What are the Different Types of Home Hair Coloring?

Diane Goettel

There are four main types of home hair coloring. They are permanent hair coloring, semi-permanent hair coloring, temporary hair coloring, and henna. Permanent hair coloring is the only type of these three that can lighten the hair. Lightening the hair, which involves a process that strips the hair of some of its natural color, is permanent and cannot be reversed without another permanent procedure. All of the other processes, which are impermanent or are only able to tone the hair, are incapable of lightening the color.

Only permanent dye kits are able to lighten dark hair.
Only permanent dye kits are able to lighten dark hair.

Permanent hair coloring can change the hair lighter or darker and can make the hair pretty much any color in the rainbow. Home hair coloring kits to darken the hair include permanent dye that stains the hair follicles to reflect a different color. Home hair coloring kits to lighten the hair color include both peroxide, which lightens the hair, and colors that create the tone of the color such as red, brown, or blonde. As with all home hair coloring kits, the outcome will depend on the color and condition of the hair prior to using the product.

Red hair colors range from natural-looking tones to bright fire-engine red.
Red hair colors range from natural-looking tones to bright fire-engine red.

Semi-permanent home hair coloring kits simply tint the hair. This color will eventually fade and wash out almost completely. The fading process usually takes between 12 and 24 shampoos, depending on the product. This kind of product can be used to help cover gray but may not offer complete coverage. The best product to cover gray hairs, however, is permanent hair coloring.

Hair coloring kits may be used to dye hair at home.
Hair coloring kits may be used to dye hair at home.

Temporary hair coloring is a home hair coloring product that lasts a very short period of time. The product can usually be completely removed from the hair in just one or two shampoos. These products are often used for costume purposes and may come as a gel, paste, or spray. They also often come in wild colors such as hot pink, deep blue, lizard green, sunflower yellow, and fire engine red.

Demi-permanent hair dyes do not contain ammonia, unlike permanent hair dyes.
Demi-permanent hair dyes do not contain ammonia, unlike permanent hair dyes.

Henna is a home hair coloring product that is made with natural ingredients. It is a product that is made from a flowering plant and has been used for centuries to dye both the skin and the hair. Henna can darken the hair and tint the hair, but it cannot lighten the hair as it is not made with peroxide. This kind of home hair coloring product can usually be found in health food stores and stores that specialize in natural or organic products.

When dying or bleaching hair, it's recommended to wear gloves to protect hands against chemicals and staining.
When dying or bleaching hair, it's recommended to wear gloves to protect hands against chemicals and staining.

Discussion Comments

Scrbblchick

A caveat: Do *not* try to go from very dark to very light with a home hair color kit. The results can be very, very bad. Home kits, even the permanent color ones, are really for people who want to try a new color close to their own shade, do something fun for a party (temporary color), intensify their natural color or cover gray. Going from dark to light is a job for a professional.

The most successful home color jobs are those that stay within two or three shades, lighter or darker, than the person's natural hair color. Someone with brown hair might want to add reddish tints or do a golden brown color. This is fine. The person might even want to try a light brown or an auburn. That's O.K. It's probably within a couple of shades of the person's natural color. Blondes should stick with blonde shades, unless they want to go with a very light auburn or strawberry blonde.

The closer you stay to your natural color, the better off you will be.

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