Photo: Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images
When it comes to hair color, commitment-phobes may have the right idea. Using a semi-permanent dye is safer for your scalp and gentler on your tresses than permanent dye. Plus, it provides a fresh pop of color that works with your hair's natural look -- no messy highlighting kits required.
Semi-permanent dye stains your strands -- in a good way. It doesn't dive into your hair's pores to change them from the inside; instead, it coats your tresses, leaving your natural highlights and lowlights intact. The result is multidimensional color that seems to play in the light. And as it gradually washes out, you'll find that it blends with your roots -- a major plus for girls who want their color to look natural.
Afraid of commitment? Semi-permanent dye washes out over the course of several washes (typically around 24), leaving you with your original color at the end of the month. This makes it a smart choice for divas who want to try on a hair color without committing to permanent dye. And if you fall in love with your new stunning shade, you can always re-dye it at the end of the month or switch to a permanent dye.
A Gentle Touch
Permanent dyes contain harsh chemicals -- especially that reeking skin irritant called ammonia. It forces open your hair's pores to deposit dye inside your strands. The good news is, semi-permanent dye doesn't need to open your hair's cuticles, so it doesn't contain ammonia. That means less smell and an itch-free scalp that feels as good as your hair will look.
If you've dyed your hair with permanent dye and it's turning brassy (you know, sort of orange), semi-permanent dye can act as a toner. An ash color will help cancel out orange tones in your hair, for a fresh-from-the-salon finish. "Marie Claire" recommends applying it to wet hair and letting it set for three minutes before rinsing; this makes it act like a sheer toner, rather than a dye that changes the overall color of your strands.