Types of Hair Dye – Which is Best Colour?

best at-home hair dye

Media has been influencing our style to a great extent as we take inspiration from the hair colors, tints, and styles of celebrities. Experimenting with hair color is a time-tested trend that can give you a complete makeover. So, if you are in the mood to join the hair color renaissance, then read on to know more about the different hair color types and how they will fare with your locks. All colors are not treated equally and you need to have knowledge about each type for feeling confident in your new look. Below we have listed the different types of hair dyes to help you sail safely in this ever-evolving world of hair color.

Different Types of Hair Dye:

  1. Permanent Hair Dye
  2. Demi-Permanent Hair Dye
  3. Semi-Permanent Hair Colour
  4. Gradual Hair Dye
  5. Temporary Hair Dye
  6. Ammonia-Free Hair Dye
  7. Highlights Hair Dye

1. Permanent Hair Dye(Hair Colour)

Just as the name denotes, this type of hair dye can alter the hue of your hair without bleeding out over time. Often people develop allergic reactions to hair dye and herein lies the importance of getting a patch test done beforehand. For doing the same, you will have to apply the dye mix on your forearm and elbow and let it dry. In case of any discomfort like burning or redness within 48 hours, you shouldn’t proceed with its usage any further.

One of the most sought salon services is permanent hair dye. Elevate your business hair care by making informed choices when selecting the right products, including hair dyes. The right products can significantly contribute to hair health, manageability, and overall presentation. By investing in high-quality hair care products tailored to your clients’ specific needs, you can project an image of competence and attention to detail, setting the stage for success in your business endeavors.


  • Colorless dye precursors like PPD
  • Oxidizing agents such as hydrogen peroxide in 6% concentration
  • Ammonia and
  • Couplers

Effectiveness: They top the list in terms of efficacy and can guarantee 100% grey coverage even if you have resistant greys. If you wish for uniformly colored hair, then permanent hair dye can serve as your best bet. You can also get a hair color in lighter shades than your original hue as your hair gets initially bleached by hydrogen peroxide.

Operation: Oxidation used by permanent hair dye to color the hair shaft follows a three-step process:

  • Cuticles are opened by PPD molecules and ammonia helps them to penetrate the hair shaft.
  • Hydrogen peroxide in the dye bleaches your natural hair color once the PPD components find their way inside the hair shaft.
  • PPD molecules are oxidized by hydrogen peroxide for successfully depositing new color into the shaft of your hair following which the cuticle reseals to prevent the hair color from fading away.

Longevity: Repeated shampooing will not wash off the permanent hair dyes. However, you will require a touch-up every 4-6 weeks coupled with new hair growth on your scalp.


2. Demi-Permanent Hair Dye

If you wish to benefit from the longevity of permanent hair colour without falling prey to its strong chemical constituents then you can opt for a demi-permanent hair dye. They have comparatively less hydrogen peroxide and no ammonia which reduces all chances of developing an allergic reaction in the aftermath of scalp sensitivity.  The gentle nature of this dye makes it less demanding on your hair shafts. Nonetheless, you need to get a patch test done for alleviating all chances of an allergic reaction.

Components: They have only 2% hydrogen peroxide and completely no ammonia making them a chemically milder option.

Effectiveness: You can impart a natural look and feel to your hair shaft with the demi-permanent dyes. However, they do not guarantee uniform color rendition and are ideal for people having 50% grey hair. New hair growth from roots does not look very contrasting or prominent as that of permanent hair dye. You can bank on the demi-permanent dyes to alter your hair color tone and infuse some shine. Here you need to choose between similar or darker shades as they cannot lighten or lift pre-existing hair color.

Operation: They can penetrate into the hair shaft and also works on the cuticle. However, a low concentration of hydrogen peroxide prevents the bleaching of existing hair pigments.

Longevity: Depending on your hair’s porosity and health, the demi-permanent color can last up to 28 shampoo washes.


3. Semi-Permanent Hair Dye

Take the temporary look a notch higher with the semi-permanent hair dye. They can do a commendable job in terms of glossier and shinier results if you can’t readily visit the hairdresser.

Components: Semi-permanent dyes do not contain hydrogen peroxide or ammonia. These dyes are of two types and this determines their component:

  • Synthetic ones are pre-formed dyes having nitro benzenes and nitro amines.
  • Natural dyes contain indigo and henna which color your hair in a natural and organic manner.

Effectiveness: This hair dye is best for people with damaged or fragile tresses. You can expect 30% grey coverage with this semi-permanent dye which is ideal for darkening hair color. However, it cannot serve you well in lightening hair.

Operation: The semi-permanent dye gets deposited on hair cuticles for acting as a sheer coating. However, it doesn’t penetrate inside the hair cortex allowing you to wash it away easily following a thorough shampoo. A semi-permanent dye can keep you buffered from allergic reactions as it doesn’t contain PPD.

Longevity: Cleanses out in 4-8 washes depending upon the health and porosity of your hair.


4. Gradual Hair Dye

Change your hair color without having to fear allergic reaction with the gradual hair colour. Hair darkening occurs gradually and the color produced fades with each wash. This makes it imperative to apply the color on a regular basis if you wish to keep it intact.

Components: They constitute an aqueous solution of metals.

Effectiveness: You need to reapply this dye every few weeks as the color changes from gray to brown to burgundy with every wash.

Operation: Gradual dyes contain metal sulfides and oxides which impart a dark shade on being applied to your hair. However, these dyes do not contain PPD making it a safe option for people with scalp sensitivity. You should still get a patch test done before using the same. This type of metallic dye should be avoided if you are planning on straightening or perming your hair.

Longevity: The color of gradual dye fades off easily once you shampoo your hair.

5. Temporary Hair Dye

Wash out hair color or temporary hair dye coats just the exterior of the hair shaft so that you can experiment frequently with your look. The color will simply wash out when you shampoo your hair and returns to its natural shade. Temporary hair dyes have become a big rage as it is a fun and easy way to test how a new color will look on you without making a full commitment. You can try them out for dances, parties and even weekends with friends.

Components: Temporary dyes constitute large-sized molecule compounds that can change your hair color instantaneously.

Effectiveness: If you are on the lookout for short-term results then temporary dyes can serve as your best bet. They can either enhance your already dyed hair or brighten the original hair color. You can choose amongst temporary colors in uncommon shades such as pink, blue, gold, green, and many more to spice up your whole look. Dyeing damaged hair with temporary hair color can cause it to look stained following continued use.

Operation: Large-sized molecules present in temporary hair colour prevents the color from penetrating into the hair shaft. Rather it just sits outside close to the surface. You can try out this type of dye without having to worry about your natural hair color getting lightened or darkened.

Longevity: Temporary dye is not very aggressive and can be washed away easily following a single wash. However, the dye tends to get absorbed deeper if you have porous hair and might stay for longer.

6. Ammonia-Free Hair Dye

Ammonia can be very dangerous for your hair although it can commonly be traced in both permanent and semi-permanent dyes. To stay on the safer side, you can opt for ammonia-free dyes which don’t cause any undue damage.

Components: The ammonia-free dyes contain emollient oils and similar ingredients which hydrate and offer protein to your strands during the coloring process.

Effectiveness: Ammonia is a common constituent of most permanent and semi-permanent hair dyes as it fosters effective color penetration inside the hair shaft. Thus, the ones devoid of ammonia might not guarantee you a similar level of effectiveness in terms of grey hair coverage. This is especially true if you have coarse hair. However, they are gentler on the scalp and comparatively less damaging. Herbal version can cause odd smell in your hair. You can use hair perfume to settle the issue.

Operation: Ammonia-free hair dyes are ideal for adding shine and warmth to your natural hair color while covering all greys. However, their unique composition ensures that they do not open up the hair cuticles and coat only the outer layer of hair strands. If your hair tends to grey very fast then you can try out ammonia-free colour.

Longevity: Tends to fade away gradually with each wash.

7. Highlights Hair Dye

Hair highlights come into play if you don’t wish to opt for all-over color. Different segments of the hair are painted for promoting tone, depth, and shade. You can highlight your hair to amp up your look without going ahead with anything too drastic.

Effectiveness: Highlights contain bleaching agents which are effective in lightening sections of your hair while delivering long-term results unless the roots start growing out.

Operation: The highlights are hand-painted by dividing your hair into small sections. Next, the sections are wrapped in foil for color processing. For a more natural-looking effect, you can highlight strands in the mid-section till the ends.

Longevity: Highlights can between two to three months and the ultimate results are influenced by your root growth.

The health of your hair can have a big role to play in determining your chosen hair dye. It might be either to infuse a dash of vibrancy to your look or cover up greys. Whatever be the case, you need to follow the coloring instructions properly and also do adequate research on your end prior to proceeding with the same.

The following two tabs change content below.

Cheryl Carter

After completing her master's degree, Cheryl Carter started her career as a content writer. She has completed 8 glorious years in content writing. She believes that everyone needs a wee bit of fashion knowledge in their life. Hence, she joins Looksgud to share the latest fashion and style tips to look trendy and stylish in every sense.