So You Want to be a Redhead…

I’m currently in the process of getting rid of my red hair, but it got me thinking about all of the work I did to keep it red, and how I had failed at saving my red hair on several previous attempts. When conducting my own research on keeping red from fading, I found lots of good advice, but none of it was in just one place!  In case there is anyone out there looking to become a redhead (and I know there are plenty of you) I thought I would compile all of the helpful tips that I used to keep my red red hot.

Redhead Rockabilly Disneyland

First of all, if you’re thinking about going red, you should understand that red hair takes a lot of work to maintain. Decide beforehand if you’re up to the task. You’ll need some specialty products to keep you hair looking good, and it may take adjusting your morning schedule some days. When I decided to go red, I looked up as much information as I could on how to keep it from fading. My past attempts always turned pink and then blonde within a week, and I wanted this red to stick.

  • Get the right dye! 

If you’re dying your hair at home, it doesn’t mean you have to settle for box dyes. Visit a beauty supply store and get the good stuff. If you’ve never gone red before (or never done so successfully) I suggest asking the staff what colors would give you the best results. I ended up buying a color that the staffer recommended, and that I initially thought wouldn’t give me the color I was really looking for. But low and behold, it came out great and was just what I wanted. Don’t rely solely on those little hair swatches with the dyes, the dye will look different based on the color hair you put it on.

Red hair dye Rockabilly girl

I also suggest getting a red dye intensifier. This was my first experience going red that I used an intensifier, and I love the way my hair came out. These are only a couple more dollars and totally worth it.

  • Don’t rinse out all the color!

When you read the instructions that come with the dye, it says to rinse until the water runs clear. This is something I had always done on my previous attempts at red, I mean, the dye told me to! However, in deciding to go red this last time I did a lot of online research and one ‘how to’ website suggested something novel. When you rinse the color, only rinse until the water runs a lighter color red. Keeping some of the red dye in your hair will help keep the color fresh longer (of course it also leads to the potential for bleeding when wet, but I’ll cover that in a bit).

  • Hot water is a definite NO!

I never knew this before, but hot water is like a red dye slayer. Hot or warm water opens up your hair cuticles, which leads to your color going bye-bye. Cold water, however, has the opposite affect. Cold water closes your cuticles, preventing excessive dye-loss. Whenever you wash your hair, use the coldest water you can stand.

I also suggest using an after-coloring treatment when dying your hair (any color, not just red). These treatments help to close your cuticles and lock in your color. You can also get them with an added conditioner to keep your hair silky smooth.

Redhead Rockabilly
  • Wash in moderation

Because water in general has the potential to rinse out your color, try washing your hair every other day, or every three days if you can. Dirty hair is better for curling and styling anyway! Be sure to get a shower cap to ensure your hair stays dry when showering on your non-washing days. I got a cute zebra printed one!

Using a dry shampoo will help control oil on the days you don’t wash your hair. You can get the clear dry shampoo, but I personally never had a problem with the regular stuff. Baby powder will work for oily hair in a pinch, but be careful to avoid looking white-haired by applying too much.

  • Not all shampoos are created equal
Rockabilly redhead

I discovered that one of my biggest problems in my previous attempts at going red was my shampoo. Don’t trust that shampoos labeled “for color-treated hair” are actually appropriate; read the ingredients! If it has sulfate, put it back. You want sulfate free shampoos and conditioners that are also color depositing products. Most products, but not all, that specify “for reds” will actually help keep you red by adding in red color. You can also use a hair mask every couple of weeks that adds some red to your hair.

  • Dry hair is happy hair

When I go blonde, I can get away with leaving the house with wet hair if I’m rushed. This is a huge no-no with red dyed hair. Because you didn’t rinse all of the dye out when you first colored it, you have the potential for bleeding whenever your hair is wet. Use a dark or older towel whenever you shower to avoid ruining your good towels. After towel drying, be sure to blow dry your hair to avoid ruining your clothes (as an extra precaution, I would avoid white shirts for a few days after coloring). Using a heat protecting serum can help from damaging your hair when using any heating products. If you have the time, use the cool air setting on your blow dryer. This will take longer, but its not as harmful to your hair.

  • Keep your hair healthy

Healthy hair will keep color better. I used a keratin treatment every 2 weeks on my hair, and used leave-in conditioners and hair strengthening serums on my hair daily. Because the ends of my hair are not as healthy as the roots, the color dulled quicker. This meant that I had to re-dye my hair more often than I would with other colors. If you aren’t in too much of a hurry to become a redhead, take some time prior to coloring to ensure your hair is healthy all the way through.

Lucy Costume Redhead

So what products did I use? Let me tell you…

  • Ion Color Brilliance dye: Dark Intense Red Blonde (6IR-66.66)
  • Ion Color Brilliance Hot Red Intensifier
  • Ion Color Solutions After-Color Treatment & Sealer
  • John Freida Radiant Red shampoo & conditioner
  • Ion Sun Protection Spray
  • Tresemme Instant Refresh Dry Shampoo
  • Ion Repairing Oil Treatment
  • Aphogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor

I hope you find these tips helpful, and if you have any other tips for going red, please comment or message me!

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