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Lately our Instagram feeds have been full of red hair inspo and these hair looks are full of vibrancy, making us super excited for fall! But red is a complex color that isn’t the easiest to maintain. It can be hard to achieve and the color fades fast. But when it looks good, it looks so so good! If you’re thinking of dyeing your hair red, we’re breaking down all of your red hair color questions. Read on for the best hair care routine and tips to keep your red hair from fading.

How do I choose the right shade of red hair? 

Red hair is bold, unforgettable, and gorgeous. Plus there’s something about the fall that makes moody scarlet hues and golden coppers feel so cozy — and there’s a shade of red for every skin tone. But finding your exact shade can be tricky, so it’s helpful to look for pictures of people with a similar skin tone and eye color to get an idea of which red will work best. A consultation with a colorist will also guide you in the right direction. Generally speaking, the darker your skin tone, the brighter you should go.

  • For pale skin tones, try rose, gold or copper 
  • For olive skin tones, try plum or berry 
  • For darker skin tones, try cherry or wine tones
  • For natural blondes, try coppery highlights

Why does red hair color fade so fast? 

When it comes to maintaining red hair, the color fade struggle is real. Because the color-molecules in red pigment are much larger than the molecules in other colors, the first few times you try to color your hair red, it won’t fully penetrate the cuticle and stain the hair. This also means it slips out of the cuticle faster with each wash. Even with the most talented colorists in the best salons, red hair dye will noticeably fade in around four weeks. It can even take a few attempts to get the red pigment to stick to your hair. And even then, red hair is prone to fading and looking orange or brassy. It’s important to only use hair care products designed for color-treated-hair, and protect your strands from things like heat, chlorine, and environmental pollution.

Don’t wash your hair for at least 2 days post-color

Every time you expose your color-treated hair to water, you run the risk of losing pigment. Especially after coloring, your hair cuticle needs time to close and stay closed. The usual rule of thumb when dyeing your hair is to wait 24 hours before washing. But with red hair dye, it takes a little longer. Wait at least 48 hours, or two days, to wash your hair after going red.

Use cold water when you wash your hair

The temperature of the water you use when you wash your hair plays a huge role in how fast your color fades. It’s best to ditch the hot showers in favor of cold showers to keep your red hair vibrant. Hot water opens up the hair cuticle, allowing the color to slip out. Keep it cool to make the most of your dye job.

Shampoo less often

The biggest cause of red hair fading and turning brassy is over-shampooing. Water and shampoo both affect the cuticle, which causes hair color to dull. This is especially true with red hair. Hold onto your hue by shampooing as little as possible. Try to wash your hair three times a week at most. 

See your colorist every 4-8 weeks

How often you see your colorist for touch-ups is a decision you should make together. How fast your hair grows and how much root regrowth you like should be considered, but every 4-8 weeks is a good range.

Final thoughts on keeping your red hair vibrant

Red is the hair color of the moment. It’s a complex color that is notorious for fading fast, but if you get it right, it’s so pretty for fall! There’s a red for everyone, and as long as you use the right products and give your strands a little extra TLC, it can be the most amazing hair color you’ll ever try. If you’re thinking of dyeing your hair red, arm yourself with our tips and tricks to keep your red hair hot.


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