Photo: Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
All too often, hair color conjures up images of peroxide blond streaks. It doesn't need to mean a permanent style change, and semi-permanent hair dye lasts long enough to let you meditate on a color's rightness for your look. Live a little by dyeing your mane a fun, flirty color and knowing it'll all wash out.
For short-lived color that lasts about two weeks, look for semi-permanent dye, which lasts about eight to 12 shampoos. A little of the color washes out each time you shampoo, so hold off on shampoos if you need a bit more time. This color sits on top of the hair follicle and penetrates a bit inside, but doesn't get fully deposited, hence the short time frame. For a super-short look, try temporary hair color that lasts from one shampoo to the next.
If you're wavering on a style change, trying it out in temp version could give you a fresh perspective on your look. You'll generally use store-bought kits, which definitely take the price down from salon-budget style changes, although you can have semi-permanent highlights put in by your stylist.
Short-lived color helps you hide long-lasting hair horrors. If you lightened your mane and hate the new look, dyeing over it with the semi-permanent color can get you back to your natural hue. Bleach takes away the natural mix of tones in your hair, so look for a dye with the right undertones. A warm golden or honey brown can get the base notes right, then you can dye over that with another kit in your hair's hue.
Read over the instructions on your dye kit before you color, so you know how long the dye should sit on your mane. Change into an old t-shirt. Coat your hairline, the nape of your neck and your ears with petroleum jelly so you don't dye your skin. Mix up the dye and developer in an applicator bottle, then coat your locks with the good stuff. Let it process, covering up your tresses with a shower cap so you don't drip. When time's up, rinse off under the shower and follow up with a gentle shampoo and moisturizing conditioner.