When you first start going gray, it might seem like your only options are to embrace it gracefully or to commit to regular upkeep with permanent coloring. However, semi-permanent hair dyes are a great alternative, providing users with more flexibility to camouflage their strands of salt and pepper. These hair dyes can be used on their own or in combination with permanent hair dyes to reduce exposure to some of the harsh chemicals often found in permanent dyes.
Semi-permanent dyes are gentler on hair and wash out more quickly than permanent dyes do; this makes for a less harsh look when roots grow out, and it provides users with more opportunity to experiment with their look without the commitment to a permanent dye color.
Pros and Cons of Semi-Permanent Hair Dye
Using semi-permanent colors to cover grays has its own advantages and limitations.
- The biggest advantage of using semi-permanent paints is the absence of harsh chemicals that you will find in permanent dyes. Not only do semi-permanent colors not damage the hair, but they also condition your locks and add softness and shine.
- Semi-permanent dyes are easier to use without the help of professionals because they come ready to use and you only need to follow the instruction.
- Applying a semi-permanent color does not make the commitment to regular dyeing in a certain shade because the color will fade after a few shampoos, and you can replace it with a different shade. Semi-permanent color is a good choice for special occasions when you want to refresh your hair color without making a commitment.
- If you are planning to transition to gray hair, and you are reluctant to commit to permanent color, you can experiment with semi-permanent colors and test different shades.
Apart from these advantages, semi-permanent colors also have some limitations and cons.
- In order for the color to show on the hair, it is necessary to lighten the hair, especially if your hair is dark and you want to go lighter or use a fashion color.
- Semi-permanent dyes only deposit pigment on the outside of the hair shaft, so they wash out with shampooing and need to be applied more often than permanent dyes.
- Semi-permanent colors are not always efficient at covering gray hair, especially if your hair is of low porosity and does not absorb dyes well.
- Although the dying product comes ready to use, the application can be messy. Most semi-permanent colors tend to stain your towels and pillowcases.
Does Semi-Permanent Color Cover Grays?
How well the semi-permanent color will cover gray hair depends on the color and on the type of your hair.
Porous gray hair can be a good canvas for semi-permanent dyes. If your hair is porous, the color will be absorbed more easily and may last longer.
If you have fewer gray hairs, it will be easier to achieve the effect of coverage and blending with the rest of your hair.
If you have a lot of grays and the rest of your hair is light, it will be easier to find a shade that will color both your gray hair and the rest of your hair.
If you have dark hair that’s starting to grey semi-permanent color can be a fun way to camouflage your grays. It will look like you have vivid highlights instead of your grey streaks. If you like changing your look, this can bring some freshness into your everyday life. Go ahead, you deserve some fun these days.
Best Semi-Permanent Hair Colors for Gray Coverage
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When purchasing a semi-permanent dye, you should stick to reputable brands and stay away from cheap unknown brands. Some so-called semi-permanent days can burn your scalp. I learned it the hard way (B…..).
1. Clairol Professional Beautiful Advanced Gray Solutions, Semi-Permanent Hair Color for Gray Coverage
Be aware that this semi-permanent color is not intended to cover hair that is 100% gray. This product will successfully cover and blend grays if you have up to 50% gray hair. For a higher percentage of gray, it will be hard to obtain the desired blending effect.
This mild semi-permanent dye does not contain ammonia and peroxide. You also do not need to apply heat to activate the desired color. The color develops with the help of oxygen from the air. Finally, instead of drying out the hair, it will leave your locks feeling soft and shiny.
Additional plusses are that the product doesn’t have an unpleasant smell and won’t make a huge mess in your bathroom.
The shades are marked by numbers from 1 to 10 starting from black as the darkest to platinum blonde as the lightest one. Shades are inter-mixable.
The achieved gray coverage lasts up to 12 shampoos. If you wash your hair frequently, the color may fade faster. Rain and sweat will not cause the color to bleed.
How to Use
The dye comes ready to use which is very convenient. It is advisable to wear gloves as the dye will stain your hands and nails.
The color should be applied to freshly washed and towel-dried hair. The hair must be damp to accept the color. Leave the product on for 25 minutes and then rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water without using shampoo.
If you have long, thick hair, you may need to purchase 2 bottles. If you don’t use all the content from the bottle, you can save leftovers. Just close the bottle well and store it in a dry and cool place.
2. WELLA Color Charm Paints Semi-Permanent Hair Dye
The product comes in 18 semi-permanent inter-mixable shades, including a clear one. This semi-permanent dye will cover greys. How the color will look on the rest of the hair depends on your current color. If you have dark hair and want to cover gray, this could be a fun way to camouflage your greys. The color will show through on gray hair so you can have colored highlights. If you use Chrome shade it can color your grays in shiny silver color.
If you want the color to show on the rest of your hair, you will need to pre-lighten your dark hair, like with any other fashion colors. If you do not bleach dark hair, the color will not be visible on it.
The color will last up to 12 washes if you use mild shampoos and don’t wash your hair frequently.
How to Use
Put the dye in a bowl and use gloves. Apply the product to clean dry hair with a color brush. Comb through if you want to distribute dye evenly through your entire hair. Leave on for 20 minutes or a bit longer for gray hair. Rinse until the water is clear. Apply conditioner and rinse it thoroughly.
3 ARCTIC FOX Vegan and Cruelty-Free Semi-Permanent Hair Color Dye
ARCTIC FOX color is formulated with vegan ingredients that won’t dry or damage your hair. This dye can be used often because it actually conditions the hair and restores shine. The product is ready to use without mixing or adding other ingredients.
Although the dyes are not intended specifically for gray hair, it is possible to cover gray hair or blend your grays, making them less visible. There is also the option to dye your grays in vibrant colors so that they look like brightly colored highlights.
To achieve better coverage, use darker and more pigmented dyes, that can deposit color on unbleached gray hair. ARCTIC FOX has a line of colors for unbleached hair.
If you have dark hair with some grays and use vivid color, the dye will leave a subtle tint in your dark hair and color your grays in vivid color. This can look cool if you like this kind of color adventure. With washing, your grays will turn pastel, giving your hair lots of dimensions.
The color may last between 4-8 weeks on bleached hair and 2-6 weeks on unbleached hair. The color longevity depends on washing frequency and your hair care regimen.
How to Use
Since the product comes ready to use, it is easy to apply it. Use gloves and protect the hairline with coconut oil. Use a color brush and apply the dye to clean dried hair. Wrap your hair in a plastic cap and leave the product to work for half an hour or longer. Rinse your hair well and use a conditioner.
How to Make Semi-Permanent Color to Hold on Gray Hair
Unbleached hair doesn’t take the color well. Here are some basic recommendations on how to make your gray hair take color and how to make the color last longer.
- Wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo before applying the dye. Oil and product build-up can interfere with the dying process, and you can get uneven color. Clean hair will be more ready to absorb the color.
- After rinsing the dye from the hair, do not wash your hair with shampoo. Just rinse the dye thoroughly with lukewarm water and apply the conditioner. Then rinse the conditioner thoroughly with lukewarm to cool water.
- After dying, wait a few days before washing your hair with shampoo. Use a mild shampoo and wash your hair only when necessary. Make sure that the water you use to wash your hair is not hot.
- Use a dry shampoo in between shampooing as it doesn’t encourage color fading like a liquid shampoo.
Disclaimer: All content on this blog is created for informational purposes only. It would be best if you didn’t use it as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Last Updated on August 4, 2022 by Gaga
Gaga is a blogger and founder of the Softer Hair website. She often says that insomnia is to blame for her first blogging attempts. Being the night owl, she hated the morning alarm. She left her office job and returned to what she loved most - writing. Her pets are her coworkers, and she replaced the town crowd with a quiet neighborhood outside the city.