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 dyes, demi-permanent color treatments deposit color onto the hair shaft without penetrating the cuticle or fully “lifting” the natural pigment. This results in a color that fades out over time rather than remaining permanently.
Many people choose demi-permanent dyes expecting that the color will completely wash out eventually. However, there is often some residual color left behind. So does demi-permanent color come out completely? The short answer is: not always.
How Long Does Demi-Permanent Hair Color Last?
Demi-permanent hair color typically lasts 4-12 shampoos or 4-6 weeks before fading significantly. However, some types of demi-permanent hair color can last up to 24 shampoos or 8-12 weeks before fading.
The longevity depends on several factors:
- Hair color and texture – Coarser, darker hair holds onto color longer than fine, light hair
- Shampooing frequency – Frequent shampooing accelerates fading
- Exposure to sun, swimming, heat-styling – These can cause faster fading
- Product quality and proper application – Salon brands applied correctly tend to last longer
Why Demi-Permanent Color Doesn’t Always Wash Out Completely
There are a few reasons why demi-permanent hair dye may not fade completely over time:
- Overlapping with natural pigment – If the artificial color is similar to your natural shade, it will appear to blend seamlessly rather than washing out.
- Uneven fading – Different areas of hair fade at different rates based on porosity, sun exposure, etc. This can leave residual tint in some spots.
- Buildup on cuticle – While demi-permanent color coats the outside of the hair, some pigment can become trapped on the rough cuticle edge.
- Reaction with metallic salts – Metallic salts from hard water or other hair treatments can react with demi-permanent pigments, making them stubborn to remove.
Tips for Removing Demi-Permanent Hair Color
To help demi-permanent hair color fade faster and more completely, you can try these tips:
- Use clarifying or color-removing shampoo several times a week
- Wash with hot water to open the cuticle and release pigment
- Use an anti-dandruff shampoo containing zinc or selenium
- Create baking soda rinses to strip color from the cuticle
- Get regular trims to remove any overlapping faded ends
- Use vitamin C treatments to oxidize and dissolve pigment
- Avoid conditioner or only use on mid-lengths and ends
- Use color remover chemicals to extract stubborn demi-permanent dye
Professional Color Removal Services
If at-home fading methods aren’t working, you can seek professional hair color removal services. Salon techniques may include:
- Color removal treatment – Uses a stronger, salon-grade product to extract pigment.
- Bleaching – Lightens hair to a blond shade so darker demi-permanent color has no pigment to cling to.
- Color correction – Applies a complementary color to neutralize and cover the unwanted demi-permanent shade.
Professional removal is safest for drastically lifting or altering your existing hair color. Improper bleaching and color correction at home can damage hair severely.
Should You Re-Color After Removing Demi-Dye?
If your goal is to return your hair to its original shade, removal processes will likely leave some residual warm pigment behind. This can give hair an orange, brassy appearance.
To counteract this, many choose to re-color their hair after removing demi-permanent dye. Options include:
- Toning – Applies a gloss or toner to neutralize brassiness
- Semi-permanent color – Adds back cool tones close to your natural shade
- Permanent color – For longer-lasting coverage if your hair is significantly lightened
- Highlighting – Can help blend grown-out roots after demi-permanent removal
Doing a strand test first is recommended to preview results before applying all over.
Should You Use Demi-Permanent Color Again?
If you were unsatisfied with how a demi-permanent hair color faded or was difficult to remove, you may be hesitant to use this type of dye again. However, not all demi-permanent products and results are the same.
To improve your next experience, consider:
- Choosing an ammonia-free formula – Less damaging to hair
- Selecting a lighter shade – Fades more seamlessly
- Applying only to mid-lengths and ends – Keeps regrowth looking natural
- Doing a patch test – Prevents unwanted results
- Using a quality brand from a salon – Gets reliable results
- Enlisting a stylist – An expert can advise the best formula and method for your hair
While demi-permanent hair color doesn’t always wash out 100% over time, taking some proactive steps can help removal. With the right formula choice and application method, you can have a positive experience next time. The key is adjusting your expectations and customized routine based on your unique hair.
Some residual tint may linger after removal, but is unlikely with an ammonia-free, lower-volume demi-permanent product. For touchable, short-term color that fades graciously, a demi-permanent dye from a trusted brand is likely still an excellent option.
If you want hair color with zero long-term commitment, temporary and semi-permanent vegetable-based dyes may be a better choice. But for flexible natural-looking color that washes away fairly gradually, demi-permanent hair color can give beautiful results with proper maintenance.
Any concerns about application or removal can be addressed with a knowledgeable hair stylist. They can help troubleshoot your last experience and make personalized recommendations so your next demi-permanent color is easy to enjoy and fade.