My white hair won’t hold the color, what can I do?

worried woman shows her white hair

  • If your white hair doesn’t hold the color, it may not contain enough melanin, which is the protein that holds the color inside the hair.
  • Melanin gradually fades over the years until the hair turns white.
  • Also, white hair is thinner and weaker.
  • So, if you want your white hair to hold the color longer and also protect it, I suggest you use a semi-permanent hair color. I’ll tell you why.


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  Are you tired of your white hair not holding the color? Do you want to know what you can do?  


To be honest, the first thing I have to tell you is that you can’t go against the laws of nature.

In short, our body ages as the years go by. Hair also ages.

How does our body show our age?

woman grabs her hair because gray hair does not retain color

For example, our skin starts showing some wrinkles. Also, our muscles become less powerful. Our mind may also play tricks on us.

The hair loses color because the hair core stops producing melanin with age. Melanin, in turn, is what colors our hair.

  When you dye your hair, the melanin helps to absorb and maintain the color that is deposited with the dye.  


But, if your hair no longer has melanin and is completely white, there will be very little you can do to hold the color.


You would be going against nature. It’s like having surgery to erase wrinkles. There comes a time when the skin can’t be stretched any further.

So what can you do to help your white hair hold the color?


The only thing you can do is buy some time and trick nature.

How? That’s what I’ll tell you about next.


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If you want your white hair to hold the color longer, the best option is to use a semi-permanent hair dye

clairol semi-permanent hair color for white hair

Now, I’ll be honest. If you color your hair with a semi-permanent hair dye, it won’t hold the color for months.

  It will last longer than a permanent dye and won’t damage your white hair as much.   White hair is already weak because it has lost proteins.


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I don’t apply permanent hair color to white hair at the salon unless the client insists on it. White hair is fragile and doesn’t hold its color for very long.

So, what’s the point of exposing your white hair to damage from permanent dye if the color won’t last any longer?


Instead,   my recommendation as a professional colorist is to apply a semi-permanent dye to your white hair.   That product settles at the outermost part of your hair, which are the cuticles.

Best of all, it’s not applied with a developer and it doesn’t contain ammonia. That way, it’s much less aggressive for white hair than a permanent hair color.

How long will it last on your white hair?


It all depends on how often you wash your hair. The more you wash your white hair, the less the color will last on it.

Some brands of semi-permanent hair color last up to 24 or 28 washes.


Many women doubt semi-permanent hair dyes because they mistakenly believe they only come in “crazy colors” like green, purple, or pink. However, you can find a full range of traditional colors like blonde or brown.


Now, if you want your white hair to hold its color for as long as possible, you’ll need to modify some aspects of your hair care routine.

woman washes her hair after dyeing it

  • Wash your hair up to three times a week.
  • Use sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner.
  • Don’t overuse heat tools, and apply a heat protectant beforehand.
  • If you want to moisturize your hair, use natural oil masks.
  • Don’t expose your hair to the sun for too long. If you do, cover it with a hat


You can touch up the semi-permanent hair color when you notice that it’s fading or when some white hairs appear.

If you take care of your hair, the color will last much longer on your white hair than if you apply the permanent dye.

In my experience, the best brands of semi-permanent dyes for white hair are ADORE, CLAIROL NATURAL INSTINCTS and KISS EXPRESS.


Still, there’s another option and I’ll tell you about it now.


You can also use a demipermanent dye to extend the duration of the color on your white hair

ion intensive shine demi-permanent hair color

  The demipermanent dye can last up to three weeks without having to touch it up.  


I know it may not seem like much, but compared to permanent dye, it lasts much longer on white hair.

Demipermanent dyes don’t contain ammonia, so they won’t damage your hair fiber like permanent dye. But they are applied with a developer.

The necessary developer volumes will depend on the brand you choose. Some brands need a 6-vol, while others need a 9-vol developer. Remember that permanent dye is applied with a 20-volume developer.

So the demipermanent dye will be gentle with your white hair. The consistency of this type of hair dye is more gel-like, so it’s easier to distribute along your hair.


As regards colors, demipermanent hair dyes have the same color scale as permanent hair dyes. You just have to look for the color you like the most.

If you prefer this type of coloring for your white hair, I recommend WELLA COLOR CHARM TINTE DEMIPERMANENTE and ION INTENSIVE SHINE DEMIPERMANENT.



If you want your white hair to hold the color longer, my recommendation as a professional colorist is to use semi-permanent hair color.

Permanent hair dye, instead, doesn’t work on white hair. As it doesn’t contain melanin, it doesn’t hold the dye pigments.

Also, semi-permanent hair dye won’t damage your white hair, which is weak and brittle.

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