Can You Mix Semi-Permanent Hair Dye With a Developer? Watch What Happens!

hair dyer and conditioner

Hair coloring is a popular way to express yourself, keep up with fashion trends, or simply have some fun. One question that often arises is whether you can mix semi-permanent hair dye with a developer.

We all know that a good hair day is one of the greatest blessings a girl can receive which is why I want to help you achieve the perfect shade you’re looking for. Stay tuned and find out everything you need to know before transforming your hair.

The Basics

Before we move to the main question, it’s necessary to go over the main features of these two products:

Topic Semi-Permanent Hair Dye Developer
Definition Coats the hair shaft temporarily, doesn’t permanently alter hair color Hydrogen peroxide-based product used in hair coloring and lightening
Mechanism Coats the hair shaft Penetrates the hair shaft to alter color
Duration Lasts for 4 to 12 shampoos Permanent color change
Chemical Composition Doesn’t contain ammonia Contains hydrogen peroxide
Hair Alteration Temporary color change Permanent color change
Damage to Hair Gentle on the hair Can cause significant damage if not used correctly
Suitable for Fun temporary color changes Permanent color changes
Sensitivity Great for sensitive hair/scalps Requires caution due to potent chemicals
Need for Developer Generally doesn’t require a developer Used with permanent dye and bleach
Hair Porosity and Washing Fading duration influenced by hair porosity and washing frequency N/A

What’s the General Rule?

Dyeing Hair

As a general rule, you should not mix semi-permanent hair dye with a developer. This is because the semi-permanent dye is designed to simply deposit color onto the hair shaft, not to lift or lighten the hair color. The developer’s primary role is to open the hair cuticles and allow the color to penetrate, a process not required for semi-permanent dyes.

Moreover, semi-permanent hair dye typically doesn’t contain ammonia, which is the ingredient in permanent hair dye that reacts with the developer to open up the hair cuticle. Without this reaction, the developer won’t have the intended effect, and could simply damage the hair without providing any benefits.

The absence of ammonia in semi-permanent dyes is one of the reasons they are less damaging to the hair.

Exceptions to the Rule

While it’s generally not recommended to mix semi-permanent hair dye with a developer, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, some brands offer ‘demi-permanent‘ hair dye, which is a sort of hybrid between semi and permanent dyes.

Demi-permanent dye is designed to be mixed with a low-volume developer, which allows it to penetrate the hair shaft slightly and last longer than semi-permanent dye. However, it’s important to note that demi-permanent dye is still not the same as permanent dye, and won’t provide the same level of lift or lightening.

It’s also more damaging to the hair than semi-permanent dye, although less so than permanent dye. Demi-permanent dyes are a good option for those who want a longer-lasting color than semi-permanent dyes can provide but without the commitment of a permanent dye.

What happens if you mix them?

Potential Damage to the Hair

Dry Hair

One of the main risks of mixing semi-permanent hair dye with a developer is potential damage to the hair. Developers are designed to open up the hair cuticle, which can lead to dryness, breakage, and overall damage if not used correctly.

This is especially true if you use a high-volume developer, or leave the mixture on your hair for too long. The hair cuticle is a protective layer, and damaging it can lead to a host of problems, including frizz, dryness, and breakage.

Furthermore, semi-permanent hair dye is not designed to withstand the chemical reaction that occurs when mixed with a developer. This could lead to further damage, as well as unpredictable and potentially undesirable color results.

The chemical composition of semi-permanent dyes is not designed to interact with developers, and forcing this interaction can lead to unexpected and undesirable outcomes.

Unpredictable Color Results

Another risk is unpredictable color results. Because the semi-permanent dye is not designed to be used with a developer, the color may not turn out as expected. For example, it could end up being lighter or darker than intended, or have a different tone.

This unpredictability can be frustrating, especially if you have a specific color in mind. This is especially true if you’re using a colored developer, which can alter the final color of the dye. It’s also possible that the color will fade more quickly than usual, as the developer can damage the hair cuticle and make it harder for the dye to adhere.

This could mean that your beautiful new color fades much faster than you’d like, leading to more frequent coloring sessions and potentially more damage to your hair.

Other possible options

Using Demi-Permanent Hair Dye

If you’re looking for a longer-lasting alternative to semi-permanent hair dye, consider using demi-permanent dye instead.  Demi-permanent dye is a great option if you want a more long-lasting color, but don’t want to commit to permanent dye.

It’s also less damaging to the hair than permanent dye, although more so than semi-permanent dye. It can provide a richer, deeper color than semi-permanent dye, and is a good option for those who want to cover grays or change their hair color more significantly.

Using a Color Depositing Conditioner


Another alternative to mixing semi-permanent hair dye with a developer is to use a color-depositing conditioner. These products contain a small amount of pigment, which is deposited onto the hair shaft each time you use them.

This can help to extend the life of your semi-permanent color, or even add a subtle hint of color to un-dyed hair. Color depositing conditioners are a great option if you want to experiment with different colors, but don’t want to commit to a semi-permanent dye.

They’re also much gentler on the hair than dye, and can actually improve its condition over time. They’re a fantastic choice for those who want to maintain their color between salon visits or who want to experiment with color without using dye.


Should you rinse your hair with cold or warm water after applying the mixture?

You should rinse your hair thoroughly with cold water.

How do hot tools affect semi-permanent dye?

Hot tools like flat irons and curling wands will cause your color to fade quickly.

What brands contain more pigment?

Some brands of semi-permanent hair dye contain more pigment than others. For example, Pulp Riot can last for up to 42 washes.

How long should you leave the dye on your hair for a more vibrant shade?

For a more vibrant shade, leave the color in your hair for up to 45 minutes.

Why should you avoid sunlight after dyeing your hair?

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.


All in all, while it’s generally not recommended to mix semi-permanent hair dye with a developer, there are alternatives available if you’re looking for a longer-lasting or more vibrant color. Always remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and consider consulting a professional if you’re unsure. –

What’s the General Rule?