Demi Permanent Vs. Semi Permanent Hair Color

By Lolo Parker

Both demi-permanent and semi-permanent hair color dyes can be applied at a salon or at home. The main differences between demi and semi-permanent hair color are the duration the color lasts and how the dye penetrates the hair shaft.

Young woman's color treated hair; back view.

Chemical Composition

Woman coloring a man's hair.

Semi-permanent hair color does not contain any peroxide while demi-permanent hair color may contain low levels of ammonia or peroxide.


Woman smiling and shampooing hair.

Demi-permanent hair color lasts up to 20 shampoos while semi-permanent hair color only lasts up to 12 shampoos.


Close up of a hair dresser coloring a woman's hair.

Semi-permanent hair color deposits dye only on the outermost layer of hair. Demi-permanent hair color deposits dye between the cuticle and cortex of the hair shaft, making it last longer.

Gray Coverage

Smiling woman with partially gray hair.

According to Salon East NYC, semi-permanent is a good solution for hair that has 20 percent or less gray in it. People with a higher percentage of gray hair will see better results with a demi-permanent hair color.


Portrait of young woman with colored hair and headphones.

Both semi-permanent hair dye and demi-permanent hair dye enhance natural color tones. Unlike semi-permanent hair dye, demi-permanent hair dye has the ability to lighten hair color.