can you mix permanent and semi permanent hair color

Playing around with different dyes and hair colors is fun, but you need to know, “Can you mix permanent and semi permanent hair color?”

Mixing different dyes to create a unique color for your hair sounds exciting. They do it all the time in salons and pull it off with such ease that you think you can do it as well.   

While mixing two colors may be okay, you should be careful when mixing dyes with a different chemical makeup.

So, can you mix semi-permanent hair dye with permanent?

No, you cannot mix semi-permanent and permanent hair color because they have different chemicals and work differently to color your hair.

Tip: Always pick a hair dye based on your unique requirements and how sure you are about the new color. 

Can You Mix Permanent and Semi Permanent Hair Colors at Home?

mix hair colors

It is not a good idea to use both permanent and temporary hair dye at the same time.

There is a chemical incompatibility between permanent and semi-permanent hair colors due to the use of peroxide in permanent hair colors.

It may feel tempting to try them both at the same time, but the results may be disastrous.

What might happen, you ask?

Apparently, it seems pretty harmless to mix both the dyes because ultimately, they are designed to color your hair. 

And, everything may look swell when you first mix and apply both products to your hair.

But, lo and behold!

It is all going to change after a few washes. Your hair color may begin to fade, leaving you with uneven results.

The result may look good if you lighten your strands on purpose, as in a balayage. But it can be a disaster if the light strands are not placed properly.

We believe none of you wants to wind up with zebra hair, do you? So, you better avoid mixing the two! 

Why Is It Not a Good Idea to Mix Permanent and Semi-Permanent Dyes?

why not to mix them

Just like oil and water do not mix well, neither do permanent nor semi permanent dyes because of their incompatible chemical properties.

There is a difference in how both dyes work.

And to understand why you should not mix them together, you need to know how they color your hair. 

How Do Permanent Hair Dyes Work?

As its name implies, a permanent hair dye will change your hair color for good.

It can only be used once because it requires oxidation with peroxide to strip the hair and dye it a new color.

It is able to penetrate the hair shaft because of its chemical composition. It uses the developer that causes the hair cuticle to open.

After that, the cuticle re-seals itself around the pigment. 

How Do Semi-Permanent Hair Dyes Work?

A semi-permanent dye can be applied to any hair because you do not have to oxidize it.

how semi permanent hair dyes work

To avoid the harshness of ammonia and the hassle of using a separate developer, semi-permanent dyes are a better option.

The pigment is deposited onto the hair’s cuticle, much like a coating.

Because it does not penetrate the cuticle of the hair follicles, it cannot lighten hair, hide greys, or permanently alter hair color.

You may want to lighten your hair with bleach to get the semi-permanent color you want.

Applying a semi-permanent dye to previously dyed hair requires extra care to avoid damaging the hair.

When peroxide is added to semi-permanent dye, a blotchy, unnatural color results.

It requires multiple applications, which can be inconvenient at the time but will yield better results in the end.

So, here is what semi-permanent dyes are designed to achieve:

  • Color your bleached or lightened hair
  • Hide but do not fully cover grey hair
  • Enliven faded hair color
  • Tone down the contrast between the highlight and the rest of your hair
  • Improve the hair’s sheen and make it look less lifeless
colored hair

The longevity of this type of hair dye is limited by the fact that it only works on the hair’s cuticle.

It means that after four to ten washes, it will begin to fade.

So, what’s the point here?

Just like oil and water do not mix well, the same is the case with permanent and semi-permanent dyes because of their incompatible chemical properties.

Despite the fact that you can combine them, you will not get the expected end result.

There is a clear distinction between dyed hair and new growth because the permanent dye does not wash out.

But, it is different for semi-permanent dyes.

If you use both, you will notice that some of your hair still has the color while fading in other areas. Won’t look good, right?

Tip: Pay attention to proper aftercare and you can make your semi-permanent hair dye last longer than six weeks.

What Do I Mix Semi-Permanent Hair Color With?

mix with semi permanent hair color

Well, you do not need to mix it with anything at all – there is no need to!

It is possible to temporarily change your hair color without causing any damage by using semi-permanent hair dye.

Since it lacks the usual ammonia and peroxide, it can be applied to the hair without a developer or any other pre-mixing.

Can You Mix Developer with Semi-Permanent Hair Color?

You can, but you should not!

If you do, it is likely that you will not be pleased with the outcome. The dye will not stick to your hair because the peroxide is acidic. 

An Important Consideration

Your hair color can be lightened by using more developer, and darkened by using less.

  • Too much will dilute the colorant, resulting in less vibrant hair color.
  • Too little application and the hair dye may be too dark, or may not work. 

Can You Mix Peroxide to Dilute Semi-Permanent Hair Color?

can you mix peroxide

The purpose of your semi-permanent hair dye is to color your hair for a short time.

If you want it to last longer, you can easily switch to a permanent hair dye.

However, if you simply want to dilute it, you may consider using peroxide – but sparingly, of course.


Hydrogen peroxide is used with a variety of natural hair dyes because it is a strong oxidizing agent that reduces the color of hair.

But it also can cause allergic reactions, damage the skin, and even cause burns if exposed to sunlight.

Tip: Don't mix your dye with water because it alters the formula and leaves you with a dull, uneven, patchy application.

Steps to Mix and Use Peroxide with Semi-Permanent Dye

steps to mix peroxide with dye

Before you proceed, use plastic bags or newspaper to cover the floors to help prevent any spills from becoming permanent.

As the hydrogen peroxide is much less viscous than the conditioner, it may not provide the same level of hold.

Step #1:  Add Your Ingredients

Take two parts semi-permanent hair dye and one part hydrogen peroxide in a bowl and stir until blended.

Mix the ingredients thoroughly with the brush applicator. You could end up with uneven color or dry spots in your hair if you do not mix them properly.

Step #2: Apply to the Hair

To use, simply apply the mixture to your hair using the same applicator brush.

If your hair is particularly thick, it is best to tackle this task in sections.

Do not worry about using too much dye; just ensure every strand of hair is completely covered.

apply to the hair

Step #3: Let it Process

Let it sit there for a while. It takes about 30 minutes for peroxide and hair dye to fully process.

Step #4: Rinse it Out

To remove the dye, take a shower. You can skip the shampoo because the peroxide will already have left your hair clean.

Conditioning should follow rinsing. Just give it another rinse, and you are good to go.

Can You Mix Two Different Color Dyes?

You already know that mixing permanent and semi-permanent dyes is not a good idea. 

But, how about mixing two different colors of the same type of dye?

Yes, you can do it.

Just remember, only demi-permanent, permanent, or semi-permanent hair dyes of the same brand may be combined to create a custom shade.

mix two different dyes

And before you decide to experiment with a new shade, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Always decide on the predominant tone you want.
  • Always stick to a plastic container when mixing two dyes.
  • Know how much hair dye and developer to use.
  • Avoid mixing different textures of dyes together.
  • Be very careful when selecting the reflects/tones.

As you can see, there are many dos and don’ts of mixing dye colors.

So, it is always better to leave it to professionals and let them pick the best color for you.

Tip: Make use of a sulfate-free shampoo to dilute hair dye and create your own toning shampoo at home.


When you love experimenting with new hair colors, you may wonder, “Can you mix permanent and semi permanent hair color?”

Well, just because you can does not mean you should. Mixing both can lead to uneven application, leaving you with streaks of colors.

You can mix peroxide in your semi-permanent dye to dilute it, but it is better to avoid it or at least use it sparingly.

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