How often do you need to colour your hair?

Changing your hair colour can be a high maintenance beauty routine but it’s one I couldn’t live without. Before deciding on your new look, here’s a quick guide on how often you need to colour your hair to help you work out if you can afford to maintain your new colour.

That’s me in the chair of the lovely Elly of Stevie English Hair in Bondi

Semi-permanent colour

Also known as a rinse or gloss, semi-permanent colour is an easy way to change your hair colour without committing to a new routine. You can change your hair by 1-3 shades from your natural hair colour and it will wash out rather than grow out. Depending on your hair type and how often you wash your hair, semi-permanent colours last 2-6 weeks.


Highlights and lowlights are applied to sections of hair, which are wrapped in foil and left to process leaving your natural hair in between. As the colour is permanent you can achieve a greater colour change in your hair. Because some of your hair is left without colour, it can look more natural. Regrowth is less noticeable because there’s not a distinct regrowth line. Depending on your hair and how fast it grows, you can wait up to 5-7 weeks between visits. This is the way my hairdresser colours my hair. To reduce costs you can alternate appointments only using foils on the top half of your head, or even just your hairline and partline (T section).


Similar to highlights, balayage is a colour application technique that offers a freeform look to foil colour. Balayage looks best when it is a few shades lighter than your natural colour, like sun-kissed highlights. Stronger colour definition can give an ombre colour effect. As the colour is not applied close to the scalp, regrowth is not noticeable and you only need to have the colour reapplied every 6-12 weeks, depending on your hair colour and how fast your hair grows.


With tints, permanent colour is applied to your hair and scalp. Tints allow for the greatest hair colour change as you won’t see any of your natural colour. Regrowth is more noticeable as you will see a distinct line of colour as your hair grows. Depending on how fast your hair grows, and the difference in colour, you need to go back to the hairdresser every 3-5 weeks. To reduce maintenance costs you can just colour your partline and hairline (T section).

Do you colour your hair? How often do you need to re-colour your hair?

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  1. says

    I’ve only ever used boxed hair color from the store. (I know, I know.) I’ve learned the hard way that I can’t lighten my hair or change the color more than 1-2 shades, so I don’t see the point in doing at-home hair color. I ended up with neon orange hair once when I tried to color my dark hair blonde! Yikes!

    Thanks for this rundown of the coloring types. I assume all of these are best done in a salon?
    Taylor recently posted..Book Review: Where Lilacs Still BloomMy Profile

    • Hair Romance says

      Hi Taylor, yes I only recommend salon colour. It’s too risky at home. When my hair was short I used a box colour to make it 2 shades darker, which was ok, but I still had my sister (who’s a hairdresser) apply it for me. Box colour can work if it’s only 1-2 shades from your natural colour, but it’s still a risk that I don’t take anymore. Especially as I love being blonde! Christina x

  2. says

    I’ve got some highlights, but the best part is that my stylist colored my hair in the ombre style so mainly only the bottom half of my hair is dyed blonde, fading into my natural dark blonde hair up top. It was my stylist’s brilliant idea to color my hair this way and I absolutely LOVE IT for several reasons: it looks like I live on the beach, it’s very trendy right now and best of all the upkeep is SUPER low maintenance! I love it 😀
    Becky recently posted..OPI Just Spotted the LizardMy Profile

  3. Hannah says

    I’m naturally ash blonde, which to me translates to little-old-lady-grey. I get foils in 2 different shades of blonde so that I don’t look like I’m 85. My regrowth isn’t too obvious unless my hair is really greasy/dirty (after the gym usually) and while I prefer to cut my hair every 5 – 6 weeks because it is waist length and pretty fine, in the past I have gone 2 months without being too freaked out by the regrowth. I’ve considered balayage, but having tried to return to my natural colour three times in the past, I know I am one of those people who needs blonde framing their face and not just in the mid-lengths. I think that it looks fantastic though!

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