How long does permanent hair dye last

Hair dyeing is the go-to whenever you want some subtle color changes. And not just that, it covers up grey hair too! Talk about creating that hip and youthful appearance!

And if you didn’t know, hair dyes come in 3 types: permanent, semi-permanent, and demi-permanent. 

Permanent hair dyes are the longest-lasting choice among all other hair dyes as they penetrate the cortex the most. 

So how long exactly does permanent hair dye last? 

Well, this article is here to answer that! Read along as we look into the world of permanent hair dyes. 

But before anything else, let’s first look into how this type of dye works. 


How does permanent hair dye works? 

How does permanent hair dye works

Permanent hair dye works hand in hand with a developer, containing ammonia and hydrogen peroxide.

These chemical agents oxidize with melanin, thereby penetrating color deep into the cuticle. 

In other words, permanent hair dye changes the color of the hair shaft from within.  ​​


How long does it take for permanent hair dye to fade completely?

It will take several washes for permanent hair dye to fade completely. Generally, permanent hair dye lasts for 6-8 weeks

But its longevity still varies depending on how often you wash your tresses, the color of the hair dye applied, your natural hair color, and your natural hair type.

The more frequently you wash your tresses, the faster the color fades. 

Your natural hair color is also a factor. Permanent dyes also last for 6 weeks on natural dark brown and black hair and 3-4 weeks on natural blonde and red hair. 

Also, dark-colored hair dyes, such as brown and black, fade the slowest while lighter ones fade the quickest. 

Porous hair also absorbs color better, making permanent hair dye last longer. 

However, color may fade quicker with constant sunlight, chlorine, and saltwater exposure.

But don’t worry, you can simply refresh the color by re-dyeing your hair or using a toner! 


Does permanent hair dye fade eventually?

Does permanent hair dye fade eventually

Permanent hair dye appears vibrant and vivid during the first few weeks after application. But with constant shampooing, it may start to fade. 

The reason is that pigment molecules in the color molecules become smaller with every wash. Also, permanent hair dyes are water-soluble. Frequent washing saturates the strands, seeping the color away.

And as mentioned earlier, several factors such as your washing habits, hair type and color, and sunlight and chlorine exposure affect the fading process. 

Tips to make permanent hair dye last longer

Nothing lasts forever, not even permanent hair dyes! But don’t fret! 

You can still maintain color vibrancy by simply following these 6 easy tips: 

  1. Use sulfate-free and color-safe shampoos and conditioners. 
  2. Nourish your tresses once a week with a deep conditioning hair mask.
  3. Apply heat-protectant, especially when going out. 
  4. Avoid heat styling tools as much as possible.
  5. Wear a swimming cap in pools and seawater.
  6. Revitalize your hair using a dry shampoo. 
  7. Conceal those root regrowth with root cover-ups.
  8. Use cold water when washing.

Does permanent hair dye damage hair?

Is permanent hair dye damaging? Yes! 

Most permanent hair dye utilizes potent chemicals, such as hydrogen peroxide,  ammonia, and p-phenylenediamine. 

Ammonia opens the hair’s protein layers and allows color to coat the hair shaft. Hydrogen peroxide removes the hair’s natural color while p-phenylenediamine binds itself into the hair to color it. 

Permanent hair dye does not simply stain the hair. Instead, it penetrates the hair shaft and changes the hair’s natural pigmentation.

It alters the cuticle layer, breaks down proteins, and strips off the hair’s protective lipid layer

And once this happens, the hair becomes rough, unmanageable, and worst of it all, damaged.  

Which is more damaging — light or dark hair dyes? 

It depends on your natural hair color. 

Applying a shade near to your original hair color is less destructive. Lightening or darkening your tresses beyond their normal hue range poses more harm.


How long does permanent hair dye last on bleached hair?

You should avoid applying permanent hair dye to bleached hair. Otherwise, you’ll risk ruining your hair. 

Permanent hair dyes cause extensive damage to bleached hair, which is almost certainly irreversible. 

Bleaching strips off the hair’s original color from the cuticle, which is the same cuticle that permanent hair dye penetrates to implant new colors. Combining these two may severely destroy your tresses.

But if you’ve already applied permanent hair dye on your bleached hair, how long will the color last? 

Well, permanent hair dyes last longer on bleached hair since the hair becomes absorbent, especially with darker hues such as brown and black. 

In some instances, black hair dye will not completely fade on bleached hair.

Bleached hair is also porous. As mentioned before, porous hair absorbs color better, making the dye last longer.

So if you have bleached hair, expect that permanent dyes will last beyond 6-8 weeks.


How long does permanent hair dye last without bleach?

How long does permanent hair dye last without bleach

Permanent hair dye only adds a little tint to unbleached hair. Chemical colors work by penetrating the hair. So if you have natural and undamaged tresses, the color won’t fully absorb.

So how long does permanent hair dye last on unbleached hair? 

On average, permanent hair dye lasts 2-6 weeks on unbleached hair, depending on the color used and your hair care routine. Since unbleached hair is less damaged, the dye cannot penetrate deep into the hair and will not last long. 

CHECK OUT: How long does semi-permanent hair dye last


How long does permanent hair dye last on grey hair?

Permanent hair dye is ideal for grey hair since color penetrates the hair, rather than simply depositing it onto your tresses. Ammonia opens the cuticle, allowing color to go deeper into the hair. 

Most permanent hair dyes provide 100% gray coverage, hiding grey hair effectively.

Also, it stays longer compared to demi-permanent and semi-permanent dyes. They can last around 6-8 weeks on grey hair. But again, this depends on many factors like heat and chlorine exposure. 


How to remove permanent hair dye from the hair

Permanent hair dye locks in color the longest, compared to semi-permanent and demi-permanent dyes. 

But are there ways to instantly remove permanent hair dye from the hair?

Fortunately, yes!

One method is mixing lemon juice and clarifying shampoo. Simply apply the mixture to your tresses and leave it there for a few minutes. Then rinse. 

You can also use vitamin C tablets. Crush the tablets until they turn into powder form, and mix the powder with either dish soap or anti-dandruff shampoo. Apply it to the hair like any other shampoo.

Baking soda also does the trick! 

A color remover, as the name suggests, also effectively removes permanent dyes. But make this your last resort as it is potentially damaging.  


The takeaway

Turns out permanent hair dyes aren’t REALLY permanent. The color fades over time and will eventually grow out. 

And although they last for about 6-8 weeks, this time frame also depends on how well you maintain your hair and some other factors like frequent washing, heat, chlorine, etc. 

So always look after your tresses to avoid premature fading and ensure long-lasting colors!

Last Updated: May 31, 2022

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