The Ultimate Guide to Different Types of Hair Dye

Guide to Different Types of Hair Dye

No matter if you’re just dipping your toe into the world of hair dye with an Instagram worthy shot at the latest trend, or you’re a hair colour connoisseur who regularly changes the hue of your locks, it’s important to be well-versed in the different types of hair colour available to you. Especially when you’re a brunette who regularly maintains golden locks or vice versa, it’s time to learn all about the different types of hair dye. You’ve probably already heard of semi-permanent and permanent hair colour but you may not know the fundamental formula differences or how they interact with your locks. To get you in the know, our experts have shared everything you need to know, and how to determine which type of hair colour is best for you. Behold: The ultimate guide to the different types of hair dye.

Be low commitment with temporary hair colour

A myriad of rainbow colours has been lighting up our social media feeds recently. From lilac grey to beautiful pastels in every hue one thing’s for certain, everyone loves to play with colour. However, not everyone is ready for that long-term commitment. Want to dip your toe in the brightly coloured pool without a permanent change? That’s where temporary hair dye comes in! Temporary hair dye, or wash out colour, only coats the outside of the hair shaft, without penetrating, so the results don’t last as long as other dyes. This means that once you reach for your favourite shampoo, your new hue will come out and your natural locks will return – and you can try another new shade tomorrow!
While temporary hair colour is the ultimate way to get creative without lasting effects, do keep in mind that sometimes frequent use of temporary hair colour on damaged hair can resulted in staining.

Semi-permanent hair dye

If you're ready to take that temporary look a little further, semi-permanent hair colour will be your best friend. These dyes are generally not formulated with ammonia and don’t require developing. What’s better: semi-permanent colour generally lasts for around eight shampoos. For these reasons, an at-home semi-permanent dye can be a great option for covering pesky greys or just disguising your roots before you can make it to the salon again. Maybe you want to give a darker colour a test run? Semi-permanent colour should be your go to! This low-commitment option is also perfect for adding gloss and dimension to dull-looking, lacklustre hair. Convinced? Or ready to cover greys? Our favourite grey-coverage semi-permanent hair dye is Age Perfect Beautifying Care Semi-Permanent Hair Colour. Want to cover scattered greys or change up your natural colour, then Casting Crème Gloss Semi-Permanent Hair Colour is for you! Add gloss and shine to your existing colour or change it up a bit! Discover more ways to hide greys with advice from our experts.
Remember! If your hair is very damaged or porous it could retain semi-permanent colour for longer, meaning you may get more wear between applications. Keep that in mind if you're banking on only making a short-term change!

Demi-permanent hair dye

Looking for a hair colour with longevity slightly in-between semi-permanent and permanent? Look no further than demi-permanent hair dye! This type of hair dye is similar to semi-permanent hair dye due to the fact that it isn't permanent and is ammonia-free, though there are some key differences between the two.
Unlike semi-permanent colour, demi-permanent hair dye is mixed with a developer, which allows it to penetrate the hair shaft rather than simply coat it. This means demi-permanent colour generally lasts longer than its semi-permanent cousins. For the complete low-down on demi permanent hair colour, our experts have put together the ultimate guide to demi-permanent dye.

Permanent hair colour

If you’re looking to make a change and stick to one hue for a while, permanent hair dye is what you’re after. Permanent hair dye will penetrate your hair more deeply, thanks to its formula, so your chosen colour can last for weeks without any visible signs of fading. The possibilities are endless with permanent hair colour, lighten, darken, tone or cover all your greys you can transform your look.
Despite its long-lasting benefits, permanent hair colour will also have to be reapplied due to new hair growth. However, permanent formulas will allow you to only touch up when your regrowth is obvious, compared to semi-permanent colours that fade from your entire hair shaft over time! Want a few permanent hair colour recs? Take your pick from our best options below.
Preference Permanent Hair Colour: This permanent hair dye will give you fade-defying colour for up to eight weeks. The hair dye comes in a range of striking shades, from the iciest blonde to the boldest orange, giving you endless opportunities to change your look.
Excellence Crème Permanent Hair Colour: Need a formula that will cover even the most stubborn greys? This hair dye is for you! There are many beautiful, natural shades to choose from that will leave you with rich, radiant colour and 100% resistant grey coverage.

Highlights & Lowlights

Not every look or makeover requires all-over colour, which is where hair highlights and lowlights come in. Highlights are achieved by placing the colour on various, carefully selected, segments of the hair to help create depth, tone, and shade in your natural hair colour. The chunky-looking, stripy highlights of the past are no longer the biggest trend, now a more dimensional, subtle look has become the go-to way to help refresh tired locks. Instead of being limited to one type of highlights, there are quite a few you can choose from – with each referred to by a specific name. Some of the most popular include:

Ombré hair colour is gently graduated from roots to tip, or the other way around. Ombré can be done in either bright colours, or natural hues. For a natural look an ombre application usually leaves your natural colour at the top and gradually fades into a lighter highlighted tone towards the ends of your hair. Get the best of both worlds with lighter and darker tones, or use bright dye to add some colour to the end to change it up a little.

Balayage is one of the most popular salon techniques these days. It involves painting the highlights on by hand with a brush. This technique focuses on highlighting where the sun would naturally hits your strands mimicking natural summer highlights, elevating your colour and adding dimension.

Lighter strands not your thing? Opt for lowlights instead. While ‘lowlights’ might sound counterintuitive when it comes to building dimension through highlights, adding darker tones can create a dynamic look. Instead of lightening sections of your hair, this technique uses darker tones in a similar method of application for a new look without a full head commitment. 
Most highlights for hair are done with permanent colour, but they are much easier to change out than a full-coverage dye job. If you’re an at-home hair colour novice, it’s usually best to consult a professional colourist before trying out a new hair highlighting technique.


Root colour

For some people, grey hair can be an everyday annoyance that they just can’t keep in check, especially in between salon visits. Or for others, pesky grey hairs seem to pop up once in a while, but they don’t want to commit to a full head of dye. If either of the above apply to you root touch up may just be your new best friend. A root touch up spray like the Magic Retouch Temporary Root Concealer Spray is a great way to help conceal the appearance of pesky grey roots, or even obvious regrowth in any colour. If you need a quick solution, these sprays distribute a fine mist of temporary pigment that washes out with your next shampoo. Temporary root concealers are amazing for last-minute events and touch-ups on the go.
Need something with a bit more precision? Perhaps you’ve noticed a few grey strands while you’re on your way out the door and need to cover them stat! Don’t sweat, we’ve got you covered with the Magic Retouch Precision Root Touch Up. Utilise the careful precision brush to cover scattered greys in seconds! Keep one in your bag for touch ups on the go!

Hair bleach

If you have naturally dark brown or brunette hair, there is a good chance you’ll need a hair colour bleach to lighten your hair, whether your final shade destination is blonde, or simply a lighter hue in another tone. While bleach is a great way to lighten and brighten your hair, be aware that using it can lead to damage. Here are a few at-home bleaching kits to consider.
Preference 9L Ultra Platinum Bleach Permanent Hair Colour : Take your hair colour to the next level with an extreme platinum. If you want to make an impact while still caring for your hair, this one’s for you.


You're likely familiar with henna tattoos. What you may not know is that henna isn't only used to adorn the skin with swirling designs, it's also used to colour hair. Derived from the henna plant, henna hair dye typically gives hair a reddish hue, providing shine and colour vibrancy in the process. Henna may be a good option if you've previously experienced an allergic reaction when colouring your hair (don't forget to spot test!), as natural henna is usually hypoallergenic. Henna also may be beneficial for those with dandruff, so it could be worth a try if you're fed up with your itchy, flaky scalp.
Now you’re an expert in all the different types of hair dye available, you’re ready to shake up your hue and make a change. Discover more tips and tricks in our Hair Colour Hub.