What is Permanent Hair colour and When to Go for it?

Permanent hair colour involves a process called “oxidation” which is essentially mixing ammonia and some chemical like hydrogen peroxide in with the colour before it’s applied. This helps the colour go deeper than just the top covering of your hair. Manufacturers these days do a lot of work making long-lasting hair dyes. These hair dyes will do minimal damage to the elasticity and strength of your hair. Even so, the chemicals that go into permanent hair dyes are stronger. So it’s obviously not for everyone. The question is, when should you go for permanent colour? But, let’s understand a little more about permanent hair colour.

More about Permanent Hair Colour

Vector Curly Hair Palette Isolated on White Background

What it is: As the name says, permanent hair colour permanently changes the colour of your hair.

What it does: Permanent hair colour interacts with the natural pigment of your hair and changes your hair’s structure with the help of chemicals present in it. With the help of ammonia, they penetrate the hair cuticle. Hydrogen peroxide helps in creating a chemical reaction, known as oxidation. This oxidation process helps in permanent hair colour molecules in embedding themselves in the structure of your hair fiber.

What it doesn’t do: Permanent hair colour will not fade away gradually and will definitely withstand multiple washes. However this also means you will always see a difference between the new hair growth and the coloured hair.

Why it’s used: Permanent colour is used to lighten or darken hair; change the colour of hair and cover grey hair. It will also give your hair a new look and a new shiny colour that will enhance your overall look.

multicolored curly hair

How long it lasts: Nothing lasts forever, so why should you expect your hair colour to last forever, despite it being named permanent. Permanent hair colour generally would withstand multiple washes. However after some time your hair will grow. At this time you will start noticing the difference between coloured hair and new hair roots. So at that time, generally six weeks or so, you will have to get the roots done again.

Will it damage my hair: Permanent hair colour generally contains strong chemicals that remove colour from your strands. So it does some damages to your hair strength and elasticity. However the extent of damage can vary depending on the colour brands used and can also vary person to person. So you may like to opt for a good salon service and branded products to protect your hair. Also there are products available that can help you restore the hair fiber strength and elasticity back to some extent.

However use of these chemical may pose other risks as well. For example as per a Harvard study Women who use permanent hair dye or chemical hair straightening products have a slightly increased risk of developing breast cancer.  However, no conclusive study is available and approved so far, that establishes the link between the two. Overall, the risk of developing breast cancer is low, according to experts.

When and why you should go for it?

Woman choosing of color to hair dye

For a long-lasting glossy colour: If you’re tired of going to the salon (or DIY-ing) temporary hair colour every four weeks, permanent colour is for you. The end result can be hair that looks glossy, natural and youthful for a longer time. The dye lasts until you recolor or your hair grows out. It’s also less harmful in a way than semi-permanent colour, which fades with shampoo and exposure, and needs to be re-applied too often. If you’ve found the perfect colour for you, you can go permanent.

If you want to lighten hair or cover tough grey areas: Semi-permanent colour is great, it’s natural, doesn’t strip your hair and it’s easy to use. But it doesn’t cover all those tough gray areas or lighten dark hair. If you want to get at those white hairs without having to touch up your hair every few weeks or so, go for permanent dyes. It will give you 100% grey coverage and keep your hair looking glossy and gorgeous for months. If you’ve got dark brown or black hair, and want to wear a lighter colour, your only option is to go permanent.

Things to take care before you go for Permanent Hair Colour

Make sure the colour will work for you: Make sure you’re confident about the colour at the outset – will it suit you and your lifestyle? Try some temporary highlighters, if possible, to test it out. Usually, there’s no going back from a bleach and a dark new shade without some more harsh bleaching and weird discoloration! Bad hair colour happens, and often because there’s not enough communication with the colorist. It helps to carry a few pictures of celebrities along to point out the colour you’re looking for.


Do research on hair colour processes: You’re about to make a big commitment of time, money and the risk of bad hair colour. You’ll want to familiarize yourself with the process, the products that are available, the various steps in aftercare, and all the things that could possibly go wrong with permanent hair dye. Make sure to research all the terms the colorist is going to use, such as “demi-permanent”, “ammonia-free”, “tinting” “keratin” etc. 

Indoor image of serious student girl doing homework on laptop. Stylish female teenager with straight ginger hair sitting on windowsill, using portable computer, watching video blog or shopping online

Make Sure you are ready for the expenses: Permanent coloring may seem like a quick fix for all your hair woes. But it comes at a cost, especially if you’re looking for the best products available. You could possibly find a cheap salon but with something as visible as hair, you don’t want to compromise quality. You want to find a salon that uses the best and most harmless dyes, and hires colorists who know exactly what they’re doing. Hair coloring at a salon is also not cheap because the colorist invests a lot of time giving you the hair colour you want.

Make sure you are ready for the maintenance: After dyeing, your hair will be less stretchy and more prone to breaking. So you’ve got to take extra care. This means weekly hydration with the right sulfate-free post-shampoo treatments. To prevent tangling and knotting, you must condition after every shampoo. Bleaching raises hair cuticle, or outer coating, and the conditioner is important to flatten it and lock in moisture. Lastly, a smoothing product will reduce evaporation and make your hair glossier and healthier.

Hair stylist applying coloring purple shampoo after hair dyeing.

Make sure you’ve pre-treated your hair: Your colorist should tell you what you need to do for pre-treatment when you set up an appointment. But you should always pre-treat your hair for protection and effectiveness. Permanent hair colour catches best on dry hair. Shampoo your hair and blow dry or air dry it before you go to your colorist. If you’re going the DIY route, make sure your hair is completely dry for the colour to sit well on just on the surface but deeper.


The process of coloring your hair permanently doesn’t have to be painful or stress-inducing. Doing your research in advance will take a lot of the mystery out of pre-treatment and aftercare. And make sure you’re absolutely sure of the colour you want to carry for the next few months if you go for permanent dyeing. The last thing you want is to spend more time, energy and money on a fix of a botched coloring job!

One thought on “What is Permanent Hair colour and When to Go for it?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *