Permanent vs Semi-Permanent Hair Colour: Here’s The Difference

14 November 2022 | Tincture and Colour

Getting a headache from trying to understand different types of hair dyes? Wondering what the heck permanent, temporary, semi, demi and quasi are?

Don’t worry, with over 13 years in the industry, we like to think we know a thing or two about hair colouring. 

So take a breath, grab a cuppa and read on. Here’s the difference between permanent vs semi-permanent hair colour!


Permanent vs Semi-Permanent Colour: What’s The Difference?

Hairdresser using permanent vs semi permanent hair colour on client

Permanent hair colour penetrates the hair cuticle, altering the structure of the hair shaft in order for the colour to be locked in permanently. Semi-permanent colour, however, is deposited on the outside of the hair shaft. Without anything locking it into place, the colour is temporary.


What is Permanent Hair Colour?

Permanent hair colour, as the name already suggests, is precisely that – permanent. It’s great if you want to make a lasting change to your hair, regardless of whether you’re thinking of lightening or darkening it.

It works by opening up the hair cuticle to allow the hair dye to deposit the permanent colour, meaning it’ll completely replace your natural hair colour.

Permanent will give you the best grey coverage so if you’re worried about those pesky greys showing up, this is an excellent route to go down.

We often get asked how long it lasts and the honest answer is that it depends on your hair. But in most cases, it’ll stay as vibrant as the day you coloured it until the roots grow back (usually between 6-8 weeks). That’s when it’s time to come in for a touch-up.


What is Semi-Permanent Hair Colour?

Now, this is where it gets a little more complicated. If we think of permanent hair colour as being like lipstick, then temporary would be more like a lip stainer. There are two main types of temporary colours: demi-permanent (also known as quasi) and semi-permanent hair colour.


Demi Vs Semi-Permanent Hair Colour

Demi-Permanent Hair Colour

Often also referred to as quasi (just to confuse you even more), demi-permanent dye is ammonia free (find out more about chemicals in hair dye) and mixed with a low-volume developer.

In contrast to permanent colour, demi sits on the surface of your hair follicle, meaning it doesn’t allow the colour to really get in there.

In layman’s terms, this means it lasts for an average of 24 shampoos. It also won’t cover grey hair, but it will give them a ‘highlighted’ look, which might help them blend in more. 


Semi-Permanent Hair Colour

While it’s another type of temporary hair colour, semi-permanent really just ‘stains’ the hair more than anything else. It doesn’t need to be mixed with a developer and is usually applied to freshly shampooed hair.

It’s also a good way to add shine and give your hair that extra little something special (kind of like lipgloss if we’re staying with the lipstick reference.) But the downside is that it will come out in 2 – 12 washes (depending on what your Halloween costume was, this might not be a downsize after all.)


Permanent vs Semi-Permanent Hair Colour: Choosing What’s Right For You

So now that you’ve got (we hope) a bit more clarity on the differences, what will it be for you? 

Do you want to change your hair colour for good? Go for a more temporary solution to blend in those greys? Or need something to give your hair that extra oomph?

Whether you’ve made up your mind or need a little more help to decide, pop into the best hairdressers in Hertford for a consultation. And yes we may be a little biased but give us a try and we guarantee you’ll agree!

Book your appointment today or give us a call to chat through your options.