How Soon Can You Dye Hair After Using Semi-Permanent Hair Dye?

For safe, DIY color, always follow your product’s instructions.

Photo: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

Need to cover up a bad dye job pronto? Or maybe you’re just so enamored with DIY home hair color (hey, it’s addictive) that you can’t wait to color it again! Whether you’re salvaging a massacred mane or spicing it up with some new colors, there’s good news where semi-permanent dye is concerned: Because it’s gentle on your tresses, you don’t have to wait very long to use dye again.

Definition

Semi-permanent dye is the gentlest of all types of hair dye. Why? It simply coats your hair shaft with color, rather than stripping it of its current shade and protective oils (permanent dye and bleach are both guilty of this). Some semi-permanent brands contain a conditioner that actually strengthens your hair when you apply it, making this type of dye a popular choice for ladies with bleached or damaged hair.

Time Frame

The time you should wait between dyeing sessions depends largely on the type of dye you use. Semi-permanent dyes that contain little or no peroxide or ammonia are safe to use as often as you’d like. Some people even leave these dyes on overnight to really help the color sink in -- testament to how gentle these dyes truly are. However, to get the purest, prettiest shade out of your new dye job, it may be best to wait to dye again until the original color fades completely. This can be anywhere from a few days to six weeks, depending on the brand of dye you use and how porous or damaged your hair is. Porous, dry or damaged hair holds color longer than virgin hair.

Fading Your Color

If you want a fresh palette for your new dye job, you can actually fade old semi-permanent color on your own at home. Rinse your hair in Diet Cola (the ingredients in Diet help to lift color), and then wash your hair multiple times in very warm water with a strong clarifying shampoo. Dish soap or dandruff shampoo may also work to remove color. You may also buy a color stripper product from a beauty supply store to remove unwanted hues, but don’t leave this product on your hair too long or it may cause damage.

Consequences

There are a few consequences to dyeing your hair with semi-permanent dye too frequently. The first is that you might encounter product buildup in your hair, making your mane feel gummy and unnatural. Unfortunately, the only way to fix that is to wash your mane with clarifying shampoo in very warm water -- which also strips it of its gorgeous color. Another consequence of dyeing hair with semi-permanent color too frequently is that you may wind up with dry tresses over time. Even the trace amounts of chemicals in semi-permanent dye can eventually take their toll on your hair, so be careful.

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