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When it comes to dying your hair (especially when you’re doing it at home), there are a lot of factors to consider. There’s the hair color, dye method and even different types of hair dye. For example, you’ve probably seen the words “semi-permanent” and “demi-permanent” written on your hair dye box before, but do you know what they mean? Ahead, we spoke with George Papanikolas, Matrix Celebrity Stylist, to find out the difference between the two.  


Semi- Versus Demi-Permanent Hair Dye

The difference between temporary and permanent hair dye is an easy one. But semi- versus demi-permanent is a little bit trickier. Both mean the hair dye has some level of permanence to it. “Semi-permanent usually does not include peroxide or a developer and usually just sits on the surface of the hair,” says Papanikolas. “Demi-permanent is deposit only, meaning you can only go the same level or darker.” Both dyes tend to be ammonia-free — meaning less harmful to your hair. Additionally, with demi-permanent hair dye, Papanikolas explains, “you can use heat to penetrate deeper into the hair if you want gray blending or more coverage.”

How Long Does Semi- and Demi-Permanent Hair Dye Last?

Both semi- and demi-permanent hair dye are available over-the-counter and last about 15 to 30 shampoos or washes, according to Papanikolas. This makes them a great solution for color touch-ups in between salon visits. Demi-permanent dye, however, does tend to have better staying power than semi. 

When to Use Semi-Permanent Hair Dye and When to Use Demi-Permanent Dye

Both dyes are great for richening up your color or going darker. “If you’re using it for gray coverage, staying close to your natural shade will mean less of a demarcation line and a softer grow out,” explains Papanikolas. Both dyes are suitable for use on all hair types, but “usually semi-permanent color is used as a toner, or overlay on top of previously lightened hair,” and demi-permanent dye “can only be your color or darker as they are deposit only and do not lift or lighten.” 

For at-home hair color that lasts, we like Garnier Nutrisse Nourishing Color Creme and L’Oréal Paris Superior Preference Color.

Read More:

How to Grow Out Bangs and Skip the Awkward In-Between Stage

What Is Toning Shampoo?

Help: I Dyed My Hair At Home But Couldn’t Cover All of My Grays!

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