I have a confession. I’m not a natural redhead. You can see in my team headshot I sport a very strong shade of red. I’m a natural blonde, but I’m just drawn to the beauty and shades of red that can be incorporated in hair color.
While summer may be the time to go blonde, I’m yearning for the cool crisp breeze of fall so I can bring my shade back to a fiery red. Another fun part about incorporating red into your hair color is that there are varying levels of commitment you can choose to make. We want to give you a guide to going red – whether you’re looking to make the big jump like I did, or if you’re looking to bring in some subtle highlights, we’ve got the guide to picking the right red for you!
Blonde Hair with Medium to Fair Skin
A strawberry or copper tone will suit your natural colors best. Be careful not to get too much orange in there, or you’ll end up looking like a carrot.
Dark Blonde or Light Brown Hair with Medium to Fair Skin
Lucky you! Most shades of red will look good on you. To choose the right shade for you, take a look at whether your skin tones are cool or warm. If you’re cool, a cherry, burgundy, intense red or even aubergine will look great. If you’re warm, choose warmer reds such as auburn, russet and copper.
Confused about cool or warm tones? Check out your closet. If you tend to look best in grey, blues, and jewel tones, you’re a cool tone. Golds, beige, olive, and dark reds? You’re a warm tone.
Black Hair and/or Dark Skin
This is a tough one. We highly recommend that you look into professionally lightening your hair first so that it is receptive to the red color. Do note that bleaching hair before red, if not done carefully and by a professional, can really damage your hair. An alternative would be to highlight with reds rather than going for the full effect. If you do choose to incorporate red, pick a dark cherry or red wine color.
Brunette to Dark Brown Hair and Olive Skin
You get to pick from some intense reds! We’re talking the fire engine red tones or even the plum reds. Dark cherry red is another great choice. Have fun with red if you fit in this category. Mahogany browns with strong red highlights are even a great way to stand out.
Maintaining your Red Color
Warning! Red is one of the hardest colors to reach, and it fades easily. Take care to follow these instructions to keep your vibrant reds.
- Wait to Wash – After the initial color, wait as long as possible to wash your hair. Ideally, we’re talking at least 48 hours. This will allow the red color to set and allow your hair to accept the color.
- Get the right Shampoo and Conditioner – Use a color-enhancing products or products made specifically for color treated hair. We recommend Bumble and Bumble Color Support Shampoo and Conditioner for True Reds.
- Avoid the Sun and Pool – Why am I waiting until fall to go back to my fiery red you ask? Because sun exposure and chlorine speed up fading fast. Another suggestion if you can’t avoid the sun is to make sure to use sun-protective products (like Sebastian Halo Mist) when your hair is exposed. Or, simply try a hat!
- Extend Time Between Washes – As we noted in the first tip, washing hair can fade reds fast. The detergents in shampoo strip out color, and red is the largest hair-color molecule, so it slips out the fastest. (as suggested by Marie Claire)
Its been a fun journey for me from Blonde to Red, but I’ve noticed as summer has been in full swing, my red is hard to maintain. I’ve opted to go to a neutral auburn with red highlights for the summer until the fall, when I’ll go back to my fiery copper/strawberry red hair.