≡ Menu

Is Elumen Hair Color really less damaging?

Maddy asks…I’ve heard about Elumen Hair Colour on the long hair community as a less damaging hair colour alternative. It claims to last like a permanent dye, but be as undamaging as a temporary color. How does it work?

The Beauty Brains respond:

There are essentially three factors on which to judge a hair coloring product: its degree of permanence, the degree of damage it causes to the hair, and the range of shades it provides.

Permanent hair color

On one hand you have permanent hair colors (also known as oxidative hair colors) which work the “best” because they give you the longest lasting color with the greatest range of shades (even allowing you to go from dark shades to lighter shades via bleaching.) However, permanent coloring also causes the most damage because the process swells the hair shaft which disrupts the protein structure of hair.

Temporary hair color

On the other hand you have temporary colors that merely stain the outside of the hair shaft. These cause little, if any damage, but they don’t last very long and they only allow you to add color on top of the hair color you already have. (So it’s impossible to turn yourself into a blonde using temporary colors.)

Elumen hair color

Elumen hair color technology is somewhere in between these two extremes. It is a low pH system so it will not swell the hair shaft. It uses solvents to help the hair colors penetrate a little ways into the hair shaft so they will last longer. They will still wash out because they are not bound inside the hair like permanent dies are but they will last longer than temporary colors. Of course you can’t lighten your hair shade with Elumen.

The Beauty Brains bottom line

If Elumen has a shade that you’re happy with and if you’re looking for a “semi-permanent” color then this brand may be a good compromise for you. But it’s not some magical solution that has all of the advantages of oxidative dyes without any of the disadvantages.

Elumen Dye ingredients
Aqua, propylene carbonate, alcohol denat., lactic acid, hydroxypropylated polysaccharides, dimethicone copolyol, sodium hydroxide, parfum. May contain: Acid black 1, acid red 52, yellow 10, ext. violet 2, orange 4, red 33.

Elumen Lock ingredients
Aqua, alcohol denat., PEG-8, Benzyl Glycol, Sodium Isethionate, Butylene Glycol, Lactic Acid, Carbomer, Dimethicone Copolyol, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Sodium Hydroxide, Parfum, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Amylcinnamyl Alcohol.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Raven Peters April 13, 2014, 5:36 pm

    I use RV Elumen and it is very permanent in my hair. I only need to do my roots every month, but my fingertip length ends have only been colored once in the last year. No color loss and no damage. It shows up very well on my dark hair without any color lifting too. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants vibrant, permanent color without damage.

    • Mintie September 18, 2015, 5:25 pm

      I agree with Raven. I only do my roots every month, and the ends stay purple VV@ALL for a good 6 months to a year. It’s an amazing product and I wish more salon professionals would learn how to use it properly so I don’t have to keep doing it at home.

      • Kaye October 3, 2016, 7:05 am

        Hi there , I see you do your own color at home. Please tell me how you go about purchasing your elumin. I haven’t managed to find somewhere that I can order it on line.

        Thanks in advance
        Kind regards

        • Lacie January 26, 2017, 5:09 pm

          Amazon.com is the best place I have found.

      • Stefanie February 14, 2020, 4:38 pm

        Did a violet Elumin color. Waited weeks to wash it. It’s totally faded out and I’m so upset! I even used shampoo/conditioner products to help preserve it.


    • Jennifer March 11, 2018, 9:16 am

      I agree with you as along time stylist using Elumen the desecription here is not accurate. It is not in the semi permanent category at all! This is the worlds first non oxidative permanent hair colour. It penetrates deeply into the hair shaft using negatively charged dye molecules which are physically attracted to the positive ions in the hair! The result is the most permenent colour option on the market. The only thing this website did get correct was that Elumen does not lift! Being a direct dye it can only deposit…

      • meris December 26, 2019, 6:06 pm

        The positive/negative ion “technology” is a party line with no science to back it up. The substance that opens the shaft to raise the cuticle is alcohol, largely (which we all know roughs up the cuticle tons), and then the shaft is closed back down by lactic acid. That’s it that’s all.

  • Suzanne O'Leary July 24, 2015, 6:23 pm

    I would like to know if this color is okay for someone who is allergic to hair dye, dyed my hair one and my whole head was bleeding and was left with a scare on my arm would I be able to use this thank you for your help suzanne

    • jennifer August 26, 2015, 5:33 pm

      The above information regarding Elumen is incomplete and inaccurate. It is the worlds first permanent acidic hair colour to use direct dye technology, therefor it is as permanent as an oxidation tint and as gentle as a semi permanent.
      It IS bonded inside the hair but rather than working on a chemical basis it works on a physical basis connecting to the positive ions within the cortex. Because it does not swell the cuticular layer nor does it break down natural melanin it does not cause any damage to the hair.
      It is not hypo allergenic, but that said, it does not contain many of the usual suspects where allergies are concerned and for that reason many who have allergies can successfully use Elumen. Please use the goldwell salon locator on line and find a qualified elumen salon close to you. You will be amazed at the conditioning repair effect in addition to the longevity of the colour.

      • Ashleigh January 12, 2018, 12:27 pm

        I have Coldwell colour master certificate. And I agree with this 100%!!!

        • Mishell Osmundson March 2, 2018, 9:25 pm

          I have to double that! This is completely like any other hair colour system. Nothing else works using this ion pos/neg technology. For the “author” to throw it in, with other colours that are molecularly structured completely different, and then just give it a “how long” rating, just shows hes even too lazy to google it. You cant put this “in between” anything. Its the Epicenter.

          • Perry Romanowski April 3, 2018, 7:53 am

            Anyone can write anything about anything on the Internet. Google is not proper scientific research.

    • Kim February 7, 2018, 9:07 am

      I recently developed a bad allergy to hair dye. I’ve used this twice now and so far I’ve had no reactions at all. Been a life saver.

  • Wendy Berg May 11, 2016, 11:28 pm

    Please tell me of Goldwell Salon near where I live – Northampton, MA 01060.
    Thank you.

  • Jenny June 9, 2016, 5:53 pm

    I have my hair dyed a very vibrant purple with magenta ombre with elumen and my hair looks and feels gorgeous. This is more expensive than other dyes but I would recommend it to anyone especially if you want a bright/flashy colors, the results truly are spectacular.

  • Carolyn May 20, 2017, 3:33 am

    Hello I’m using for first time. I usually hv a mix of brown and some red on my hair. Do I need to order two colours if I want this same mix ? As in, is the red v red or with a brown undertone and I only need the one colour. Thank you.

    • Randy Schueller May 20, 2017, 8:10 am

      I don’t know Carolyn, we’re not hair colorists. You might check with the company. Good luck!

  • Rachel May 25, 2017, 5:01 pm

    I have been using elumen n@2 on my dark blond hair to get black. I mix it with some vampire red from manic panic otherwise it would look greyish.
    I do not even have to use the lock it is extremely permanent as it is.
    Do not bother re-dye your lenght unless the color has faded because it will cause unnecessary dryness ans will really break your hair un the long run.
    I have been dying my own hair and it its really difficult not to let the dye touch the scalp. I have been experiencing intense itching and massive hair loss as a result.
    This dye is not perfect and impossible to remove after several applications.

  • Redhead July 31, 2017, 9:50 pm

    I’ve used Elumen about a year now. I’ve been mixing kk and rr to get my kind of tone. Prepare and lock has proven to do what they promise also. Last time I bought from I guess rather new store called ellustore. I found it to have better customer service than amazon and rather support small business stores. Since I live in Europe it is more convenient choice also.

  • carolyn harrison August 1, 2017, 8:46 am

    I live in Florence ,S.C. where can I find the closest salon or school to get “Elumen color in my hair.

    • Randy Schueller August 1, 2017, 9:17 am

      I don’t know, maybe you can contact the company directly and they can tell you. Good luck!

  • Mara Leigh August 18, 2017, 12:47 pm

    It’s very permanent in my hair, too. Stays super vibrant, too.

  • J September 26, 2017, 10:21 pm

    Not long lasting at all 10 days in and my hair is going back to how was before. Cost me good amount of money for colouring that I can see will not last a month even.

  • Uh oh... January 4, 2019, 12:49 am

    I applied BK@level 6 on my natural blonde hair with a few highlights on December 12th and the color came out intense and stunning. But the 3rd wash I was noticeably fading. It is now January 4th and I am something between a strawberry blonde and a copper blonde. It was SO HARD to put on my hair and it did dye my scalp so I am not looking forward to a re-ap. Quick fade stinks but such is red. I used the lock as well. It felt like rubbing egg whites in my hair and dried it out. Scary to read that it is hard to remove as well. Feels like I’m on a sinking ship here. Might be time to make a hair appointment…

    • Peach Kay October 7, 2019, 10:17 pm

      PS— to those experiencing quick loss of color, there is a technique to help you maintain that I have been doing for as long as I’ve used Elumen. I do NOT shampoo daily. I try to stretch it to twice a week. Three times max. If that grosses you out, take showers in the meantime with a shower cap. I only wash my hair in the coolest water I can stand. I wear a shower cap at the beginning of the shower and shampoo at the end. Less dripping. Always blot dry between shampoo and conditioner (helps the conditioner work in better anyway) and as soon as you get out. I don’t usually have to re-glaze before my next appt, but I keep it on hand. (Thanks, niece!) If you do, generally a little mixed with conditioner is enough. It sounds like a lot of hoops—it’s not. After a month it’s habit, and it’s worth it.

  • Peach Kay October 7, 2019, 10:11 pm

    It will initially dye your scalp. It doesn’t stay. It’s usually gone by the second or third wash. I use a brush to apply. It becomes “harder to remove” after longer use. I have had pink, then magenta hair for a year and a half. Everyone gives me compliments.

  • Charlotte Andreasen November 12, 2019, 4:17 am

    I had my hair dyed professionally with Elumen color, the next day I got sores on my scalp and hair line and itching in the neck, 10 days later my forehead was swollen above my right eyebrow. There are no guarantees!

    • Cryssy November 20, 2019, 10:11 pm

      Hello Charlotte,
      I am so sorry to hear you have had a reaction to Elumen. I have been using it for 8 years after I became allergic to PPD. Never heard of a reaction before!
      Did you do a patch test before using it? What color combination did you use it?

  • Ana ana August 2, 2020, 7:09 am

    Can I de my hair with normal permanente L’Oréal dye after elumen? I tried to tone the yellows with a elumen color but it really did nothing, so I want to know if anyone has used elumen and then went back to a permanent color and if there were any down sides.
    Thank you!