Does Semi-Permanent Black Hair Dye Wash Out?

LuxeLuminous is reader supported. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

So you’re obsessing about trying a new look. Something chic, something edgy, something dramatic. Or perhaps you’re hoping to cover up some pesky grays sprouting up in your dark head of hair. Your shade of choice?


Before you dive into the world of artificial hues, know what to expect. There’s always a risk that you won’t be pleased with the result. Until you’re certain that black is the shade for you, you’ll want to stay away from anything permanent. Does semi-permanent black hair dye wash out? What is semi-permanent hair color? What does that mean exactly?


Semi-Permanent Hair Dye

Punky Color Black Semi Permanent Hair Dye

As you may have guessed from the name, semi-permanent hair dye does not last as long as the permanent variety. If you go with a permanent hair product, that’s it. You’re stuck with that shade until you color over it or new hair grows in.

Or your shave it all off and start fresh. 

Semi-permanent dye is a less intimidating alternative. Unlike permanent hair color, there is no ammonia or bleach in these products. Ammonia and bleach work to open the hair cuticle and remove pigment before artificial color is added.

With semi-permanent hair dye, nothing is removed; the outside of the hair shaft is simply coated in a new color which eventually washes away.    

Who is semi-permanent hair color good for?

Semi-permanent dye is great if you’re still experimenting and not ready to commit to one color. Once you’ve tried out a few shades and decided on the one you adore, then go for it with something permanent.

Or if you like to change your hair as often as you change up your nails, then don’t bother with anything permanent.

Semi is the way to go. Here’s some more information about semi-permanent hair dye.

How Long Does Semi-Permanent Hair Dye Last?

Now that we’ve established the finite nature of semi-permanent hair dye, how long can we expect our temporary color to last? Well, it really depends on the quality of your hair and how often you wash it. 

Typically, semi-permanent hair dye should last you about six to eight weeks. The more frequently you wash it, the more quickly it will fade. If you want it to last as long as possible, follow these suggestions:

  • Wait a few days before washing your newly colored hair.
  • Stay away from direct sunlight.
  • Avoid chlorinated swimming pools.
  • Skip washing and use dry shampoo when possible.
  • Wash with cool / warm water, not hot.
  • Be sure to use shampoos and conditioners specifically formulated for colored hair.   

Does Semi-Permanent Dye Damage Hair?

Be aware that even though semi-permanent products are not as harsh as permanent ones, over coloring can still affect the quality of your hair. These dyes still break down protein bonds and cause the hair to become rougher, drier and more porous – not a great look or texture.

Keep damage to a minimum by waiting at least six to eight weeks before coloring over previously treated hair.

And remember to give processed hair lots of nutrients and moisture.

Does Semi-Permanent Black Hair Dye Wash Out? 

Arctic Fox Transylvania Black Hair Dye

Perhaps coloring with black dye makes you nervous. After all, it’s an extreme shade. Does semi-permanent black hair dye wash out and fade just like the other colors?

Yes, have no fear.

Even though black is the most resistant of shades, it does come out in about six to nine weeks. However, the end result may depend on what lies beneath the black dye. 

When the hair cuticle is porous, this means it is more open and exposed to the environment. It absorbs quickly and also loses color more quickly.

If you’ve got porous hair, the dye won’t last overly long. 

Does Semi-Permanent Dye Wash Out of Bleached Hair?

If your hair was dark before you used the semi-permanent product, it should fade back to normal. For those with very light tones, especially bleached blonde or platinum hair, there’s a chance the black dye might be a bit stubborn and take a very long time to fade.

In the meantime, it might take on a dull ‘in-between’ shade (brassy or even greenish) you might not love. 

Tips For Using Semi-Permanent Hair Dye

If you don’t feel like splurging on a professional colorist and are new to DIY hair coloring, we’ve got some suggestions for you, whether you go for black or another shade.

  1. If you darken your hair, semi-permanent products work fine. But if you want to go with a lighter shade than what you already have, semi-permanent won’t work. This is because semi-permanent color does not remove pigment from the hair. It adds color to the outside of the hair shaft. So going lighter actually will actually involve bleaching with a permanent product.
  2. A few days before taking the plunge, try a patch test to make sure your skin does not have an adverse reaction to the chemicals in the solution. Find a small area of skin that isn’t noticeable. Apply some of the dye, wait the suggested amount of time and then rinse off. Observe your skin for a day or two. If it’s red and irritated, this dye isn’t for you.
  3. Grab an old towel to protect your clothes, plus one for the floor and another to protect your counter top and sink. Otherwise, they could get permanent stains.
  4. Wear gloves to protect your hands and apply petroleum jelly to the skin along your hairline to avoid irritation and temporary discoloration.
  5. Follow instructions carefully. Apply mixture to dry hair using the recommended tools.  
  6. Rinse the dye out very thoroughly with cool / warm water. Be sure to remove all traces of it from your hair. Generally you do not shampoo after using semi-permanent dye, unless one is provided for you. 
  7. Condition well and air dry rather than blow dry to reduce the amount of heat on the hair.  

See also:

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).