Skip to Content

What happens if you put semi permanent brown dye on bleached hair?

Putting semi permanent brown dye on bleached hair can have varying results depending on the condition of your hair and the type of dye used. When bleached hair is colored with a semi permanent dye, it will deposit pigment but not lift or lighten the hair further. The end result on bleached hair can be somewhat unpredictable, so caution should be taken. Here’s a detailed look at what to expect when using semi permanent brown dyes on lightened hair.

How Hair Bleaching Affects Hair Structure

Bleaching hair removes the natural pigment through a chemical reaction using peroxide. This lifts the hair to a lighter level by oxidizing the melanin in the hair shaft. However, it also damages the cuticle, making the hair porous and dry.

Some effects of bleached hair:

– Cuticle damage – the protective outer layer is compromised, causing frizz and tangles
– Dryness – moisture is lost as the hair’s lipid barrier is disrupted
– Porosity – holes in the cuticle cause the hair to readily absorb moisture and dye
– Breakage – hair is weaker and more prone to snapping and damage

So bleached hair tends to be quite compromised and thirsty for moisture. This level of porosity and dryness can affect how semi permanent dye deposits on the hair.

How Semi Permanent Hair Dye Works

Semi permanent hair dyes coat the outside of the hair shaft but don’t penetrate into the cortex. This means it washes out over 4-8 shampoos and fades gradually.

Features of semi permanent dyes:

– Deposit only – they push color onto the exterior of the hair only
– Last 4-8 washes – the color molecules are larger and don’t hold on as long
– No peroxide – semi permanents are gentler as they don’t lighten the hair
– Less commitment – perfect for trying a new color temporarily

Semi permanents come in every color but are best for going darker or enhancing existing color. They work by staining the hair temporarily.

What Happens When You Dye Bleached Hair With Semi Permanent Dye

When you apply a semi permanent brown dye to bleached or highlighted hair, the color will deposit more intensely on the lighter parts first. The porous areas of damaged bleached hair will soak up more of the dye molecules.

This can result in:

– Uneven color – the lighter parts get darker faster
– Fading issues – the dye fades quickly from the damaged areas
– Darker result – bleached hair can grab more pigment for a darker end result
– Warm tones – brown dyes mix with yellow tones in bleached hair
– Color variations – highlights/lowlights show differently from the new color

The final color is not always exactly as expected. Going darker with semi permanent dye on bleached hair takes some experimentation to get your desired shade.

Tips for Using Semi Permanent Brown Dye on Bleached Hair

Follow these tips to get better results when applying semi permanent brown dye to bleached or highlighted hair:

1. Condition First

Coat bleached strands with a deep conditioning mask before coloring to smooth and fill the porous cuticle. This will allow more even dye deposit.

2. Dye Ugly Hair

Color over dull brassy toned hair vs freshly toned for the most true color results. The semi permanent will mix with existing tones.

3. Do a Strand Test

Apply dye to a small hidden section first to see how it develops before committing to full head. This is smart with any new color.

4. Extend Processing Time

Leave the dye on bleached hair longer, up to the maximum time allowed, for optimal saturation. Damaged hair needs a little longer to absorb.

5. Double up on Dye

Use two rounds of fresh dye for very porous hair, waiting in between. Let the first coat saturate for development before applying more.

6. Add Dye to Conditioner

For upkeep, mix a little semi permanent dye into your conditioner. This will help refresh color and stain the lighter spots.

Best Semi Permanent Brown Dyes for Bleached Hair

Look for semi permanents that are conditioning and deposit only for the most flattering results on bleached hair. Here are some top options:

Clairol Natural Instincts

Clairol’s Natural Instincts features aloe vera and protein to nourish dried out hair while refreshing color. The Hydrience complex smooths the cuticle for softness too.

Schwarzkopf Color Ultime

This uses ammino cell reconstruct technology to help repair damage during the color process. The rich creme formula adds luminous color without lift.

Madison Reed Radiant Hair Color

This semi permanent hair color boasts argan oil for conditioning bleached strands and keratin to strengthen as it deposits color. The formula is gentle but effective.

Overtone Deep Treatment

Overtone offers concentrated colors for porous hair. The deep treatment line is rich, conditioning, and made to fill and seal damaged cuticles.

Manic Panic Semi Permanent

This vegan and cruelty free formula is bleached hair friendly. It goes on smoothly and lasts 4-6 weeks for frequently changing hair color.

How to Care for Hair Colored with Semi Permanent Dye

Bleached hair colored with semi permanent dyes needs special care. Follow these tips after coloring for longer lasting, vivid results:

1. Shampoo Less

Wash gently and sparingly, every 3-5 days, with sulfate free shampoo. Overwashing leads to fading.

2. Rinse With Cool Water

Hot water accelerates color fading. Finish rinses with cool water to lock in color.

3. Use Bond Building Treatments

Olaplex and bond repairing masks rebuild bonds broken by lightening. This protects color integrity.

4. Deep Condition Weekly

Hydrate and nourish with rich masks to prevent dryness and damage which makes color fade faster.

5. Protect From Sun

UV rays speed up fading of hair color. Wear hats outside and use protectant sprays.

6. Trim Regularly

Remove dry ends by trimming every 6-8 weeks to keep hair healthy and maximize color retention.

How toRefresh Semi Permanent Color

To boost semi permanent brown dye as it fades from bleached hair, try these maintaince techniques:

Color Depositing Mask

Use weekly in place of conditioner to deposit a sheer layer of brown dye as needed.

Dye Conditioner

Add a squirt of semi permanent dye into your favorite conditioner and use to refresh color all over.

Root Touch Up

Reapply dye just to the regrowth around 1 month after initial coloring for seamless results.


If brassiness occurs, use a brown demi permanent toner to neutralize orange or yellow tones.

Color Gloss

A clear semi permanent gloss gives shine while depositing a thin layer of brown dye.

How to Remove Semi Permanent Brown Dye

While semi permanent dyes don’t last forever, removing the brown color can be tricky from bleached hair. Here are some options:


Allow the color to naturally fade over several weeks with clarifying shampoo. Avoid reapplying dye.

Color Remover

Use a pre-treatment color remover product to strip the semi permanent pigment from the hair.

Bleach Bath

Lighten with a weak bleach solution, around 10 vol peroxide, watching closely to lift slowly.

Bleach Wash

Mix powder lightener with shampoo and use sparingly to gently lighten and remove the brown tones.

Color Correction

Go to a salon for expert color removal and correction. Bleaching again may be required.

Removing semi permanent dye from bleached hair is a process. Seek professional help if you are unsure of how to safely transition your color.


Applying semi permanent brown dye to bleached hair can create mixed results, but doesn’t have to be a hair disaster. With the right formula and proper techniques, you can achieve beautiful soft brown tones. Prepare hair adequately, do strand tests, and maintain color carefully for best results. Have patience as your color transitions or removes. With some caution, semi permanent dyes can look gorgeous over bleached locks.

Pros Cons
Less commitment than permanent color Can deposit unevenly
No bleach damage Fades quickly in porous hair
Easy color change Can pull darker than expected
More conditioning Harder to remove afterward

Expert Tips For Dyeing Bleached Hair

To sum up, here are pro tips to keep in mind:

  • Always do a patch and strand test first
  • Use a protein filling treatment before applying dye
  • Wash with a sulfate-free shampoo after coloring
  • Rinse hair with cool water to lock in color
  • Avoid washing too frequently, allow to fade slowly
  • Deep condition weekly to prevent dryness
  • Refresh color with toners and color depositing treatments
  • See a professional for removal if unsure how to lift the color properly

Dyeing bleached hair with semi permanent color requires patience and proper techniques. But you can achieve beautiful soft brown hues with the right approach. Remember to patch test, condition well, and maintain your color carefully for ideal results.