My favorite color to work with is red.

Can you blame me?

It’s vibrant, daring, original.

There are so many beautiful shades of red (I’ll show you some of them below) to create with, and luckily my clients give me plenty of canvases to explore all those shades. While red is alluring to many, achieving and maintaining the perfect red shade requires special care and expertise.

I want to explain some of the intricacies of caring for red-dyed hair, ensuring that your transformation remains vibrant, healthy, and head-turning. We’ll take a little peek into the science behind red hair color, unveil the secrets of color maintenance, and provide you with essential tips and tricks to ensure your red-dyed locks always look their best. Plus, I’m going to show off some pictures of my clients that you can use to inspire your new color!

Red Hair: The Challenge

Red hair can be a challenge. You probably already know that.

Red shades tend to fade quicker than other hair colors. UV exposure, harsh hair care products, and heat styling can all contribute to this color fading.

But caring for red hair isn’t just about keeping the color vibrant. Oftentimes we have to bleach or lighten hair before we dye it red, and that can dry and damage hair, if done by anyone other than an expert. You don’t want your red locks to be lifeless, so you’ve got to ensure the overall health and vitality. In short, healthy red hair isn’t just keeping the color shining! Hydration, nourishment, and gentle handling are crucial to maintain the strength, resilience, and natural shine of your hair.

The Many Shades of Red

When it comes to dyeing your hair red, the possibilities are endless. I’m thankful to have clients who have asked for such a range of stunning shades, each of which perfectly complement different styles and personalities. Here are a few of my favorites…

Sangria

Spice

Ruby Red

  1. Copper: Warmth and vibrancy. From fiery oranges to deep browns with a metallic sheen, copper enhances your natural facial structures and exudes confidence.
  2. Mahogany: Sophistication and elegance. From deep and luxurious tones to a harmonious blend of red and brown, mahogany adds depth and dimension, refining the natural structure of a woman’s face.
  3. Strawberry Blonde: Blending soft reddish tones with golden hues, strawberry blonde creates a delicate and enchanting look. This shade is perfect for a subtle and romantic transformation.
  4. Cherry Red: Striking and daring. Cherry red embodies passion and excitement, creating a head-turning effect. All eyes on you.
  5. Burgundy: Allure and mystery. With rich and velvety tones reminiscent of red wine, burgundy is all about elegance and sophistication. For women seeking a sultry and serious look.
  6. Rose Gold: Combining delicate pink and warm red tones, rose gold creates a captivating and whimsical effect. This trendy shade adds a touch of femininity and playfulness to your hair.

Orange-Copper

Candy Paint

Smolder

Remember, your red shade ultimately depends on your style and personality. Whether you opt for a fiery and vibrant hue or a more subdued and elegant tone, your color will make a statement and complement your best qualities. Red hair is a lot of fun! Embrace it.

Want some inspiration? Tap here to check out my gallery of red hair clients! And follow me on Instagram to see what I’ve been up to.

The Unique Needs of Red Hair: Care & Maintenance

Now that we’ve looked at just a few shades and tones of red you can dye your hair, let’s talk about some of the needs that dyed red hair has. Let’s start with some of the notorious faders of hair color…

1. Common Culprits of Color Fading

Maintain the vibrancy of your red hair by tackling these color-fading culprits. Shield from sun exposure, use sulfate-free shampoos, avoid hot water and excessive heat styling, rinse after swimming, minimize over-washing, follow proper aftercare, and protect from environmental pollutants. Combat color fading to keep your red hair radiant and stunning.

  1. Sun Exposure: UV rays from the sun can be a major culprit behind red hair color fading. Prolonged sun exposure breaks down the color molecules, leading to dullness and fading over time.
  2. Harsh Shampoos: Certain shampoos containing sulfates can strip away the red hair dye, causing the color to fade more quickly. Opt for sulfate-free shampoos that are gentle on your hair and help preserve the color.
  3. Hot Water: Washing red hair with hot water can open up the hair cuticles, allowing the color molecules to escape more easily. Use lukewarm or cool water instead to prevent premature color fading.
  4. Heat Styling Tools: Excessive use of heat styling tools like flat irons and curling irons can weaken the hair’s structure and cause the color to fade. Apply heat protectant products and use these tools sparingly to minimize damage.
  5. Chlorine and Saltwater: Chlorine in swimming pools and saltwater at the beach can strip away the red hair color. Rinse your hair with clean water before swimming and wear a swim cap or protect your hair with a leave-in conditioner.
  6. Over-washing: Washing your hair too frequently can lead to color fading. Try to extend the time between washes and use dry shampoo in between to absorb excess oil without stripping away the color.
  7. Incorrect Aftercare: Not following the recommended aftercare instructions provided by your colorist can contribute to color fading. Use color-protecting products, avoid harsh chemicals, and moisturize your hair regularly to keep the color vibrant.
  8. Missing touch-up appointments: See your color specialist often! I recommend clients come back every four to six weeks to touch-up their color.

By being mindful of these common culprits and taking appropriate precautions, you can help extend the life and vibrancy of your red hair color, keeping it fresh and stunning for longer periods.

2. Different Shades of Red Need Different Care

Different shades of red dyed hair have varying maintenance requirements.

While there are some general practices that apply to all red hair colors, specific shades may require additional care or attention to maintain their vibrancy and longevity. For example, brighter and more vibrant reds tend to fade faster and require frequent color touch-ups or the use of color-depositing products to keep the intensity intact. On the other hand, darker shades of red may be more resistant to fading but may still benefit from color-preserving treatments and gentle cleansing routines.

All that’s to say: consulting with a professional colorist! We went to school and continue to educate ourselves on best practices and routines to keep your hair as beautiful as the day you left our chairs.

3. Shampoo & Conditioner for Red Hair

Dyed red hair demands special considerations when it comes to selecting shampoos, conditioners, and hair care products. Whether you’ve transformed your locks into a vibrant fiery red or a subtle mahogany hue, maintaining the color’s longevity and vibrancy is crucial.

First and foremost, opt for shampoos and conditioners specifically formulated for color-treated hair. These products are designed to be gentle, minimize color fading, and maintain the hair’s moisture balance. Look for sulfate-free options, as sulfates can strip away the color and cause premature fading.

Additionally, color-enhancing shampoos and conditioners tailored for red hair can be beneficial. These products contain pigments that deposit onto the hair, refreshing and intensifying the red tones between coloring sessions.

Regular deep conditioning treatments are essential for dyed red hair, as the coloring process can strip the hair of moisture. Deep conditioners help replenish hydration, restore shine, and prevent the hair from becoming dry and brittle.

When styling your red hair, use heat protectant sprays or serums to shield it from damage caused by heat styling tools. Excessive heat can lead to color fading and loss of vibrancy.

Finally, protect your red hair from harmful UV rays by wearing hats or using UV-protectant hair sprays when spending time in the sun. UV radiation can cause color fading and damage to the hair shaft.

In short, select color-safe, sulfate-free options, utilizing color-enhancing treatments, and protecting the hair from heat and UV damage.

4. Simple Practices for Your Home Care

To maintain the stunning vibrancy of your red hair, it’s essential to adopt color-safe techniques when washing and styling. Like I mentioned above, start with a sulfate-free shampoo specifically formulated for color-treated hair. Gently massage the scalp, avoiding excessive rubbing, which can cause color fading. Follow up with a nourishing conditioner, focusing on the lengths and ends.

When styling, minimize heat exposure by opting for air-drying whenever possible. If heat styling is necessary, use a heat protectant spray and select low or medium heat settings. Avoid over-washing your hair, as this can strip away color. Consider using dry shampoos between washes to refresh your hair without compromising its vibrancy.

5. Stay Out of the Sun (or wear a hat)

While the sun can be enjoyable, it’s important to be aware of its potential impact on your red hair. UV rays can lead to color fading and dryness. Fortunately, there’s a stylish hat for every season! If you don’t wear hats, use UV-protectant hair sprays when you’re out in the sun.

You can also take breaks in the shade and limit sun exposure during peak hours. Consider using leave-in treatments with UV filters to provide extra protection.

Don’t stay out of the sun, just keep your hair (and skin, of course!) protected.

6. Don’t Skip Appointments

Regular touchups with your color specialist are crucial. Yes, red hair is a bit more expensive to maintain. Color specialists have the expertise to match and refresh your red shade, reviving and restoring it. Plus, every good color specialist will provide personalized tips on maintaining your red hue between visits. Embrace these touch-up sessions! It’s where we become your personal hair magician.

7. Hydrate! Moisture Makes Red Hair Shine

Hydration is one secret to vibrant hair! Choose hydrating shampoos and conditioners designed for color-treated hair. Treat your locks to regular deep conditioning sessions and use leave-in moisturizers to lock in hydration. Embrace air-drying whenever possible and minimize heat styling. With a well-hydrated routine, your red dyed hair will always look its best.

8. Reduce Hair Breakage

Don’t let breakage ruin your red hair dreams! Be gentle when brushing, minimize heat styling, indulge in nourishing treatments, and embrace protective hairstyles. Avoiding breakage keeps your locks luscious.

Lifestyle Tips for Redheads

Diet and Nutrition

Guess what? Your diet plays an important role in promoting healthy hair! Feed your locks the nutrients they crave by incorporating hair-friendly foods. Munch on avocados for essential fatty acids, snack on nuts for their vitamin E, and savor leafy greens for iron and biotin. Treat your hair from the inside out, and watch it shine!

Treat Your Scalp

I wrote extensively about scalp care in my My One Year Journey With Divi Scalp Serum, but the bottom line is this: scalp health is essential for hair health because a healthy scalp provides the foundation for strong, nourished hair growth and helps prevent common hair problems like dryness, dandruff, and irritation. Keep your scalp healthy and your red hair will shine!

Work With a Pro

I can’t stress this one enough. The best thing you can do to protect, maintain, and care for your red hair is consulting with a color specialist, from start to finish. Your color specialist should be able to answer basic questions, provide product and care recommendations, and should have a portfolio (or an Instagram page) loaded with red hair clients.

FAQs: The Quick Answers to Your Red Hair Questions

How do you maintain dyed red hair?

Here’re my quick 7 tips to maintain your dyed red hair:

  1. Always work with a hair color specialist, and don’t miss touch-up appointments.
  2. Avoid excessive heat styling
  3. Avoid long UV exposure. Take breaks when you’re in the sun!
  4. Take care of your diet and nutrition
  5. Treat your scalp with Divi Scalp Serum
  6. Only use sulfate-free shampoos made for colored hair
  7. In the summer, avoid excessive exposure to chlorine and salt water

Is it hard to maintain dyed red hair?

Red hair is the hardest hair color to maintain. Maintaining a flawless shade of red requires extra attention to at-home hair care and extra follow-up appointments with a color specialist. This high-maintenance color is worth the extra cost and time, however, because it’s so vibrant and has so many unique shades to complement your style and personality.

How can I keep my red hair color from fading?

You can prevent red hair from fading by following these 10 tips…

  1. Wait three or four days after coloring to wash your hair.
  2. Wash your hair with cold water.
  3. Shampoo less frequently than you usually do.
  4. Only use shampoos meant for dyed hair.
  5. Condition after every wash
  6. Avoid prolonged sun exposure
  7. Don’t swim in chlorinated pools
  8. Don’t use heat-styling.
  9. Where protective hairstyles like braids.
  10. Visit your color specialist for touch-ups!

Can red hair be low maintenance?

Red hair can absolutely be low maintenance. Talk to your color specialist about using your natural undertones and not straying too far from your birth color. There’s a shade of red for everyone, including you.

How often should you refresh red hair

I ask my clients to come back and refresh their red hair every four to six weeks, depending on the shades and tones of their color, and their natural hair color.