Can You Mix Semi-Permanent Hair Dye with Developer? – Curl Centric

Beautiful African American female that dyed her own hair reddish-brown with box hair dye pigments.

Semi-permanent hair color is the easiest dye to work with, but it doesn’t last very long as compared to demi-permanent and permanent dyes.

This fact has pushed some to mix their semi-permanent dye with developer to amp up their results and maximize the dye’s longevity. But could this work?

Can you mix semi-permanent hair dye with developer?

If so, is it good for the hair? Keep reading if you want to find out! In this article, we’ll dive into whether or not you can mix semi-permanent hair dyes with a developer.

Can You Mix Semi-Permanent Hair Dye with Developer?

You should never mix developer with semi-permanent dye. If you do, you probably won’t like the results. The acidic nature of hydrogen peroxide in a developer will prevent the dye from adhering to your strands.

Therefore, mixing semi-permanent dye with a developer will leave you with faded, uneven color that doesn’t last long. If you want to mix hair dye with conditioner or developer to dilute the color results, read this article.

Cute black girl with a great smile wearing pastel pink lipstick after washing her hair with color depositing shampoo.

How to Make Semi-Permanent Dye More Intense

If you’re thinking about using a developer with your semi-permanent hair dye, you’re probably searching for a longer-lasting or more vibrant color.

Although you should never mix developer with semi-permanent color, there are steps you can take to make your shade more intense. We’ll take a look at those below.

Leave the Dye on Your Hair for Longer

The longer you allow your dye to sit, the more intense your color will turn out. Because semi-permanent dyes are gentle, some users let them sit on their locks overnight.

While we don’t recommend keeping it on for that long, leaving the dye on longer than recommended may lead to a higher color payout. For a more vibrant shade, leave the color in your hair for up to 45 minutes.

Black girl wearing color-treated curls after just a few washes and cotton candy pink lipstick with subtle facial makeup.

Apply Your Semi-Permanent Dye to Damp Hair

Although you can apply semi-permanent to dry strands, damp hair will absorb more of the pigment. Semi-permanent dyes don’t contain any cuticle lifting ingredients like peroxide or ammonia, so use water to open your hair’s cuticle instead.

Moist, towel-dried hair will soak up more dye than soaking wet or dry locks and create a more even color result.

Choose More Highly Pigmented Brands

Some brands of semi-permanent hair dye contain more pigment than others. If you want your dye to last for a long time, you should definitely use a highly pigmented dye.

While most semi-permanent dyes last for around eight washes, some brands like Pulp Riot can last for up to 42 washes. Picking the right hair dye brand can more than triple your color’s longevity!

Young African American lady with reddish-brown hair dyed a lighter color with Clairol Natural Instincts.

Use Heat

If you’re looking to make your color more intense, use heat while you wait for the dye to stain your strands.

Heat opens your hair’s cuticles, which helps the dye stick to your hair better and even penetrates your hair cuticle a bit. You can put on a shower cap to trap body heat or sit under a hooded dryer for up to 30 minutes.

Use Color-Depositing Products

Like semi-permanent dyes, color-depositing shampoos and conditioners deposit pigments onto the outside of your strands to create a bolder color result.

Using a color depositing product can help keep your shade intense and slow down fading for between 5 and 15 washes.

How To Make Semi-Permanent Dye Last Longer

Even though you can’t mix semi-permanent dye with a developer, there are ways you can make your semi-permanent color last longer. Here are some ways to extend the life of your semi-permanent dye.

Young adult female with split ends after adding hair dye to her hair care routine that includes normal heat styling.

Wash Your Hair with Cold Water

A straightforward way to make your color last longer is to wash your hair with cold water. Warm water opens your hair’s cuticle, which means more dye can run out.

On the other hand, cold water will help seal your cuticles and keep the color where you need it to be. The one exception to this rule is when you’re using color depositing products.

Warm water will help the pigments settle in your hair, so use warm water with color-boosting products. After you finish, rinse your hair with cold water to keep everything in place.

Don’t Overwash Your Hair

The sad reality is that washing your hair causes your color to fade. Even if you use color-safe products, your shade won’t last as long with frequent washing.

Try to wash your hair two or three times a week or less often if you can. You can use dry shampoo to absorb excess oils and refresh your scalp between washes.

Stay Out of the Sun

Avoiding sunlight is one of the best things you can do to keep your locks brightly colored. The UV rays in sunlight weaken and break down the chemical bonds that hold hair dye in place.

It can also dry out your hair, which will potentially lead to damage. Damaged hair cannot hold onto dye as well, so keeping your locks healthy will help to preserve your color.

Cover your strands with a hat, hood, or scarf if you plan to spend a lot of time outside. You can also use products that have UV blockers in them.

If you’d prefer a more natural alternative, here are a few natural sources of SPF you can try. Just smooth a small amount onto your strands and make sure you work them into every hair strand.

  • Shea butter
  • Carrot seed oil
  • Hemp seed oil
Young African American woman wearing a refreshed darker color due to using blue shampoo on her natural curls.

Avoid Hot Tools

Hot tools like flat irons and curling wands will cause your color to fade quickly. If you want to make your semi-permanent dye last longer, keep heat styling to a minimum.

Whenever you do use a hot tool, keep the temperature as low as possible and make sure you apply a heat protectant before you start. Follow up with plenty of hydrating products to keep your strands healthy.

Protect Your Hair Before You Go Swimming

Both chlorine and saltwater can suck the vibrancy out of your color. Luckily, you can use a couple of methods to protect your strands as you hit the water.

You can wear a swimming cap or saturate your hair with fresh water.

For even more protection, apply a conditioner to your damp strands. The more saturated your hair is, the less salt and chlorine it can absorb.

Try a Vinegar Wash

Applying vinegar to your hair to preserve color may seem counterintuitive. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth!

Vinegar can prevent your color from fading by lowering its pH and keeping its cuticles sealed. If you want to try this treatment, just mix equal parts vinegar and water, apply the mix to your hair, and comb it through before rinsing well with cool water.

African American female with curly hair, pink lipstick, colorful glasses, and a beige turtleneck sweater.

Can You Mix Semi-Permanent Hair Dye with Conditioner?

Unlike developers, mixing semi-permanent hair dye with conditioner is a great idea. In addition to moisturizing your strands, conditioners can lighten up your dye and create a softer shade.

The more conditioner you mix with your dye, the more pastel it will become.

Keep in mind that semi-permanent dyes cannot lighten your locks. If you want to give this method a try, just follow these simple steps.

Materials you’ll need

  • Silicone-free conditioner
  • Semi-permanent hair dye
  • Nonmetal mixing bowl
  • Shower cap
  • Gloves

Steps for Mixing Semi-Permanent Dye with Conditioner

  1. Squeeze your desired amount of semi-permanent dye into your mixing bowl.
  2. Add in a liberal amount of conditioner. The more you add, the lighter your color will turn out.
  3. Mix well until the mixture is uniform.
  4. Put on your gloves and apply the mixture to your hair. Make sure every strand is coated.
  5. Cover your hair with a shower cap and wait for at least 15 minutes.
  6. Rinse your hair thoroughly with cold water.
  7. Dry your hair and style as usual.
African American lady that dyed her own hair with box dye wearing a brown casual sweater and pink lipstick.

Related Articles

  • How to Use Ion Brights Semi-Permanent Hair Color
  • How Long Do Semi-Permanent Dyes Last
  • How Long Should You Leave Hair Dye In
  • Can You Use Conditioner as Developer?

So, there you have it! We hope this article has helped explain the disastrous effects of mixing semi-permanent hair dye with a developer.

Although you should never combine the two, there are other measures you can take to make your semi-permanent color more intense and long-lasting.

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