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!
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!
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.
Red Highlights, 2 pack
|Extras||Applicator bottle with developer, conditioner, pair of gloves|
Intense Red Copper
|Extras||Conditioner, pair of gloves, color optimizing cream|
|Extras||Applicator bottle, applicator tip for roots, conditioner|
|Extras||Conditioner, pair of gloves|
Light Intense Auburn
|Extras||Developer, fruit oil ampoule, conditioner, pair of gloves|
|Extras||Applicator bottle with developer, conditioner, gloves|
Semi-Permanent Hair Color
Semi-Permanent Hair Color Cream
Excellence HiColor HiLights
Nice'n Easy Perfect 10
Semi-Permanent Hair Color
Nutrisse Ultra Color
Dark and Lovely Go Intense
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
|Amount||8 oz.||4 oz.||1.2 oz.||4 oz.||5.6 oz.||4.69 oz.||4 oz.||3.5 oz.||3.88 oz.||Not specified|
|Extras||None||None||None||Applicator bottle with developer, conditioner, pair of gloves||Conditioner, pair of gloves, color optimizing cream||Applicator bottle, applicator tip for roots, conditioner||None||Conditioner, pair of gloves||Developer, fruit oil ampoule, conditioner, pair of gloves||Applicator bottle with developer, conditioner, gloves|
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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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