Sometimes you want to take the plunge and dye your hair a bold new colour, and why not dye your hair red? But there are a few factors you need to consider first, from choosing a hue to maintaining your colour.

How to dye your hair red

1. Shade selection


From rose gold to auburn to black cherry, there are so many options when it comes to shades of red.

“It’s really important, before experimenting with red hair colour that you choose the right shade for your skin tone,” says Jonathan Turner from Hooker & Young. Alongside Sophie Gibson, he won colour technician of the year at the Schwarzkopf Professional British Hairdressing Awards 2019.

“This is something your colourist will be able to help you with. If you have cool eyes and skin tone, go for red-violet with a blue undertone,  warmer undertones should go for a richer red, almost like red wine or a copper-red.”

2. Bright or dark?

Long dark red hair

“Your base colour will affect the shade of red your colourist can achieve,” says Gibson. Don’t presume that you can go from brunette to Rihanna red in one sitting.

“For example, if you have dark hair and want to go for a rich red you wouldn’t necessarily need a pre-lightener. Whereas if you wanted to go from a dark base to a bright vibrant red then a pre-lightener would be essential to achieve this.”

3. Mane maintenance

Beauty model with perfect long glossy red hair.

“Whilst it’s utterly gorgeous, red is a high maintenance look. It’s really important you talk to your colourist about what’s involved in your colour journey and the level of commitment that is needed before taking the plunge,” Turner says.

Therefore, a ravishing red might not be best if you’re a ‘wash and go’ kind of gal. Make sure you have a thorough consultation before committing to a colour.

4. Fight the fade

Once you’ve got your flame-haired new look, if you want it to stay looking salon-fresh you’ll need to stock up on pigmented products.

“Red is the fastest colour to fade, so great products are needed at home,” Gibson says.

“Use pigmented shampoos and conditioners and masks at home to refresh your colour, such as Chroma ID Bonding Colour Mask by Schwarzkopf Professional (available on Amazon), to add shine, moisture and strength to your hair.”

5. Care for your hair

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“Heat can also be a problem for red hair, so use as low heat as possible when drying or styling your hair,” Gibson continues. “Even washing your red hair can cause it to lose its vibrancy, so try and wash it as little as possible.

“It’s also really important you regularly use hair masks to improve the condition of your hair and maintain your colour.”

6. Make sure you’re ready

“Colouring your hair red is a big change for most clients, but whatever the shade, red is a beautiful colour choice and colourists can achieve some stunning results,” says Turner, but it’s not a change you should undertake lightly.

“It’s crucial that clients are aware of how much commitment is needed to maintain it. It’s not an easy colour to correct if you change your mind.”

Products to dye hair red at home

L’Oreal Paris Colorista Bright Red Permanent Hair Dye Gel, Amazon.

Schwarzkopf Live Ultra Bright or Pastel Hair Dye in 092 Pillar Box Red, Amazon.

Crazy Color Semi-Permanent Hair Color Cream in Fire No.56, Amazon.

Manic Panic High Voltage Classic Hair Dye in Vampire’s Kiss, Amazon.

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