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Hair Color 101: The Expert Take

Hair Color 101: The Expert Take
SkinStore Editors
Writer and expert4 years ago
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Hair Color is no exception when it comes to technical terms. It can be a bit confusing when trying to understand the difference between demi, semi and permanent. Have no fear, we’re here to explain the intricacies in all things's hair color.

Permanent Hair Color

True to its name, this does exactly what it says. When mixed with the proper ratio of developer, this opens the hair cuticle and disperses the dye deep inside the hair shaft. The formula works to reseal the shaft so that the color won't escape. Permanent hair color can change your hair color to be lighter, darker and cover grays. The color lasts indefinitely because it permanently alters the color structure of the hair.Because Permanent hair color will not fade away, you will see a line where new growth appears. This is especially troublesome when you are trying to cover up pesky grays. It's always a good idea to see a professional stylist when getting a permanent hair dye treatment. While this method can be life changing, it can also require more visits to the salon. Read on further to see some of my tips on how to extend the time between your salon visits.Some great products to keep permanent hair color looking lustrous and vibrant:

Christophe Robin Color Shield Shampoo

The shampoo prioritizes the elimination of brassy, unwelcome tones caused by color fading and oxidizing over time. Charging lackluster locks with a nourishing host of antioxidant vitamins, the powerhouse formula helps to shield your color from oxidative stress as it strengthens the hair fiber for a vibrant and resilient finish.

Christophe Robin Color Shield Mask

The formula of the hair mask is infused with an acidic pH, allowing it to effortlessly illuminate your colour for long-lasting vibrancy and brilliance. The mask for coloured hair is finished with a creamy, lightweight texture that is fast-absorbing, never leaving a greasy, heavy residue.

Demi - Permanent Hair 

Demi-Permanent hair color is formulated with less ammonia than Permanent. It's also mixed with a lower volume of developer. While this does penetrate the hair shaft, its much less damaging than permanent hair color. This will not lighten your hair color but can deposit color over blonde or lightened hair, however it is typically used to enhance or darken your hair color. The color will gradually fade over 12-24 washes.I compare Demi Permanent color to women's hosiery. It's like adding a sheer layer of color to enhance what you already have. This is a great option for someone who doesn’t want to commit to a permanent color but would like to go a shade darker. Your hair can look healthier after a demi-permanent hair color treatment. A clear Demi Permanent can add luster and shine. If you’re a blonde you are probably familiar with toners. These are usually made with demi-permanent formulations and can work to counteract brassiness while keeping the blonde color intact. It does not cover grays but does help to blend them more evenly into your hair and can elongate the time in between salon visits.If using a demi permanent to help with brassiness, you might also want to try a toning shampoo. I’m including some of our tried and true products for keeping your color the perfect tone:

Phyto Phytoargent No Yellow Shampoo

For gray, white and platinum blondes.

Philip B Icelandic Blonde Shampoo

Light blonde to medium blonde.

Christophe Robin Shade Variation Mask - Ash Brown

 Formulated to neutralize orange hues and artificial tones in pure brown hair.


Whether your hair is natural or colored, it combines anti-red pigments and licorice extract to counterbalance the effects of oxidation, whilst nourishing your hair and providing antioxidant protection to shield it from environmental damage.


Semi - Permanent Hair

The benefit of a Semi Permanent hair color is that it has no ammonia and does not need to be mixed with a developer. The gentle formulation deposits color onto the surface of the hair. Unlike permanent or demi-permanent hair color, semi-permanent color does not penetrate the hair shaft. However, it is like Demi Permanent in that it alters the tone of the hair and functions as a sheer coating.Semi-Permanent hair color also works to add shine and luster to the hair but is much less damaging than Permanent or Demi Permanent. Semi-permanent color may also be found in shampoos, conditioners and masks that can be used to maintain the tone of hair between salon visits. These types of products are extremely beneficial to refresh faded hair color or to blend in new hair growth with the base color. Depending on the integrity of the hair, Semi Permanent color will gradually fade over 4-10 shampoos. While this will not last like a Demi- Permanent color, it’s very easy to do at home with a shampoo, conditioner or color enhancing mask. This is ideal for anyone wanting to save time and money with a longer time between salon visits.If you're interested in a Semi permanent or temporary color, I highly suggest you check out the Christophe Robin Temporary Color Gels  and the EVO FABULOSO line in various shades. The color works to instantly cover up gray hairs without modifying the hair’s structure, making it a short-term fix that fades gracefully and evenly in 5 to 7 washes without leaving a ‘helmet’ root effect. 
Last but least, coloring your hair can be a big investment. It's important to protect that investment by selecting products that will help maintain and extend the vibrancy of your hair color.
SkinStore Editors
Writer and expert
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Our team of beauty experts cover everything from skincare to makeup, picking out the most effective products from the best brands and latest trends. Stay up to date on everything beauty with the SkinStore blog, and find all your essentials in one place.