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Semi-Permanent Hair Color vs. Demi-Permanent Hair Color: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 27, 2023
Semi-permanent hair color coats the hair without penetration; demi-permanent hair color penetrates slightly for a longer-lasting result.

Key Differences

Semi-permanent hair color is a non-ammonia dye that simply coats the hair, whereas demi-permanent hair color contains low levels of peroxide, allowing some penetration into the hair shaft.
While both types offer a less permanent solution than permanent dyes, semi-permanent hair color typically washes out after 4-12 shampoos, and demi-permanent hair color lasts around 12-24 washes due to its slight penetration.
Semi-permanent hair color is ideal for subtle changes and does not lighten hair. In contrast, demi-permanent hair color can provide more noticeable color shifts and can blend gray hair, but not lighten it.
Semi-permanent hair color is generally less damaging since it doesn't alter the hair structure. Demi-permanent hair color, with its slight penetration, might lead to minimal damage but provides a longer-lasting effect.
Individuals often use semi-permanent hair color for fun, temporary changes or to enhance their natural color. Demi-permanent hair color is more suited for those wanting a more enduring change without the commitment of a permanent dye.

Comparison Chart


No ammonia, coats hair.
Low levels of peroxide, slight penetration.


Washes out after 4-12 shampoos.
Lasts around 12-24 washes.

Color Intensity

Subtle changes, doesn't lighten hair.
More noticeable changes, can blend gray hair.


Generally less damaging.
Might lead to minimal damage.

Typical Use

Temporary changes, enhance natural color.
Enduring change without permanent commitment.

Semi-Permanent Hair Color and Demi-Permanent Hair Color Definitions

Semi-Permanent Hair Color

A product for subtle hair color changes without commitment.
For the summer, she opted for a blue semi-permanent hair color.

Demi-Permanent Hair Color

A color solution for hair that provides deeper color without being permanent.
Demi-permanent hair color gives me a richer hue without long-term commitment.

Semi-Permanent Hair Color

A temporary hair dye that coats the hair without lightening it.
Her pink streaks were achieved using semi-permanent hair color.

Demi-Permanent Hair Color

A dye containing low peroxide levels, offering color that fades gradually.
For a more lasting effect, he went with a brown demi-permanent hair color.

Semi-Permanent Hair Color

A hair dye offering color variety without long-term effects.
He experimented with green semi-permanent hair color for the concert.

Demi-Permanent Hair Color

A hair colorant that offers vibrancy and durability without being permanent.
To enhance her natural brunette, she used a burgundy demi-permanent hair color.

Semi-Permanent Hair Color

A wash-out hair colorant for fun and experimentation.
Semi-permanent hair color allows me to switch hues frequently.

Demi-Permanent Hair Color

A hair dye with slight penetration, lasting longer than semi-permanent options.
She chose demi-permanent hair color to blend her grays.

Semi-Permanent Hair Color

A hair color solution without ammonia that fades with washing.
I prefer semi-permanent hair color for its less damaging effects.

Demi-Permanent Hair Color

A product for those desiring color longevity without using permanent dyes.
Her auburn locks were the result of a demi-permanent hair color.


Can semi-permanent hair color lighten hair?

No, semi-permanent hair color doesn't lighten hair; it only adds color.

Does demi-permanent hair color cover gray hair?

Yes, demi-permanent hair color can blend gray hair, but it won't completely cover it.

Is demi-permanent hair color ammonia-free?

While many demi-permanent hair colors are ammonia-free, they do contain low levels of peroxide.

Will swimming affect my semi-permanent hair color?

Yes, chlorine and frequent washing can fade semi-permanent hair color faster.

Is semi-permanent hair color less damaging?

Generally, yes, because it merely coats the hair without altering its structure.

Can I use semi-permanent hair color for a fun, short-term change?

Absolutely, semi-permanent hair color is perfect for temporary changes.

Can I use demi-permanent hair color after a relaxing treatment?

It's advisable to consult a hair professional, but generally, demi-permanent hair color is less damaging post-relaxing.

Can I layer semi-permanent hair color over demi-permanent?

Yes, but always consult a hair professional or conduct a strand test first.

How do I maintain my demi-permanent hair color vibrancy?

Use color-protective shampoos and conditioners and avoid frequent washing.

Does demi-permanent hair color provide a natural look?

Yes, it can provide a more natural and blended look, especially for gray coverage.

How does demi-permanent hair color fade?

It fades gradually with each wash, maintaining a more consistent tone.

Which is better for a first-time user: semi or demi-permanent hair color?

Semi-permanent hair color, for its ease of application and shorter duration, might be better for beginners.

How long does demi-permanent hair color typically last?

Demi-permanent hair color typically lasts between 12-24 washes.

What is semi-permanent hair color?

Semi-permanent hair color is a temporary dye that coats the hair without penetration, lasting 4-12 washes.

How does demi-permanent hair color differ?

Demi-permanent hair color contains low peroxide, allowing slight penetration, and lasts 12-24 washes.

Can demi-permanent hair color be used on eyebrows?

It's not recommended; specialized eyebrow tints should be used instead.

Can I mix different shades of semi-permanent hair color?

Yes, you can mix to customize shades, but always follow manufacturer instructions.

Which lasts longer: semi or demi-permanent hair color?

Demi-permanent hair color typically lasts longer than semi-permanent.

Why choose semi-permanent over permanent hair color?

For less commitment, less damage, and the ability to change colors more frequently.

Are there any allergies associated with semi-permanent hair color?

Allergies can occur; always conduct a patch test before full application.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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