What if every time you caught a glimpse of yourself in a mirror, you saw something so fun and exciting it instantly made you happier? That’s the philosophy behind dopamine beauty. And playing with semi-permanent hair dye is a way to indulge.
“The concept really has been buzzing in the fashion world, so I love the idea of applying it to beauty,” says Neil Scibelli, a celebrity makeup artist in New York City. We can add bold pops of color to our look “to get that instant boost that will give us that hit of dopamine, which essentially are the chemicals that raise our happiness levels. Dopamine beauty plays into the psychology of color and how wearing certain colors can evoke positive emotions.”
In addition to enhancing your mood, many semi-permanent hair dyes also moisturize and nourish your strands, unlike permanent dyes, which can be very drying and potentially damaging. For example, Not Your Mother’s launched its first semi-permanent dye collection, Love For Hue, earlier this year. “We formulated Love For Hue to fill a need for our consumers to have vibrant shades in a creamy, conditioning formula without the long-term commitment,” says Sarah Kieny, the brand’s director of marketing.
Some semi-permanent dyes last one wash while others can last up to 50—it all depends on how they’re formulated, how long you leave them to process on the hair, how often you wash your hair, and the state your hair is in during the initial application.
“The more you wet your hair, the faster the dye molecules come out,” says hair colorist Juliana Ohlmeyer. “It also depends on how dry your hair is. If your hair has been bleached a lot, it may hold longer.”
Explore conditioning semi-permanent hair dye formulas below.
6 semi-permanent hair dyes to try at home
Good Dye Young, DYEposit — $20.00
The brainchild of Paramore front-woman Hayley Williams, this dye combines a conditioning blend of coconut oil, shea butter, and avocado oil with shine-enhancing broccoli seed oil. what’s more, it contains reparative technology that restores damage while depositing semi-permanent color. It’s available in six vibrant shades—pink, red, copper, purple, blue, and green.
XMondo, Color Depositing Mask — $25.00
If you’re considering dying your hair at home, you’ve likely watched one (or a thousand) Brad Mondo videos. This dye is from the hairstylist’s own line. It’s a mask that deposits bond-building proteins and hydrating hyaluronic acid and glycerin along with semi-permanent hair color to leave your strands refreshed in more ways than one. The line is constantly expanding, but right now, it’s available in 18 shades, including turquoise, coral, and amethyst.
KISS, Mix Up Complete Bleach & Semi-Permanent Hair Color Kit — $12.00
If you want your semi-permanent color to really pop but are starting with darker strands, this kit is perfect, because it comes with bleach. Start by lightening your hair and then apply the semi-permanent color on top. This kit comes in duos—green/blue, pink/blue, pink/purple, and red/blue—to create two-toned looks. It’s also a long-lasting formula, designed to last up to 50 washes.
Not Your Mother’s, Love for Hue Magnified Color — $12.00
Hydrate and nourish your strands with sunflower seed oil, avocado oil, and shea butter while depositing color that will last about four to six washes. This semi-permanent dye comes in five stunning shades—sapphire sass blue, cherry kiss, copper blaze, think pink, and violet vibes. Plus, it has a fun fruity, floral scent.
Kim Kimble, After Party Hair Coloring Conditioning Wax — $6.00
If you want color that will wash out with your next shampoo, grab one of these waxes from Kim Kimble. Think of it like a colorful curl cream—it’s made with beeswax, olive oil, and herbal extracts to nourish while creating hold. It comes in four colors, including purple, blue, red, and silver.
IGK, Color Depositing Mask — $29.00
Condition and color your hair with this semi-permanent dye that blends moisturizing squalane and nourishing/strengthening prickly pear cactus with rejuvenating meadowfoam oil and protective quinoa. It comes in 12 super-pretty colors, including copper, intense violet, and bright fuchsia.
Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.