Permanent vs Semi Permanent Hair Colour: What’s the Difference and Which is Right For You?

My Haircare & Beauty Avatar

Overhauling your hair colour can be the exhilarating change you need to refresh your style and express your personality. With a spectrum of shades at your fingertips, the decision to dye can be as bold or as subtle as you desire. 
But, with options ranging from permanent vs semi permanent hair colour, and even demi permanent hair colour, you may feel stuck at a crossroads before you even pick a shade. Which of these is right for your specific hair goals?
While there are many nuances to consider, here’s the general takeaway:

So, just ask yourself what you’re looking to get out of this change and choose the right solution accordingly! 
There are many factors to consider, from the longevity of colour to your hair’s health. So, we’ve decided to compare and contrast these options to leave you with a clear understanding of which is right for you.
But just remember this – whether you prefer permanent, semi-permanent, or demi-permanent hair colour, My Haircare & Beauty has you covered with the high-quality salon products you need! Browse all our hair colour solutions today and find out firsthand why we’re the #1 choice in Australia.

Permanent vs Semi Permanent Hair Colour

What’s the Difference Between Permanent and Semi Permanent Hair Colour?

Before we get into our side-by-side comparison of permanent vs semi permanent hair colour, let’s start with the basics. What’s the difference between permanent and semi permanent hair colour? 
We’ll explain the unique properties of each below, offering a better understanding of the role each plays in the haircare world.

Permanent Hair Colour

As the name suggests, permanent hair colour fundamentally alters the hair’s structure. It contains ammonia, which opens up the hair cuticle, and developer, typically hydrogen peroxide, to remove your natural pigment and deposit new colour. 
This process not only changes the colour but also allows for lightening your natural shade, covering greys effectively, and providing a uniform, long-lasting result. However, it’s a commitment; as your hair grows, roots will need touching up, and the only way to revert to your natural colour is to let it grow out or dye it back. 
Additionally, permanent hair colour can be more damaging than its semi-permanent counterpart due to the chemical process, making it crucial to follow up with proper hair care routines.

Semi Permanent Hair Colour

Semi-permanent hair colour, on the other hand, is like a gentle gloss for your hair. It’s free from ammonia and typically doesn’t require a developer, meaning it doesn’t lift your natural hair colour. Instead, it coats the hair shaft with colour that gradually fades over approximately 4-12 shampoos. 
This type of colour is ideal for those looking to enhance their natural colour with vibrant shine, experiment with new hues without the long-term commitment, or blend away some grey hair with less contrast during regrowth. 
Since it’s less invasive, semi-permanent colour is gentler on the hair and scalp, making it a safer bet for those with sensitive skin or damaged hair.

Image source: www.pravana.com

What About Demi Permanent Hair Colour?

While most individuals are interested in choosing between permanent vs semi permanent hair colour, we want to discuss a compelling alternative to these two extremes – demi permanent hair colour.
This temporary hair colour strikes a unique balance between the other solutions, offering a middle ground that caters to those who seek more longevity than semi-permanent colour but less commitment than permanent dye. 
This type of hair colour is characterised by its ability to last longer than semi-permanent options – typically around 20-30 shampoos – without the use of ammonia, which means it’s gentler on your hair.
The formulation of demi-permanent colour includes a low-volume developer, which allows the colour to penetrate the hair shaft slightly, but not as deeply as permanent colour. 
This results in a more significant change to the hair colour than you’d get from a semi-permanent dye, but it won’t lighten the hair because it doesn’t contain the ammonia needed to open the hair cuticle fully.
Demi-permanent hair colour is exceptional for those wanting to enhance their natural shade, deepen hair colour, refresh faded ends, or blend grey hair without a stark line of demarcation. It’s also an excellent choice for someone who wants to experiment with a new hair colour but isn’t ready for the permanence of traditional hair dye.
Another advantage of demi-permanent colour is that it’s less damaging to the hair compared to permanent colour. The absence of ammonia and the presence of a low-volume developer reduce the risk of hair breakage and maintain the hair’s natural texture. 

Permanent vs Semi Permanent Hair Colour vs Demi Permanent Hair Colour: Which is Right For Your Hair Goals?

While you may already be starting to lean towards one style or the other, we want to be clear about where each has an edge by comparing and contrasting permanent vs semi permanent hair colour vs demi-permament hair colour below. 
There are 6 key criteria through which you should make your decision. First up, how long the colour lasts.

Colour Longevity

  • Permanent Hair Colour: As the name suggests, this one offers the most enduring solution, with the ability to withstand numerous washes without significant fading. The colour remains until new growth occurs, necessitating root touch-ups every 4-6 weeks.
  • Semi-Permanent Hair Colour: A temporary solution that typically lasts between 4-12 shampoos. This is ideal for those who enjoy changing their hair colour frequently or want to test a new shade without a long-term commitment.
  • Demi-Permanent Hair Colour: A middle ground, lasting about 20-28 shampoos. It provides a longer-lasting result than semi-permanent options without the permanence of a permanent dye.

Commitment Level

  • Permanent Hair Colour: This type of colour requires a high level of commitment. Once applied, it’s a long-term choice that can only be fully reversed by growing the hair out or opting for a professional colour correction.
  • Semi-Permanent Hair Colour: Low-commitment with its temporary nature. It’s a great way to experiment with colour without worrying about long-lasting consequences.
  • Demi-Permanent Hair Colour: Requires a moderate commitment. It’s not as fleeting as semi-permanent dye but less of a long-term decision than permanent colour.

Hair Health and Condition

  • Permanent Hair Colour: The chemicals in permanent hair dye, particularly ammonia and peroxide, can be harsh on the hair, potentially leading to damage over time. It’s crucial to follow up with nourishing hair care products to maintain hair health.
  • Semi-Permanent Hair Colour: This is the gentlest option, often free from ammonia and peroxide, making it suitable for those with damaged or fragile hair.
  • Demi-Permanent Hair Colour: Although it contains a low-volume developer, demi-permanent colour is still gentler than permanent dye and a good option for those concerned about hair health but desiring more longevity than semi-permanent colour can provide.

Desired Colour Outcome

  • Permanent Hair Colour: Ideal for those seeking a dramatic change, such as going from dark to light hair, or for anyone wanting a completely new hue that’s different from their natural colour. It’s also the best choice for covering up grey hair completely.
  • Semi-Permanent Hair Colour: This dye works well for enhancing natural hair tones, adding brightness, or trying out a trendy colour. Since it doesn’t lighten hair, it’s best for achieving darker or similar shades to your original colour.
  • Demi-Permanent Hair Colour: Great for those wanting to darken their hair, enrich the existing colour, or add a gloss-like finish. It’s more effective than semi-permanent dye for blending grey hair, though not as effective as permanent dye for full coverage.

Amount of Grey Hair

  • Permanent Hair Colour: Offers the best coverage for grey hair, making it the preferred choice for individuals who have a significant amount of grey and want complete coverage.
  • Semi-Permanent Hair Colour: Semi-permanent dyes can blend some grey but won’t cover it completely. It’s a good option if you have minimal grey hair or if you’re looking for a natural look with some grey blending.
  • Demi-Permanent Hair Colour: This is a middle-of-the-road option that can cover a higher percentage of grey hair than semi-permanent dye, but less than permanent. It’s effective for those with a moderate amount of grey who want a more subtle blending.

Ease of Use

  • Permanent Hair Colour: Applying permanent hair colour can be more complex due to the mixing of the colour with the developer. It often requires precise timing and may be best applied by a professional to ensure proper coverage and to avoid damage.
  • Semi-Permanent Hair Colour: This is typically the easiest to use at home, as it usually comes ready to apply without mixing and has a less strict timing window. It’s a good choice for beginners or those looking for a quick and easy colour refresh.
  • Demi-Permanent Hair Colour: Similar to permanent hair colour, this style usually needs to be mixed with a developer, but the process is generally more forgiving than with permanent dyes. It’s a good middle ground for those who have some experience colouring their hair.

Trust My Haircare & Beauty Whether You Want Permanent, Semi Permanent, or Demi Permanent Hair Colour in Australia!

There you have it – everything you need to know about choosing between permanent vs semi permanent hair colour vs demi-permanent colour. Each style has its place in the world of hair dyes, but only one is right for you. 
Still not sure which you should choose? Don’t hesitate to reach out for a personalised recommendation from our haircare experts. After all, My Haircare & Beauty is your one-stop shop regardless of which solution you choose!
As a 100% Australian owned and operated business, we’ve been dedicated to serving the beauty needs of Australians since 2008, earning the title of Best Beauty Retailer for three consecutive years – 2019, 2020, and 2021. Our selection is unmatched with thousands of products from the most trusted salon-quality brands that you’ve come to know and love. 
Whether you’re seeking the lasting impact of permanent hair colour, the flexibility of semi-permanent options, or the gentle touch of demi-permanent shades, we’ve got all your colouring needs covered. We cater to every preference and hair type, ensuring that you can find the perfect product to achieve your desired look.
Beyond the colour itself, we offer a comprehensive range of colour treated hair care products designed to maximise the longevity and vibrancy of your new hue. From specially formulated blonde shampoos and blonde hair conditioners that keep your locks radiant and healthy to nourishing hair oils that prevent damage and maintain colour vibrancy, we have everything you need to embrace and preserve your new look.

Bringing Our Comparison of Permanent vs Semi Permanent Hair Colour to a Close

As we wrap up our guide to permanent vs semi permanent hair colour, remember that choosing the right hair colour comes down to longevity, commitment, hair health, desired outcome, grey coverage, and ease of use. 
Permanent hair colour offers lasting change and grey coverage, while semi-permanent allows for low-commitment experimentation, and demi-permanent strikes a balance between the two.
Our blog has more resources on topics like conditioner vs shampoo, how to wash curly hair, post colouring treatments, the best shampoo and conditioner for hair loss, the best shampoo and conditioner for blonde hair, and many, many more. No matter your hair goals, My Haircare & Beauty has a solution for you. We invite you to explore our award-winning range and find your ideal hair colour with us – your hair will thank you for it. Discover your perfect shade at My Haircare & Beauty today!

Follow Us!

See Similar:
How to Prevent Hair Product Allergies
Alfaparf Semi Di Lino: Beauty Power To You
Keune Silver vs Blonde Savior
The Best Hair Packs We Recommend for Any Hair Type

Established in 2008, My Haircare & Beauty have not only established ourselves as a trusted name within the retail world, but also for our ability to deliver on-trend, dynamic services and advice to our loyal clientele.

My Haircare & Beauty Avatar