Most people use semi-permanent color to cover gray areas, to darken their natural color or to decide on a new color before making it permanent. Semi-permanent color washes out within six to 12 shampoos, depending on the brand of the product. Most of them are low in ammonia and other strong chemicals that permanent hair colors contain, but it is always good to do your homework on any product that you use. Pregnant or lactating women should see a health-care professional before doing any type of coloring.

Things You'll Need

Evaluate the condition of your hair prior to coloring. Do not apply color if the scalp is damaged or irritated. Also, do not apply color if hair is brittle or weak. If hair is in a bad condition, deep-condition the hair to revitalize it before subjecting it to hair color. Make sure that you have all the materials needed to color hair at hand. Cover your bathroom countertop with plastic or newspaper to protect it.

Because there are so many brands of semi-permanent hair color, it is a good idea to read all of the instructions very carefully. Wear protective gloves to protect your skin (rubber ones if you have them; plastic tears easily). Next, do a strand test to make sure you have no allergic reactions to the product. Make sure your hair is clean and dry, free of oils, gels, and hair-product buildup. Shampoo hair one to three nights before coloring.

Part hair into sections and apply the product from your roots to your tips.
Parting your hair into half-inch margins to make sure that the product saturates all of the hair is recommended. Start from the front so that the color sets on the most visible area of the hair the longest.

After the entire head is saturated in the product, comb through hair with the wide-toothed comb. Apply a plastic cap and allow color to set for the recommended time listed in the directions. When that time is up, rinse hair thoroughly until water runs clear.

Blow- or towel-dry hair and style as desired. Enjoy your new color, and be sure to reapply semi-permanent color again when the one you are wearing starts to fade.