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The Best Semi-Permanent Hair Dyes

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Written by Jennifer Rodriguez

Do you want your hair color to last a little longer than a temporary one, but also don’t want to be stuck with a single color until your hair grows out? Semi-permanent hair dye is the perfect solution for you. These dyes tend to be less damaging than permanent colors and can also make your hair soft and shiny.

A semi-permanent hair dye will last for about four to six weeks, and the color will start to fade gradually as you shampoo your hair. Even better, you can use them at home because they’re readily available in the market and are easy to use.

Due to their increasing popularity, several brands are manufacturing semi-permanent hair dyes. As a result, it can be intimidating to look for one among the various options. To help you select one, we’ve shortlisted our favorite semi-permanent hair dyes of 2023.

Semi-permanent Hair Dyes: A Buyer’s Guide

Why Choose Semi-Permanent Hair Dye?

Semi-permanent hair dyes have a lot of benefits, which can help make them a better alternative to permanent dyes. They tend to be less high maintenance because you’re required to apply them to your hair directly without having to mix developers. Most come with the ability to develop using the oxygen in the air, meaning that they do not contain ammonia and peroxide, which can be damaging to the hair. Typically, a semi-permanent hair dye will last between six to eight weeks, meaning that you will not be stuck with a color that you don’t like for long.


Another major benefit of semi-permanent hair dyes is that they allow you to skip root touch-ups at the salon because they can cover gray hair pretty well. Since the color does not fade suddenly after washing your hair, your roots will not be very visible, and you can skip one or two trips to the salon if you get your hair dyed frequently.


Also, most semi-permanent hair dyes are infused with natural ingredients that come with conditioning properties. These include argan oil, keratin, and collagen, which help keep hair soft and add shine to dull-looking hair. And, since many brands provide a lot of shades, you have many options to choose from.

Correctly Using Semi-Permanent Hair Dye

Semi-permanent hair dye manufactured by different brands will have different application processes, which is why you need to make sure that you follow the exact instructions mentioned on the packaging. There are a few tips that you can follow generally for perfect application and the desired results each time.


After you have purchased the color you like, the first thing that you’ll need to do is to wash your hair thoroughly using a clarifying shampoo. The purpose of a clarifying shampoo is to remove any build-up and dirt from your hair so the dye has an even base to work on. Make sure that you do not condition your hair before applying the dye.


The next step will be to apply the semi-permanent hair dye to your hair. Some brands recommend applying it onto towel-dried, damp hair, while others suggest applying it on completely dry hair. Wear gloves to avoid staining your hands and start applying the hair dye just like you are shampooing your hair. Some brands provide an applicator, while others may even recommend using a brush for a more even application.


Use a comb at the end to spread the dye out evenly and make sure that each and every strand is coated. Leave it in for the time mentioned on the packaging; this varies according to the formula and ingredients used. Now, rinse your hair with water and only use a conditioner if the manufacturer recommends it.


It is normal for the color to bleed in the shower, but you will need to be a little careful after you have rinsed it. Wet hair can stain your towel and clothes, so make sure you are using an old towel to dry your hair. Avoid laying down on pillows and bedsheets until your hair is completely dry, as the color will most likely bleed onto them. To be on the safe side, cover your pillow with a towel for the first few days to prevent your sheets from staining.

Comparing the Best Semi-Permanent Hair Dyes of 2023


ARCTIC FOX Semi-Permanent Hair Dye


  • Made from natural, vegan ingredients
  • Long-lasting and highly pigmented
  • Conditions the hair
  • Available in multiple colors


  • Might rub off easily on pillows
Arctic Fox’s Semi-Permanent Hair Dye is a highly pigmented and gentle dye that comes in several shades. It is made from natural and vegan ingredients without any animal byproducts, which means it is cruelty-free as well. Since no artificial or harmful ingredients like ammonia, peroxide, and alcohol are used, this semi-permanent hair dye will not damage your hair like permanent ones. Even more, you can use it frequently because it has conditioning properties that’ll soften your hair. Best of all, it has a pleasant scent and won’t smear too much which makes it very convenient to use. For a more vibrant color, it is recommended that you apply it to pre-lightened hair. So you can really express yourself, you can choose from 27 different colors in 4 and 8-ounce bottles. We chose this semi-permanent hair dye as our top pick due to its vibrant colors and ease of application.

Adore Semi-Permanent Hair Dye


  • Makes your hair shiny and silky
  • Ideal for gray and light hair
  • Wide range of color options


  • Damp hair can stain pillows and sheets
The Adore Semi-Permanent Hair Dye is another one of our favorites because it is vegan and free from harmful ingredients like peroxide, ammonia, and alcohol. The formula is designed to deliver a rich color, while also making sure that your hair remains shiny, soft, and silky. If you feel the color is too dark, you can mix it with conditioner and then apply it as this will lighten the pigment. This hair dye is ideal for gray hair because it fades gradually, so you will not have to deal with grown-out roots that need to be retouched frequently. Best of all, you can choose from several options, ranging from dark colors to pastels. This lets you find a color that’ll best fit the look you’re going for.

Kiss Semi-Permanent Hair Dye


  • Infused with natural, conditioning ingredients
  • Free from sulfates and ammonia
  • Convenient applicator shape
  • Available in many colors


  • Thinner consistency than others
The Kiss Tintation Semi-Permanent Hair Dye is a good option if you have dry hair and worry that dyeing your hair will dry it out more. This dye is infused with conditioning ingredients like keratin, argan oil, collagen, and olive oil, which ensure that your hair remains soft and healthy. Additionally, aloe vera water is used instead of distilled water, which is a popular conditioning ingredient in many hair treatments. The shape of the applicator makes it very convenient to use, and you only need to leave it in for about 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing it out. Just make sure you are applying it on towel-dried hair and refrain from using conditioner after applying the dye. And, to sweeten the deal, you can choose from 58 vivid colors, ranging from jet black to softer shades like platinum, rose gold, and silver.

Keracolor Semi Permanent Hair Dye


  • Colors, cleanses, and conditions hair
  • Ideal for frequent touch-ups
  • Keratin-infused formula ensures soft hair
  • Available in 18 colors


  • Some shades can dry out hair
The Keracolor Semi-permanent Hair Dye is a three-in-one product that is designed to color, cleanse, and condition the hair. The company calls it a “clenditioner” because you do not need to shampoo your hair after applying this — rinsing your hair with water will be sufficient to maintain color. And, since it is a non-lathering conditioner, you can apply it after getting your hair colored professionally to maintain its vibrancy. This semi-permanent hair dye works a little differently than other alternatives. Instead of applying it only once, you can use it as many times as you want to maintain the hair color. With every wash, this product will add color to your hair, so you can easily touch it up if the color is fading. In order to make sure that the dye is distributed evenly through your hair, use a comb to saturate every single strand.

Clairol Professional Semi-Permanent Hair Dye


  • Color will last for about 12 shampoos
  • Convenient shape for easy application
  • Intermixable shades make it customizable


  • Can bleed onto pillow cases initially
  • May stain the scalp
Last but not least, Clairol’s Professional Semi-Permanent Hair Dye is another one of our favorites because it uses oxygen to develop the color instead of peroxide, which can be damaging to the hair. It is ideal for covering up gray hair because the formula is designed especially for light or pre-lightened hair. It is recommended to process it for at least 25 minutes before washing it out, and it works best on towel-dried hair after shampooing your hair. Do not shampoo immediately after using this semi-permanent hair dye. This semi-permanent hair dye is available in nine shades, which are intermixable, meaning that you can create your own shades as well. It’s ideal for refreshing professionally colored hair without the damage of chemical dyes, and will also enhance your natural hair color. Best of all, the ingredients include natural substances that are designed to make your hair soft and silky.

People Also Ask

  • Q: How long should I wait to shampoo my hair after dyeing it?

    A:It’s recommended to wait at least 72 hours after the first rinse following the application of semi-permanent hair dye. This will prevent the color from fading too soon.

  • Q: Can I get rid of the color faster if I don’t like it?

    A:If you’re not satisfied with the color, you can try washing your hair more frequently to help fade the color. Washing your hair using Dawn dish soap can speed up the process, but may dry out your hair immensely.

  • Q: What’s the difference between semi and demi-permanent hair dyes?

    A:The main difference is that semi-permanent hair dye only coats the outer shaft of the hair, meaning that it will last for about 12 washes. Demi-permanent hair dye comes with a developer that opens the cuticle, meaning that the color can last for about 24 washes.

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By Jennifer Rodriguez

Jennifer Rodriguez is a New York-based writer, editor, English literature educator, and small-business owner. The proud mom and pet parent is an avid baker, home chef, cake decorator, crafter, reader, and movie buff. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, daughter, and fur babies. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her loved ones, bingeing her favorite shows, curling up with the latest crime-thriller read, crocheting/knitting, and learning everything she can about sharks.