Why Demi-Dye Is Foolproof When Changing Your Look

Witnessing how easily celebrities change their look always has me looking at myself in the mirror and thinking, “What can I do to change my look?” While there are many reasons to be envious of celebrities — you know, the endless fame and fortune, for one — I admire how one day they can look [somewhat] drab in leggings and the next day look like they are being crowned royalty. While that’s a little dramatic — and while I’m fully aware that they can afford to hire people to make them look done up and pretty — I often get so bored with my own aesthetics that I wish I had the professionals they all do, just so I could look and feel different (if only for a day).

That’s not the say that I’m remotely unhappy with the way I look. I’m plenty proud of my beauty marked face and my dark brown hair. It’s just that sometimes I wish I could have platinum blonde locks down to my waist, or even gray hair à la Kylie Jenner. And while I would also love to try out gap teeth inspired by Madonna or even have cheekbones as high and narrow as Karlie Kloss', those characteristics are inherently more difficult to attempt and actually conquer without money, time or the willingness to undergo some type of plastic surgery. I do wish I could change my look more often, but without having to face too many consequences. Hair is probably one of the easiest, most convenient qualities to alter — because it inevitably grows back and can be treated if damaged. So one day, desperately in need of some kind of change, I turned to demi-dye.

Demi-dye is essentially a temporary hair dye that promises to change the color of your hair, but not permanently. The dye is designed to wash out over the span of two weeks, and is much less harsh on hair than a permanent chemical. It’s sold in various beauty shops and is quite inexpensive. So when shopping for a hair dye in Sally Beauty Supply store, all these qualities colored me a new fan. I was fascinated by the promises made, and decided that if I were going to update my look — even if it was just for a few weeks — this would be my best bet.

I purchased the demi-dye in a dark [almost purple] red, and tried it out. All in the name of beauty.


Ion Developer, $6, Sally's Beauty Supply; Ion Demi-Permanent Dye, $5, Sally's Beauty Supply

Like I said before, I purchased the demi-dye at my local Sally’s Beauty Supply. Because the demi-dye (right) I bought was unmixed, I also had to purchase a developer (left). The shop employee recommended that I get two boxes of the dye to the one developer, but I ended up only needing one box of dye (and my hair is pretty long).

In preparation for the dye, I threw on an old shirt I didn’t mind getting dirty, and wrapped a plastic bag around my shoulders, just for extra protection. With help from my mom, we mixed the dye with the developer and it turned a crazy magenta color. It didn’t have a strong odor, which is great, but the dye was quite messy for a non-salon environment. With a wide paint brush, I applied the dye through my hair, making sure to get at every strand from every angle. I was unable to reach certain areas, which is why I think having an assistant definitely helped with the application.

By the time all the dye was out of the bowl and on my head, I waited 20 minutes for my hair to soak it up. Once the time had passed, I hopped in the shower and washed my hair normally. Repeat warning: This dye is messy. It ended up all around my shower and dyed my white towel red — which was especially surprising because of how potent the wash away was. By the time I was done showering, I was convinced I washed all the dye out of my hair. Thankfully, it was still there when I was brushing through. Un-thankfully, the dye also turned my scalp red. So while the color was still present, it was kind of everywhere. But I continued with my experiment, and blowdried my 'do as usual.


The color work I’ve had on my hair is minimal: I’ve never used a permanent dye, and only once bleached the ends to get an ombre style. While I had used demi-dye once before, that was pre-ombre and bleaching at the tips. The biggest, most noticeable difference from applying the demi-dye was that it turned my ombre locks redder than any other part of my hair. I’m guessing because that hair was bleached and is especially prone to dye. (Although, if I didn’t have that ombred hair, I don’t think anyone would have noticed that I did anything at all.)

Only three people noticed a difference in my hair the day after I demi-dyed it, which I totally don’t blame anyone for — at all. Like I said, if I didn’t have an ombre, even I wouldn’t have noticed that it was tinted red. Perhaps because it was not so much of a dye, but more of a tint. And because it only lasts a few weeks, depending on how often you wash your hair, I’m sure its basic formula is created so as not to alter too much in your hair follicles, but just provide a little bit of color. I only meant for it to be slightly noticeable in the first place, and I figured my dark hair would make that unavoidable anyway. I would expect the demi-dye to have a different effect on people with lighter hair, especially looking at what it did to my ombre. (But I can’t say for sure what it might to do people with darker hair than mine. It should add a tint, but it may only be noticeable in direct sunlight.)


While everyone has their own opinions of their hair color, I can honestly say I like my dark brown hair. It’s prone to turning lighter in the summertime, but darkens in the winter. Granted, it’s not the best shade on earth, but I think it suits me well. That being said, I’ve always wanted to experiment with different hair colors but I never could gather enough guts to actually do it. Thanks to demi-dye, I am able to try out a hair color before I fully commit to it. While the demi-dye may not have the full effects of a straight dye from either a box or a salon, it did allow me to play with my hair color without having to suffer any consequences if the whole shebang went terribly wrong. Additionally, demi-dye is quite easy to come by and available in most specialty beauty stores.


Like I mentioned before, the demi-dye does not have the full dye effect you may experience while getting your hair done at the salon or even from a regular box dye. While I’m sure you could also pruchase bleach at a beauty supply store and then dye your hair via demi-dye, I wouldn’t recommend it. While the demi-dye was fun, it was messy (There. Was. Dye. Everywhere) and I can only imagine how difficult it would be to apply it alone (thanks for your help, mom!). Because the dyes you buy at the beauty supply store are ultimately meant for professionals in the beauty industry, it’s a little more tricky than the cool tools and easy instructions you get from a box. Also, if it does go terribly wrong, you unfortunately will either have to live with it for a few weeks or just wash your hair obsessively until it comes out.


All in all, I was happy with the results of this little experiment. I always admired people with dark red [almost purple] hair, and it was nice trying out the color via the demi-dye and not having to worry about committing to it forever. While it was a little bit of a nuisance to apply — and it was quite difficult to get the dye off my scalp — the product was cheap, accessible, and fun to try. Plus, I got to change my look for a little, even if it wasn’t a huge, noticeable change like a major hair cut or a bright blue hue. I intended to change my look for myself, and the red color made me feel a little more bad ass and cool.

After a few washes, the red color is still present in my hair, but is admittedly fading with every shampoo. While I do wish it would stick around for a little longer, it’s good to know that if I ever do permanently dye my hair dark red, it won’t look as bad as I initially thought it might. Maybe I’ll try a fire engine red? Or maybe even a purple? With demi-dye, the possibilities are endless because now I know I’ll never have to live with my decision for all time.

Just don't let the demi-dye get to your head, please.Images: Author; Giphy