How To Dye Hair Red
How to dye hair red
With only two percent of our sisters naturally rocking this shade, it’s safe to say that red hair never used to be mainstream. However, thanks to years of honing our expertise in hair colour, vibrant, fiery hues are now easier to achieve than ever.
Whether you’re a brunette wanting to try an autumnal auburn, or a blonde who wants to warm up their natural shade with some strawberry hues, there’s a red hair dye that’s right for you.
Here’s our guide to how to dye hair red at home, from choosing the best shade of red to rock to the actual process of dyeing your hair.
Which shade of red is right for me?
Red hair is far from basic and consists of a multitude of vibrant shades, but if we were to break it down, it would consist of three essential palettes: red-red, orange-red, and red-violet.
Like most great pairings, your choice of colour needs to be in harmony with your skin tone and highlight your best features. Finding the right shade of red will not only turn heads, but will also make your complexion glow and your eye colour pop.
As a general rule, those with fair to pink skin tones should stick with red-red or red-orange hues, whereas ladies with olive and darker skin will look ravishing with red-red or red-violet hair colour.
Our years of experience in developing red hair dye have taught us that it’s best to stick to either two shades lighter or darker than your natural hair colour. This is more likely to give you a great colour match with both your brows and skin tone.
If you don’t want to commit to a full head of colour, then dip-dyeing, ombre and semi-permanent colours are a great way to inject some subtle crimson tones into your hair.
Maintaining dyed red hair
Red hair dye does have a bit of a reputation as a colour that doesn’t stick around, which can be explained with some simple science: red molecules are slightly larger than those found in other hair dyes, which means the larger surface area stands less chance of clinging to your hair, meaning it fades more easily. However, following a colour maintenance haircare routine and investing in a good quality home dye kit are essential for maintaining red locks.
We recommend buying a colour-protecting shampoo such as our L’Oreal Elvive Colour Protect Shampoo, which works to maintain red hair on two levels: nourishing the strands and accentuating colour radiance.
As anyone who has dyed their hair red will tell you, washing your hair for the first few times after colouring can turn the running water an alarming red, closely resembling a scene from a horror movie…Even if you are using a colour protecting shampoo, washing your hair will still cause the intensity of your colour to dial down slightly. Try our L’Oreal Elvive Colour Protect Low Shampoo which cleanses and conditions in just one step.
The process of dyeing hair red
Creativity is key to experimenting with red hair colour. If you’re not ready to take the plunge into being a fully-fledged redhead, try out a balayage or ombre technique to inject some fiery flashes into your hair.
Dyeing brown hair red
Brunette is an easy shade to transition from, providing the red dye you choose is darker than your current colour. The colour extender included in every box of our Préférence Infinia permanent hair dyes helps keep hair vibrant for up to two weeks. If you don’t want to go for a permanent shade, you can always try our Colorista Washout in Red.
Dyeing blonde hair red
For the blonde bombshells here, it’s worth noting that richer, merlot shades of red might be slightly out of reach and may end up pink – not quite the look you were going for.
A gorgeous, fade-defying colour option comes in the form of our Préférence Infinia Dark Red Hair Dye. This shade works beautifully on blonde hair and guarantees vibrancy for up to eight weeks.
If you’re not a natural blonde and have bleached your hair, we have good news. Bleached hair becomes more porous which means red hair dye is likely to stick around for longer. You could even experiment with a lighter peach colour from our Colorista range to see whether your skin tone suits a warmer shade.
A step-by-step guide to dyeing your hair red
Red hair dyes naturally love hair that’s not freshly washed, so keep your locks clear from shampoo for at least a day. Begin by brushing out any snags and clip your hair up into sections, leaving the bottom layer loose.
Pull on an old t-shirt to protect your clothing and skin, and then rub a thin layer of petroleum jelly around your hairline to reduce the risk of staining. Who wants pink blotches on their forehead? Not us!
Pull on the plastic gloves included in your hair dye kit, and begin painting the mixture onto the bottom section of your hair, from the tips upwards. For even, all-over colour, we’d advise enlisting a friend to help you out. Repeat layer-by-layer, un-clipping hair as you go, ensuring that you’re fully coating every hair strand. The process of applying the dye can take between 10 and 20 minutes, depending on your speed and the thickness of your hair.
Once you’ve applied the red hair dye to your whole head, make sure your roots are taken care of and that your hairline is covered (that petroleum jelly tip came in handy, right?). Then, secure your hair so it’s out of the way while it develops – a good tip is to cover your head with a plastic bag to prevent drips. Remove any excess dye from the skin surrounding your hairline.
Set a timer for the colour development time indicated on the box, checking in on your colour at regular intervals to see how the dye is progressing. We recommend waiting the full development time for the most vibrant, lasting colour. Good things come to those who wait, after all.
Time’s up! To see the finished result, wash your hair until the water runs clear and apply the deep conditioner included in the box. Leave the conditioner in for a while longer than usual, to really lock that moisture into your hair. We’d recommend using our L’Oreal Elvive Colour Protect Low Shampoo which helps protect coloured hair and keep it looking vibrant.