Home » Hair Care

What Developer Should You Use With Semi-Permanent Hair Color?

Semi-permanent hair color is a convenient and safe way to color your hair short-termly. It does not contain harsh chemicals such as ammonia and hydrogen peroxide, which dry your hair and scalp. Also, it does not contain bleach, so it can be used on relaxed and permed hair

What Developer Should I Use With Semi-Permanent Hair Color?

Semi-permanent hair colors do not require a developer. They do not require to be mixed with a developer and are applied to the hair directly.

Semi-permanent color deposits color on the hair surface without lifting or lightening it, so a developer—which opens up the hair cuticle to allow the color to penetrate more deeply—is not usually required.

Some people mix semi-permanent hair color with a developer to make it more effective and produce lasting results. However, mixing the color with a developer makes it less effective.

The hydrogen peroxide in the developer breaks down the dye making it difficult to adhere to your hair strands. The result is an uneven color on your hair that fades within a few washes.

How to Apply Semi-Permanent Hair Color

Below are the steps for using semi-permanent hair color.

Prepare Your Hair for Application

For best results, apply the hair color to clean hair. However, you do not want to apply it to dripping-wet hair.

Therefore, wash your hair a day or two before application to remove any dirt, oil, and product build-up on the scalp and hair strands.

Apply the Semi-Permanent Hair Color

applying semi permanent hair color

Put on latex or plastic gloves. Part your hair into two to three sections. Read the product packaging for specific application instructions. Apply the dye section by section. Leave it for 5-10 minutes, then rinse your hair.

You can also highlight your hair using a semi-permanent hair dye. Semi-permanent dye is a good choice for highlights because it’s less damaging than permanent dye and it washes out after several shampoos, giving you the flexibility to change your look more frequently.

Wash Your Hair With Color Care Shampoo, Condition, and Air Dry

It is best to avoid blow drying or flat ironing the hair as it will dry it making it prone to hair breakage.

How to Make Semi-Permanent Hair Color Last Longer

Below are tips for making your semi-permanent hair color last longer and look more vibrant.

Leave the Dye on Your Hair for Longer

Typically, semi-permanent dyes should be left on the hair for 5-10 minutes. However, if you want a more intense color, leave it longer—15-45 minutes.

Since semi-permanent hair dyes are gentle on the hair, they will not damage it even if you let it sit for longer. The only risk is your hair may turn darker than intended.

Apply the Dye to Damp Hair

applying dye to damp hair

Do not apply the dye to dry hair. A bit of moisture loosens up the hair fibers, opens the hair cuticles, and helps with the even distribution of the dye. However, if the hair is too wet, the color will run before being absorbed.

Use Heat to Set the Hair Color

After applying the hair dye, cover it with a shower cap or sit under a hooded dryer for 15-30 minutes. The heat opens the cuticles enabling the dye to penetrate the hair strands better.

Go for Highly Pigmented Semi-Permanent Hair Dyes

A high pigment semi-permanent hair dye lasts for more washes. Those with the highest pigmentation can last up to 42 washes, which is up to three times the regular dye.

Use Color-Depositing Shampoo and Conditioner

using color-depositing shampoo and conditioner

When washing your hair after coloring, do not use sulfate shampoos or those that contain acid. These shampoos strip the dye and leave your scalp and hair dry. Instead, use color depositing shampoo and conditioner.

They deposit additional color molecules on the hair, making it more colorful. These shampoos and conditioners can help your hair color last 5-10 more washes.

Do Not Wash Your Hair Too Frequently

It washes off the semi-permanent hair color, making it fade faster. Limit your washes to one to three times per week. When you do, use a color-enhancing shampoo.

Also, wash the hair with cool water to avoid opening the hair cuticles leading to color shedding. Besides, washing your hair too frequently strips it of essential oil, leaving it dry.

Avoid the Sun

UV rays weaken the chemical bonds on the dye, causing it to fade. They also dry the hair resulting in damage. If you go out in the sun often, apply a thin layer of shea butter oil, coconut oil, castor oil, or other oil on the hair to create a protective layer against the UV rays.

Do Not Swim Without Covering the Hair

The chlorine will strip color from the hair. It also dries the hair and scalp making it prone to breakage. So, if you must swim, protect your hair and scalp before diving in.

Unlike permanent and demi-permanent hair dyes, semi-permanent hair color does not need to be mixed with a developer. Doing so weakens the dye making it lighter and more difficult to set in the hair. It also washes off easily.

Since semi-permanent dyes do not contain harsh chemicals such as bleach, hydrogen peroxide, and ammonia, they are generally safe on hair and easy to use. They are safe for at-home application too.

Photo of author

James Hunter

James Hunter is a talented stylist from LA with a wealth of experience. After training at the nVisually Hair Salon & Academy, he's spent over a decade as a senior stylist, always ready to share his styling tips and tricks. James has a knack for trying out new things and often brings this adventurous spirit to his work at Hairdo Hairstyle.