Skip to Content

Does Demi permanent color bleach out easily?


Demi permanent hair color is a popular option for those looking to temporarily change their hair color without making a drastic long-term commitment. Unlike permanent hair dye, demi permanent color coats the hair shaft rather than penetrating it completely. This allows the color to wash out gradually over 4-12 weeks. However, many wonder if demi permanent color can be removed more quickly by bleaching. Here’s a look at whether demi permanent hair color bleaches out easily.

What is demi permanent hair color?

Demi permanent hair color, sometimes called deposit-only color, is a semi-permanent hair dye that deposits pigment onto the hair’s outer cuticle layer. It does not contain ammonia or bleach, so it does not lighten hair. Demi permanent color is formulated to wash out over time, typically fading evenly over 4-12 weeks. It provides longer-lasting color than temporary or semi-permanent options but is not as permanent as permanent (oxidative) hair dye.

Some key features of demi permanent hair color include:

  • Does not penetrate the hair cortex fully
  • Lasts around 4-12 weeks
  • Gradually fades with each wash
  • No ammonia or bleach
  • Less damaging than permanent color
  • Can cover 50-70% of grays

Brands such as Wella, Clairol Natural Instincts, Schwarzkopf Igora Royal, and Redken EQ offer demi permanent hair color lines. They come in a wide range of natural and fashion shades.

Can you bleach out demi permanent hair dye?

Yes, it is possible to bleach out demi permanent hair color, but results can be unpredictable. Demi permanent dye coats the outer hair shaft rather than penetrating it, so bleach is able to lift some of the artificial pigment. However, demi permanent color is designed to fade gradually with washing and will not strip away with bleach entirely in most cases.

Bleach works by opening up the hair cuticle layer and oxidizing the natural pigment. Since demi permanent dye sits on top of the cuticle, bleach can only remove some of the artificial color molecules deposited by the demi permanent color. Several bleaching sessions may be needed to see significant lifting of demi permanent dye.

Does demi permanent hair color bleach out easily?

Most demi permanent dyes will not bleach out easily with just one bleaching session. As demi permanent color is formulated to resist fading, it takes some work to remove. Bleaching demi permanent dye tends to be unpredictable compared to bleaching out permanent hair color.

Here are some factors that determine how well demi permanent color will bleach out:

Factor Description
Hair color underneath Demi permanent dye lifts more easily on lighter base colors underneath than darker shades
Color depth The deeper the shade of demi permanent color, the harder it is to bleach out
Application method Color applied just to mid lengths and ends will fade quicker with bleach than color applied to roots
Bleach strength Higher volume developer and potent bleach powder will lift demi permanent color more effectively
How long it’s been since coloring More recently applied demi permanent color resists bleaching more than older color
Hair health Porous or damaged hair will allow demi permanent color to bleach out more easily

As you can see, many factors impact how easily demi permanent dye can be lightened with bleach. Healthy virgin hair with demi permanent color applied just on ends and a lighter base shade will bleach out the easiest.

Tips for bleaching demi permanent hair dye

If you wish to try removing or lightening demi permanent hair color with bleach, here are some tips:

  • Use a high volume developer like 30 or 40 volume for maximum lifting
  • Choose a powder bleach formulated for maximum lifting
  • Section hair cleanly and apply bleach mix evenly for consistent results
  • Process for maximum time recommended by bleach brand; check every 5-10 minutes
  • Rinse with cool water and deep condition after bleaching
  • Be prepared for uneven results; may take multiple sessions
  • Allow hair to rest 1-2 weeks between bleaching sessions
  • Use a toner or glaze after bleaching to reduce brassiness

Always follow directions when using high volume developer and potent bleaching products. Process with care to avoid hair damage. Keep expectations realistic, as demi permanent dye does not always bleach out easily or fully.

What to expect when bleaching demi permanent color

Here are typical results you can expect when trying to bleach out demi permanent hair dye at home:

  • Color will lift 1-3 shades lighter, but likely not to your natural shade
  • Warm tones bleach out quicker, while ash and neutral tones resist more
  • Reddish or orange undertones may be revealed as color fades
  • Lighter pieces around hairline and ends bleach out the most
  • Bleached areas feel dry and may show damage; conditioning is a must
  • Some areas resistant to lifting may look splotchy
  • Multiple sessions likely required for significant lifting effect

Have realistic expectations when bleaching demi permanent color, as it rarely removes fully in one session. Be gentle and patient to help avoid excessive damage. Consider using a color remover formulated for direct dyes first for a less damaging option.

What about color removers?

Color removers that are specifically designed for direct dyes like Color Oops or Malibu DDL may be gentler alternatives for removing demi permanent hair color. These products use a reducing agent to shrink color molecules so they leach out of the hair shaft without damaging bleach.

Color removers can lift some demi permanent pigment, especially on light base colors. However, they may not remove all traces of dye, so bleaching may still be required after to get back to your natural shade. Do a strand test to check the color removing product’s effectiveness before use.

Should you bleach before or after demi permanent coloring?

Ideally, pre-lightening hair with bleach should be done before a demi permanent color application. Bleaching hair first will allow the demi permanent shade to show up boldly and accurately on lightened hair. Trying to bleach pre-colored hair risks undertones and an uneven result.

If you need to lighten hair that has been dyed with demi permanent color, it’s best to use a color remover first, then bleach if needed to lift shade further. Bleaching directly over demi permanent dye without removing it first can cause patchiness. The demi permanent color molecules interfere with consistent lifting by bleach.

How long should you wait between bleaching and demi permanent dye?

After bleaching, it’s important to wait 1-2 weeks before applying demi permanent color. Bleaching is damaging, so hair needs time to recover strength and moisture. Demi permanent dye applied right after bleaching is more likely to fade quickly, look uneven, and cause further damage.

Some tips for prepping hair after bleaching before demi permanent coloring:

  • Deep condition with a hydrating hair mask
  • Use a leave-in conditioning treatment
  • Reduce washing to 2-3 times per week
  • Use a gentle shampoo and cool water
  • Trim any split ends
  • Use an Olaplex or bond builder treatment
  • Avoid heat styling

Letting hair rest and normalize after bleaching allows demi permanent color to take evenly and last longer.

Should you bleach hair again after demi permanent dye?

It’s best not to bleach hair again right after coloring with demi permanent dye, as this can quickly lead to damage. Demi permanent color is deposited only on the outside of hair, so bleaching immediately after will compromise hair.

If you need to lighten hair further after demi permanent coloring, wait 1-2 weeks. Then remove color with a remover formulated for direct dyes. You can then do a second round of bleaching if needed to reach your desired lightness. Limit bleaching sessions to no more than 1 every 2 weeks max to maintain hair health.

How soon can you bleach hair again after demi permanent color?

A good rule of thumb is to wait:

  • 1 week minimum between bleaching sessions
  • 2 weeks or longer is safer for damaged or fragile hair
  • At least 2 weeks after demi permanent coloring before lightening again

Allowing enough time between bleaching and demi permanent dye is crucial to prevent excessive damage. Limit sessions to only what is needed. Condition hair extremely well and avoid additional chemical services until health is restored. Give hair a break in between bleaching and coloring.

What’s better for hair: permanent dye or demi permanent?

Demi permanent hair color is gentler on hair than permanent, oxidative dye. Permanent hair color uses ammonia and peroxide to open the cuticle and alter the natural pigment inside the hair shaft. This leads to higher risk of damage. Demi permanent coat the outside and wash out gradually.

Benefits of demi permanent color for hair health:

  • No ammonia – less irritation
  • No developer – less drying
  • No lifting of natural pigment – less stress on hair
  • Washe out over time – less re-growth maintenance
  • Color can be changed more frequently

Demi permanent color won’t lighten hair, but it deposits glossy color with less commitment. For anyone concerned with hair damage, demi permanent options offer vibrancy with gentler processing.


Demi permanent hair color does not bleach out as easily or uniformly as permanent dye. However, it can be lightened to some degree through careful bleaching over multiple sessions. Removing demi permanent color takes patience and a gentle touch. While not always simple, it is possible to bleach out demi permanent hair dye with the right techniques and realistic expectations. Using color removing products first can simplify the process. Allow hair recovery time between sessions. With the proper prep and limitations, demi permanent color can be successfully and gradually lightened.