The Battle against Gray: Permanent Hair Color vs. Semi-Permanent

The permanent and semi-permanent hair colors are most popular in hair colors. There are different types of hair colors which include the temporary and demi-permanent. The classification of the hair colors suggest how long the colors last. When not considering the duration the different classification suggests the presence of harmful chemicals in them, the absence of harmful substances, the effects on the hair, the purpose of using them and the effects on the hair.

How do gray hairs develop?

Genetics play a major role in determining the development of the first gray hairs. The color of the hair is done by certain cells at the root of the hair. Melanin the pigment colors the hair and at times it produces less pigmentation leading to the graying of the hair. For the first gray hairs you just pull out but soon you realize you will need to pull out a quarter of your hair coverage so you have to look for alternatives and hair coloring is an alternative.

Permanent hair color

This hair color operates by penetrating the hair shaft to color. The technique works by first lightening the hair shaft then fixing the cortex in a way that it cannot be washed off.


Permanent hair colors do not fade they only grow out of the hair. This means it is a long lasting color but regular touch ups are needed as the hair grows.

The pros

a) It saves you the time and money as you do not need to color the hair regularly like every month.
b) The permanent hair color gives the hair 100% of gray coverage.
c) You can permanently change your hair color by more than one shade.
d) A permanent hair color will take care of the lightening hair concern and it can be used for tip-dyeing or highlighting the hair.
e) It permanently lightens the hair color.

The cons

a) These colors do not fade so the newly grown hair has distinctly visible roots after few weeks of application.
b) The hair color has harmful substances such as peroxide and ammonia which could damage the hair.
c) The process is costly and it requires a professional to fix the color because it lasts longer and it will not be regularly done.
d) It changes the hair structure so that it can permanently fix the color.
e) It has to be mixed with developer activator before application and requires a professional or the knowledge on how to correctly mix to avoid it back firing.

Semi-permanent hair color

The type of hair color operates by covering the surfaces of the hair and can easily be washed off after a few washes. The semi-permanent can be considered safe to use as it does not the harmful chemicals which lighten the hair such as hydrogen peroxide and ammonia.


The semi-permanent colors can be washed off, averagely after 10 to 12 washes. The exact time it takes for the color to finally get washed off depends on the hair products used for washing and the texture of the hair.

The pros

a) If you are coloring your hair for the first time or you are trying on a new shade of color it is advisable to use semi-permanent colors.
b) Use semi-permanent hair colors when you want to add subtle tints or you want to enhance the current hair color.
c) Semi-permanent colors start fading soon so the roots are not distinctly seen.
d) If you are the person who likes changing your hair color from time to time you should pick the semi-permanent colors which will wash off and you change your color shade.
e) It damages the hair less because of the absence of harmful hair color lightening substances.
f) Can easily be done at home saving you the cost of visiting the salon.
g) The semi-permanent color can be used on damaged hair, permed or relaxed hair.
h) It adds shine to the hair and is also called hair gloss.
i) The color does not require any mixing as it is directly applied to the hair.
j) It does not change the structure of the hair.

The cons

a) The semi-permanent hair color cannot entirely cover the grays or drastically change the appearance of the hair.
b) It lightening hair factor is not effective.
c) You might use too much color especially if you are doing the coloring at home, it will wash off after a short duration.