If you’re bored of your natural hair color and fancy something a bit more daring, why not go red? It’s the hot color of the moment and, with so many different shades of red hair dye available, you’re bound to find one you love – whether you want a subtle change or something that screams “look at me”!
How do I choose the right shade of red hair dye?
When you’re looking to buy your dye, you’ll want to make sure you pick that perfect shade that makes your complexion sing and you feel a million dollars. From strawberry blonde to maroon, there’s a shade of red hair dye out there for everyone.
Your skin tone
Whether you want subtle or dramatic results, paying attention to your skin tone is key in helping you pick a red shade that will suit you down to the ground. You firstly need to decide whether your have a cool or warm complexion and one of the easiest ways to figure this out is to gather up an item of silver and gold jewelery and hold both up next to your skin.
If it’s the silver that really sings, then you have a cool skin tone so will want to match that with cooler, blue-based reds for your hair. It’s best to stay away from copper and yellow-based reds but could really pull off some intense shades if you’re feeling brave. Cherry reds, burgundy and plum shades should all look fantastic.
If it’s gold that looks fabulous against your skin, then you know that you’re warm-toned and can hunt out the best red hair dye to complement your coloring. Stick to rich, yellow-based red shades like auburns, tomato or fire engine reds. Henna is also a fantastic and completely
How dark or light to go?
The standard advice if you want a natural look is to avoid going more than two shades darker or lighter than your natural hair colour. It’s a good rule of thumb to follow, though of course we don’t all necessarily want a natural look!
If you’ve got blonde or light, mousy brown hair and just want to try a subtle change, you could choose a light red hair dye like a pale, strawberry blonde.
If you’ve got black or brunette locks, it can be tough to get a vivid red to show up. So what’s the best red hair dye for dark hair? Deep red dyes can leave your hair with a wonderful wash of colour that sparkles and comes to life when the light hits it. Adding some rich coppery, auburn or plum tones can add depth and texture to dark hair.
Bright red hair dye – the importance of the right base color
With any hair dye, you’ve got to remember that the end result is dependent on your base hair color – don’t assume that the you’ll always end up with that amazing shade modeled on the box. It’s all very well smothering your hair in fantastically bright red hair dye, but if it’s applied on top of your very dark hair, the results won’t be anywhere near as striking as you might hope. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to choose a vibrant, bright red shade but have brunette hair, you will need to lighten your hair first.
Bear in mind that lightening hair will always create some damage by the very nature of the process, so be prepared to lavish your newly red locks with some good quality conditioner. If you want dramatic red results, but just haven’t got the patience for a two-step process (and who could blame you, I always found upkeep of my red hair a real pain) L’oreal sell a type of dye called Majicontrast that’s a high lift tint containing peroxide – you can use it to lighten and dye your darker hair bright red in one step, so no fussing about with bleach beforehand. There have been various positive reviews on www.hairdyeforum.com so it’s worth trying it out.
If you’re looking for a head-turning red shade, I used to love Special Effects (SFX) dye for longevity and a wide selection of vibrant reds. Manic Panic, Stargazer and Directions all produce intense, bright red semi-permanent dyes that look fantastic over bleached hair or more subtle boxed dyes to enhance the color.
Permanent vs temporary dyes
If you fancy giving a spot of home coloring a go, with so many varieties of red hair dye on the market, you’ll firstly need to think about the best type for your needs. Permanent red hair dye uses stronger chemicals to penetrate deeper into the hair shaft to deposit colour. Yes, this will give you longer lasting results, but is a lot harsher on your hair, so is best left for the professionals to apply. Remember that red hair dye is notorious for fading, so even dyes labelled as permanent may not hold that perfect just-dyed colour forever.
Semi-permanent varieties tend to be the top choice if you want DIY hair colour. Though they’re still not damage-free, they don’t penetrate so far into the hair and will leave it in better condition than permanent dye. How long will semi-permanent red hair dye linger for? It’s a bit unpredictable and depends a lot on your hair and chosen brand of dye, but the red could hang around for anything from eight to twenty washes.
If you want red hair without the commitment, temporary colours could be the perfect choice. There are plenty of wash-in wash-out shades if you just want to dip your toe into those red waters. They’ll fade pretty fast and are gentle on your hair – do bear in mind that it can be tricky to get those last traces of red out of blonde hair though, so even temporary shades may hang around longer than you expect.
Upkeep of red hair color
Another thing to consider when reaching for the bottle is that the molecules in red hair dye are particularly small, allowing them to pass in and out of the hair shaft more easily than other colors. Unfortunately this means that red dye fades frustratingly quickly, so if you want to keep your strong red color you will need frequent top-ups of dye. It’s certainly not a low-maintenance option!
At home or in the salon?
I’ve always been a fan of having a go at home, but if you’re at all nervous about home coloring, especially if you plan to go a lot darker or lighter than your base color, it may be wise to consider visiting a salon where you can consult with a professional about the best shade of red hair for you. As always, if you’re dying your hair at home, do a patch and strand test first and cover your hairline with Vaseline to avoid staining.
Red’s a fantastic, head-turning color, so hopefully these tips will help you in you hunt for the perfect red hair dye.