So you decided it’s time to shake up your hair color. Maybe you’re feeling inspired by your favorite celebrity’s new highlights or just tired of rocking the same shade since birth—coloring your hair is an exhilarating way to update your entire look. We highly recommend it! We also know, however, that with so many options out there, it can be confusing to figure out which product is right for achieving the look you want. To help break down coloring products types to the “mane” points, we turned to Julia Youssef, Vice President of L'Oréal USA Technical Center.
Hair dye is generally split into four categories and can last anywhere from 6 washes to forever, explains Youssef. She created this handy guide below to help you figure out which option is right for you. The results below are for natural hair (i.e. hair that is not already color treated).

hair color types

Semi-Permanent

Duration: Lasts through 6-10 shampoos.
Best for: Darkening hair, changing tone, and blending gray.
Not suited for: Lightening hair or long-term results.

Demi-Permanent

Duration: Lasts through 28 shampoos.
Best for: Darkening hair and covering grays. Demi-permanent dye, also known as tone-on-tone hair color, can cover naturally up to 70% of gray hair, making it a great option if that’s your main concern. Typically, users will not see obvious “root growth” with demi-permanent hair color as it naturally washes out over time.
Not suited for: Lightening hair.

Permanent

Duration: Until your hair grows out or is cut.
Best for: Lightening or darkening natural hair, changing tone, and covering 100% of gray hair. Permanent hair color can come in different formats such as crème for a creamy non drip texture, foam for an easy-to-use shampoo application, and gel for a luminous, translucent color result.
Not suited for: Permanent hair color is great for all types of hair coloring needs but since the results are permanent, maintenance is often needed as roots grow out.

Bleach/Lighteners

Duration: Permanent
Best for: These products are exclusively used to lighten hair and have stronger lifting power than most permanent hair color. Bleach/Lighteners typically refer to an all-over head application product, while Highlighting Kits are used to lighten only strands/chunks of hair.
Not suited for: Anything else.
Does this answer what type of product you should be reaching for? We have more hair coloring stories to come, including how to pick the right shade for you and how to make your color last. Stay tuned and let us know if you have any more questions in the comments below!
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