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Semi Permanent Hair Dye and Clear Rinses for Natural Hair

• Oct 3, 2014


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Most of us will know about semi permanent hair dyes which stain the outer shaft of the hair but wash out over time unlike some permanent hair dye that can get right into the cortex. Some naturals use semi permanents for coloring gray hair but others use it for shine/gloss.……as seen in this video. Generally with semi permanent colour, the darker your hair, the less vibrant the colour e.g red on black hair may result in just a gloss/shine without really looking red.

Did you know that you can actually find a semi permanent dye which has no actual hair dye in it?

This is what is known as a clear rinse — clear because it has no color and rinse because it rinses out. Sometimes it is mistakenly referred to as a cellophane rinse but cellophane is just the brand name for Sebastian products. Most companies that produce semi permanent hair dyes do produce a ‘clear’ product.

So what is the point of using a hair dye which actually has no hair dye?

Users of clear rinses say that it gives hair a high level shine/gloss. Some naturals also claim that clear rinses strengthen hair.

Are these claims true?

I don’t know as they are user based experiences. I did however look at the ingredients within typical products to make an assesment.

Ingredients: Sebastian Cellophane Laminates Rinse (includes ingredients for dyes that do have color — expect that the clear rinse will not have most of the color indicated in italics)

Water, PEG-12 dimethicone, benzyl alcohol, hydroxypropyl starch phosphate, propylene glycol, citric acid, phenoxyethanol, hydroxyethylcellulose, xanthan gum, D&C orange no. 4 (CI15510), hydrolysed wheat protein, hydrolysed soy protein, FD&C red no. 40 (CI 16035), FD&C yellow no. 5 (CI 19140), methylparaben, benzophenone‑4, hydrolysed wheat starch, wheat amino acids, Ext.D&C violet no. 2 (CI 60730), d&c Red no. 33 (ci 17200), potassium sorbate, ethylparaben, butylparaben, isobutylparaben, propylparaben

Ingredients: John Frieda Luminous Clear Glaze

Water, propylene carbonate, alcohol denat, citric acid, cyclopentasiloxane, xanthan gum, dimethiconol, malic acid, tourmaline, citrine, hydrolyzed vegetable protein PG-propylsilanetriol, TEA — cocoylhydrolzed soy protein, sodium hydroxide, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, fragrance, titanium dioxide, mica, ext.violet 2

What are the key ingredients in clear rinses?

The top ingredients in both products are water, silicones, some polymers and hydrolysed protein. Some interesting things like powdered gemstones (citrine and tourmaline) are thrown in the John Frieda product.……hmm is all I will say.

Would these ingredients create shine or strengthen hair as users claim?

Yes, silicones could increase shine and hydrolysed proteins could strengthen hair. It is probably worth mentioning that dry hair is also a distinct possibility, as a silicone rich coating on hair may not allow efficient exchange of moisture between the hair and the environment. However, as it is a rinse out product, you would be able to wash out the product easily, should it prove to be problematic.

These ingredients do not look very natural, do you have a semi permanent dye natural alternative?

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen or read about a semi permanent natural dye. Cassia is widely regarded as a clear dye, but it is probably permanent. Henna and Indigo are natural but are not semi-permanent. They do tend to fade or change in intensity over time. This is more so related to removal of excess unbound dye after initial application and later on due to loss of the dyed hair cuticle. Most natural hair dyes bind to the keratin rather than just staining it in a coating.


Have any of you tried the clear hair rinse? What are your experiences?


About The Natural Haven

Scientist on a hairy mission!

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7 years ago

There is a conditioner called oVertone that is a vegan and mostly natural way to tint hair. Maybe this could be a natural alternative for the color, but not the strengthening.

7 years ago

I’ve been using Indigo for the few grays along my hairline. It does begin to wear off in about 2 weeks so to avoid that, it’s become step 1 of my weekly wash and it’s quite effective. I only buy from Mehandi coz their Henna and Indigo are very finely sifted and it’s not a hassle to wash off.

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