Can You Make Semipermanent Hair Dye Permanent? NO!!, here’s why

  • No. I’m sorry to say that you can’t turn a semi-permanent hair dye into a permanent one.
  • The main reason is that the components of each hair dye are different. They’re designed for specific uses and techniques.
  • Semi-permanent hair dye cannot open up the hair cuticle like a permanent hair dye.
  • The main difference is that the semi-permanent hair dye doesn’t have ammonia. It’s one of the main components and it distinguishes semi-permanent from permanent hair dyes. So, without that ingredient, it’s impossible to transform it into a permanent hair dye.


for men and women

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What Does Ammonia Do In Hair Dye?

To understand why you can’t make semi-permanent hair dye permanent, I want to tell you briefly how ammonia works. It makes the difference between a semi-permanent and a permanent hair dye.

Ammonia is used to increase the hair’s PH. What does it mean?

from brunette to light blonde

 It causes the hair to swell and the cuticle layer to open so that color can be permanently deposited. 

As semi-permanent hair dyes lack this alkaline substance, they cannot open the cuticle. They can only deposit color softly and healthily giving an extreme shine to the hair. Remember that alkaline substances open the cuticle while acid ones close it.


When should I choose a semi-permanent hair color?

arctic fox

Semi-permanent hair dyes are used and ideal to refresh hair color. Since they don’t contain ammonia, they increase shine and unify a washed-out color after a vacation or swimming in a pool.

They are also used to darken two tones at most or as an alternative to toning highlights that became a little yellowish due to natural oxidation and time.


They can also be used, and are indeed ideal, to cover the first gray hairs. However, we already know that they don’t color because they lack ammonia. They can be used to shade the first dreaded gray hairs.


 Always remember that semi-permanent hair dyes don’t lighten hair. However, they can’t permanently darken it.  So, you can use it as a makeover option that will gradually fade with washing.


This magic hair dye offers so many options that I don’t see the point of making it permanent.

Keep in mind that semi-permanent hair dye works differently from a permanent one. It’s mainly due to its chemical components. Always ask about it with the list I gave you with all its uses.


When should you choose a permanent dye?

gray hair

Permanent hair dyes contain ammonia, which increases the hair’s PH. Ammonia is an alkaline substance, so it opens the cuticle to deposit color permanently.

Permanent hair dyes can be used to change hair color permanently and firmly. What does it mean?


 It means that color won’t wash out, unlike it will with semi-permanent color. It’ll only do so as the hair grows.  This is very important. You should keep it in mind when changing your look.

For example, if you’re planning to dark two shades, or even three, you can choose a semi-permanent color. Then, if you regret it, you can just wait for a few washes before it disappears.

On the other hand, if you apply a permanent hair dye, removing it will be much more difficult. Not only will you have to go to the salon to do it, which will be an extra expense, but you’ll also wear out your hair.


 Permanent hair color is most widely used to cover gray hair  it works perfectly.

Permanent hair dyes can lighten our hair, but remember and keep in mind this golden rule: only lighten virgin hair. What does it mean?


It means that if your hair is already colored and you want to lighten it, you won’t be able to do so. It’ll only work where your hair is virgin or natural. So, watch out!

In my years as a colorist, I have seen more than one girl with orange roots and the rest of the hair darker. So, keep in mind that  permanent hair color doesn’t lighten on a previous hair dye. It does over virgin hair. 

You can also use a permanent dye to match all your hair.


Permanent dyes are very different from semi-permanent ones. Keep this list of use in mind and the golden rules to avoid making mistakes with your hair.

Remember that there are professionals who are willing to correct or save you from any home experiments. They’re called colorists and work in beauty salons.



Now you know.

You can’t make semi permanent hair dye permanent. The reason is simple.

Permanent hair dyes have ammonia, which makes the cuticle open for the color to be deposited later. Semi-permanent hair dyes don’t have ammonia. So, the color is only deposited on the surface and disappears with washing.


It doesn’t make sense to try strange experiments mixing dyes, especially if you don’t have colorimetry experience. Nowadays, hair dyes are quite affordable for everyone.

If after reading this you want to permanently color your hair, you should just go to your local store and buy a permanent hair dye.

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