Definition: What's the Difference Between a Single- and a Double-Process Color?

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  • Single-process color and double-process color are two different treatments at the hair salon.
  • To learn what’s single-process color vs. double, we broke it down for you.
  • Save this explanation for the next time you go to get a new hair color.

Say you’re at the hair salon looking over the color treatment services. Some of the phrases and terms may look familiar, but others might leave you a little puzzled: should you get a single-process color, or should you go for the double-process color? It shouldn’t be a complicated question, but it is if you don’t know what the difference is between the two types of color treatments.

Whether you’re new to dyeing your hair or you’ve just never strayed from your boxed hair dye in the past, you’ll be a certified pro after reading this explainer. Ahead, we’re breaking down what single-process hair color is vs. double-process color, so you can pick the right one for you the next time you’re at the hair salon.

What’s a Single-Process Color?

Single-process hair color means a new color or toner is applied all over your head to create a new base color. The hair is lifted and new color is deposited in one easy step. This means it takes a lot less time than a double process. This also typically makes the treatment more cost-friendly, so if you’re trying to color your hair on a budget, it’s a great option. Single-process color is the most common salon treatment out of the two. It’s wonderful for covering grays and adding shine to dull hair. If you prefer to color your hair at home, this is the easier option to do yourself.

What’s a Double-Process Color?

Double-process color involves two steps, as the name suggests. Traditionally, hair is first lightened by two or more shades with bleach to remove the natural pigment or any lingering hair dye. Then, a new color is added either with more bleach or hair dye to create the desired end result. To avoid damaging the hair, we recommend leaving this one to the professionals and visiting a hair salon.
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