How Long Does Temporary Hair Dye Last? Quick hair Qs!

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How long does temporary hair dye last?

If you’re looking for a quick, easy, and temporary way to change up your hair color, then look no further than temporary hair dye!

Temporary dyes are perfect for those who want to experiment with new colors without making a long-term commitment.

Plus, they’re relatively affordable and can be easily found at most drugstores.

But the big question is, how long does temporary hair dye last? Let’s find out!

How long does temporary hair dye last?

On average, temporary hair dye will last anywhere from 2-8 shampoos. On more porous, bleached or previously dyed hair, the dye may fade more quickly.

What is temporary hair dye?

Temporary hair dye is, as the name suggests, a type of hair dye that washes out after a certain amount of time.

Unlike permanent hair dye, which alters the natural pigment in your hair, temporary hair dye only coats the outside of the strands.

This means that it’s much less damaging to your hair, and it’s also very easy to change up your look if you get tired of the color.

Most temporary dyes will last anywhere from 2-6 washes, although some may last longer.

What are the different types of temporary hair dyes?

There are a few different types of temporary hair dye available on the market that you can get your hands and strands on today.

The most common type is semi-permanent hair color, which uses larger molecules that can penetrate the outer layer of the hair shaft but not the inner cortex. This type of dye usually lasts anywhere from 4-12 shampoos before beginning to fade. 

Another popular option is demi-permanent hair color, which uses smaller molecules that can penetrate both the outer layer and the inner cortex of the hair shaft. This type of dye typically lasts 24-26 shampoos before beginning to fade. 

Lastly, there is rinse-out or temporary color gel, which is similar to semi-permanent color but contains pigments that are only deposited on the outermost layer of the hair shaft.

This type of dye usually lasts 1-2 shampoos before beginning to fade. 

Rinse-out or temporary color gel is also sometimes called “color gloss” or “glossing.”

It can be used to refresh faded semi-permanent color or add shine and luster to natural hair colors.

It’s also a great way to condition your hair and add instant softness, body, and volume! 

What’s the difference between permanent, demi-permanent, and temporary hair dye?

The main difference between permanent, demi-permanent, and temporary hair color is the amount of time each type of dye will last before it starts to fade.

Permanent hair color is just that—permanent. It uses ammonia and other harsh chemicals to open the cuticle so that the dye can penetrate the shaft and permanently alter the color of your hair.

Demi-permanent hair color also uses ammonia (although not as much as permanent dye) but doesn’t penetrate the shaft as deeply, so it will slowly fade over time.

Temporary hair colors don’t penetrate the shaft at all but instead coat the surface of your hair with pigment. This is why they only last for a few shampoos before they start to fade. 

How to use temporary hair dye.

Applying temporary hair dye is pretty similar to applying any other type of hair dye.

You will need to purchase the dye from a beauty supply store or online, and then follow the instructions on the box.

It’s important to note that some temporary dyes require you to mix them with developer, so make sure you read the instructions carefully before you get started. 

Watch and learn: How to change your hair color without dye step-by-step.

Here’s a great video that shows you how to apply temporary hair dye safely and quickly to get the best results!

YouTube video

Does temporary dye damage your hair?

No, dying your hair with temporary hair dyes won’t damage your strands.

While it’s true that temporary dyes don’t penetrate the hair shaft as deeply as permanent dyes, they still deposit color onto the outer layer of the hair and stain it.

This can cause some dryness, but it’s nothing a good deep conditioning treatment can’t fix.

So, if you’re worried about damaging your hair with dye, don’t be!

Temporary dyes are a great way to add some fun color without making a commitment.

Can I dye my hair temporary colors if it’s already dyed?

If your hair is already dyed with a permanent or semi-permanent color, you can absolutely use a temporary dye over top.

In fact, many people use temporary colors to add Highlights, lowlights, accents or streaks to their existing color without having to make a big commitment.

Just keep in mind that because temporary colors sit on top of your hair rather than penetrating the shaft, they may not take as evenly on previously dyed hair and you may need to use more product than usual to get desired results. 

Will temporary hair dye wash out completely?

If you’re considering using temporary hair dye, you might be wondering how long it will stay in your hair and if it will wash out completely.

The good news is that temporary hair dyes are designed to be just that: temporary.

They typically last for about 2-8 shampoos, although this can vary depending on the product.

And when it does finally fade, it should do so evenly, without leaving any weird patches of color.

So if you’re looking for a way to experiment with your look without making a permanent commitment, temporary hair dye is a great option.

How can I make temporary hair dye last for longer?

If you want your color to last as long as possible, there are a few things you can do to help prolong its life.

  • First, avoid washing your hair too often. Washing your hair every other day or every three days is ideal.
  • Second, use cool or lukewarm water when washing your hair, as hot water can strip the color from your locks faster.
  • Fourth, use a deep conditioning treatment once a week to keep your hair hydrated and healthy. Healthy hair holds color better than dry, damaged hair.
  • Finally, make sure to use a heat protectant spray before using any heated styling tools such as curling irons or blow dryers.

By following these simple tips, you can keep your hair looking vibrant and healthy for weeks on end!

Parting words

If you’re considering trying a new hair color but aren’t sure if you’re ready for a long-term commitment, consider using a temporary dye.

Temporary colors are easy to apply at home and typically last 2-8 shampoos—although some formulas can last up 8-12 shampoos—so you can experiment with different shades without having to worry about them lasting forever.

Give yourself permission to have fun and try something new—you might be surprised at how good it feels!


  • Nicola Freeman, Creative Director & Content Lead

    With over two decades of passionate hair dyeing experience, I've experimented with nearly every shade imaginable. My journey began long before blogging; as an award-winning copywriter in London and New York, I shaped narratives for iconic brands. However, when friends sought advice during lockdown for at-home hair dyeing, I realized my true calling. Beyond being your hair color expert, I'm a mom of two girls, wife to artist Tony, and an avid soccer player!

  • Enza Piazza, Hair Stylist & Color Consultant

    I’m Enza Piazza, your go-to hair stylist and color consultant with over 23 years of professional salon experience bringing vibrancy and life to hair of all hues. My Italian roots from sunny Sicily infuse passion into every snip and color, a passion that’s been recognized with top honor awards including bridal and party hair at the National Hairdressers Federation’s Championships. After training in Surrey, UK’s most prestigious salons including Head Master Academy, I embraced the entrepreneurial spirit and set up Enza Hair Styling, offering tailored hair care for 13 years, and treating each client like family. Away from the salon, I cherish moments as a proud Nonna to grandson Joseph and as a playful companion to my Jack Russell, Bo.