20 Best Semi-Permanent Hair Dyes For Temporary Color

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20 Best Semi-Permanent Hair Dyes

Semi-permanent hair dye is exactly what it sounds like: It’s hair dye that lasts longer than temporary color, but shorter than permanent hair color. 

Makes sense, right? It's sort of like paint for your hair, but without a forever commitment, meaning it’s a great option if you want to have a bit of fun with a bold new shade.

But not all products are created equal. There's semi-permanent dye, and demi-permanent dye within the ammonia-free color family.

RELATED: How To Dye Your Hair At Home & Give Yourself The Perfect Blowout

Says Dina Hasanovic, senior colorist at Mark Garrison Salon in New York City, "Semi-permanent dyes usually last for up to eight shampoos. Semi-permanent will coat just the outer hair shaft and only has the ability to blend gray hair. It is mainly used to tone hair 'gloss' or when one desires fantasy colors."

Demi-permanent hair color, on the other hand, is alkaline color with no ammonia.

"With heat, it has the ability to lift the hair shaft and deposit color for gray coverage up to 80 percent. Demi is usually used for clients who like contrast and allows the colorist to get creative with gray coverage, since it doesn’t fully cover and does not lift the natural hair color (only by maybe one level)," adds Hasanovic.

But the difference between semi-permanent hair dye and permanent hair color is that permanent hair dye penetrates the core of your hair.

"Keep in mind that with permanent hair color, the change is permanent but the effect is not. That is why most women who color their hair to go lighter start to see brassy color in their hair after some time. This type of dye can be used to help lighten, darken, or cover grays, and provide full coverage. What sets semi apart from all the other hair color options is you’re not married to it for long," Hasanovic says.

Hair goes back to its natural state in a matter of weeks and it doesn't cause any damage to the hair.

So, if you're looking to change up your hair, these are the best semi-permanent hair dyes to try.

1. Clairol Natural Instincts Semi-Permanent Hair Color

This affordable hair color lasts 28 washes and blends away grays via a conditioning crème formula. It's gentle on all hair types and textures.

(CVS, $9.29)

RELATED: 20 Best Vegan And Cruelty-Free Hair Dyes

2. Joico Vero K-PAK Color Intensity Semi-Permanent Hair Color

Multi-action formulas feature mega doses of Joico's revolutionary Bio-Advanced Peptide. Just mix the color of your choice with other shades in the palette to create your own unique look.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

3. Madison Reed Color Reviving Gloss

This is a sheer, semi-permanent tint that gives you a visible color and shine boost for 6-8 shampoos. Gloss enhances your current color and corrects tone as needed. You can even use the Color Reviving Gloss in between coloring to refresh faded tones, so your hair looks incredible in the meantime. 

(Ulta, $30)

4. Creme of Nature Pure Honey Hydrating Color Boost 

This collection is a 3-in-1 semi-permanent cream hair color that conditions, nourishes and moisturizes while adding vibrant and bold color. It's ammonia- and peroxide-free, which helps protect against breakage.

(Creme of Nature, price varies by location)

5. Roux Fanci-Full Instant Hair Color

This hair color evens tones and removes brassiness, blending away gray. The color is instantaneous and non-damaging, which is the best part of all.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

6. CHI Chromashine Semi-Permanent Hair Color

Like art, Chromashine’s nine shades allow you to create any hue you can dream of. Choose from Primary, Secondary and Neutral Shades that offer endless mixing capabilities and options, including metallic colors.

(Sally Beauty, $13.79)

RELATED: 7 DIY Hair Dye Mistakes You're Making (& How To Fix Each)

7. Iroiro Premium Natural Semi-Permanent Hair Color

Totally vegan, Iroiro is made with organic coconut oil along with natural yuzu-cranberry fragrance. The hair color is cream-based, which means you simply have to massage it in.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

8. L'Oréal Colorista Semi-Permanent Hair Color

For light blonde or bleached hair, this semi-permanent hair color has pure direct dyes in a conditioning hair mask. This is also an ammonia-free hair color, and gradually fades with shampooing.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

9. Manic Panic Creamtone Semi-Permanent Hair Color

Choose from multiple colors, including pastels, for your ideal hue. Though the color fades in 6-8 weeks, it rests on the top of the hair shaft, not penetrating the cortex. Plus, it's completely vegan!

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

10. Punky Semi-Permanent Conditioning Hair Color

Go all out or flirt with color by customizing your hair look and transforming your style. This hair colorant is highly pigmented and will turn out most vividly on pre-lightened hair, but will still work to give a deep tint to darker shades of unbleached hair. 

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

11. Arctic Fox Semi-Permanent Hair Color

This deep, true purple is a versatile color that works well on a variety of base colors from platinum to light brown. It gives deep tints of color to darker hair and shows vibrantly on lightened hair. It even works well to cover up other faded colors!

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

RELATED: 11 Easy Ways To Naturally Lighten Hair Without Touching Dye Or Bleach

12. SoftSheen-Carson Dark and Lovely Color-Gloss

This shine-infusing, deeply conditioning hair color delivers natural looking hues with touchable softness that you can see and feel. Ingredients include shea, coconut, and pomegranate oil.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

13. One 'N Only Argan Oil Semi-Permanent Hair Color

This hair color allows you to produce intense color with explosive shine, with no developer required. These intense vibrant shades are infused with active levels of rare argan oil for color that last 6-8 washes. This hair color is also ammonia-free and works best with pre-lightened hair.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

14. Lime Crime Unicorn Hair Semi-Permanent Fantasy Color

With 10 shades to choose from, Lime Crime Tints have an ultra-conditioning formula that takes a light wash of color to add a kick of cool to your hair. It's 100 percent vegan and cruelty-free, and works best with pre-bleached platinum to pale blonde hair.

(Lime Crime, $16)

15. Bigen Semi-Permanent Hair Color

Get long-lasting color with this gentle, oil-rich formula. It contains no ammonia or peroxide, and nourishes hair with honey, beeswax and sunflower to leave hair shiny, soft and beautiful.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

16. Love Your Color Cosamo Non-Permanent Hair Color

The easy, one-step application will wash away your grays in an average of 20 minutes. Love Your Color restores healthy-looking shine and feels like you just stepped out of the salon.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

17. Adore Creative Image Semi-Permanent Hair Color

Adore is a semi-permanent hair color that deposits natural looking color, while giving your hair a healthy resilient shine. It ultimately leaves your hair in better condition than before coloring!

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

18. Splat Euphoric Blue Semi-Permanent Hair Dye

For the people who really want to go bold, these ultra-vivid shades use a unique conditioning formula that will make your locks look and feel fresh. Best of all, it lasts through 30 washes!

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

19. DPHUE Gloss+ Semi-Permanent Hair Color

Get soft hair and deep conditioning with this semi-permanent hair color. It's best suited for enhancing or deepening current hair colors, not dramatic changes.

(Sephora, $35)

20. Good Dye Young Semi-Permanent Hair Color

This non-toxic formula conditions as it deposits ultra-vibrant color. Not only does it last for 4-6 weeks, but has the smell of bergamot and citrus.

(Sephora, $18)

RELATED: 15 Best Red Hair Dyes For Dark Hair (That Won't Make It Look Brassy)

Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer who focuses on health, wellness, and relationships. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her.

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