Demipermanent Hair Dye Is Here For The Commitment-Fearing Girlies

Dyeing your hair is one of the quickest and most impactful ways to freshen up your look, but it can be stressful when you're unsure of what you're looking for or if a color will be flattering. The process of removing color is much more complex than getting it on the hair in the first place thanks to its tendency to stick around and leave splotches of staining, even with a proper remover, so you might find yourself spending hours questioning your decision before you even head to the salon.


Most people have heard of the two main options for hair dyes — permanent and semi-permanent color. Now, however, there's something that toes the line between these two, promising a healthy, glossy look that lasts just long enough to allow you to sample a new color. Demipermanent hair dye, an option that combines the use of developer found in permanent hair dyes with the shorter-term characteristics of semi-permanent color, is the perfect choice for those just looking to have some low-commitment fun.

What is demipermanent hair dye?

The concept of a demipermanent dye is a bit confusing if you don't know much about what goes into a permanent or semipermanent dye, so let's break it down. Most common, natural-colored hair dyes are a permanent formula that involves mixing a gel or liquid dye color with a developer — this can be accomplished with a box kit or by creating your own mix at the salon or beauty supply store. This developer opens the hair shaft and allows the color to sink in, providing a slight lift or lightning effect. Developers usually come in deviations of 10, ranging up to 40 for the highest lift possible.


Demipermanent dye is similar in that it uses a developer and dye mix but relies on a more gentle, ammonia-free 10-volume developer to get results. Instead of penetrating deeply into your hair shaft and lightening the color, it only coats the top layer of the strand, leaving you with something that will wash away with time.

How does it compare to semipermanent or permanent dye?

Semipermanent and demipermanent dyes are deceptively similar in name, but their application methods and staying power are very different. Semipermanent dyes don't use a developer at all and are typically preferred for fashion colors like blue or pink. These dyes are meant to be applied over bleached hair to showcase their full effect, but they can also be used on darker hair for a slight tint. Because of the lack of developer, semipermanent dyes fade notoriously fast — usually after 4 to 12 washes. This is perfect for a non-damaging option for those that want to play around with bold shades, but they require quite a bit of maintenance to keep looking fresh.


Demipermanent dyes are more similar to permanent dyes, but they're much gentler and toe the line when it comes to staying power. Because they still involve the use of developers, they stick around longer than semipermanent options that function more like a color-depositing hair mask.

How long does it last?

Because demipermanent dye only coats the outer layer of the hair and doesn't fully penetrate, it isn't permanent. How long it lasts will depend on your washing frequency and shower temperature, but it will usually stick around for about 24 shampoos with proper care. If you wash your hair every other day, this could mean a little under two months. For those that prefer weekly washes, you're looking at something more like six months unless you increase the frequency of your schedule.


This is enough time to give yourself a sample of what a new color could look like without dealing with the permanent consequences if you're not a fan. If you want your dye to fade faster, you can increase your washing schedule, try a clarifying shampoo, or shower with hot water to reverse the decision. Instead of being left with a color-correcting puzzle, you'll be greeted with your previous color underneath.

Does it damage your hair?

Unfortunately, just about any hair dye can damage your hair, but in the grand scheme of options, the demipermanent's impact is minimal. Because it doesn't fully open the hair shaft or contain harsh ammonia, it's a significantly less damaging option than permanent color or routine bleaching. Most demipermanent dye formulas rely on a gentler, peroxide-based developer with a reputation for boosting shine rather than stripping the follicle, so it's considered safe for all hair types — even, according to Allure, curly girls.


Demipermanent color also presents an option for those who don't want to head into the salon to get their roots done constantly. Because it fades over time, your root line will be less visible than permanent color, allowing you to go longer between appointments and avoid routine, harsh treatments. Couple this with its relatively gentle application method, and you have a recipe for a fun change that won't leave your hair feeling fried.

When is demipermanent dye a good option?

Demipermanent dyes are for people that want a change without the commitment. Unfortunately, however, you won't be able to take your hair on an extreme color journey with this type of dye. If you have dark hair, all demipermanent dyes will do is provide a bit of tint. This is perfect if you want to experiment with a bit of subtle toning — warmer brown to smoky brunette, for example — but you won't see much more of a result than that.


If you have light-colored or bleached hair, you have a bit more freedom. Demipermanent color is frequently used to add lowlights to bring some dimension to all-over blonds, but you could even go for a deeper brown or copper to change up your look for a season. This type of dye is also great if you want to subtly conceal silver strands without committing to permanent coloring. It will fade over time, meaning you'll have a much easier time if you decide to transition to gray.

How to use demipermanent dye

If you're going for an all-over application, applying demipermanent dye is relatively simple at home. Swing by your local beauty supply store and pick up demipermanent dye and the developer specified on the package. You'll likely also want a pair of gloves, a brush, and a bowl to avoid making a mess. Mix the two parts, apply evenly to the hair and wait the specified time. Rinse in the shower, apply conditioner or a color-sealing mask, and you're all set.


If you're looking to bring some dimension to all-over blond, you might want to head into the salon to avoid an accidentally-streaky look. A professional hairstylist can place a dye in specific areas to add in lowlights and create a more blended look than plain, stark platinum. Just be sure to specify that you're looking for a semi-permanent dye and disclose your hair history to guarantee the best results possible.