Even if you have already had your hair colored by a professional, or used an at-home hair coloring kit, you might have questions as to what formula is best for you. And if you're not ready to make a commitment or experience a dramatic change, then you don't want to jump into anything and use the wrong hair dye formula.
That's why it's a great idea to look at all of the options you have when it comes to coloring your hair. This being said, here is a quick rundown of all the different kinds of hair dye you'll find.
Temporary hair color products are often sold as color rinses, and are widely used to camouflage gray hair or give your natural tone a slight boost. This type of hair dye formula stays on the surface of your hair, and on the outer parts of the cuticle; thus it only adds color to the visible parts your hair, instead of penetrating the cuticle like other hair dyes.
By using temporary hair color, you will not be able to transform your dark hair into a lighter shade, but it is still great for adding dimension and depth to your natural hair color. You can purchase temporary hair dye in a rinse, color mousse, spray, hair mascara, or color-tinted shampoos and conditioners. The downside to using temporary hair dye is that it only last a short period of time; in fact, temporary products only last up to your next wash. People oftentimes use temporary hair color methods for Halloween because they are so easy to apply, and wash out with only a few shampoos.
This hair dye formula deposits color onto the hair without having any lightening effect. The semi-permanent hair dying process helps to raise the cuticle of the hair shaft to allow the color to absorb into the hair strand. However, you won't end up with a huge difference in hair color with semi-permanent formulas, and they aren't good for covering up gray hair.
This type of hair dye lasts for up to 6-12 washes, fading a little every time you use shampoo. A couple of other facts about semi-permanent hair dye is that it's also known as "glaze", and contains no ammonia or peroxide, which helps immensely to reduce hair damage.
This hair coloring method is similar to semi-permanent hair color. What makes the two dyes different is that the demi-permanent hair dye formula has smaller molecules that allows it to soak into the cortex of the hair strand, and also get deep into the cuticle. For someone with gray hair, demi-permanent hair dye is a better option because it is more penetrative than semi-permanent hair dye. Demi-permanent hair dye is also slightly more powerful because it contains a small amount of ammonia, allowing it to darken or lighten the hair more than semi-permanent dye. Your new color lasts longer with demi-permanent hair dye at approximately 12-24 washes, but just like semi-permanent products, it will still fade eventually over time.
This type of hair dye formula penetrates the shaft of the hair to reach the cortex directly. Permanent hair color has a "developer" that raises the cuticle for the molecules to travel into a hair strand's cortex. The developer found in permanent hair dye contains aniline derivatives that combine with hydrogen peroxide to give you larger tint molecules, which get trapped inside the cortex.
Permanent hair products are able to deposit the color into the cortex, and can also be used to lighten the color of hair according to the strength of the hydrogen peroxide used as the developer. This type of hair coloring formula doesn't wash out or fade away because it has ammonia and peroxide working together to break the natural pigment down, thus allowing the natural color to be replaced with the permanent hair dye. Permanent dye formulas are even better for covering up grays, and offering your hair a dramatic change. Keep in mind that permanent hair dye doesn't fade, and once your roots grow out, you'll need to re-dye your hair regularly or strip it of the color altogether.
Natural hair coloring formulas contain no ammonia, with amounts of hydrogen peroxide measuring at 3% and up to 10%, so there are still chemicals involved. However, natural formulas aren't as harsh as boxed hair colors so this is definitely a bonus.
Henna is a natural hair coloring formula chosen only to darken a person's natural hair color, and to add red tones to the hair. Henna cannot lighten hair, and will fade over a four-to-six week period of time.
There are precautions with all types of hair dying formulas and techniques - even if they are labeled "natural" hair coloring formulas. Fortunately, do-it-yourself, at-home coloring kits all come with detailed instructions for you to follow, starting with a strand test before coloring your entire head of hair. It's important to perform a strand and skin test before every hair dye application to avoid an allergic reaction caused by the products being used.
For products that contain coal-tar, allergic reactions can still occur even after years of using the same product, so watch out for this ingredient! Another caution to keep in mind is that you should never use boxed hair dye kits for tinting eyelashes or eyebrows; this could cause serious damage to your eyes, including swelling, permanent blindness or infection.
Only leave natural coloring products on your hair for the specified amount of time to avoid hair loss, undesirable color and scalp irritation. Always wear gloves when applying hair color to avoid stained fingers and fingernails. It's also important not to mix different hair coloring products so you don't end up with an unattractive hair shade. After every hair color treatment, use a deep conditioner, and avoid rubbing your hair together with a towel when it is wet.
If you follow this lengthy list of warnings, you should be alright when using natural hair coloring systems.