How to Get Bright Red Hair


     Over the last few years my hair has been red on and off again a couple of times, and guys, I really think I've gotten this down. I'm going to try and cover as much as possible, but if I leave something out or if you have more questions, you can always reach me here! Please note that I am obviously not a professional, but I have been dying my hair for a long time. As a natural brunette, this guide is best suited for people looking to dye their hair from a dark shade to bright red.

     The first step in this process is deciding whether you want to have your hair dyed professionally at a salon or at home. I always dye my hair at home. It saves money, and I have someone around who's willing to help me out when I need it. If you've never dyed your hair before, then yeah, maybe the salon is the way to go. Generally, the salon dye will probably last about two weeks longer than a typical box dye, and you can always go back and ask for them to do it again if you're truly displeased with the outcome. On the other hand, dying your hair at home isn't that difficult, and it will save you LOADS of moola. 
     Now I know you're probably thinking you'll need to bleach your hair to get a really nice red, but oh lord, please treasure your precious hair and don't do that. There are much kinder ways to go about it! The product I recommend using is Loreal's HiColor Hilights for Dark Hair. This product does contain a little bit of bleach, but it will do nowhere near the damage you'd wind up with if you bleached your hair beforehand. Plus, because the lightening and dying process is all done in one step, the overall dye job will look a lot more even! The dye is offered in 3 shades: "Red" will have orange undertones, "Magenta" has pink undertones, and "Copper" is going to give you a more natural looking red. 

     UNDERTONES: Choosing between orange and pink undertones is mostly a matter of what you think will look good with your skin. When your color starts to fade, the undertones will become more apparent in your hair. I chose "Magenta" because I knew it'd look better with the pink undertones in my skin. If you're more tan or have olive-toned skin, the "Red" shade might look better on you!

     To activate the lightening agents in the dye, you're going to need to pick up a developer too. The box should say which level of developer is recommended, but it doesn't really matter which brand or type you choose. I just picked up one that was on sale! It's also important to note that if you have a lot of hair, you're most likely going to need more than one box of this stuff. I was fine with one box, but my hair doesn't go much past my shoulders.

Other stuff you will want to pick up:

     DYING YOUR HAIR: Save yourself from some stress and have someone help you with this step- especially if you've never dyed your hair before! Touch ups are easy to do by yourself, but when switching shades, you really want to make sure you're covering every spot!
     This stuff is potent and it will stain your face if you get it everywhere. To help prevent that, I like to put a thick layer of petroleum jelly around my hairline and ears. It also helps to be wearing old clothes, and don't forget to protect your bathroom too!
     Choosing how you dye your hair is really a matter of personal preference. If it helps to section off your hair by layers, then by all means do that! I always start with my roots and where I part my hair. It helps to hit your virgin hair (hair that's never been dyed before) first because it generally takes the longest to soak up the dye. Most importantly, just follow the directions. You don't need to leave this stuff on a crazy long time to get bright results. 

     PROTEIN FILLER: If you're really serious about this red hair business, you probably are going to want to use a protein filler for your first couple rounds of dying too. All you do is mix this stuff in with the dye, and it helps to keep your hair brighter longer but also make your dye job as even as possible. If your hair already has lots of layers of dye on it, I'd definitely recommend using a filler to help avoid streaks.

      Obviously touch ups will help a lot with keeping your red hair red, but the most important step in providing longevity is in how you wash your hair. Let me just say this right away that you can't wash your hair on a daily basis and expect your hair to stay bright; you shouldn't be washing your hair on a daily basis anyway! I wash my hair every two to three days, and my hair is looking brighter than ever, (and I haven't touched up my hair in over a month)! The secret's in the shampoo. This stuff is real life magic, guys. Because I don't wash my hair everyday, I try really hard to avoid greasy hair. This includes only conditioning my hair every now and then. Every time you rinse your hair, you're losing color, so using a leave-in conditioner is a great way to help keep your color going strong. For the most part, I just leave this shampoo on my hair for the entire shower. It definitely brightens my hair with every use! 10/10 would recommend.

     Red hair is notorious for fading quickly, so if you're looking to keep your red with you, touching up your hair is inevitable. While the HiColor was great for your first dye, you shouldn't use it for touch ups; Because it has those lightening agents, it's actually going to strip your color more and more if you keep using it. It can be great if your roots are really growing out though! 
     For the most part, I use a mixture of pink and red Manic Panic dyes to touch up my hair. I've tried a bunch of other brands, but Manic Panic is my choice for both price and quality; plus they're vegan! I like to leave this stuff on for a few hours when doing touch ups. It's essentially a stain, so the longer you leave it on, the more effective the dye will be!

     In wrapping up, I really just would like to warn you that having red hair can be a lot of work. But on a positive note, if you find the right shade, red hair looks good on just about everybody! I encourage you to be you, and I wish you the best of luck!! - Elaina

Did I cover everything?? Feel free to leave any additional questions in the comments!


  1. thinking of dying my hair red so this should be a great reference in the future :)


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