Should I continue using semi-permanent colours?

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I am 25 years old and have been highlighting my hair with occasional full head dyes for the past ten years. I have now reached the point of going all natural with no permanent colour. I was advised by another hairdresser that if I wanted to grow out my highlighted hair it would be best to use semi-permanent colours. I am all for using less but my patience is running thin. 

Should I continue with the path of semi-permanents or shave my head and start again (joking). Which colour would be recommended if I want to achieve a mousy to dark brown (closest to my natural hair colour) whilst trying to cover the honey blonde without going khaki (done that before)!

Any advice or guidance is greatly appreciated.

Thank you so much,

Anon, UK

When I am colouring hair that has been previously lightened with highlights or any other method I like to use semi-permanent colours. This is because the technology in semi-permanent colours adds pigment to the hair without lifting the natural colour. Permanent dyes lift out your natural shade, then force the artificial dyestuffs into the hair to create the desired colour.

I wouldn't recommend you do this yourself as it is quite a delicate process, also there is a huge difference between mousy and dark brown! Choose the wrong shade and it gets more difficult to fix. If you make a plan with your hairdresser and have patience you should get to your desired colour eventually. 

John Clark, Head of Colour at Brooks+Brooks, London 


I send you a few options and ideas. I read your message again and again and I can only recommend a permanent colour for you. Do not use semi-permanent colours as this can discolour your hair in a bad way

Over a period of use there is much less control of colour shading’s going right or wrong with semis than with permanent colours, and they are much harder to remove. The dilemma you have is that you prefer not to use any colour and at the same time you like to find the best solution to look beautiful and have good hair days especially over the festive season.

You did not mention how long your hair is, you could have a really good fashionable cut (a bob) or whatever suits your face shape and lifestyle. Hair grows about 1cm each month, so in six months you would have 6cm of natural hair. That is if you decide not to go down the colouring route and stay natural. If your hair is longer style it up, this hides the natural roots.

I definitely advise you NOT to do it yourself; it will end up in tears eventually. It is much cheaper in the long run to visit a good salon with a highly professional hair colourist to advise you and treat your hair colour.

If you decide to go the permanent colour way:

The darker hair will need to be stripped so that the new ash brown colour can take evenly. Depending on the length of your hair it would need re-colouring around six weeks later (it totally depends on the condition of your hair and the shampoo and conditioner you use). I always recommend professional hair care products because they have a much higher goody content than similar products sold in stores. Philip Kingsley products have maximum shine and quality for the hair. You can search on the Internet for these products if your salon does not stock them.

The colouring may have to be repeated every few months targeting and changing the colour combination/mix applied to your coloured hair only. The root’s should not be coloured and must be protected from any colour leakage when the colour is applied on the already coloured hair.

No colour must be applied to the natural root colour. This may take less time than using semi-permanent colours in the long run due to your 1cm monthly growth of new hair, which should be around eight months until you own hair is long enough to have a new cut. The shorter your hair is the quicker you’ll have natural coloured hair!

I wish you a Happy Christmas and an amazing beautiful hair year in 2014,

Pierre Alexandre of Pierre Alexandre, Manchester

Hi there,

My advice would be to go for a natural cool light brown in a semi/demi-permanent colour. The problem is with any colour correction is that shop bought colours can be a mine field when it comes to choice. They generally only show three results on the packets and this is not a very accurate way to measure the results as you have varying tones and depths in your hair from the previous colours used.

As always I would find a reputable hair colour expert and let them do what they do best and correct it for you.

Hope this is of use to you,

Simon Daniel, Salon Director of Belle Toujours, Cardiff

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