A Brief Guide To Natural Hair Dye: Temporary Vs Permanent Hair Color on Natural Hair

Have you ever considered changing your natural hair color?

Hair color is a touchy subject in the natural hair community. There are those who think that changing your natural hair color means that you’re no longer natural. Some of us, on the other hand, don’t agree with that. As long as our hair doesn’t have any relaxers, we consider ourselves natural.

Now that we have that out of the way, we can get into the temporary versus permanent hair color debate.

When you’re considering changing your natural hair color, you will have to decide whether you want to permanently rock your new color or keep it in for a few days, weeks or months. In order to make this decision, you should know the merits and demerits of the two options. Here are 5 major differences between temporary and permanent hair dye:

1. Application

You need to consider a number of things:

a.) Ease of Application

Applying temporary hair color is relatively easy. All you need is the product, usually a gel or custard/ cream, your hands and hair. With temporary hair color, it might seem a bit messy but it is easy to clean up and doesn’t stain. You can therefore easily do it at home. On that note, I have a video tutorial on how to apply Mofajang hair color wax on natural hair:

On the other hand, permanent dye is best applied by a professional. You will need the gel (color), booster/ developer, gloves, mixing bowl and applicator brush or bottle. The mixing of ingredients should be done in a particular ratio to achieve the preferred shade of color. This might not be as easy to do at home, even with box dye.

b.) Bleaching

Whether you are looking for the best hair color for gray hair or the best hair dye for black hair, you might have to bleach your natural hair. Bleaching lifts your color from black to a light, blonde-like color that forms the perfect base for your new permanent hair color. You don’t have to bleach your hair but this will only reduce the probability that the new hair color will take.

On the other hand, temporary hair color doesn’t require any bleaching. Your washable hair color wax is going to coat your hair with the color pigment.

2. Results and Color Vibrance

In search of the healthiest hair dye, you must consider how vibrant your results will be. You want hair dye that is safe for your hair and has amazing end results.

Permanent hair color is vibrant and impressive immediately after application. Afterwards, however, you have to work to maintain the vibrance. This requires color-friendly shampoo and conditioners. After a few weeks or months, depending on your products and how often you wash your hair, the color will start fading to the base colors. For example, burgundy would slowly turn into a copper brown. The only way to stop or remedy this is by getting a touch-up, i.e., recoloring.

With temporary hair color, the results vary depending on the type of hair product you use. Mofajang hair color wax gives vibrant results. The color pigmentation is impressive and lasts about a week. The vibrance starts fading in the second week. You can opt for a touch up or a reapplication.

Braid out done on wet hair using Mofajang hair wax
Braid out done on wet hair using Mofajang hair wax

3. Hair Damage

Does dying your hair ruin it? Does dying your hair make it fall out? These are some of the most common questions about dyeing your natural hair.

Permanent hair color CAN damage your natural hair. The use of bleach, hydrogen peroxide, ammonia and other ingredients in permanent hair dyes can damage your hair. One common effect of coloring natural hair is drying. The hair loses moisture easily and you have to up your moisture game. I shall be covering some helpful tips on how to keep your natural hair healthy soon so be on the lookout.

Temporary hair color doesn’t damage your natural hair AS LONG AS the product has natural or hair-friendly ingredients. You can check out this washable hair color wax tutorial to ascertain that temporary color doesn’t damage natural hair:

4. How Often Can You Use it?

How soon can I recolor my hair? That’s another common question among people who would like to change up their natural hair color often. With temporary hair color, the answer is pretty simple. You can color your hair every week if you so wish. The only consequences you might face would be related to over-manipulation of your strands.

You don’t have the freedom to permanently color your hair often. Sure, you can do it every month, but expect some serious hair damage while at it. The bleaching and/ or chemical process involved in dyeing your hair permanently limits the number of times you can color your hair in a year IF you still want to have healthy hair. Personally, I think permanently dyeing your natural hair once every two months is living on the edge.

5. How long will it Last?

Temporary hair color can last anywhere between a day and two weeks. It depends on when you wash your hair, the hair products you use and how you maintain your hair. Permanent color, on the other hand, is permanent. The only way to get your hair back to black is to let it grow out and cut off your colored ends or to dye it black.


An infographic showing a summary of the pros and cons for temporary and permanent hair color on natural hair
Temporary vs Permanent Hair Color Infographic Summary

Once you understand the merits and demerits of permanent and temporary hair color, you can confidently figure out which works best for you. Personally, I color my hair permanently almost every year. I only recently started using Mofajang hair color wax which is a washable hair color wax. This allows me to change up to purple hair once in a while when the color bug bites. For those who have been wondering, “Can you put semi permanent dye over permanent?” the answer is yes, absolutely!

I hope you’re enjoying the color series so far.


2 thoughts on “A Brief Guide To Natural Hair Dye: Temporary Vs Permanent Hair Color on Natural Hair”

  1. Pingback: 10 Things You Should Know Before Coloring Your Natural Hair – Njerie Gitau

  2. Pingback: Coloring Your Hair at Home – 5 Things You Need To Know – Njerie Gitau

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