leave gaps in your cuticles, leaving your hair drier and less elastic than before.

When you have dry, porous hair, it sucks up more of the semi-permanent dye.

Although the dye is designed to simply sit on your strands, the gaps and holes in your hair structure could absorb the pigments into the deeper layers of your hair.

does semi-permanent hair dye wash out completely


That means it might be difficult to wash the color out, even if you shampoo more than usual.

Give or take, you might keep your color for about three months at most.

But don’t worry – it may take longer to wash out, but you’ll still get your natural shade back in a few weeks or months.

Related Post: What To Do Before Coloring Porous Hair

See: How To Fix High Porosity Hair


Tips To Extend Your Hair Color’s Lifespan

The fact that semi-permanent hair dye washes out completely may be great news for those who want to experiment with a new hair color every few months.

But for those who actually want to make their color last for as long as possible, it’s kind of a hindrance.

Luckily, there are lots of things you can do to extend the lifespan of your hair color, even if you used semi-permanent dye to get it.

Here are some of our top tips to increase your hair color’s longevity:


Don’t Shampoo Your Hair Frequently

If you haven’t already noticed, shampooing is the main reason semi-permanent hair dye washes out completely.

So, if you want to maintain your new shade for longer, simply go without washing your hair frequently.

Obviously, you should not give up shampooing altogether.

Just try to space out your wash days.

does semi-permanent hair dye wash out completely


Use Sulfate-Free Shampoo

What makes shampooing so dangerous to semi-permanent dye isn’t so much the suds or the scrubbing action – it’s the sulfates.

To extend your color’s lifespan, use color-safe shampoos that have no sulfates in them instead.

Recommended Post: Best Shampoo For Bright Colored Hair


Don’t Spend Too Much Time Under The Sun

The sun can fade your hair color faster.

During the summer especially, try to go out only if you have a hat or scarf to protect your colored strands from UV rays.

See: Best UV Protection For Color-Treated Hair


Avoid Straightening And Curling For Now

Heat styling regularly can force your cuticles to open and fade your color faster.

If you want your color to remain fresh and vibrant, keep your flat iron and curling wand in the drawer for now and go au naturel with your hair texture.

If must use these hot tools for one reason or the other, always make you use a heat protectant to protect your locs.



Semi-permanent dye is awesome if you want to try out a new hair color without the long-term commitment because it does, in fact, wash out completely over time.

So don’t worry – you can still play around with new colors or go back to your natural hue in just a few months’ time!

And although it may last longer on specific hair types, it will still fade one day.

Whether it takes weeks or months depends on how much you care for your locks, but you can count on at least 8-10 washes to enjoy your shiny, temporary shade.

If you want to extend the lifespan of your semi-permanent hair color, remember to care for your hair properly.

Switch to color-safe shampoos, skip wash days when you can, and don’t expose your hair to too much heat, and you’ll preserve the beauty and brightness of that color you love.

Recommended Post: How To Get Rid Of Permanent Hair Dye Fast

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