Permanent vs Semi Permanent Hair Color: Difference and Comparison

Coloring hair is becoming a trend nowadays. Everyone, females or males, wants to experiment with their hair with vibrant or aesthetic colors. It is like makeup applied to the hair to look more enhanced.


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For this purpose, different companies have introduced types of colors and other options for dyeing hair to change the physical appearance overall.

While most people have a general idea of hair coloring in saloons and beauty parlours but well, now everything is possible at home only.

Therefore it is important to know the colors and what they contain, as a lack of knowledge/information can cause serious damage to the hair.

Key Takeaways

  1. Permanent hair color chemically alters hair structure, providing long-lasting color that only fades with growth.
  2. Semi-permanent hair color coats the shaft without penetrating it, creating a temporary color that fades with washing.
  3. Permanent hair color can cover gray hair and achieve significant color changes, whereas semi-permanent color is best for subtle changes and enhancing natural hair color.

Permanent vs Semi-Permanent Hair Color

Permanent hair color is a type of hair dye that penetrates the hair shaft and remains in the hair until it is cut off or grows out. It contains a higher concentration of ammonia or hydrogen peroxide. Semi-permanent hair color is a type of hair dye that coats the hair shaft without penetrating the cuticle. It contains lower levels of chemicals, such as peroxide or ammonia.

Permanent vs Semi Permanent Hair Color

Permanent hair color is hair dye that sits for a longer duration. It contains more chemicals, along with peroxide. It does not wash out easily and goes deeper than the outer surface.

The care of hair has to be done as these colors can cause some serious damage to the hair that cannot be healed.

Semi-permanent hair color lasts for a few washes and contains no chemicals, including peroxide. There is not a developer either that is to be mixed with ammonia.

When you apply the color to your hair, it just simply sits on the top layer of it and gives a shinier appearance. These cause zero or no damage to the hair.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonPermanent Hair ColorSemi Permanent Hair Color
Permanency6 to 8 weeks3 to 4 weeks
ChemicalsContains chemicalDoes not contain it.
DeveloperContains itDoes not contain it.
Sits onCuticlesThe outer surface of the hair
DamageMore damageLess damage

What is Permanent Hair Color?

Permanent hair color goes deep than the outer surface of your hair; it goes to the cuticles to make sure the color sits for a longer period.

It changes the hair color completely rather than just enhancing the original color. The ammonia formula in color has to mix with a developer before applying it to make sure it sits properly on the surface.

This contains peroxide and other chemicals too, and this is the reason why the hair color lasts for a long time. Apart from this, they have the following advantages:

  • This color does not have to be applied regularly or more frequently, as the color lasts for a good period.
  • Permanent hair color comes in a variety of colors; therefore, there is an option for everyone.
  • They look natural as they get absorbed in the hair.
  • They completely cover the grey hair, giving full coverage.
  • Regular shampooing is not a problem with permanent hair color as they do not wash out easily.

Apart from all the above-mentioned advantages, it has some disadvantages too, that include:

  • It causes more damage to the hair than any other hair dye/color. This is due to the strong chemicals it contains.
  • The mixture has to be kept for a longer period.
  • It may cause some allergic reactions.
  • It cannot be washed out if not satisfied with the color.
permanent hair color

What is Semi-Permanent Hair Color?

Semi-permanent hair color does not last for a large period. It starts fading away after just 6 weeks sometimes. It enhances the hair color and makes them look shinier and smoother.

It is best if you want to experiment with the hair color and especially if this is your first time coloring.

Coloring hair with semi-permanent hair color has some advantages, such as, the last of a short period which means you can change the color more frequently and you can experiment more. also if you don’t like the color you can always wash it off, it causes the least damage to the hair as compared to any other hair color (due to the absence or peroxide or any chemicals), they are not expensive and can be afforded by most of the people, the color look more natural, they can use straight from the applicators,

For proper making sure the color lasts for a longer period, proper care has to be taken. For caring shampoos and conditions specially designed for the staying, the color should be used.

Semi-permanent hair color does not contain chemicals, and most of them are also cruelty-free and vegan. They sit on the outer surface of the hair and improve the texture and color of your hair.

semi permanent hair color 1

Main Differences Between Permanent and Semi-Permanent Hair Color

  1. The main difference between both permanent and semi-permanent hair color is in the time they stay, or after a period, and they start fading away. Permanent hair color, as the name suggests, lasts for more time in comparison to semi-hair color. Permanent hair color can last for 6 to 8 weeks, whereas semi-permanent hair color starts fading after just 3 to 4 weeks.
  2. Both colors also differ in terms of chemical composition. Permanent hair color contains chemicals, i.e., it contains ammonia and peroxide, whereas semi-permanent hair color does not contain chemicals (peroxide).
  3. Permanent hair color contains a developer that has to be mixed with ammonia so that the hair color can sit properly on the hair, whereas semi-permanent hair color does not contain any developer.
  4. As mentioned above, both of them lasts for different periods, and the reason behind this is permanent hair color with the help of developers and chemicals, sits on the cuticles of the hair so that the color can properly sit on hairs evenly while semi hair color only sits on the outside layer of the hair.
  5. As permanent hair color contains chemicals, it can cause some serious damage to the hair, whereas no such serious or permanent damage is caused in the case of semi-permanent hair color.
  6. Semi-permanent hair color does not change the hair color completely. It just enhances the original color of the hair, making them shinier and brighter, while permanent hair color can completely change the hair color.
Difference Between X and Y 2023 05 11T085907.133

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