What Color Hair Dye Lasts The Longest? (With Examples)

Spending money and time coloring your hair should be worth it. You want to lock in the dye for as long as possible and so the way that you look after your hair is important. But what color of hair dye actually lasts the longest?

What Color Hair Dye Lasts The Longest

Broadly speaking, darker hair dye is the color that will last the longest. This is for a number of reasons, but it’s mostly to do with the way that the hair dye penetrates your hair shaft and the fact that you don’t need to bleach hair in order to apply the dye.

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There are, however, a number of different factors that will affect how long colored hair dye lasts, and which color lasts the longest.

Below, we take you through these different variables, helping you to adjust your haircare accordingly and keep hold of those luscious locks for as long as possible.

Factors Affecting What Color Hair Dye Lasts The Longest

There are different variables that will affect how long your color hair dye lasts. Some of these you can control.

Your Natural Hair Color And Type

Your hair, skin, and eye color is all determined by the amount of melanin in them, which is in turn determined by genetics.

Melanin is a pigment, and it’s housed in your hair’s cortex, which is the inner portion of your hair structure that makes up around 70 – 90% of hair’s bulk.

It’s your hair’s cortex that has to be penetrated in order to change its natural color pigment.

In order to reach your cortex, your hair dye must penetrate the hair’s cuticle, which is the protective layer around the cortex.

If your hair is naturally dark and you’re aiming for a bleached-blonde look, you’ll have to strip your hair of its natural pigment.

This will usually be a process of lightening and bleaching, during which time you’ll have to take care to ensure you’re moisturizing hair as much as possible so as to avoid any damage or breakage that will exacerbate the loss of color from hair dye.

Frequent hair coloring or bleaching could cause hair breakage which could potentially lead to hair loss.

If you want to dye your hair purple for instance, you can certainly do it without bleach.

If you’re blonde, however, and dye your hair slightly darker, it will have a longer staying time, as you don’t need to strip your hair strands of their natural color in order to achieve a brunette look.

Hair type also affects the longevity of colored hair dye. Fine hair takes less time to absorb hair dye, whereas coarse or thicker hair takes longer.

How Healthy Your Hair Is

Looking after your hair is super important if you’re looking to keep your hair dye color for as long as possible.

As described above, hair dye has to penetrate the cuticle in order to change the color of the cortex and therefore the overall hair shaft.

When hair is dry or damaged, your cuticles are more vulnerable and porous. This means that it will absorb hair color quicker – but it will also bleed out quicker.

So be sure to keep your mane as moisturized as possible in order to lock in hair color.

How Well You Care For Your Hair

We’ve already described how vital it is to keep dyed hair moisturized – but there are a number of other variables that will also impact the amount of time that color lasts.

If you wash your hair too frequently, you’ll strip hair of its color.

Every other day is the minimum, but if you can leave hair for longer, it’ll do better.

You also want to steer clear of products that will cause heat damage, as these won’t help either.

Environmental factors also affect how long your color hair dye lasts. UV exposure from the sun and swimming in chlorine-filled pools frequently will cause hair dye color to fade faster.

Find an SPF for your hair if you live in a particularly sunny area.

Also check out these amazing conditioners for swimmers!

The Brand Of Hair Dye

Inevitably the brand of hair dye that you use will have an impact on how long the color lasts. If you’re dyeing hair yourself, use a reputable brand.

If you have the time and are feeling like treating yourself, head to a salon. Stylists are experts and will ensure your hair gets the best color it can, meaning it will last the longest possible time.

The Type Of Hair Dye

If you’re only using semi-permanent hair dye, then it won’t last as long or lock in color anything like a permanent hair dye will.

Read on for more about the difference between permanent and semi-permanent hair dye for the length of time that color will last.

Also Read: The Best Hair Dyes For Keratin Treated Hair

Which Hair Color Type Should You Use?

woman colored hair happy

Remember, hair coloring works by penetrating the cuticle of each hair shaft and bonding with the natural hair color in the cortex.

The more permanent the hair dye is, the longer the color will last, as it penetrates deeper.

But the hair will keep growing, which will result in your roots growing out, and color, therefore, being less evenly distributed.

As well as hair growth, the type of hair dye you use will impacts its staying power. There are three main types of hair dye:

Temporary Hair Color

This is often called non-permanent or semi-permanent. As the name suggests, it’s not meant to last.

Color molecules of the dye will coat the hair’s surface and penetrate the cuticle, but not the cortex.

Usually, this dye color will last for around 8 washes, and it’ll fade pretty fast. That said, there’s no ammonia or peroxide.

Non-permanent Or Demi-permanent Color

This type of hair dye is great if you just want to shift your hair tone or accentuate its base shade.

It’s less damaging than permanent hair dye, but also won’t last as long. Small color dye molecules will penetrate the cuticle, with only some reaching the cortex.

Depending on how often you wash your hair, this color should last for up to 24 washes. Expect it to fade away – particularly if you don’t care for your color well.

Permanent Color

Permanent hair color is designed to last until your hair grows out or you recolor it. It’s, therefore, suitable for those who are looking to make a more drastic change or covering up their grays.

Inevitably, and as mentioned, with hair growth, your roots will start coming through.

But the color molecules penetrate deep into the hair cuticle and cortex, reacting with hair’s melanin to shift your hair’s color.

Depending on how fast your hair grows, you can expect permanent hair dye to last from 6 – 10 weeks.

This is of course dependent on whether you have chosen to dilute the hair dye to give your hair a softer look.

What Color Hair Dye Lasts The Longest?

Remember, your natural hair color (or its recently dyed color) will impact how long your hair dye lasts.

The rule is that you can change hair color up to three shades lighter or darker than its starting shade. Otherwise, this is the lowdown on how long different hair colors will typically last:


It’s bright and beautiful for sure, but it won’t last long. Red hair dye molecules tend to be on the larger side, which means they don’t penetrate into the cortex, so don’t have as much staying power. You’ll have to keep dyeing your hair this color if you want it to have longevity.


If you’re naturally blonde or lighter colored, blonde hair dye will last longer, but it still doesn’t have the longest staying power.

If you’re brunette or darker and aiming to lighten your hair, you’ll need to bleach it so that the melanin in your hair will react well with the dye. Your roots will also typically show through quicker.


Brown hair dye is the color that lasts the longest.

Neither natural blondes nor brunettes will have to bleach hair in order to impact melanin levels, and the color molecules penetrate deeper into the cortex of hair, therefore causing the dye to last the longest.

Also Read: How To Get Hair Dye Off Tile (7 Easy Ways)

How To Make Hair Color Last Longer

Thankfully, there are ways to make your hair color last longer. It’s not a simple case of leaving the hair dye in longer as this is never recommended.

Follow these tips and tricks and you’ll be keeping hold of your new look for as long as possible.

Wash Your Hair Less

When dyeing your hair, you should never wash your hair on the day. Rather, it’s better to dye your hair with day-old hair as the oils in your scalp can help the dye bond to your hair better.

Of course, don’t dye your hair with very greasy hair as the color won’t take as well.

Similarly, aftercare is very important and you don’t want to be washing your hair too frequently. If you really need to wash your hair after a sweaty gym session, we aren’t going to stop you, but do try to wash it less.

When you do wash hair, try to use a sulfate-free product, and definitely wait for 24 – 48 hours before washing your hair after just having had a treatment.

Use The Right Products

This is super important! Look for products that don’t have sulfates or any other chemical nasties in them, and that are preferably designed for colored hair.

Avoid really hot showers or using hot tools, too, as these will encourage hair color to fade faster.

Use a Hair Protector

If you’re an avid swimmer or sunbather, but also regularly color your hair, you need to be taking steps to make that color last.

It’s not glamorous, but using a swim cap will really help when you’re doing your lengths, and search for an SPF for hair to protect against UV rays that’ll only fade color.

Avoid Dandruff or Clarifying Shampoos

Clarifying or dandruff shampoos – unless specifically designed for colored hair – will either strip hair of its color or lead to really odd fading.

Avoid deep conditioning too, as these products are typically designed to penetrate deep into the follicle. In doing so, however, they might end up stripping hair of its color.

2 Hair Colors That Will Last The Longest

These hair colors will keep your locks looking their best for as long as possible.

Garnier Olia Permanent Hair Dye

Garnier Olia Permanent Hair Dye

You’ll get intense, evenly distributed hair color with the Garnier Olia Permanent Hair Dye which you can buy from Amazon. This dye offers 100% grey hair coverage and what’s more, there’s no ammonia in it.

Over 30 shades to choose from.

L’Oreal Paris Feria Multi-Faceted Shimmering Permanent Hair Color

The L’Oreal Paris Feria Multi-Faceted Shimmering Permanent Hair Color includes a conditioning hair mask with which to treat hair post-dye. You’ll get your new color in 20 minutes, and the instructions are super easy to follow.

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Alice Carlill

Alice is an experienced writer and researcher with a background in the Creative Arts. She is a published poet and is currently completing her Ph.D., having worked in a variety of industries, including as a theatre dramaturg. Alice is passionate about the environment, so is always on the lookout for the best zero-waste products that are vegan and cruelty-free.