Can You Use Semi-Permanent Hair Color Over Highlights?

Many people are concerned if they can use semi-permanent hair color over highlights. Some say yes while others say no. 

Do you want to give your hair a colorful makeover without committing to permanent color? Then semi-permanent hair color is a wonderful experience; you get to experiment with an attractive new style without sticking to a single color.

But what if you have highlights in your hair?

  • Is it okay to put semi-permanent hair color over highlights?
  • How to cover semi-permanent hair color over highlights?

In truth, this subject is divisive among hair enthusiasts, who find it challenging to find an appropriate solution. But do not worry, because this article will solve your issue.

Can you use semi-permanent hair color over highlights? 
Can you use semi-permanent hair color over highlights?

How Does Semi-Permanent Hair Color Work?

Semi-permanent hair color is a short-term hair coloring solution. Unlike most permanent solutions, it does not include ammonia. Thus, it does not need any developer or pre-mixing and may be applied directly to your hair.

Semi-permanent hair dye coats the surface of the hair strands instead of coloring the hair’s inner cuticle and significantly affecting the color of the hair.

It may result in a simple on-and-off solution that can be blended to generate various bespoke colors and tones, which means it is ideal for switching up your hue whenever you want to try a new hair color!

Semi-permanent hair dye does not cause damage to hair as permanent hair dye, which is a plus. Furthermore, it keeps hair shiny and healthy while increasing richness. Also, the hair color will be more vibrant.

This type of hair color usually lasts for 6-8 weeks or 28 washes on average, but it can last much longer depending on the product you use and how you take care of your hair. Notably, semi-permanent hair dye is easy to perform at home.

What Does Semi-Permanent Hair Color Best Use For?

Conceal Gray Roots 

Root touch-up kits with semi-permanent hair dye can swiftly conceal grays, allowing you to feel more secure between hair treatments.

Revive Your Hair Color

Semi-permanent hair dye can also be used to replenish faded hair color. If you have an upcoming occasion but do not have time to visit your hairstylist, a container of semi-permanent hair color could be the answer to dull-looking hair.

Try Some New Color 

Semi-permanent hair color begins to fade after each wash, making it an excellent solution for anyone hesitant to dye their hair.

In fact, semi-permanent hair coloring may be the ideal answer if you wish to try out different hair colors without harming your hair. Fashion hues do appear more vibrant on lighter hair.

Can You Use Semi-Permanent Hair Color Over Highlights?

If your hair is highlighted, you can apply semi-permanent color to your hair and expect a good outcome. However, dying over highlights is more complicated, so you need to consider your current color, hair condition, and the desired color to get the best results.

Lighten highlights

Semi-permanent dyes are merely colors that do not dye the hair’s inner cuticle. Instead, these dyes deposit pigment on the outside surface of your hair and do not alter the hair’s original color.

As a result, it is not an excellent technique to lighten highlights. A semi-permanent dye will only provide a little shine at the very most.

Darken highlights

On the other hand, semi-permanent hair dye is a wonderful alternative for darkening your highlights because this sort of hair color does not include ammonia.

As a result, it might remove the yellow tone without harming your hair provide you with a darker tone. Despite that, it may last for just a few weeks.

You can use semi-permanent hair color to tone down your highlights. 
You can use semi-permanent hair color to tone down your highlights.

Will Semi-Permanent Hair Dye Ruin My Highlights?

In general, because semi-permanent hair dye only coats the outside of the hair, it does not harm the hair structure. Moreover, it does not comprise ammonia and has a percentage of short peroxide, usually between 6 and 15.

Since semi-permanent hair dye does not enter the hair’s cortex, it may not permanently affect the color or melanin of your natural hair. 

For these reasons, this kind of hair dye is less destructive to all kinds of hair, including highlighted hair, than permanent hair dye.

Despite that, if your highlighted hair has been color-damaged, the strands appear to be more porous. 

Generally, semi-permanent hair dye will not ruin your highlights.
Generally, semi-permanent hair dye will not ruin your highlights.

How To Cover Highlights With Semi-Permanent Color?

Several people prefer to return highlights to their natural color before covering them with semi-permanent hair color.

To save you time and effort, we will show you how to directly apply semi-permanent hair color over highlights without returning highlights to their natural color.


  • Semi-permanent hair color
  • Barrier cream (to protect your skin from harsh substances)
  • Gloves
  • A comb
  • A cap
  • A cleansing wipe

Dyeing process

  1. First, you must decide what hue you desire your hair to be. The mission may be simpler if you apply darker-colored dyes. Whereas, bright shades have a wider range of color possibilities.
  2. Then, it is time to dye your hair. Remember that if your hair is damaged, you should take extra care to make it healthy before dying.
  3. After that, put the barrier cream on your brow, ears, and neck to keep the dye from staining your skin. Remember to keep the cream out of your highlighted hair.
  4. Now, thoroughly wash and wear gloves.
  5. Unclip a portion of hair and put a small amount of semi-permanent hair dye to your hair stresses in quarter-inch rows. Move down your head until the section is finished.
  6. Ensure your hair is soaked with color by massaging it into your strands.
  7. Next, starting where the end of the root, put color to the mid-lengths. Concentrate on a particular part at a time.
  8. Color should be massaged down to the ends. To draw the color through your hair and cover every highlight, utilize your fingers or a wide-tooth comb.
  9. Return to the color-resistant sections of your hair and apply extra color there.
  10. Once you are finished, wear the cap, remove your gloves, and clean up any color that has dropped onto your skin with the cleansing wipe.
  11. Set a timer for around 35 minutes if you do conventional processing or 45 minutes do color-resistant hair.
  12. Finally, shampoo your hair thoroughly till the water runs clear. The simplest method is to hop in the shower, moisten your head, and massage it thoroughly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Semi-Permanent Hair Color Should You Use On Highlighted Hair?

L’Oreal Paris Colorista Semi-Permanent Hair Color

You can have fun with gorgeous contemporary colors like blue, violet, pink, turquoise, indigo, peach, and so on by using the L’Oreal Paris Colorista Semi-Permanent Hair Color.

Apart from highlighted hair, this hair dye is appropriate for blondes, colored, bleached, or brunettes hair.

This semi-permanent hair color is pleasant on your highlighted hair because it is made with pure color in the base of the nourishing mask. This hair color goes in a tube with a creamy texture that is easy to blend. 

Adore Creative Image Semipermanent Hair Color

The Adore Creative Image Semipermanent Hair Color is our next choice because it may give your hair a gorgeous and seductive look. It gives your hair a rich hue and leaves it lustrous, glossy, and silky. 

This liquid semi-permanent hair dye takes only 15 minutes to boost your original color or to produce contemporary color on your highlights. It also gives it a healthy gloss and leaves it in a better situation.

These semi-permanent hair tints come in a whopping 56 different tones.

L’Oreal Paris Hair Color Colorista 1-Day Spray

If committing to several weeks of hue is far too much for you, try L’Oreal Paris Hair Color Colorista 1-Day Spray. It is a semi-permanent hair dye but in spray form, which is gentle, quick-drying, and will last until your next rinse. In addition, it is relatively simple to use.

This spray mixture is great for adding interest and complexity to your ombre and highlights hair. You can choose between various colors that you like. Indeed, it is a perfect option for your highlighted hair.

Will Your Hair Return To Its Natural Color After Using Semi-Permanent Hair Color?

Since semi-permanent color does not significantly alter the color or texture of your hair, you may expect your hair hue to return to its standard form after using it.

Like any hair dye, you may see that the color fades gradually before entirely disappearing. Once the semi-permanent hair color has completely faded, your hair will look just as it was before the color was applied.

It will take a bit longer for your hair to go back to normal if you use semi-permanent hair color coupled with peroxide.

After around six washes, if you use peroxide-free semi-permanent hair color, your hair will look just like it always has.

How Can You Extend the Life Of Semi-Permanent Hair Color?

Wash your hair in cold water

Instead of using hot water, it will be better if you use cold water because hot water is more good at lifting hair dye than cold water.

Also, using cold water will help you maintain your new hair dye vibrantly and brilliantly. In addition, cold water will help seal the hair cuticles, which protects your hair color from fading quickly.

As little shampoo as you can

The semi-permanent hair color may fade after each shampoo of your hair. To leave your hair staying vivid, you should minimize the shampoo frequency every week.

Use a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner

Sulfates are harsh substances that remove dye from tresses, potentially causing the hair color to disappear fast and leaving hair unhealthy and dry. 

So, avoid sulfate-containing shampoos and conditioners if you desire to extend your hair color’s life.

Avoid sunbathing 

If you expose your hair directly to sunlight, it may eliminate the semi-permanent hair color from your hair and cause your hair to lose its color quickly. Therefore, you should limit direct sunlight exposure to your new hue as much as possible. 

When you are on vacation, try to stay in the shadow as much as you can to maintain your hair color vibrantly and beautifully.

Wear a hat or cover up with a scarf are all ideal solutions as long as you do not expose yourself to direct sunlight.

Minimize swimming

The chlorine found in a swimming pool, like direct sunshine, does not mix well with semi-permanent hair color and will take the color off your hair. It is known as a bleaching agent that can harm your hair.

If you decide to go swimming, shower filters should be used in the bathroom to avoid hair coming into contact with chlorine. While swimming, remember to wear a protective cap and leave-in conditioner to reduce exposure.

Avoid styling with high heat

We advise you to stay away from all high heat styling to keep the most vibrant hair color after using semi-permanent hair dye.

For further information, please watch this video:

Final Thoughts

Indeed, you can use semi-permanent hair color over highlights. This type of hair dye is also ideal for those wanting to darken or tone down their highlights. Regardless, the effect may differ.

Overall, we hope that our post has helped you provide valuable knowledge regarding hair care.

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