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How Long Does Permanent Hair Color Last?

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When it comes to covering your grays and keeping them hidden, nothing is more effective than permanent hair color. Permanent hair color works by removing pigment from hair and then depositing new color. The new color won’t wash out and instead has to grow out, though it will fade over time. Here’s a look at what permanent hair color is exactly and how long your color will last.

What Is Permanent Hair Color?

Permanent hair dyes rely on a process known as oxidation, where an oxidizer such as hydrogen peroxide and ammonia are mixed with the coloring agent prior to application. Permanent hair color offers several advantages to other types of dyes: primarily that it doesn’t need to be applied as often. In addition, there is a wider range of permanent hair colors available, with most shades being more natural than other dye types. However, since the chemicals used in permanent hair color are stronger than other colorants, they can be more damaging to your hair over the long term. In addition, the application of permanent hair color can be more time consuming, as the mixture usually has to be left on the hair for a longer period of time.

How Long Will the Hair Color Last?

In general, permanent color will remain on your hair until your hair grows, exposing the roots. Usually, this takes between four and six weeks before you need to go back and get your roots done. The four to six week window is also when the permanent color will begin to fade (usually after around 28 shampoos). However, there are several factors that can speed up the fading process, including frequent exposure and sun exposure.

Caring for Your Hair to Maximize Your Color

Here are some tips on how to get your permanent hair dye to last:

  • Keep it moisturized: Permanent hair color contains ammonia or peroxide, which has a tendency to dry out hair follicles. This is why it’s important after getting your hair dyed to wash and condition it with products specifically made for color-treated hair. This will keep your hair healthy and the moisture levels balances, which helps prevent fading.
  • Stay out of the sun: Excessive sun exposure is considered an enemy of color-treated hair, as too much sun will strip the color out of the hair and leave it looking dull. If you do have to be out in the sun, try wearing a hat or using hair products that contain UV protectants.
  • Minimize the shampoos: With permanent hair color, you want to avoid washing the hair to frequently, as this will only promote fading. It’s recommended that you wash your hair at the most every other day, as this will protect the color.

If you are looking for something more temporary, there are different types of hair color you can go with instead, including one type that comes out after only one shampoo. But for covering grays or for a long-term solution, you best bet will always be permanent hair color.

Learn more about hair coloring:

Getting Rid of Gray Hair

How to Keep a Permanent Color from Fading

Is Natural Henna Hair Color Right for You? 

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