How should you dilute semi-permanent hair dye to make it lighter?

thoughtful woman holding a bottle of hair product

  • There are three ways to dilute semi-permanent hair dye to make it lighter.
  • You can choose a brand of semi-permanent hair dye that offers a color-lightening option, such as Manic Panic, Arctic Fox, or Punky Colour.
  • Or you can use a white or translucent conditioner or a white semi-permanent dye.
  • As a professional colorist, I recommend this before you dilute a semi-permanent dye to make it lighter: look for the color you want in the wide color chart offered by each brand. I’ll tell you why later on.


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 If you want to dilute semi-permanent hair dye to make it lighter, now you know. You can use diluting agents offered by different hair dye or conditioner brands. 


And each of these options has its own advantages and disadvantages.

So before you start mixing and experimenting, which will likely waste time and money, let me ask you a question:

What do you want to dilute the semi-permanent dye for?


 Wouldn’t it be simpler to look in the color chart of the dye brand for the exact color you want? 

I can assure you that in that color chart you’ll find all the secrets of colorimetry, a real science.


Today, you can find an almost infinite number of semi-permanent hair colors. They go from the most intense, neon style, to the softest shades, such as pastels.

Mechón de cabello en colores pastel

This option has three advantages:

  •  Save money:  you’ll only need one product to dye your hair. If you choose to dilute a dye, you will need two products.
  •  Save time:  when you use a permanent dye, coloring your hair takes more time. You have to mix the coloring mixture and the exposure time is often longer. With semi-permanent hair dye, you simply need to open the pot of the color you want and start applying it to your hair. If you use a diluting agent, you will need to spend more time mixing.
  •  Safe results:  when you open the semi-permanent hair color container, you can see what the color will look like on your hair. No surprises. If you dilute a semi-permanent hair dye and don’t mix it exactly right, your color can be uneven.


So, the almost philosophical question is, why do you insist on complicating things when it should be simple?

And while this question hangs in the air, let’s take a look at the semi-permanent hair color brands that offer color lighteners. Just in case you’re one of those people who like to complicate your life.


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Semi-permanent hair color brands that offer diluting agents to lighten the color

manic panic thinner to lighten hair dye

 Some semi-permanent hair color brands have developed their own color-lightening ingredients. 


I recommend you choose the diluting agent that matches your dye brand. Although all semi-permanent dyes are vegan and fade with washing, each brand develops its pigments with unique properties and principles.

Here are the names of the diluting agents for each brand:

  • Pastel-Izer by Manic Panic. Remember, this brand has a special line of light and pastel colors called Creamtones.
  •  Arctic Mist Diluter by Arctic Fox. 
  •  Pastel Fx Shade Adjustor by Punky Colour. 


To lighten the color of a semi-permanent dye using a diluting agent, I advise you to separate part of the dye in a plastic container and add the diluter little by little.

It’s important you mix the ingredients vigorously until you achieve a smooth color mixture.


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Other ways to dilute semi-permanent dye to make it lighter

woman mixes dye and conditioner to lighten hair dye

You’ll also have to resort to other products here:

  •  White semi-permanent dye : it must be the same brand as the dye you want to lighten.
  •  White conditioner (without moisturizing oils) : the last option, and therefore the least recommended. Why? Because if your conditioner contains sulfates, the color won’t be properly fixed in your hair. The same will be true if it contains oils.



As a professional colorist, I recommend you don’t try to dilute a semi-permanent dye to lighten the color. Instead, look for the shade you want directly on the semi-permanent dye color charts.

I can assure you you’ll find that lighter color you want without wasting time and money.

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