There’s no doubt that red is an alluring color. The boldness of it is enticing, and although we may not admit it, we all secretly crave a bit of the fierceness that red hair offers. Whether a desire to spice things up or deeply ingrained Ariel-Mermaid vibes, the temptation to dye your hair red can be a strong one. And, with the recent transformations of celebs like Kendall Jenner, the temptation has only grown stronger. But what does a red hair transition look like for you? You may be wondering if it’s possible or if you can pull it off. The general consensus is YES—you definitely can pull it off, and you should rock that red hair with pride. But there are a few important things to know before diving into such an undertaking. Whether transitioning from blonde or brunette, we’ve got you covered. Read on to find out everything you need to know about making the big red change.
Things to Consider Before Dyeing Your Hair Red
Dyeing your hair red from its original color is totally doable, but it is no small feat. Rather than jumping in without fully knowing what you’re getting into, it’s important to see the full spectrum. Here are a few things to keep in mind before taking the plunge.
Time and Resources
Red is a labor-intensive color, regardless of what color you’re transitioning from. Red hair color molecules are larger than other colors, and therefore require a lot of time in the salon chair, both at the initial appointment and potentially during several rounds of upkeep. Expect to spend at least two hours at your salon during your first appointment. But that may not be all. Depending on your original hair color and the look you’re aiming for, the full transition may not be possible in only one salon visit because red color molecules take longer to stick. Since you don’t want to damage your hair by rushing the process, you may need to return to the salon a few days later to finish the job. That visit will also take a couple of hours. Then, if you love the color and want to maintain it, it is recommended that you return every 4-6 weeks for a refresh.
It’s important to note that not only do the hours add up, but the money adds up as well. With such a big job, you should find a stylist you trust. That could mean a higher price point than you were initially expecting. Depending on your starting point and chosen stylist, you could spend anywhere from $200-$350 for your initial color, and up to $100 for each round of upkeep down the road.
Red Sticks Around
Even though red hair color molecules take a while to stick, once they do, they are there for good. Although the initial color may fade over time, the red hue will last until you either grow it all out or lift it out with bleach. But the latter can be extremely damaging to the hair and takes a lot of time. Even if you try covering it with a dark brown, the red undertones will still be present. If you aren’t totally sold on such a permanent change, you can consider using a gloss instead of dye. Gloss is less intense on the hair and isn’t permanent. It also adds some shine to the hair, which is a nice bonus. If you are happy with the gloss, you can always make it permanent later.
So Many Shades of Red
When it comes to red hair color, it isn’t one-size-fits-all. There are so many different shades and hues, with different undertones and layers. Before going into the salon, it’s important that you really consider the exact shade you are aiming for. Are you thinking about fiery red locks like Christina Hendricks and Emma Stone? Or a more subtle look like Amy Adams? Or do you want to go full-blown mermaid like Rihanna in the past? There are also some violet reds, some brassy reds, and some copper reds. Your options for red hair are practically endless. When you’re trying to decide on a shade, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Skin Tone: Do you have warm, cool, or neutral undertones? For cool undertones, the suggested shades are peaches, gingers, auburn, coppers, and cinnamons. For warm undertones, consider bold, bright reds or coppers with warmer lowlights blended in. And for neutral tones…well you get to choose whatever you want! This lucky skin tone is compatible with almost every shade of red.
Personal Style: Use your new hair color to either complement or contrast your current style. If you’re into bold fashion, then don’t be afraid to go bold with your hair as well. Or, by contrast, keep the hair color simple and let your style do the talking. If you’re into sophisticated chic, a bold red color may be the extra pizzazz you’re looking for, or you may want a more subtle look to keep your style aligned. There’s no way to go wrong here—it’s about what you desire most.
Transitioning From Blonde to Red Hair
Although transitioning from blonde to red hair takes time, it isn’t too complicated. You must first begin by layering in gold pigments, to set a base. After that, the stylist can add on copper tones. If that’s what you’re aiming for, then you can stop there. Otherwise, continue layering the color until you reach your desired shade. Taking your time to pack on the pigment will help the molecules to stick and last longer. The key here is to avoid an ammonia-based color which allows the pigment to escape the hair more easily.
Transitioning from Dark to Red Hair
Transitioning from dark to red hair takes a bit more work than with blonde hair, but it’s totally doable. If you have virgin strands (meaning you’ve never put color or highlights on them before) then you could possibly add the red color in only one round, without bleaching your hair. But if that’s not the case, you will have to lift some color out of your hair. A slow transition is suggested, beginning with all-over highlights that have a red tone. From there, it depends on the shade you desire.
For copper reds, simple highlights with a red gloss may achieve the exact look you’re going for. But getting those bolder reds will require more time in the chair, adding layer upon layer of red dye to your locks, after the dark color has been lifted out.
Darker hair also requires more touch-ups than lighter hair, as it’s much more obvious when the color fades and the roots begin to show. Consider adding highlights instead of all-over color, that way the colors will blend more seamlessly as your hair grows.
If you want to experiment on your own or cut back on your visits to the salon, try out a quality at-home dye. This fiery red dye works great on dark brunettes and delivers a vibrant, natural red.
How to Maintain Your Red Hair
A change in hair color also means a change in your hair care routine. The last thing you want is to let your new color cause long-term damage to your locks. It’s important to integrate a few quality products into your routine that will help your color last longer and protect your hair.
Color Care Shampoo & Conditioner: Although you should cut back on washing your hair to increase your color’s longevity when you do wash it, you should be using a shampoo and conditioner specifically for color-treated hair. Using color-protecting shampoos and conditioners can help your color and shine last for up to nine weeks longer than regular shampoos and conditioners, meaning less time and money spent at the salon.
Color Refreshing Creams: When your color is starting to fade or look kind of dull, lather on a color refreshing cream to freshen things up. This rose gold cream especially can put some of those rose colors back into blonde hair in just 1-3 minutes.
Conditioning Balm: After several visits to the salon, your hair will need some serious TLC. In order to protect it and keep it vibrant, give it a little extra love with a color-protecting conditioning balm. Smooth it into clean, damp hair and give it a few minutes to soak up all the nourishment.
Fresh Dry Shampoo Powder: As your color’s vibrancy starts to fade, extend your shine with a Fresh Dry Shampoo Powder serum. You can apply it all over damp hair or use it as a pomade on dry hair. Either way, you’ll notice an instant increase in color vibrancy.
Your Best Red Hair
The transition to red hair may seem daunting, but it’s totally worth it. Change is always exciting, even if it is a bit intimidating. Whatever shade or style of red you choose, remember to keep it fun! Being a redhead is about accessing your inner passion and fire. Commit fully to your new look and let it bring out the best in you.