• Top 10 Best Red Hair Dyes in 2021 (Licensed Cosmetologist-Reviewed) 1
  • Top 10 Best Red Hair Dyes in 2021 (Licensed Cosmetologist-Reviewed) 2
  • Top 10 Best Red Hair Dyes in 2021 (Licensed Cosmetologist-Reviewed) 3
  • Top 10 Best Red Hair Dyes in 2021 (Licensed Cosmetologist-Reviewed) 4
  • Top 10 Best Red Hair Dyes in 2021 (Licensed Cosmetologist-Reviewed) 5

Top 10 Best Red Hair Dyes in 2021 (Licensed Cosmetologist-Reviewed)

Red hair is always trendy. There are vibrant colors such as ruby red, ginger, and copper red, and there are deeper hues like red velvet, dark auburn, or burgundy. Choosing which shade to go for is totally up to you, but you should also take into consideration your skin tone in order to find a shade that truly matches you. Need help with that? Scroll down to our buying guide for more information! 


And if you're feeling lost among the plethora of choices available online, we've got some products for you to check out! Our top pick is Arctic Fox's Semi-Permanent Hair Color. It's vegan, free from harsh chemicals that might dry out your hair, and features an attractive orange-red color that can help you become the center of attention. Curious about other products on our list? Keep reading! 

Experts featured in this article

Courtney Mack
  • Last updated: 09-09-2021
  • 387 views
Table of Contents

In Collaboration With Licensed Cosmetologist Courtney Mack

In Collaboration With Licensed Cosmetologist Courtney Mack

Courtney Mack is hairstylist who works with all types of hair daily. A large part of her job is repairing hair and helping clients restore their hair to a healthy and beautiful place. She's also an expert on which products and techniques will be best for each person depending on what condition their hair is currently in.


We knew Courtney would be the right person to ask for advice on choosing the best red hair dyes. See her advice in the buying guide below, as well as some tips on how to maintain your red color!

Top 10 Best Red Hair Dyes

If you find it tough to pick out the right red hair dye, don't worry! We've narrowed it down to 10 products that are well-loved by reviewers and have unique characteristics that we think make them great choices. 


*Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not necessarily affiliated with or recommended by Courtney Mack.

1

Arctic FoxSemi-Permanent Hair Color

Poison

$18.99

TypeSemi-permanent
Amount8 oz.
ExtrasNone
2

Manic PanicSemi-Permanent Hair Color Cream

Vampire Red

$13.99

TypeSemi-permanent
Amount4 oz.
ExtrasNone
3

L'Oreal Paris Excellence HiColor HiLights

Red Highlights, 2 pack

$11.43

TypePermanent
Amount1.2 oz.
ExtrasNone
4

Schwarzkopf Color Ultime

Ruby Red

$7.20

TypePermanent
Amount4 oz.
ExtrasApplicator bottle with developer, conditioner, pair of gloves
5

L'Oreal ParisSuperior Preference

Intense Red Copper

$8.97

TypePermanent
Amount5.6 oz.
ExtrasConditioner, pair of gloves, color optimizing cream
6

Clairol Nice'n Easy Perfect 10

Light Auburn

$13.49

TypePermanent
Amount4.69 oz.
ExtrasApplicator bottle, applicator tip for roots, conditioner
7

AdoreSemi-Permanent Hair Color

Ruby Red

$6.18

TypeSemi-permanent
Amount4 oz.
ExtrasNone
8
TypePermanent
Amount3.5 oz.
ExtrasConditioner, pair of gloves
9

GarnierNutrisse Ultra Color

Light Intense Auburn

$6.97

TypePermanent
Amount3.88 oz.
ExtrasDeveloper, fruit oil ampoule, conditioner, pair of gloves
10

SoftSheen-CarsonDark and Lovely Go Intense

Spicy Red

$6.99

TypePermanent
AmountNot specified
ExtrasApplicator bottle with developer, conditioner, gloves

Compare the Best Red Hair Dyes

Image
1
Arctic Fox Semi-Permanent Hair Color 1

Arctic Fox

2
Manic Panic Semi-Permanent Hair Color Cream 1

Manic Panic

3
L'Oreal Paris  Excellence HiColor HiLights  1

L'Oreal Paris

4
Schwarzkopf  Color Ultime  1

Schwarzkopf

5
L'Oreal Paris Superior Preference 1

L'Oreal Paris

6
Clairol  Nice'n Easy Perfect 10 1

Clairol

7
Adore Semi-Permanent Hair Color 1

Adore

8
Revlon  Total Color 1

Revlon

9
Garnier Nutrisse Ultra Color  1

Garnier

10
SoftSheen-Carson Dark and Lovely Go Intense 1

SoftSheen-Carson

Name

Semi-Permanent Hair Color

Semi-Permanent Hair Color Cream

Excellence HiColor HiLights

Color Ultime

Superior Preference

Nice'n Easy Perfect 10

Semi-Permanent Hair Color

Total Color

Nutrisse Ultra Color

Dark and Lovely Go Intense

Features

Vegan Hair Dye With a Fiery Red Shade

A Rich Red Hue With a Pink Undertone

Red Dye Formulated Uniquely for Dark Hair

Conditioning Serum With Hydrolyzed Pearl for Radiant Hair Color

Long-Lasting Hair Dye With a Color Booster

Super Fast Results for Busy People

Semi-Permanent Dye With a Bright Red Color

Vegan, Dermatologist-Tested Formula Without Harsh Chemicals

Triple Oils to Moisturize and Add Shine to Your Hair

Red Color Formulated for Darker Hair

Price$18.99$13.99$11.43$7.20$8.97$13.49$6.18$7.99$6.97$6.99
TypeSemi-permanentSemi-permanentPermanentPermanentPermanentPermanentSemi-permanentPermanent Permanent Permanent
Amount8 oz. 4 oz. 1.2 oz. 4 oz. 5.6 oz. 4.69 oz.4 oz. 3.5 oz. 3.88 oz.Not specified
ExtrasNoneNone None Applicator bottle with developer, conditioner, pair of glovesConditioner, pair of gloves, color optimizing cream Applicator bottle, applicator tip for roots, conditionerNone Conditioner, pair of glovesDeveloper, fruit oil ampoule, conditioner, pair of glovesApplicator bottle with developer, conditioner, gloves
Link

How to Choose a Red Hair Dye - Buying Guide

While choosing a red hair dye, keep in mind the shade, the formula, and also the lasting power of the dye. In this buying guide, we'll walk you through each factor so that you can make the best decision! 

Permanent or Semi-Permanent Dyes? Your Call!

Red hair dyes can be split into three kinds - permanent, semi-permanent, and temporary. Each type has a different formula and lasting power. But still, how long each type will last depends largely on your hair's structure and how often you wash it. 

Permanent Dyes Provide Full Coverage

Permanent Dyes Provide Full Coverage

Whether you want to cover up grays, lighten your hair, or change its color, permanent dyes are your best bet. They work by opening your hair cuticles to let the dye in and completely change the color and structure of your hair strands. Therefore, permanent dyes eliminate gray strands completely by changing them to a different color. 


Moreover, this type of dye is usually formulated with lightening agents such as ammonia and hydrogen peroxide to help strip dark pigments from your hair and make the color true. So if you have darker hair, permanent dyes are the best option to help you achieve a strikingly red look! 


Permanent dyes should last until your roots start to grow out, or about four to six weeks. So if you're aiming for an all-over look, be sure to touch the roots up. And although permanent dyes can last for a while, the color will still fade into a lighter one.

Permanent Dyes Provide Full Coverage

One thing to keep in mind is that permanent dyes might dry out your hair. Since the formula often contains various chemicals in order to deliver a bold, highly-pigmented color, it can be quite harsh on your hair and even make it prone to breakage. 


So follow up with some hair treatment after dyeing. Or, if you have thin, weak hair, we suggest going for a natural formula. Nonetheless, permanent dyes provide full coverage for your hair and a beautiful, long-lasting color. They are definitely the best choice if you're ready to commit! 

Courtney Mack
Licensed Cosmetologist/Healthy Hair Specialist
Courtney Mack

When it comes to red, permanent dyes are really only necessary if you have naturally dark hair and you're trying to avoid using bleach. Or if you need gray coverage, then permanent color is the best option for you.


Contrary to popular belief, permanent color doesn't necessarily mean the color you choose stays permanently. It just means the lift you achieve during the process is permanent. Red is one of those colors that will fade with each wash and use of heat.

Semi-Permanent Dyes are a Quick Way to Experiment With a Shade

Semi-Permanent Dyes are a Quick Way to Experiment With a Shade

If you just want to test a shade out or tend to change your hair color often, semi-permanent dyes are the way to go. 


Unlike permanent dyes, semi-permanent dyes are not formulated with strong chemicals like ammonia or p-phenylenediamine which might change the structure of your hair strands. Instead, they only color the outer portion of your hair and often fade after six to 12 washes


Semi-permanent dyes are also less damaging to your hair. If you have weak, thin, or dry hair, then choosing this kind of dye can help you try out the redhead look while preventing hair breakage. 

Courtney Mack
Licensed Cosmetologist/Healthy Hair Specialist
Courtney Mack

For funs colors like red, nine out of ten times I'm going to recommend a semi-permanent dye! If you want to maintain that beautiful red, then you're going to need to reapply to color from time to time. Doing this process with permanent color will ruin your hair over time. 


If your hair is already lifted to the right level for the shade of red you're trying to achieve, semi-permanent color is all you need! Semi-permanent color can also help your hair look and feel healthier as well. It will give the hair more structure or have a similar effect as a moisturizing or reparative treatment. 

Choose a Red Shade That Goes With Your Complexion and Eye Color

Skin tone, undertone, and eye color are key factors to consider while picking out a red shade that matches you. In this section, we'll go through a few common red shades that match certain skin complexions and eye colors. 

Take into Consideration Your Skin Undertone

Take into Consideration Your Skin Undertone

Understanding your skin's undertone will help you pick out the right red shade. First, let's determine what your undertone is. Simply look at the veins on your wrist! If they are purple or blue, then you have cool undertones. On the other hand, if your veins are green, you have warm undertones.


As a rule of thumb, similar colors compliment each other. So for those with a warm undertone, warm colors such as strawberry blonde, copper, auburn, or dusty red will surely look good on you.


Meanwhile, if you have a cool undertone, go for a red shade with a pinkish or blueish tint such as berry brunette or cherry. Deeper shades like auburn or cinnamon also work wonderfully. 

Courtney Mack
Licensed Cosmetologist/Healthy Hair Specialist
Courtney Mack

For fair or lighter skin, you don't want a red that's going to wash you out. Strawberry blondes and light coppers are best suited for this skin tone! For medium skin tones, warm reds and bright reds are going to make you look glowy and healthy. 


If you have olive skin, coppers and deep reds such as burgundy are going to be a great look for you. Deeper skin tones have a bit more options! Bright reds, deep reds, and dark copper colors are going to make your skin pop.

Pick a Shade That Complements Your Eye Color

Pick a Shade That Complements Your Eye Color

Your eye color is another factor when choosing a shade of red. For warm-toned eyes like hazel or brown, deep colors such as auburn, burgundy, or merlot work like a charm in accentuating your eye color. For cool-toned eyes such as blue or green, vibrant shades like paprika, ginger, or fiery red look absolutely fabulous. 


However, for those with mixed features (warm undertone yet cool-toned eyes and vice versa), choosing a red shade might be quite confusing. In this case, you should base your decision on your skin complexion as that is more noticeable than your eyes. 

Courtney Mack
Licensed Cosmetologist/Healthy Hair Specialist
Courtney Mack

With brown eyes being the most common eye color, naturally, the shades of red to choose from would be endless. If you go with a cooler red, it will suit your eyes nicely, but you can also spice it up with a warm red to give your eyes even more pop.

For those with blue, green, or hazel eyes, warm reds are going to really do your eyes justice. Whether it's a copper with blonde highlights or an auburn, the warmth of the color is going to make your eyes stand out even more. 

Had Damaged Hair? Avoid Ammonia and Peroxide!

Had Damaged Hair? Avoid Ammonia and Peroxide!

Permanent hair dyes are often formulated with ammonia to help the color stick around for a longer time period. However, this chemical gives off a strong smell and is pretty harsh on your hair. Indeed, it can make your hair brittle over time and lead to split ends. 


Peroxide is another chemical used in both permanent and semi-permanent dyes, and acts to lighten the hair. But it can be pretty irritating to those with a sensitive scalp


So if you have dry, weak, or damaged hair, try to go for an ammonia-free and peroxide-free product. Many products nowadays are using more natural ingredients such as flower oils instead of harsh chemicals and can be a great option for those who want to eschew chemicals for health reasons. 

Courtney Mack
Licensed Cosmetologist/Healthy Hair Specialist
Courtney Mack

If you're recovering from damaged hair, I absolutely do not recommend using any harsh or serious chemicals on your hair at the moment. This doesn't mean that you can't still play around with reds. You're going to want to use something that is conditioning and only deposits color


For example, a semi-permanent color or a tinted conditioner is going to be most useful to you. If your hair is naturally dark, avoid lightening your hair until it's back to its completely healthy state. You can use a burgundy rinse to give your hair a glimmer of color. 

Look for Conditioning Ingredients to Minimize Damage

Look for Conditioning Ingredients to Minimize Damage

Undeniably, hair dyes can inflict damage on your hair and cause brittleness, breakage, and split ends. But you can try to keep the damage to a minimum by choosing a dye formulated with nourishing ingredients. 


Many products actually contain oil- or butter-based ingredients such as avocado oil, shea butter, and olive oil to supply important fatty acids and protein to your hair that strengthen and moisturize. Those ingredients can also encourage cell regeneration to help your hair grow. 


Keratin is another wonderful ingredient as it fortifies your hair strands. It also helps your hair look smooth, frizz-free, and shiny

Look for Conditioning Ingredients to Minimize Damage

Generally, the nourishing ingredients are added directly into the coloring cream to neutralize the drying effect of the lightening agents. 


However, we suggest purchasing products that come with an after-treatment conditioner, too, since that's formulated to be especially rich to help your hair shafts recover after the application. Some packages even include pre-coloring serum to prepare it for the dyeing process. 

Courtney Mack
Licensed Cosmetologist/Healthy Hair Specialist
Courtney Mack

Look for ingredients such as oils, keratin, and collagen if you're looking to minimize damage. These ingredients are known to condition and repair your hair bonds, which is what you need when going through such a serious process as coloring your hair. 


It is ill-advised to add any extra oils to your hair color unless specifically recommended by your hairstylist. Also, you don't want your hair to be too heavy with extra oils and products either before applying color to your hair. That might make it harder for the color to do its job.

Consider Some Useful Accessories

Consider Some Useful Accessories

Dyeing can be pretty messy and might require you to prepare some extra items such as gloves, a brush, or a mixing bowl. If you don't want to source them yourself, look for a kit that includes all the necessary items


Most of the time, a kit will come with an applicator bottle to make your experience as mess-free as possible. There should also be an applicator brush to help you spread the cream evenly and gloves to protect your hands from the dye. 

Courtney Mack
Licensed Cosmetologist/Healthy Hair Specialist
Courtney Mack

I recommend dark towels for those with red hair dye as well. It's common for these types of colors to run a bit when they are wet. You certainly don't want to ruin your white towels and linens with red stains. Black and navy towels are most commonly used in salons for this exact reason!

How to Maintain Your Red Hair Color

How to Maintain Your Red Hair Color

Compared to other hair colors, red shades tend to fade much faster. The reason is pretty simple: the red color molecule is bigger than other color molecules and can't penetrate the cortex of your hair deeply. Therefore, it can be easily washed away after each wash. 


However, there are plenty of tricks to help you maintain your redhead look! The first tip is actually a classic: wash your hair less often. And when you wash your hair, try to use cold water. Hot water can open the hair cuticle, allowing the shampoo to get into the hair strands and wash out your gorgeous red color. 

How to Maintain Your Red Hair Color

You should also use a shampoo and conditioner that are formulated to protect the color of your hair. Regular shampoos and conditioners often contain alcohol and sulfates, which are very effective in rinsing out dirt and grime but might make your hair color fade more quickly.


Another trick is to apply sun protection to your hair since UV rays can make the color look dull. Heat styling has the same effect, so keep that to a minimum as well! If you still prefer to use heat tools, you should apply a thermal protectant beforehand to minimize the damages. 

Courtney Mack
Licensed Cosmetologist/Healthy Hair Specialist
Courtney Mack

Anyone who has ever had red hair can tell you it's a lot of work! To keep your red fresh and vibrant, there are a few things you're going to want to incorporate into your routine. Firstly, invest in a colored conditioner! Add your favorite semi-permanent red to a white conditioner. You can use this and let it sit for about 15 minutes when you notice your color is starting to get a little dull. 


Also, never use hot water on your hair! Hot water causes your color to fade extremely fast. Avoid ingredients like rosemary and eucalyptus, too, as they can make your color fade faster as well.

Take Care of Your Hair With These Products

Take Care of Your Hair With These Products

Even hair dyes that are infused with nourishing ingredients still damage your hair. So, it's important to take care of your colored hair and supply it with needed nutrients. If you don't know which products can nurse your hair back to health, check out our articles for some suggestions! 

Summary

Picking out the right red hair dye can be quite challenging, especially since there are so many options available online. Hopefully, our buying guide has provided you with various tips that can make your selection process a bit easier. 


Just keep in mind the pros and cons of permanent and semi-permanent hair dyes in order to choose one that can meet your needs. And don't forget to take into consideration your eye color and complexion in order to choose a shade that can make you shine!  


Author: Thuy Nguyen


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    Slathering moisturizer onto oily skin doesn't seem like a smart idea. But to stay healthy and, though it might seem counterintuitive, to help manage oily skin, your skin does need some hydration. So if you're looking for products that can keep your skin hydrated while balancing the oil level of your skin, try Korean moisturizers! K-beauty has taken the world by storm, and their moisturizers are well-loved for the lightweight formula that will drench your skin in moisture without any of the greasiness.But choosing the appropriate moisturizer for your skin will take a lot of time, so we've done the work for you! Among all the Korean moisturizers available online, BELIF's The True Cream Aqua Bomb seems to steal people's hearts with its ultra-hydrating ingredients like ceramide and glycerin. If you want to find out what other products can help with your oily skin, keep scrolling down! 
    Cosmetics and skincare
    3,707 views
  • 8 Best Japanese Hair Dyes in 2021 - Tried and True! (Kao Liese, Palty, and More)
    8 Best Japanese Hair Dyes in 2021 - Tried and True! (Kao Liese, Palty, and More)
    Dyeing hair has been on-trend recently, but it can be expensive to do. Why not try an at-home kit instead of heading out to the salon? They're perfect for trying out different colors and getting a feel for dyeing hair in general. Japanese hair dyes, though formulated with dark, black Asian hair in mind, can also work great for other types of hair, but always make sure to conduct a patch test in case!To figure out what's best to use, we evaluated and tested eight of the most popular hair dyes found in drugstores in Japan and e-commerce sites. We tested them based on: three criteria: how vivid the color washow gentle the dye was on hairhow long the color lastedOur favorite was Liese Prettia Bubble Hair Color; check out why below!
    Cosmetics and skincare
    58,962 views
  • Top 10 Best Deodorants for Sensitive Armpits in 2021 (Native, Almay, and More)
    Top 10 Best Deodorants for Sensitive Armpits in 2021 (Native, Almay, and More)
    Deodorants are a great way to eliminate body odor and keep your underarms fresh throughout the day. However, some products might contain potential irritants like fragrance and baking soda and are not suitable for those with sensitive underarm skin. To prevent irritation, it's important to look for a formula that's free from potential irritants and contains moisturizers to nourish your delicate skin. If you don't know which products are safe for your sensitive skin, take a look at our list of favorites! Vanicream's Clinical Strength Deodorant was our top pick due to its non-irritating and moisturizing formula. There are nine other great options on our list, so keep reading to learn more. We also created a buying guide with many tips to help you with your decision. 
    Cosmetics and skincare
    164 views
  • Top 10 Best Lip Balms in 2021 (Burt's Bees, DHC, and More)
    Top 10 Best Lip Balms in 2021 (Burt's Bees, DHC, and More)
    If you’re constantly ripping little shreds of skin from your lips, you know you need lip balm. But every lip balm has its own features and benefits: it can be medicated, tinted, scented, or flavored; it can provide UV protection; it can be made up of anything from natural beeswax to petroleum and mineral oils.Choosing the right lip balm can be an overwhelming task. That’s why we’ve done it for you. We have compiled a list of 10 popular lip balms that are truly effective, so you can finally say goodbye to dry, chapped, and sore lips.
    Cosmetics and skincare
    1,057 views
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