Does Semi-Permanent Color Lift?

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Over the past few years, home hair-coloring has become much easier and more fun. There are loads of how-tos on TikTok and Youtube. And products like toner and semi-permanent dye give quicker results, Hair coloring keeps getting easier. 

But we’re not all schooled in this stuff, and there are many questions. One of the big ones is Does Semi-Permanent Color Lift?

In this article, we’ll talk about semi-permanent dye and color lifting, and break it all down for you.


What is Semi-Permanent Hair Color?

Semi-permanent hair dyes are the best choice for beginners. They last for only 4 to 12 washes; they are temporary. Unlike most permanent hair dyes, these colors are also non-damaging as they don’t have any ammonia or peroxide.

Since semi-permanent colors don’t have these ingredients, a pre-mixer or a developer is unnecessary.

Semi-permanent hair dyes are usually applied directly to the hair. The best results are obtained when used on freshly shampooed hair.

These dyes are often darker than what you see in the bottle, so it’s always better to choose a shade lighter than the one you want. 

If you want to try out some cool, fun, and trendy hair colors for a while, semi-permanent hair colors might be the best choice for you.

They don’t require a lot of effort, and they wash out faster (and you can use dish soap to remove them if needed), which will help you figure out the right hair color for you.

What is Lifting?

“Lifting” the hair means to lighten the color of your hair, whether it is natural or artificial.

There are many methods of lifting, the most popular of which is bleaching.

Lifting will be a huge and essential part of the process if you aim to go from a darker color like brown to a lighter one, say, platinum blonde.

Lifting will be a huge and essential part of the process if you aim to go from a darker color like brown to a lighter one, say, platinum blonde.

Does Semi-Permanent Color Lift?

Semi-permanent hair color does add pigment and vibrancy to your hair, but it can not lift your hair color. There is no bleach or high-lift tint in the dye, so it cannot strip away the color that is already in your hair.

Semi-permanent hair color does add pigment and vibrancy to your hair, but it can not lift your hair color.

So, semi-permanent hair dyes can only be used to either go from a lighter color to a darker one or to give a tint to your hair. Since no damage is involved, your hair will have a newer look without being dry or brittle (as they get with bleach).

How to Lift Your Hair Color

There are several methods you can use if you want to go from a darker color to a lighter one. These methods can damage your hair, but your hair may stay healthy if used carefully and occasionally.

The safest method that you can do by yourself is using demi-permanent hair dyes. They contain low amounts of peroxide and can lighten your hair to some degree. They last longer than semi-permanent, till about 12-24 washes.

The most popular method to lighten your hair is to bleach it.

You can either go to the salon to have it bleached or use one of the countless home remedies like baking soda, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice to bleach your hair. It takes multiple sessions to go from a brown color to a blonde one, so you have to be patient and consistent.

And remember, bleaching can be super harsh on your hair, so hydrate it after bleaching!

What are some alternative temporary hair color methods?

1. Coloring Sprays 

If you want a quick and fast way to experiment with hair colors, hair color sprays might be for you. Like semi-permanent dyes, these sprays also don’t contain any ammonia or peroxide.

They last for a shorter period than semi-permanent colors; they fade away after a couple of washes.

2. Hair Chalks

Hair chalks are also a very quick and easy method to temporarily color your hair. While it is an affordable and fun method, it’s often very messy.

Since the chalk barely shows up on your hair, you have to put in a lot of effort to have the pigment show up at all.

3. Henna

Henna has been used as hair dye for around 4000 years. It’s still a big part of South Asian and Middle Eastern culture. The reason it’s been around for so long is that it’s a completely natural hair dye acquired by crushing henna leaves.

It’s known to promote hair growth and repair damaged hair. It’s also said that using henna as a hair dye reduces the risk of premature graying.

However, there are many downsides to using it as a hair dye. First of all, you can get a very limited range of colors. The range is the shades you’d find between reddish-brown and black. The dyeing process is also messy, and the removal is even messier.

Henna dries up in solid clumps that stick to your hair, so a lot of work is needed to remove it completely.

Bonus Tip

Please wear gloves for each of these methods to avoid damaging or staining your hands.

Always do a patch test on your forearm for any allergic reactions before using a new product. Lather your neck, forehead, and ears with a thick layer of petroleum jelly, moisturizing cream, or olive oil to avoid any stains on those areas.

Lastly, never leave any of the dyes on for longer than instructed.

Never leave any of the dyes on for longer than instructed.


Long and short: semi-permanent hair dye does not lift your hair color. If you want to go for a lighter shade, you’ll essentially have to bleach first, then color away!

All of the treatments above will be rendered useless or even harmful if you don’t take proper care of your hair. Haircare is extremely important, not only for locking in the color but also for giving it that healthy shine and glow.

Following a simple routine of 3 steps like cleansing, conditioning and styling will do wonders for your hair and self-esteem!

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).