How To Keep Red Hair Looking Fresh
There’s no denying that red hair is one of the most striking hair colors around. Auburn, copper, rose gold, and all variations of redhead hues —whether they are natural or dyed — are constantly a hot color trend that stands out. But, red hair color is also notoriously one of the most difficult shades to care for because it fades faster than any other hue.
Does this mean you’re doomed to a dull, lackluster shade if you go red? With the best product for red hair and our best red hair tips from our in-house experts dpHUE Education Lead, Jocelyn Smith and celebrity colorist (and dpHUE co-founder) Justin Anderson, you can have the vibrant, shiny crimson hair you’ve always dreamed of — and make it last. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know to care for your red hair.
How To Get Your Best Red Hair Hue
Red hair is in the warm color tone family, although the intensity and the strength of that red can vary. That said, whether you opt for a strawberry blonde or a fiery copper, fading is going to be an issue due to the structure of the color molecule. Red dye molecules are the largest of all color molecules, says Jocelyn, meaning it has a harder time attaching to the hair and penetrating the cortex. Interestingly enough, it also makes it the most difficult color to get out of your hair, so once you make the decision to go red, it takes a lot of effort to completely remove red tones from the hair. “Red is a high maintenance color if you don't already have a naturally red hue,” explains Justin. “Red tones tend to fade very quickly because the pigment molecule is so large, therefore upkeep is really important in order to maintain your desired level of vibrancy!”
To help ensure you get your best red right from the start, you’ll want to have your hair as healthy as possible prior to your color appointment, says Jocelyn. “When hair is in a healthy state it allows the color to take better and last longer,” she says, “which is especially important for more fading prone redheads.” Common causes of damage include heat styling, the sun, hard water, and harsh shampoos. Keep your hair healthy by adding in thermal protective products like our Color Fresh Thermal Protection Spray, which protects hair from heat styling up to 450 degrees. Jocelyn also recommends ditching smoothing styling products and conditioners with heavy silicones. “Consistent use of certain coating compounds such as hairsprays, styling agents, and some conditioners can also lead to diminished color penetration,” she explains.
How To Protect Your Red Hair
“With every shampoo, blow-dry, and exposure to the elements, the artificial pigment continues to oxidize and fade,” says Jocelyn. “It's important to not over shampoo and to use products that provide protection to these factors so fading is more minimal.” Styling products with protective ingredients, like our Color Fresh line, can help keep that color in the cortex for longer. In addition to the Color Fresh Thermal Protection Spray, and Color Fresh Oil are perfect picks for redheads.
How To Maintain Your Red Hair
The key to keeping red hair vibrant longer, says Jocelyn, is to avoid going overboard on the shampoo sessions. Washing your hair too much or with too harsh cleansers is the equivalent of sticking a red shirt in a washing machine full of pristine white laundry and cranking it on hot — the color is going to diffuse out and can fade to a pinkish hue with every rinse, depending on the level of red you are. Instead, only wash when you absolutely have to and switch out your harsh cleansers for a shampoo alternative like the ACV Rinse or ACV Rinse Lite, which uses Apple Cider Vinegar to clean without stripping away moisture and has color-locking technology. Follow with the ACV Lightweight Conditioner to moisturize and further seal the hair cuticle.
How To Enhance Your Red Hair
Because of this natural fading, redheads of all hues will want to have our Gloss+ on hand to give their fiery shade a boost of vibrancy when it’s looking less than lush. The semi-permanent hair color in a deep-conditioning base “adds back that penetration of color and vibrancy in-between salon visits,” says Jocelyn. “And natural redheads can utilize Gloss+ to play around with enhancing their natural hue without the permanent commitment.” That said, you don’t want to overdo it with the at-home glosses, cautions Jocelyn, because unlike other hair colors, red’s large color molecule will build up on the hair and actually make it more challenging for your colorist to apply your salon color. Semi-permanent and temporary hair color aren’t an ongoing solution to fading for redheads — you’ll need to see your colorist for professional color services in order to truly revive your red once the fading gets too severe.
“Products like Gloss+ are a great tool to keep your color looking amazing, however because red still will have that natural fade out, you’ll want to make sure to stay consistent with your colorist to maintain that professional hair color level,” says Justin.
Red might be a lot of work, but once you find a hue and a maintenance routine that works to prevent fading, it’s more than worth the effort for those traffic-stopping tresses.