Temporary color can be very misunderstood to the common curly, perhaps because it can be defined within the three different genres of demi-permanent, semi-permanent, and temporary. It is great to be mindful of the general structure of the hair shaft as we discuss how these different types of hair color work on our hair.
Your hair shaft contains three important parts. The medulla is the innermost part found in thicker hair types and is often missing from fine hair. The next layer is called the cortex, made up of cells of keratin, which is responsible for 90% of the strands’ weight. It is the cortex that determines the texture and natural color of the hair. The outermost part of the hair is the cuticle, made up of overlapping, colorless cells similar to roof-like shingles that serve as a protective barrier to the cortex.
While color treatments are fun and exciting, they can be either helpful or harmful to your hair based on the hair type and chosen method. Here are three types of temporary hair coloring methods to explore.
This hair color is typically offered as a professional service and is considered a professional product. Demi-permanent color is naturally ammonia-free, has a low pH, and uses a very low-volume developer (1:1 ratio) to gently lift the cuticle to penetrate beneath the surface to the cortex; therefore preserving the integrity of the hair. It can cover gray up to 50% and can last up to 28 shampoos. According to Goldwell Colorance, some formulas can even strengthen the hair shaft and boasts of 35% improved hair structure with its line.
This form of color adsorbs onto the outside of the hair shaft with some molecules absorbing beneath the cuticle layer based on the porosity of the hair. Porous hair will receive more color than non-porous hair. With each shampoo, color is removed and can last up to eight shampoos. Semi-permanents are typically retail products rather than professional and provide up to 30% gray coverage. With each shampoo, the color will rinse out of the hair. Semi-permanents utilize no developer, thus preserving the condition of the hair.
This option requires the least amount of commitment with color lasting around 1-3 washes. Semi-permanent color works with large color molecules attaching to the outer cuticle of the hair. These color molecules are much too large to absorb beneath the surface but will adhere to the shaft based on the hair’s porosity. This type of color is safe for multiple uses and even safe after a chemical relaxer treatment. No developer is used and little to no gray coverage is expected. However when applied to pre-lightened or damaged/porous hair, temporary color may stain the hair shaft. To make your temporary hair color last a bit longer and look a tad brighter, cover with a plastic cap and sit under heated dryer for 30-45 min.
Hair Care for Temporary-Color Treated Hair
Toby Vernay, master professional stylist and salon educator of Pura Vida Salon and Spa of West Texas, advises the use of color-safe products with UV protection for longer lasting color following each of the temporary coloring options. According to Vernay, most if not all professional products are now color-safe. He further advises that hair which has been previously treated with permanent hair color can use demi-permanent hair color to retouch and refresh fading color, rather than repeating permanent color treatments. This is a safer, healthier option without additional harm to the hair.
Feel free to have fun with temporary hair color. It is truly a safe option for your textured strands. Be sure to utilize the hair care tips above to reap the full benefits of your desired color treatment.