I love red hair. I’ve dyed my hair numerous colors, sometimes mourned for my brunette, but I’ve always gone back to red. But one thing’s for sure, it’s a pain in the behind to keep it vivid! So here is a list of tricks and things I do to help maintain luscious red locks.
PS, I am by no means a hair stylist so any or all of this information could be tales of falsehood. Feel free to correct me on any of it. This is just what I’ve gathered from personal experience/research.
Picking Out Shades
It starts with picking out your shade. There are a couple different kinds of red. You have your blood reds, your brown-reds, your straight up pumpkin reds, and your natural ginger reds. A good rule to follow if you want to get real persnickety about it is to get a shade that matches your skin tone, just like you would do with red lipstick.
If your skin tends to be pinker, or less “golden” and you have cool undertones, try a more true or blue-based red shade, like Revlon Colorsilk Luminsta in Red (my current shade and the last box in the photo.) If your skin looks more golden/sunkissed and you have warm undertones, try some crazy orange shades like the first two boxes (L’oreal Feria Copper Shimmer and Revlon Colorsilk, some auburn shade, the box is legit but I forget the name lol.) Or, if you’re neutral-toned like me, you can use any shade you want, or a more neutral red like L’oreal Feria Ruby Fusion (#4.) And if you just want a natural-looking ginger color, go for something that claims to be just that, like Nice ‘N Easy Natural Light Auburn. These are all shades I have used.
To further explain this, I have some visuals for you. The “neutral” model is a leaning on the cool-side, but it’ll do:
Here is the 3 skin types with their corresponding hair color. You’ll notice that each color compliments the model’s skin quite well. (PS, the first model looks like she’s pretty much dyed her hair purple. You don’t need to go so drastically blue-red haha, but just look for something with purple-y undertones, or just plain red.)
Now here I’ve replaced all the hair colors with warm shades. See how the cool toned skin sticks out? Also notice how the neutral skin isn’t as affected. Neutral toned skin can use any shade or just use neutral shades.
And here I’ve replaced them all with cool hair colors. It clashes against the warm-toned skin, and again then neutral skin stays pretty good looking.
Here all of them are wearing neutral shades. Less drastic clashing can be seen.
During and After Coloring
Although the instructions in hair dye boxes usually say to rinse until the water runs clear, avoid doing this. Try to keep some of the dye in your hair. And no, I don’t mean to keep so much that you can feel it, but just rinse till the water is a little cloudy and then stop.
Aside from rinsing the dye, let no water touch your hair for 3 days. Use a hair cap to take showers. During this time your hair is still very porous from having hair dye shoved into it, so you want to give it time to soak in the color and “close the pores.”
Ditch the Heat Tools and Volumizing Products
Heat styling tools and volumizing mousses, etc all do the same thing: make hair more porous, which for the volumizing products is to makes hair look thicker. But it also lets hair dye seep out much quicker. Set your blow-dryer on cool. As for volumizing shampoos, well they usually contain sulfates to really wash the hair and make it less weighed-down so as to volumize, but sulfates and the like can suck out color.
Before You Wash That Hair…
Try dry shampoo!
Dry shampoo is a life-saver. It makes your hair look as though it had been washed even when it hasn’t. It spritzes out as a dry mist (oxymoron?) and absorbs oil. The bottle pictured above, Suave Dry Shampoo, is amazing (and cheap at $2.99) except for one little thing: the packaging (of some or more of the bottles sold) is very defective. The stuff leaks right out of the bottle, and after 2-3 uses it’s all gone. this has happened with the 2 bottles I bought and all the bottles any of my friends have ever owned. And I’m not the only one. Sucks too, because it’s really awesome.
I tried to take it back, but you can imagine the response to “I swear it disappeared from the tube.”
Instead try Clairol Pssssst. Not as effective, and more expensive, but still works good.
When Washing is a Must
Choose the Right Shampoo and Conditioner
Most “color-safe” shampoos contain LESS sulfates and the like, and while this is fine, if you REALLY care about color longevity, shoot for something sulfate-free like L’Oreal EverPure. Don’t expect it to lather, though.
Curiously, EvePure does lather nicely for some reason, despite being sulfate-free…makes me suspicious.
(John Frieda Radiant Red Color Magnifying Daily Conditioner)
I’ll admit I’m not really an expert on color-safe conditoners…I used to always use moisturizing ones. But today I got some for red hair just because I had never tried so-called color-safe conditioners. Due to the red color I thought it was a color-depositing conditioner (a conditioner that supposedly adds red color to the hair, also available in shampoo form), but it states on the back that it isn’t. Which gets me thinking, what does it do? o.O The packaging claims “Light has the power to maximize the unique qualities of every hair shade. Red hair is vibrant in color, and needs light to magnify and intensify the distinct tones that make it so unique.” (WTF)
I sort of get what it’s saying; literal light, like in flash photography, does make red hair look nice. But how do you put light in a bottle??
I really don’t know, lol. But despite the gimmickyness it is a nice conditioner that left my hair feeling nice and soft.
Ice Cold Shower
Let’s go back to the pores anology. Just like when you get hot, you sweat, when your hair is drenched in scolding hot water, it becomes more porous and more color seeps out. So take a shower as cold as you can stand it. I personally find it impossible to take an ICE cold shower, so what I do is turn it on completely cold, take it like a man and jump directly into it, then warm up the water slightly. Having just been subjected to such harsh water temperatures the slightly warmer (but still very cold) water actually feels doable.
Closeup on the water drips, because they look so frickin awesome.
Don’t forget your hair cap! Wear this whenever you are taking a shower but your hair doesn’t need to be washed, as well as while you’re washing your body etc to avoid unwanted exposure to the hair from the water. Do everything that needs to be done before you shampoo and condition (leave something for while you wait for the conditioner to soak in, if you’d like) then take off the shower cap and work quickly in dousing the hair and shampooing, because every second under that water is draining more and more red (not to scare you or anything.)
This is more unnecessary, but when you feel like your hair needs a pick-me-up, try wearing a something green. Green really makes red pop (although this photo is very bad and doesn’t show what I’m talking about. Just trust me on this one XD)
Avoid wearing bright red
Depending on your hair red can compliment it, but generally it just makes your color look muddier in comparison. This photo looks pretty good, though…haha, my photos are contradicting what I’m telling you :P
So have fun with your (still) vibrant red hair! (And maybe red eyebrows isn’t a good idea.)