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Should I use semi or demi permanent color?

With so many hair color options available, it can be difficult to know whether to choose semi-permanent or demi-permanent hair color. Both provide vivid color results and fade gradually over 4-6 weeks, but there are some key differences to consider when deciding which is best for your hair goals and lifestyle.

What is Semi-Permanent Hair Color?

Semi-permanent hair color, also known as deposit-only color, coats the hair strand without lifting or depositing color into the cortex. This means it won’t lighten or darken your natural shade. Semi-permanent color is made up of smaller color molecules that can only deposit or add color, not remove it.

Here are some key features of semi-permanent hair color:

Semi-Permanent Hair Color
Doesn’t contain ammonia or peroxide Less damaging to hair
Lasts 4-6 weeks Gradual fading
Great for fashion shades Fun colors like pink, purple, blue
No lifting or depositing color into cortex Coats hair strand only
Subtle, translucent results Sheer, stained glass effect

The main benefit of semi-permanent color is that it’s gentle and conditioning to hair. With no developer or bleach, it won’t damage or dry out your strands. This makes it ideal for anyone wanting a temporary, low-commitment color change. It’s great for trying out fun, bright shades that wash out easily.

What is Demi-Permanent Hair Color?

Demi-permanent hair color is halfway between a semi-permanent and permanent dye. It contains a low volume developer (peroxide) to partially penetrate and tint the hair shaft. This means it will alter your natural color a bit, unlike semi-permanent options.

Here are the key qualities of demi-permanent color:

Demi-Permanent Hair Color
Uses low volume peroxide (10 or 20) Partially penetrates cuticle
Lasts 24-28 shampoos Longer lasting results
Deposits and lifts some natural pigment Translucent color with subtle lift
More damage than semi-permanent Not as harsh as permanent color
Better for natural or subtle looks Not as vibrant as semi-permanent

The key difference is that demi-permanent contains a low level developer that allows some subtle lifting and depositing of color. This makes it last longer than semi-permanent, around 4-6 weeks. It blends gray hair more effectively and can enhance your natural shade.

How Do They Compare?

Here is an overview of how semi-permanent and demi-permanent hair colors compare:

Semi-Permanent Demi-Permanent
Ingredients No developer or ammonia Uses low volume peroxide
Lasting Power 4-6 weeks 24-28 shampoos
Color Results Vibrant, translucent color Natural, subtle enhancing
Damage Level Very little damage More damage than semi
Best For Fashion shades, oil slick colors, brights Blending gray, enhancing natural color

As you can see, semi-permanent color is better for vibrant fashion looks that you want to wash out quickly with minimal damage. Demi-permanent is preferable for getting natural color results and blending grays with a longer lasting effect.

Who is Semi-Permanent Best For?

Here are some of the key reasons semi-permanent hair dye may be your best option:

  • You want vibrant, eye-catching shades like mermaid, pastel or neon colors
  • You don’t want to commit to a color long-term
  • You have damaged or over-processed hair
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding (less chemicals to absorb)
  • You want to subtly enhance your natural color
  • Your hair is thin, fine or prone to drying out
  • You prefer ammonia-free hair color

Semi-permanent is great for anyone who wants a fun, temporary color change without much damage or dryness. It’s ideal for bright fashion shades and experimenting with different hues.

Who is Demi-Permanent Best For?

Here are some key reasons to choose demi-permanent hair color:

  • You want long-lasting color that blends grays
  • You want a natural, subtle enhancing result
  • Your hair is resistant to color
  • You need to cover stubborn grays
  • You want a glossing treatment and conditioning color
  • Your main goal is coloring grays or enhancements
  • You don’t mind some mild damage from low peroxide

Demi-permanent is preferable for anyone looking to cover grays and condition hair while getting long-lasting, natural color results. It’s great for subtle sun-kissed looks.

Tips for Getting the Best Results

Here are some top tips to ensure you get beautiful results from semi or demi-permanent hair color:

  • Do a strand test first – test color on a small section to confirm desired shade before applying all over.
  • Follow the timing directions – leaving color on too long or not long enough affects results.
  • Apply thoroughly – use color brush and divide hair to ensure even application.
  • Rinse with cool water – hot water opens cuticle causing color to fade faster.
  • Use a sulfate-free shampoo – helps maximize color longevity and vibrancy.
  • Refresh with a gloss – use temporary gloss to revitalize color between applications.
  • Protect from sun – UV rays speed up fading, cover hair or use protective products.

Preparing your hair properly and taking good care of it after coloring is key. Following the product directions closely also helps achieve true, vivid results. Test out shades beforehand and prep hair to maximize the longevity.

The Takeaway

While both great short-term color options, semi-permanent is best for fashion colors and minimizing damage, while demi-permanent offers natural results that blend grays and enhance your shade. Consider your goals, lifestyle and hair condition. Semi-permanent works well if you want vibrant colors that fade quickly without drying hair. Demi-permanent is preferable for covering grays and conditioning color that lasts 4-6 weeks.

Whichever you choose, proper prep and aftercare makes a big difference. Do a strand test, follow timing directions closely, apply thoroughly and rinse with cool water. Use sulfate-free shampoo and temporary gloss to maintain it. With the right formula and application method, you can get beautiful results that last 4-6 weeks until you’re ready to switch it up again!