How Long Does Permanent Hair Dye Last?

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There are different types of hair dye: temporary, semi-permanent, demi-permanent, and permanent.

Because you’re a busy person who doesn’t have time for regular salon visits, you’re more likely to choose a permanent hair dye. 

hairdresser applying hair dye on smiling blonde woman client at a salon

After all, it’s called “permanent,” so it’s supposed to last forever, right?

Well, we hate to break it to you, but this “permanent” color won’t stay in your hair forever. It actually changes and fades over time. So how long does permanent hair dye really last?

Let’s talk about how long it takes for hair color to fade. Plus, we’ll show you what you can do to keep it vibrant for a longer time.

How Long Does Permanent Hair Dye Stay in Your Hair?

Your hair color’s staying power depends on its ingredients and how it works. 

So how long does hair dye stay in your hair?

Unlike other types of hair dye, permanent hair color is designed to last longer. Specifically, permanent hair dye lasts about 6-8 weeks.

This is different from the other types of hair dye.

Temporary hair dye doesn’t really hold on to hair and can be rinsed away easily, whereas semi-permanent and demi-permanent hair dyes last only about 6-8 washes because the pigment simply coats the hair.

How Does Permanent Dye Work?

Permanent dye doesn’t just coat your hair like paint. Instead, it gets absorbed into each hair strand. 

This happens when an activator opens up the hair cuticles. A common activator is hydrogen peroxide found in developers mixed with hair dye.

When the cuticles open up, the pigment goes in. And it will be sealed there for a long time.

That means permanent hair dye lasts longer and looks more natural because the color comes from within the hair.

6 Factors That Make Permanent Hair Dye Fade

As mentioned, permanent hair color lasts for up to 8 weeks. It will stay vibrant for quite a while — the same color as when you walked out of the salon.

However, for some people, it’s a short-lived affair. The color can start to change or fade within a couple of weeks.

Why does this happen?

Even if you dye your hair with the same product used by your friend, the time your hair color stays on your hair can be different. And this is because of many factors.

Let’s get to them one by one.

Factor #1: Hair Condition

Do you have porous hair?

Hair porosity is how easily moisture can get through your hair cuticles.

Color washes out more easily from porous hair. That’s because the hair cuticles are loosely arranged, so the pigment can get in and out of your strand effortlessly.

All types of hair are porous, but textured hair (i.e., wavy, curly, or coily hair) has a higher porosity than straight hair. Damaged hair is porous too. 

So if you have this hair type or condition, then your hair color can fade much quicker.

Is your hair hydrated?

Hydrated and nourished strands can hold pigment better. Why? That’s because, during the coloring process, healthy hair is less prone to damage.

Therefore, the cuticles can still close, sealing in the color.

Did the dye damage your hair?

After coloring, do you feel that your hair has become frizzy and brittle? Then it’s most probably damaged. 

Damaged hair has raised cuticles. As a result, the hair pigment will easily wash off.

Factor #2: Water Supply

Water coming out of your shower can also be one of your hair color’s staying factors.

Have you ever heard of soft water and hard water?

Naturally, your water supply has minerals like calcium and magnesium. Soft water has a low level of these minerals, while hard water has a higher content.

And these minerals in your shower water can deposit into your hair and scalp. This leads to changing, dulling, or fading of your hair color.

If you have hard water at home, you can soften it a bit by using a shower filter.

Factor #3: The “Before” Color

Whether you have virgin hair or a dyed one, the previous color of the hair matters when you’re dyeing it.

Got hair that’s colored dark brown? If you use a lighter shade, the color will not be strong enough to lift your dark brown hair to the lighter shade.

But if you have virgin dark brown hair, a lighter hair color can lift your hair up to three shades lighter.

That said, pale or bright dyes may not be strong enough to lighten the pigments of very dark brown or black hair.

Now if you have hair that has been colored blonde, permanent color still cannot lift the previous permanent color, even if it’s a light shade.

However, if you have virgin hair that’s lighter, it will be easier to lighten with permanent color.

Dark shades of permanent color can also have a bigger impact on light-colored hair. This is because it contains fewer pigments, which means the color can easily be absorbed into each strand.

Factor #4: The Color You Want

Another thing to consider in lasting hair color is the color itself. You have to keep in mind that some colors fade faster than others.

And it all depends on the size or the number of their pigment molecules.

Simply put, the smaller the molecules or the more the number, the higher its coloring and staying power, and the larger or the fewer the molecules, the faster it fades.

Simply put, the smaller the molecules or the more the number, the higher its coloring and staying power, and the larger or the fewer the molecules, the faster it fades.

Keep this in mind: darker or neutral colors stay the longest; while lighter or more intense colors fade the fastest.

For example, an intense red dye has large pigment molecules, which means it barely penetrates into your hair’s cortex, so it fades the fastest. Pale hues also fade fast since they have fewer pigment molecules.

In contrast, black and brown dye molecules fade the slowest because they have the smallest molecules. Dark blue and deep purple dyes also last longer than other fantasy colors because they contain more pigment molecules.

Factor #5: Following Instructions

If you’re into DIY and you’ve just bought your permanent box hair dye, make sure that you follow the instructions carefully. 

Hair preparation, color mixing, and the time you leave your hair dye in should be taken seriously.

Those directions are written by professionals who know exactly how the color process works. Stick to them to achieve the best results.

Factor #76: Aftercare

When you’re done with the hair dye application, the next step is to keep the color in your hair for as long as possible. And how do you do that?

It’s by properly caring for your hair. That’s because correct aftercare will make the color last longer. Read on for tips to do this!

hairdresser applying hair dye to female customer's black hair

7 Tips to Make Hair Color Last

Tip #1: Skip the shampoo.

Avoid washing your hair for at least 2-3 days after dyeing it. This allows the dye to be sealed into the hair fiber, making the color last longer.

Tip #2: Use color-safe products.

From shampoo to hair spray, there are products that are specially formulated for dyed hair.

Use nourishing and sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner to keep your hair healthy and help the color stay longer. 

We recommend using Biolage Color Last Shampoo and Conditioner to help protect and maintain your vibrant color.

Tip #3: Wash less.

Frequent washing can make the hair color fade faster. Because hair dye is water soluble, the dye molecules dissolve when you wash your hair, and the pigment goes down the drain.

Moreover, even oil-based dyes can also wash out, but more gradually. So if you’re someone who likes to keep clean and shower every day, you’ll notice your hair color becoming dull in as early as 3 weeks.

So if you’re someone who likes to keep clean and shower every day, you’ll notice your hair color becoming dull in as early as 3 weeks.

Try shampooing only once or twice a week.

Additionally, avoid using hot water because it can open up the hair cuticles. Instead, use cold water to close your cuticles and keep the color in. 

Tip #4: Keep your hair out of the sun.

The sun’s heat and UV rays can also damage the hair cuticle and protein structure. Remember, the more damaged your hair is, the less it can hold the hair color.

The sun’s heat and UV rays can also damage the hair cuticle and protein structure.

Here are things you can do to limit sun exposure:

Tip #5: Avoid heat styling.

Just like the sun, heat from tools can also damage hair. In fact, it’s twice as harmful.

Heat can open up the cuticles, making it easier for the pigment to seep out.

So when drying your hair, use the coolest temperature. And if you must style your hair using a hair iron or curler, use a heat protector like HSI Professional Argan Oil Thermal Protector.

Tip #6: Live a hair-friendly lifestyle.

No, that doesn’t mean going to the salon and getting treatments all the time. 

A hair-friendly lifestyle means keeping your hair healthy with how you live your life.

Let’s start off with a healthy diet. Food rich in iron, omega-3, and zinc is sure to save your hair and give it the natural boost it needs.

Next is staying hydrated. You don’t just keep your hair hydrated by using conditioners. You can do it from within by drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day.

Another thing you can do is avoid swimming, whether in pools with chlorine water or at the beach. These can be very drying and damaging to the hair.

Lastly, find time to relax. When you’re stressed, it can show through your hair. You’ll have a risk of hair loss and faster-graying hair.

Tip #7: Choose natural hair colors.

If you want a color that lasts long, select shades that are close to your natural hair color.

Plus, most permanent dyes commonly come in natural shades.

But there are also bright and crazy color options available. And if you want to try them, too, who’s stopping you? Definitely not us.

Just make sure to follow our tips above to keep your hair slaying for a long time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is box hair dye different from salon dye?

Yes, box hair dye and dyes used in salons are different. Box dyes aren’t as strong as the ones used in salons.


In salons, hair colorists customize the products that they use. The amount of hair dye and level of developer will depend on what each client’s hair needs.

Whereas box hair dyes are commercially formulated for general use. So they’re not tailor-fit to your locks’ structure and condition. 

If you want longer-lasting color, we suggest you have a professional do the coloring service for you. You’ll definitely get your money’s worth.

side view of young woman with pink hair smiling on blue background

Can you wash out permanent hair dye completely?

Permanent hair dyes can’t be washed out completely if you use regular shampoo. Instead, other harsh chemicals can strip off the color.

But because they are harsh, you have to be careful in using them.

Here are some methods that can remove hair pigment:

How long does permanent hair dye last on gray hair?

Darker colors on gray can last a really long time. We’re talking 8 weeks or more. In fact, you’ll only need a root touch-up when your hair grows in.

Permanent Hair Color Won’t Last Forever

Permanent hair dye is called permanent because it will never wash off completely from your hair. But it changes color as it fades.

How quickly your dye fades depends on multiple factors. Your color will stay vibrant for 6-8 weeks if you color your hair properly, with instructions and hair condition in mind.

And don’t forget about caring for your hair after the coloring process. This is equally important.

There’s more to know about coloring your hair. Check out these related posts:


  • Rachelle Velasco

    Rachelle, is a sought-after freelance hair and makeup artist, shines particularly in the world of hair color. From subtle ombres and balayages to vibrant hues and intricate root work, she crafts unique styles tailored to individual preferences. Beyond her artistic talents, Rachelle also holds a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education, showcasing her diverse skill set and dedication to learning.

  • Madeline Hall

    With ten years in hairstyling, Madeline Hall has trained with elite colorists Naomi Knight and Lupe Voss and assisted celebrity stylist Alex Chases. From building a solid clientele at San Francisco's Code Salon to impressing Nashville's finest, Madeline is a force in the industry. Passionate about educating clients and staying updated on trends.

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