Whether you’re in the mood to try the latest hair color trend or dyeing your hair has become a permanent fixture in your hair journey, it’s important to know the different types of hair color—including permanent hair color and semi-permanent hair color—and how they will interact with your locks. Not all color is created equal and each serves a different purpose. Knowing the six different types of hair color will allow you to feel confident in your new beauty look—whether you plan on keeping it or not!
HAIR COLOR TYPE #1: TEMPORARY HAIR COLOR
Shades of gray and pastels have been lighting up social media feeds recently. These on-trend colors make for a pretty picture, but not everyone is ready to keep such a bold look for the long term. This is where temporary hair color comes into play. Temporary hair dye coats the outside of the hair shaft. When you shampoo, the vibrant, new color will wash out and the original shade of your hair will show again. This allows the wearer to experience a new hair shade without the long-term commitment. However, you should know that damaged hair that’s dyed with temporary hair color could look stained after a while.
HAIR COLOR TYPE #2: SEMI-PERMANENT HAIR DYE
If you’re ready to take that temporary look a little further, semi-permanent hair color will do just the trick. These dyes are generally not formulated with ammonia, so they should not require any development, but can last up to eight washes. Semi-permanent dye can be a great option for gray hair coverage if you know you can’t get to the salon right away.
There are a myriad of benefits to using semi-permanent color, including that they can help add gloss and shine to dull looking hair, they’re great to use when growing out permanent color, and they can be used to help provide temporary root touch-ups.
Like temporary color, if your hair is thin it could retain semi-permanent color more, meaning you may get more wear between applications.
HAIR COLOR TYPE #3: PERMANENT HAIR COLOR
If you’re looking to stick something out long term, permanent hair dye is probably the right option for you. This dye requires more complex chemical processing and should penetrate your hair more deeply. This means your color can last for weeks without visible signs of fading.
Permanent hair color can be used to help lighten, darken, or tone your hair, help provide high gray hair coverage, help prevent fading, and provide high coverage.
Despite its long-lasting benefits, permanent hair color will eventually have to be reapplied due to new growth. Depending on your base color and what you’d like to achieve, you may have to gradually color your hair to achieve your desired look. While it would be great to go from dark to platinum blonde in one sitting, slow and steady usually wins the hair color race.
HAIR COLOR TYPE #4: HIGHLIGHTS
Not every look requires all-over color, which is where hair highlights come into play. These are achieved by placing the color on different segments of the hair to help promote depth, tone, and shade. The chunky-looking highlights of the past are long gone, and now a more dimensional, toned-down look has become a way to help refresh tired locks. Instead of being limited to one type of highlights, there are quite a few you can choose from. These include:
HIGHLIGHT TYPE #1: OMBRÉ
Ombré hair color leaves the natural color at the root and gradually fades into a lighter highlighted tone at the bottom of the hair.
HIGHLIGHT TYPE #2: BALAYAGE
This highlighting technique involves painting on the highlights where they will pick up the light, and helps give tired-looking hair a youthful glow.
HIGHLIGHT TYPE #3: LOWLIGHTS
Instead of picking strands to lighten, this technique can introduce darker tones to the hair and is perfect for a fall update.
HIGHLIGHT TYPE #4: TEXTURED HIGHLIGHTS
This style will incorporate different shades of highlights to help create a multi-dimensional look.
Editor’s note: Most highlights for hair are done with permanent color, but they are much easier to change out than a full-coverage color job.
HAIR COLOR TYPE #5: ROOT COLOR
For some people, gray hair can be the bane of their existence. You may not need or want a full color dye, so a root touch up may be the best way to help maintain your natural color. The great news is that root concealer can range from temporary to permanent, and there are plenty of new options to cover gray hair. One of our favorites is a temporary root cover up spray. Sprays are a great way to help quickly cover the appearance of gray roots. If you need a quick solution, these sprays distribute color and can be washed out with your next shampoo. Temporary root concealers are not a great permanent solution—hence the name—but are amazing for last-minute events and touch-ups. Sound like what you need?
HAIR COLOR TYPE #6: HAIR BLEACH
If you have naturally dark brown or brunette hair, there is a good chance you’ll need a hair color bleach to lighten your hair before dying it to the color of your choice. While bleach is a great way to lighten and brighten your hair, be aware that bleaching can lead to damage.