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Permanent and Semi-permanent Coloring of Gray Hair
By educating yourself on the basics of in-home hair coloring, you can avoid potentially disastrous results. Before attempting any coloring, you should first make sure your hair is in the best possible condition, and you should always try to stay within two shades of your natural hair color for optimum results.
Semi-permanent hair color is the easiest to use, and it also gives your hair a more natural hue. These dyes are a great choice when a darker shade is the desired result. Another plus is the dyes are applied straight from the applicator, so they don't require any mixing, which can be messy and aggravating. The color lasts about four to six weeks, but it has the potential to fade more rapidly if exposed to frequent shampooing and exposure to air, unlike permanent dyes.
Semi-permanent and temporary colors don't contain harmful bleach or ammonia, so you won't risk damaging your hair, but they aren't the best choice for those seeking to cover gray hair, since the color does fade out rather quickly and will return hair to its original (gray) shade. Still, they are a great way to try different shades before deciding which color would look best before taking a more permanent approach.
With permanent hair coloring, you are penetrating the hair follicle and adding pigment directly into the hair shaft. This process is also known as "oxidation," because an oxidizer and ammonia are combined with the chosen coloring component before being applied to hair. One positive aspect of using permanent dyes is that you don't have to reapply it as often as you would with semi-permanent or temporary colors. You also have a wider variety of permanent colors to choose from which are more natural looking than other hair dyeing techniques.
Manufacturers do their best to obtain long-lasting color that doesn't compromise the strength of your hair, but unfortunately permanent dyes still tend to cause more damage than semi-permanent ones, since the chemicals are stronger and have to be applied for a longer stretch of time. This is why most people leave permanent coloring to salon professionals.
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