The best semi-permanent dyes to refresh your hair

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Fancy a change of hair colour to bring you into the new season? These semi-permanent hair dyes are perfect for switching up your look, without the commitment.

Semi-permanent hair dye is a great way to try out a new style, without the long term commitment of a permanent hair colour. 

You can do it at home, you don’t need to worry about re-growth and you’re safe in the knowledge that if you hate it, it’ll wash out in a matter of weeks. If you’re looking for a complete overhaul or a slight adjustment, it’s really the perfect entryway into a new hair look.

But knowing which is the best semi-permanent hair dye to use can be a whole lot of pressure. Get it right, and you’ve given yourself a makeover for under a tenner. Get it wrong, and you might find yourself wanting to wear a hat until it washes out.

To take some of the heat off, we’ve rounded up the best semi-permanent hair dyes on the market so you can colour your hair in confidence. No stress necessary.

The best at-home semi-permanent hair dyes

  • Best for a natural, vegan formula: Clairol Natural Instincts

    best semi-permanent hair dye

    Containing 80% naturally-derived ingredients (including conditioning coconut oil and aloe vera) this vegan formula is 100% ammonia-free, suitable for all hair types and has been proven to significantly reduce allergic reactions.

    The non-permanent colour gradually fades after 28 washes, and gives hair a seriously silky shine.

    Clairol Natural Instincts, £6.99

  • Best for ultra-bright colour: Schwarzkopf LIVE Ultra Brights

    best semi-permanent hair dye

    If you fancy trying out a seriously shocking hue, but don’t want to commit to permanent just yet, then this is the dye for you. With colour lasting up to 15 washes, Schwarzkopf LIVE Ultra Brights is perfect for giving your hair a semi-permanent neon shade, that won’t damage your hair.

    (FYI: these shades work best on blonde hair – if your hair is naturally dark, we’d recommend visiting a salon first)

    Schwarzkopf LIVE Ultra Brights, £5.79

  • Best for covering greys: John Frieda Defy Grey Blending Blow Dry Foam

    If you’ve started sprouting some greys, but haven’t decided whether to embrace them or cover them, John Freida’s new range is for you. 

    The Defy Grey Blending Blow Dry Foam expertly deposits natural-looking colour to the hair, to help blends greys – without permanently dyeing them. 

    John Frieda Defy Grey Blending Blow Dry Foam, £6.99

  • Best for pastel hues: BLEACH London Awkward Peach

    best semi-permanent hair dye

    It’s the brand famous for putting pastel hair on the map – if you want wash-in, wash-out, edgy east London colour, BLEACH is the way to go.

    From rose gold to smoky violet and icy blue, whatever shade you’re after, there’s a bottle for you. The good news is, if you love the colour, you can add a small amount to your conditioner to keep it going for longer.

    BLEACH London Awkward Peach, £4

  • Best for a temporary colour boost: Josh Wood Shade Shot Gloss


    Perfect for reviving your colour in-between salon visits, Josh Wood’s Shade Shot Glosses are applied like a hair mask, nourishing your hair and depositing subtle colour in one.

    They work to boost the undertones of your hair, so whether it’s warm sun-kissed shade or a rich chocolatey hue you’re after, pop one of these on to give your hair a subtle shade update. 

    Josh Wood Shade Shot Gloss, £19

  • Best for fail-safe colour: L’Oreal Paris Casting Crème Gloss

    They’re one of the most trusted brands when it comes to at-home hair colour and for good reason. L’Oreal Paris’ Casting Crème Gloss is ammonia free, lasts up to 28 shampoos and leaves hair full of visible shimmering tones.

    Plus with 41 shades in total – you’re sure to find one to suit you. 

    L’Oreal Paris Casting Crème Gloss, £7

How do you make semi-permanent hair dye last longer?

So, you’ve used a semi-permanent hair dye and the good news is: you love the colour. Now the question remains: how can you keep semi-permanent hair dye from fading? 

The best way to keep your colour for longer is to avoid over-washing your hair. Every time your hair gets wet, the hair cuticle swells and colour deposits are washed out. 

But while dry shampoo can become your best friend, you’re still going to need to wash your hair. A great way to keep the colour for longer is to buy a second pack of hair colour, and use a small amount every time you condition your hair. 

BLEACH London also offer shampoos and conditioners that are enriched with a small amount of colour – so if you can find one that’s similar to the shade you’re trying to maintain, these can be a lifesaver. 

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