Whats The Difference Between Semi And Demi Permanent Hair Color

Considering a change in hair color? Understanding the difference between semi-permanent and demi-permanent hair color can help you achieve your desired look. Let’s explore the distinctions between these two popular options.


Semi-permanent and demi-permanent hair colors are temporary hair color options that offer a subtle change or enhancement to your natural hair color. However, they differ in terms of color intensity and longevity.


Semi-permanent hair color typically lasts for about 4-6 weeks before gradually fading, while demi-permanent hair color lasts slightly longer, usually 6-8 weeks, before requiring a touch-up.

Color Deposit

Semi-permanent hair color coats the outer layer of the hair shaft and washes out gradually with each shampoo, resulting in a more subtle change. Demi-permanent hair color penetrates the hair shaft slightly deeper, providing a more noticeable color enhancement.


Semi-permanent hair color formulations usually contain larger color molecules that do not penetrate the hair cortex. Demi-permanent hair color contains smaller molecules that partially penetrate the hair cortex, resulting in a longer-lasting color.

Ammonia Content

Semi-permanent hair color is ammonia-free, making it gentler on the hair and suitable for those with sensitive scalps. Demi-permanent hair color may contain a low level of ammonia or an alkaline agent to slightly open the hair cuticle for better color penetration.

Developer Strength

Semi-permanent hair color does not require a developer and is typically applied straight from the bottle. Demi-permanent hair color may require a low-volume developer to activate the color molecules and enhance color longevity.

Application Process

Both semi-permanent and demi-permanent hair color are applied to clean, dry hair using a brush or applicator bottle. However, demi-permanent color may require a longer processing time to achieve optimal results.


Semi-permanent hair color produces a subtle, translucent effect that enhances your natural hair color without dramatically changing it. Demi-permanent hair color provides richer, more intense color results, especially on pre-lightened or porous hair.

Fade Factor

Semi-permanent hair color gradually fades with each shampoo, resulting in minimal color fade lines. Demi-permanent hair color fades more evenly but may still require touch-ups to maintain vibrancy.

Hair Damage

Both semi-permanent and demi-permanent hair colors are less damaging than permanent hair colors, as they do not contain harsh chemicals like ammonia or peroxide. However, frequent use of any hair color can lead to dryness and damage, so proper hair care is essential.


Semi-permanent hair color is ideal for those looking for a temporary change or experimenting with new shades without commitment. Demi-permanent hair color is suitable for those seeking longer-lasting color enhancement or covering up gray hair.


To maintain the vibrancy of semi-permanent and demi-permanent hair color, it’s essential to use color-safe shampoo and conditioner and avoid excessive heat styling. Regular touch-ups may be necessary to keep the color looking fresh.


Semi-permanent hair color is generally more affordable than demi-permanent hair color, making it a budget-friendly option for those on a tight budget.


While semi-permanent and demi-permanent hair color offer temporary solutions for enhancing your hair color, they differ in terms of color intensity, longevity, and application process. By understanding these differences, you can choose the option that best suits your needs and preferences.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can I use semi-permanent hair color on dark hair?

Semi-permanent hair color works best on light to medium hair shades. For dark hair, pre-lightening may be necessary to achieve desired results.

Will demi-permanent hair color cover gray hair completely?

Demi-permanent hair color can effectively cover gray hair, especially when applied to pre-lightened or porous hair.

How often should I touch up semi-permanent hair color?

It depends on your hair growth rate and desired level of color vibrancy. Generally, touch-ups are needed every 4-6 weeks.

Can I mix semi-permanent and demi-permanent hair color?

Mixing hair color formulas can yield unpredictable results. It’s best to stick to one type of hair color for consistent results.

Is it possible to go lighter with demi-permanent hair color?

Demi-permanent hair color can lighten the hair slightly, but for significant lightening, permanent hair color or bleach may be required.

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