The 10 Best Semi Permanent Hair Dyes in 2024

Make commitment issues a non-issue.

woman with short pink hair from using hair dye
(Image credit: Getty)

I don't know about you, but when it comes to trying out beauty looks, I love to change it up. This applies not only to makeup, but also to new hair looks that venture beyond the monotony of my favorite shampoos and conditioners, leave-ins, and tried-and-true hair wraps. And while there are a variety of hair cuts and styles out there that can facilitate giving you a new look every day, the adventurous among us may also be interested in trying out semi permanent hair colors, which can be applied from the comfort of your own home!

But how do you find the right temporary hair dye for you, and how do you go about applying it? We got in touch with Desirae Blais—a professional hair stylist, licensed cosmetologist, and DIY Vivid Color Expert for Sally Beauty—in order to familiarize ourselves with all things at-home temporary hair color. Read on for your easiest, hair-healthiest dye experience yet. 

What To Look for in a Semi Permanent Hair Color

Considering the wide range of temporary hair colors on the market, it can be difficult to understand which one is the right one, and even more impossible to decipher the long lists of ingredients on the backs of the packages. To ease this shopping process, we had Blais break it down.

"I always suggest vegan/cruelty free products for temporary hair colors since these are made from natural ingredients like shea butter and vegetable dyes," she advises. "This will cause no damage and help moisturize your hair."

And when it comes to ingredients you should stay away from? Blais suggests "staying away from any temporary color that has hydrogen peroxide or ammonia, as these products will affect the cuticle and be a more permanent color, shifting your natural hair chemistry."

How to Apply Temporary Hair Color

Blais says that when it comes to temporary hair color, the safest way to proceed is on clean, damp hair. "This allows you a little leeway during application to make sure everything is fully saturated," she explains. "Always follow manufacturer instructions on processing time to make sure you maximize your results!"

How Long Does Temporary Hair Color Last?

Once the temporary hair color has successfully been applied, Blais says that it typically lasts "10-12 washes, depending upon how often you wash your hair or how light the canvas of hair they were applied to. Vivid color always lasts best on hair lifted to pale blonde or what I like to tell people—the color inside of a banana." 

To make your color last as long as possible, she says you should "always wash with cold water, using color safe products. Also, use low heat and heat protection while styling where high heat will also result in color fading."

And when it's time to wash that dye out completely? She advises uses a clarifying shampoo, and adds that "hot water is the safest way to remove without damage to the hair canvas."

Best Semi Permanent Hair Dyes

Meet the Expert

Sally Beauty expert, hair stylist and licensed cosmetologist Desirae Blais
Desirae Blais

Desirae Blais is a licensed cosmetologist and hair stylist based in Maine. In addition to working as a hair expert for Sally Beauty, she also works as a stylist at Blush Beauty Me and creates content on Tik Tok.

Gabrielle Ulubay
Beauty Writer

Gabrielle Ulubay is a Beauty Writer at Marie Claire. She has also written about sexual wellness, fashion, culture, and politics both at Marie Claire and for publications like The New York Times, Bustle, and HuffPost Personal. She has worked extensively in the e-commerce and sales spaces since 2020, including two years at Drizly, where she developed an expertise in finding the best, highest quality goods and experiences money can buy. As a film school graduate, she loves all things media and can be found making art when she's not busy writing.