From classic ginger and warm auburn to cherry cola, eggplant, and jewel tones, going red is always a bold choice for those who weren’t born that way! National Redhead Day (also called National Love Your Red Hair Day) celebrates the unique beauty of red hair. Natural redheads account for only 2% of the world’s population, but just because you weren’t born red doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy being a redhead. Just use the Vagaro Marketplace or App to locate a colorist who specializes in red, and you could be a ginger by the end of the day!
Professional colorists know that a natural (or flamboyant!) red can be one of the most difficult colors to achieve, because of the color’s natural tendency to fade quickly. Likewise, choosing the wrong shade of red, coloring over natural red, or coloring red over natural gray can all be trickier parts of the profession. Here are some tips for selecting the right red for your clients, tricks to give customers with their aftercare instructions to keep red vibrant, and resources to formulate the right red for every head!
Picking the Right Red
Anyone can go red; it’s just about determining the right shade that works best for your skin tone, and how light or dark you should go.”
Will Francis, Sally Hershberger colorist, New York City, NY
Formulating red shades can be challenging because all red pigments are copper, red, or blue-based, meaning that they process and fade differently on every person. This is especially true when coloring over naturally gray hair, where it’s always best to visit a professional colorist. Red color molecules attach differently to gray hair and can create a look known as “hot roots.” Choosing the right red for your clients isn’t simply about which undertones appeal to you, but also which undertones will complement their skin tone best. Here’s how to match skin tones to the right reds!
Light – Strawberry blonde, dark copper blonde, copper, brighter orange-red shades, the lighter, brighter side of the red spectrum. Be careful with deeper, blue-based red colors, unless the client specifically requests a dramatic look, as the darker reds can make pale skin look even paler.
Medium – Higher pigmented red shades, golden reds, true auburns, deep copper. Warmer shades will brighten features, while cooler shades will make skin appear slightly paler and bring out any undertones.
Dark – Blue-based reds, purple-reds, wine, eggplant, berry shades, red-violet, ruby, and red velvet. Warmer red shades may appear to fade faster against naturally dark skin and require more upkeep to look fresh.
Redhead Aftercare & Upkeep
For clients whose hair is naturally dark, you may need to pre-lighten to achieve a vibrant red. The red color molecule is known to be persistent. Smaller than brown pigment molecules, red is notorious for being one of the most difficult colors to get into hair—and the hardest to get out. Due to their size, red pigments are the last vestiges of color that wash out, even after the shade has faded or been removed. Aftercare and upkeep for reds is subjective, based on the client’s preferred shade and maintenance schedule. However, here are some universal guidelines to help your red clients stay red, no matter their shade.
Pro Tips to Keep Red Vibrant
Always use a color-safe shampoo and conditioner. Red fades faster and less evenly than other colors, so investing in color safe shampoo and conditioner extends the longevity of their service.
Suggested Products: Joico Color Infuse Red, Pureology Reviving Red, TIGI Bed Head Resurrection, Redken Color Extend, Goldwell Kerasilk Color.
Try color deposit shampoos and conditioners to refresh between colorings. Chemical services can be hard on the hair, so try a color deposit product to revive faded red between salon visits.
Suggested Products: Joico Color Infuse Red, oVertone Color Conditioner, Celeb Luxury Gem Lites Colorwash, Pravana Nevo Color, Aveda Madder Root, Davines Alchemic Shampoo, Quantum Colors.
Avoid over-shampooing. Shampooing breaks a salt bond in hair, allowing color to escape. Shampoo less frequently and invest in dry shampoo to keep red in your hair and not swirling down the drain.
Suggested Products: TIGI Bed Head Dirty Secret, Batiste Dry Shampoo, Ouai Dry Shampoo, TIGI Bed Head Oh Bee Hive Dry Shampoo.
Deep conditioners and hair masks. Chemically treated hair can be subject to weakening, damage, and split ends, all of which can cause hair to appear more faded more quickly. Add a weekly deep conditioner to get more wear from your color.
Suggested Products: Olaplex Hair Perfector, Joico Color Butter, Redken Real Control Intense Renewal Super Moisturizing Mask, Pureology Precious Oil Softening Hair Masque, It’s a 10 Miracle Hair Mask.
Avoid heat. Hot water, hot tools, and hot sun lead to faded color. Shampoo cool, use low settings, and protect your hair from the sun to make sure your color stays bright.
When going to red or coloring over natural red, it’s always best to let a professional colorist take lead, especially if you’re coloring over gray hair. Use the Vagaro marketplace to find a colorist in your area who specializes in reds! For professional colorists, use the links below for some popular formulations to add a few new redhead tricks to your tools, and expand your red-savvy!
How to Color Red Hair (coloring over natural red)
Creating a Natural Red Color
How to Go from Brown Hair to Red Hair
- Wella: 9 Formulas for
Copper Red Hair
- Wella: Creating a Vibrant
Red with Koleston (video)
The 21 Most Popular Red Shades
- Joico: How to Keep
Your Red Color Bright
- Pravana: Red Formulas
If you’re a colorist specializing in red, Get Featured on the Vagaro Marketplace and App or try out our software free for a month to attract new clients! Tag us on social media to showcase your most vibrant reds (natural or colored) with the hashtags #LoveYourRedHairDay and #NationalRedheadDay.
Header Image: @ceiligirl via Twenty20