Skip Nav

Red Hair Colour Ideas

The Ultimate Rulebook to Dyeing Your Hair Red

Red Hair Colour Ideas

  • Red hair is a major hair-colour trend for 2022.
  • Before you dye your hair, there are a few things you should know about the process.
  • Two hairstylists answer all of your most frequently asked questions about going red.

Red hair is having a serious moment right now. The hair-colour trend really took off at the start of 2021 and hasn't slowed down since. Over the last year or so, we've seen countless celebrities try variations of the colour. Sophie Turner went orange-red, Zendaya went auburn, Gigi Hadid went copper, Ciara went cherry cedar wood, and SZA went fire-engine red, to name a few.

"Red hair is that colour everybody wants to try," celebrity hairstylist Kiyah Wright tells POPSUGAR. (This is, of course, if you're not a natural redhead.) "They've done the browns, they've dabbled into highlights, and they're like, 'Oh, I want to try something different.'"

It's hard to say what is contributing to the hair-colour success — maybe it's in part because of Zoom fatigue or that we're still not over that year at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when hair salons shut down — but everyone wants in on the "daredevil colour," as Wright likes to call it.

But before you grab a box of bright-red hair dye or book an appointment with your stylist, there are a few things you should know about dyeing your hair red. Keep scrolling to learn what the process is like, how to find the best shade of red for your skin tone, and tips for maintaining your red hair colour after you leave the salon.

Tips For Dyeing Your Hair Red

There are two ways to go about going red: see a professional, or DIY. If you go the boxed-hair-dye route, you'll only be able to achieve all-over colour; if you go to a professional hair colourist (which would be our recommendation), they'll be able to customise the look to your liking.

At the salon, the process will always start with a consultation and potentially a patch test. "Depending on your hair history, natural level, and desired tone, the in-salon process can look a little different for everyone," Justin Toves-Vincillone, professional hairstylist and Authentic Beauty Concept partner, says.

Virgin hair has the most options available. "You can choose a single-process, permanent colour that will deliver a natural red tone or go vibrant with a double-process red with a highly pigmented finish," Toves-Vincillone says. Virgin hair can also choose from a larger variety of shades of red.

Hair that's already dyed blonde or another light shade will require a slightly different approach. "You can ask your stylist to use a demipermanent gloss for a high-shine, natural red tone; a semipermanent overlay of high-impact red; or you can start building in a rich red with gradual, permanent hair-colour applications," he says.

Lastly, if you have dark, colour-treated hair, the process for going red is a bit more involved. "You are more than likely looking at a colour-correction situation," he says. "This is because dark, permanent hair colour, especially boxed colour, is removed with less predictability than virgin hair." But that doesn't mean all hope is lost — a professional stylist should be able to help you achieve your desired look.

Do You Need to Bleach Your Hair Before Dyeing It Red?

Whether or not your hair needs to be bleached before dyeing it red depends on your existing colour. "In some cases, bleaching your hair before colouring it red can help showcase the true vibrancy of the red tone," Toves-Vincillone says. "It is not necessary to bleach your hair before red hair colour unless you have dark, artificially coloured hair to begin with."

How to Find the Best Red Hair Colour For Your Skin Tone

The secret to pulling off red hair is picking the right shade. "It really does depend on your skin tone," Wright says. For fair skin, "coppers really work well," as does vibrant strawberry blonde — just look at Gigi Hadid, Nicole Kidman, and Barbie Ferreira. If you have darker skin, Wright recommends bright cherry reds, coppers, violets, and ruby tones (picture Ciara and Rihanna).

Consider looking at your skin's undertone (which can be warm, cool, or neutral), and look for complementary tones on the colour wheel.

How to Maintain Your Red Hair Colour at Home

For many people, the most daunting part of going red is the care it requires in the weeks and months after leaving the salon. "The one thing about redheads is you definitely always worry about maintenance," Wright says. Toves-Vincillone adds, "To be honest, red tones do not stick around for a very long time, but there are things you can do to keep your colour vibrant and true to tone for longer."

One way to slow down the fading process and keep your colour looking as good as it did the day you dyed it is to change up the way you shower. "Wash you hair less frequently, and only use cool water," Toves-Vincillone says. "As cool as you can handle, as warm and hot water can almost literally erase pigments from your colour-treated hair."

Using products specially formulated for colour-treated hair also helps keep your ends hydrated and healthy. Wright loves the OGX ColorGlam Ultra Hydrating Hugs Shampoo (£7) and Kisses Conditioner (£6) for this. "We want something that's going to maintain the vibrance [and] keep the hair hydrated."

Another tip: take care when using hot tools to style your hair. "Keep heat-styling temperatures to a minimum, and always use a heat protectant, such as the Authentic Beauty Concept Blow Dry Prime," Toves-Vincillone says.

You can also use a tinted hair gloss or pigmented conditioner to revive colour, like the DpHue Colour Boosting Gloss + Deep Conditioning Treatment (£35). "You can use these as needed and be mindful [that] the more often you apply, the deeper the tone can get."

How to Remove Red Hair Colour When You're Ready For a Change

To give it to you straight: "Removing red tones can be a challenge, so make sure you're ready to commit to the colour red before actually colouring your hair," Toves-Vincillone says. When you're finished the with look, a colourist at the salon will be able to do a colour-correction service to remove any lingering pigment on your hair. "This usually includes multiple decolourising washes and colour-balancing toners." However, the good news is if you grow tired of your current red hue and want to try another one, it's fairly easy to do so.

Now that we've covered all of the most frequently asked questions, keep scrolling for red hair-colour inspiration.

Latest Beauty