Best Semi-Permanent Color to Cover White Hair

by Lauren Gilmore
[ Hair Stylist and Educator ]

The most common hair  problem US women face is getting white hair! As soon as we see one, we either rush to pull it all out, head to the salon or get a box dye from the supermarket.

The next question is how do we cover them??

Why Do We Get White Hair?

At the minute we know of no real reason as to why we get white hair, although people tend to notice them after a big stress event, it could also be genetic, unfortunately, there is no solution.

White hair is basically just your hair losing its pigment, pigments are what make up your natural hair color, i.e. brown, copper, blonde.

White hair can appear at any time in life, even in someone in their 20s...

Why Does My Hair Look Greyer Than Others?

There is no such thing as grey hair - the individual hair primarily is white.

The reason it may appear grey is because you may have your natural color still intermixed, this is why it looks different on everyone.

As stylists we look at it in percentages, for example, for someone with 100% white hair, the root will appear white, whereas, for someone with only 25% hair, the roots may appear greyer. Some people call this the salt and pepper look.

Semi-permanent hair colors are perfect to blend white hair...


  • They contain no ammonia or peroxide.
  • They do not damage the hair.
  • Easy to apply.
  • Give a more natural result.
  • They give a beautiful rich shine.

    I say blend purely because they are designed to give a more natural look, they will not give you a harsh, blanket coverage which a permanent color will do.

What is a Semi-Permanent Hair Color?

A true semi-permanent hair color is not mixed with anything and it is applied directly onto the hair.

They tend to last between 6-8 shampoos and will blend up to 30% white hair, giving you a more natural result.

Coverage and colors will vary depending on what color brand you choose to use.

They are also great if someone wants to cover their roots for an occasion or night out, without affecting their current hair color.

This is my go-to semi-permanent, I also recommend this to my clients if they want to stretch their appointments out a little longer.

Milkshake Direct Colour

These semi-permanents come in 20 different shades, meaning you can find a match for most colours.

Some of the things I really love about this product is that you can intermix them to create your perfect colour, you can also mix them with the Milkshake Whipped Cream to add a condition to the hair.

The main benefit is that they leave the hair with a beautiful shine!!

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How to Apply a Semi-Permanent Hair Color:

To color you are going to need:

  1. Your chosen color 
  2. Bowl & Brush
  3. Gloves
  4. Protective gown/apron
  5. Hair clips

This Kit Contains Everything You Need To Color Your Hair.

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The easiest way to apply semi-permanent hair colors is as followed:

  1. This is the most important step! Do a skin test! To do this simply apply a small amount behind your ear and wait for 48 hours. If the area does not become sore, itchy, or red, you are good to go...
  2. Put a small amount of color into your bowl and section the hair into 4, as per the picture. (you can always add more if you need too).
  3. Using your bowl and brush apply the color to the roots only (Don’t stress too much if you get it on the previous color).
  4. To carry out the rest of the roots, simply take vertical sections and continue applying the color to the roots.
    If you want to refresh the ends, these can be applied straight after the roots.
  5. Develop for 20 minutes (Check instructions as some brands may vary in development time).
  6. Shampoo and condition as normal.
4 section hair

I always recommend maintaining a semi-permanent color with a professional color maintenance shampoo, this is so that the color can last as long as possible.

Every hair care brand has a color shampoo, I personally use the Loreal Vitamino Color Shampoo & Conditioner.

It leaves the hair feeling soft and healthy, whilst maintaining your color. It also protects against UV filters and gives the hair up to six times more shine.

Color shampoos contain less sulfites (these are the bubbles in shampoo), too many bubbles can strip the color from the hair.

L'Oreal Paris Professionnel Color Radiance Conditioner

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All in all, semi-permanents are great for numerous reasons, they give a beautifully natural coverage, help with maintenance in-between appointments, and will blend away the first few white hairs without the commitment of full color.

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