Is box dye permanent or semi permanent? You’ll find both types

woman looks to the side with doubts

  • There are both permanent and semi-permanent box dyes.
  • For example, some of the most popular permanent box dyes are L’ORÉAL EXCELLENCE, GARNIER NUTRISSE, and REVLON.
  • And some of the most popular semi-permanent box dyes are CLAIROL NATURAL INSTINCTS, GOT 2B, SPLAT, and COLORIST L’ORÉAL.
  • Brands are required to disclose on the packaging whether the dye is permanent or semi-permanent. But what if you still have doubts? I’ll tell you below how to tell the difference between permanent and semi-permanent hair dyes.


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 Do you have doubts about whether box dye is permanent or semi-permanent? 


Well, since the 20th century, you can find both kinds: box dyes that are either semi-permanent or permanent.

That’s why, on supermarket shelves, box dyes are taking up more and more space all the time. Because there exists an infinite variety of box dyes in both permanent and semi-permanent dyes.

hair dyeing products on the market shelves

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Now, the classic box dyes that have been around for years are the permanent ones. The semi-permanent ones are newer, a product of natural cosmetics.

And although you can find some semi-permanent dyes in a box, such as the brands I mentioned at the beginning of the article, they also come in the form of a knob or in a mask-type container, such as the brands MANIC PANIC, PUNKY COLOR, and ADORE.


Now  the easiest way to know if the box dye you are interested in buying is permanent or semi-permanent is to read carefully what it says on the dye box. 

Because those words will help you differentiate whether a box dye is permanent or semi-permanent. What information should you look for on the dye box?

That’s what I’ll talk about next.


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How to recognize a permanent box dye

revlon permanent hair color

To easily recognize a permanent box dye, the most obvious thing to do is to look on the front of the packaging for phrases such as “PERMANENT DYE”, “PERMANENT COLORING”, or “PERMANENT COLORING CREAM”.


Needless to say, it’s a requirement worldwide for manufacturers to describe the specific type of product they are marketing on the front of their packaging.

You can also make sure that the box corresponds to a permanent hair color by reading the description of what comes in the coloring kit.

 If the dye box includes a dye knob, What volume developer is in box dye? Dark hair dye colors usually include 20-volume developers developer cream, disposable gloves, and a post-coloring treatment,  it’s a permanent dye. The only dyes you apply with developer are the permanent ones.


And if that wasn’t enough, you can also look for the words “AMMONIA” or “BLEACH”, which will indicate that the dye is permanent.

How to recognize a semi-permanent box dye

Clairol semi-permanent hair color dye

Most semi-permanent dyes come in bottles or pots, although there are also semi-permanent dyes that come in boxes.

Whatever packaging you see, it will always say it’s a “SEMI-PERMANENT DYE”, “WASHABLE DYE”, or “HAIR SHADE”.


 Boxes of semi-permanent dyes are also smaller  because they don’t include the developer. You’ll only find the dye knob.

And if all that wasn’t enough, semi-permanent hair dye is usually stamped “100% CRUELTY FREE”, “NOT TESTED ON ANIMALS“, “VEGAN-FRIENDLY”, and “BIODEGRADABLE.


Finally, to make sure it’s a 100% semi-permanent hair color, you can check the ingredients.  If the ingredients list AMMONIA or BLEACH,  and you’re looking for a completely semi-permanent hair dye, don’t buy it.


Many manufacturers add small amounts of ammonia to semi-permanent hair dyes to help the color adhere and last longer on the hair.

Therefore, what if your hair is weak and dry? Are you looking for a dye that doesn’t contain ammonia and that you don’t apply with developer? I recommend you look for a semi-permanent dye that doesn’t contain either chemical.



There’s been a lot of changes in the history of hair dyes. The Egyptians started using henna. And eventually, we came to the first dyes using paraphenylenediamine, the basis of hair coloring as we know it today.

How can you tell whether a box dye is semi-permanent or permanent? It’s best to read carefully the ingredients that make up the dye. If the list of ingredients includes developer and ammonia, it’s a permanent box dye.

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