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Types of hair color

Hair color is one of the best ways to change your look and style. When you dye your hair, you can choose from any color of the rainbow, whether natural, or bright and fun.

Choosing the right dye is important and affects how long your color lasts, as well as how the dye is applied and used. There are several different types of hair color.

The different types of hair color

Hair dyes fall into a few different families which describe how they work and how long they last. These families, in order of how permanent they are, include:
  • Temporary color
  • Semi-permanent color
  • Demi-permanent color
  • Permanent color

Temporary hair color

Temporary dyes are the least permanent types of hair color and can be used to temporarily change the color of your hair without damage. These dyes are applied as a rinse after shampooing your hair and generally only last one wash. If your hair is porous or has been previously bleached, a temporary hair color can sometimes last longer.

To apply a temporary hair color like Roux Fanci-full, you need to shampoo your hair first. The color is then applied by using the bottle to squirt the product into your hair and distributing the dye to where it needs to be with your hands. If the dye you are using is dark, it is best to use gloves or else you can end up staining your hands. Follow this process with conditioner and the dye process is complete.


Semi-permanent hair dye

Semi-permanent hair dyes stain the hair by penetrating superficially into the hair shaft. This allows them to last a few shampoos but still wash out over time. Like with temporary dyes, they do not cause damage to the hair. If you have porous or recently bleached hair, these dyes can last significantly longer because the color is absorbed deeper into the hair.

Semi-permanent color comes in a few different forms, including gels, creams, and mousses. How you use each of these products is dependent on your goals, but for the most part, they are used after shampooing your hair and before conditioning; just like a temporary dye. You can also apply semi-permanent dyes to dry hair for a more intense color.

Once applied to the hair, a semi-permanent dye needs time to stain the hair. The longer these dyes are left in, the longer they will generally last before they wash out completely. When application is complete, wash out the dye and follow up with conditioner if necessary. Most semi-permanent hair dyes have a conditioning base however, and you may not need to apply conditioner unless you suffer from overly dry hair.

How long does semi-permanent color last? - Find out how long this kind of color can last and how to keep it for longer...

Demi-permanent hair dye

Demi-permanent hair dye is one of the more permanent types of hair color and can last several weeks. This longevity occurs because these dyes contain a combination of oxidative dye and direct dye. Oxidative dye is the permanent dye that is found in permanent hair color, whilst direct dye is found in semi-permanent colors. They don't penetrate the hair as deeply as permanent dye and this also contributes to their shorter lasting effects.

A demi-permanent dye can last anywhere from 1 - 6 weeks before it appears to have faded noticeably, depending on how porous your hair is, and how dark the dye is that was applied. They're less damaging than permanent hair dye and can be a good way to try a new color without as much commitment. They are also the perfect dye to use as a toner.

Demi-permanent dyes are mixed with a low volume of developer and applied in the same way as permanent dye, by using brush. Once applied, the dye needs to develop for a period of time before it is removed. After removal, your hair should be shampooed and then conditioned. The same care routine for permanent hair dyes applies to a demi-permanent.

Permanent hair dye

Out of all the different types of hair color, permanent hair color is the longest lasting under ordinary circumstances. These dyes work through a chemical process called oxidation. At first, the dye is colorless or nearly colorless when it is removed from the tube, but once combined with the hydrogen peroxide found in developer, the color begins to oxidise.

This is why permanent dye is actually permanent. Initially, the dye exists in the form of small molecules that can easily penetrate deep into the hair shaft. Once oxidised however, the molecules are larger and can't escape back out of the hair. This new pigment becomes trapped inside the hair where it gives the hair its new color.

To apply permanent hair dye, the dye needs to be mixed with developer. For darker or tone-on-tone results, 10 vol developer is used, whilst a higher volume of developer can be used to lighten hair during the dyeing process. Hair that has already been dyed with a permanent or demi-permanent dye can't usually be lightened any further with another dye because color can't lift color. It can, however, still be dyed darker or toned.

Once application is complete, the dye needs to develop for a period of time to become permanent and form the final color. Once this process has finished, the dye can be rinsed out and the hair should be shampooed and conditioned. After color care can consist of treatments, leave-in conditioner, and other products to restore moisture.

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Wondering which of the different types of hair color you should use for your own hair goals? Leave a comment to find out...

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