You’ve decided to make a change to your hair – maybe you’re ready to go bold with a new color, or you’re ready to cover those pesky gray hairs, or you just want to give your hair a little lift to make it shine.
How exciting! We fully support this decision because we believe hair is a great way to fully express yourself!
But, we also realize how overwhelming this decision can be, especially if it’s your first time coloring your hair at home. How do you decide which product to use when there are so many options to choose from? With options such as permanent hair color, semi-permanent hair color, and henna you may be wondering where to begin.
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! We’re going to break down the difference between the 3 main at-home hair color products
Permanent Hair Color
Permanent hair color—as the name implies—changes your hair color, making a permanent change. It does this by working itself deep into the hair, opening up the hair cuticle, and letting the color molecules settle in. Then it closes the cuticle back up, trapping the color inside.
This method provides full hair color coverage, covers grays, and can be used to lighten, darken, or change the tone of your hair.
Another thing to note with permanent hair color is the color can last up to 6 weeks, depending on how you maintain your hair.
Semi-Permanent Hair Color
Semi-permanent hair color doesn’t open up the cuticle of your hair. Instead, the tiny color molecules easily enter the cuticle to add shine and/or color. Because the color molecules are so small, they easily exit the cuticle through washing as well. Semi-permanent hair color is also referred to as hair gloss.
Unlike permanent, semi-permanent color only lasts up to eight washes and doesn’t change your color permanently.
Semi-permanent hair color is not designed for gray coverage, but rather to enhance, refresh, or change the tone of your current hair color.
Henna Hair Color
Henna hair color is an all-natural hair dye made from plants that works a little differently than permanent and semi-permanent hair color. It colors by coating the outside of the hair’s cuticle.
While henna hair color doesn’t have any chemicals and can change the color of your hair like a permanent hair color, the process and results of henna are different.
Henna is a little more challenging to work with from the application process (it is messy!) to the changes you may want to make down the road after coloring your hair with henna.
If you decide you want to change up your hair color or tone 2 or 3 months later after dying your hair with henna, you may be disappointed to find out that it is difficult to go lighter in color. Some people weren’t able to get their hair highlighted nearly a year after dying their hair with henna.
Unlike permanent and semi-permanent color, henna takes a long time to set, ranging from 1 to 6 hours for the color to penetrate the hair shaft.
How to Select the Right Product for Your Hair
Now that you know the differences between these three types of hair dye, you may be wondering “how do I select the right one for my hair?”.
There are a few things to consider before deciding what product is best for you:
- What look are you trying to achieve?
- How often do you want to color your hair?
- What are your hair goals?
Understanding the basics of these three questions will help you better understand the type of product you need. Let’s break it down:
What look are you trying to achieve?
Having a basic idea of what you want as your end result is an important step in this process. Are you looking for an all-over recolor? A color touch up? Gray coverage? To enhance your current color?
Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Permanent hair color is perfect for changing the color and tone of your hair with results that last up to 6 weeks
- Semi-permanent hair color is perfect to enhance or gloss your current hair color or tone with results that last up to 8 washes
- Henna hair color is perfect if you’re looking to go all-natural (no chemicals) with results that are difficult to change up down the road
Maintaining Your Hair Color
Regardless of which hair color product you decide to use, maximizing your color happens with the way you maintain it.
The shampoo and conditioner you use have a large impact on colored hair. Using a color-safe, PH-balanced shampoo and conditioner will help prolong the life of your color.
Pro tip: Rinse with lukewarm water when washing your hair. Using hot water will open hair cuticles, allowing the color to release easier!
One other thing to remember is to keep your hair well-conditioned. Deep conditioning treatments improve your hair’s condition, which prolongs your hair color!
While entering the world of hair color may seem overwhelming and tricky, just remember to go back to the basics: What’s the look you’re going for, what type of product do you need, and what is your end goal?
Still unsure of where to get started? No worries! Ask one of our Naturtint USA Color Specialists for help here!