Hey Honeybees! I get countless comments, tweets, emails, etc about my red hair and how I attain/maintain it so I thought I'd elaborate on my original How-To video (and my Hair FAQ video) by doing a text based post I can direct people to in case they don't have the ability to watch the vlogs!
I first started dying my hair red in 10th grade. I was more of a copper/ginger than my bright red like I have now, but I was in love. I've kind of always secretly wanted natural "ginger" red hair but my hair is naturally almost-black! I went back brown for many, many years. I was sold on having natural colored hair! I loved being a brunette but for some reason I was really desperate for change after my first summer in NYC so I headed to my local Sally's, picked up some red dye, developer, and all the essentials, then dyed my hair myself in my bathroom. This was huge. Partially because I was letting go of my natural, perfectly even, hair color, and mainly because I had never once dyed my hair myself. I had never even dyed a friend's hair! I was heading into uncharted territory. The first dye made my hair a shiny auburn color, but I wanted RED RED! So I dyed it again in a few weeks time. Each time I dyed it, it became more vibrant. Before I knew it I had shockingly red hair... the sunlight caused my head to basically look like a giant, fluffy tomato. Awesome!
I kept up my routine of redying my hair every 2-3 weeks for the next 2 years almost. Then I decided red was old news and I wanted to go back dark. Well that was an adventure. But not nearly as accident-ridden as the move back to red in the middle of summer! I decided to use color remover on my hair to lighten the dark dye, then use my typical "For Dark Hair Only" dye to make it red. Um, don't do that. I had a basketball head for weeks! Like, bright orange. It was awful. It took a lot of trial and error, and a couple months worth of dying, to get it back perfect. Now I'm finally back to my favorite red that I missed so much. Yeah, it was a lot of work. But hopefully the rest of this post will help you achieve your bright red hair without all the hassle I went through the second time around!
For starters.... the stuff I use on my hair is:
L'oreal Excellence "For Dark Hair Only" dye in Red Fire
L'oreal Oreor Creme Developer (9, 20 and 30 volume)
John Frieda Radiant Red shampoo + conditioner
Chi Silk Infusion + Infra shampoo
Biolage Detangling Solution
Tricks and tips about the dye I use --
Do NOT use this dye unless you have naturally dark hair... and by that I mean do NOT use this dye if you have any dye on your hair currently. If your hair is dyed black/brown, this is not for you. If your hair is naturally dark but you have any dye on it, this is not the product for you. If you have blonde hair, this product is not for you. This product is only for people who currently have dark, dye-free hair!
I really can't stress that enough. I get daily YouTube comments, emails, and questions asking "Will this work for me if..." The answer is: No, unless you have dark, dye-free hair. Sure, you can use it if you have anything else, but the results will not be what you see here. That's all I'm sayin'! You might get a color you totally love, but you won't get what you see in my hair (I simply don't want to be held responsible for basketball head like I had! :P) If you want to try it, go for it! Just don't blame me if it doesn't turn out as planned!
If this is the first time you're using this dye -- You can stand to use 30 volume developer like the box calls for. If this is a subsequent use of the dye -- I recommend using 9 or 20 volume, depending on the situation. Developer can damage your hair! Don't fry it like I have in the past. (Not going to lie, my hair isn't in the best condition, because I've made a lot of mistakes in my "trial and error" approach! Hence this post! haha) I mix up my dye and developer in an applicator bottle and shake it up real good. Then I apply it to my hair. I let it sit for 30-45 minutes and then I rinse with lukewarm water.
If you can bend over the bathtub and always wash your hair with cold water, go for it! Sadly our loft only has a shower so I have to stomach quick, cold/lukewarm showers. Hot water will fade your color faster. But many people still use it.
Try to limit how much you wash your hair when it's dyed red. I'm not saying go be gross or have greasy hair, but try and utilize dry shampoo as much as possible to keep the red lasting longer. Red is probably not going to be the color for you if you are obsessed with washing your hair daily. Currently I wash my hair 1-2 times a week. I use Pssssst dry shampoo on all other days (hence my never-ending tangles! Dry shampoo will rid your hair of natural oils, thus making it slightly more prone to tangling.) This is where Biolage Detangling Solution comes in. I cannot write enough great things about this product. I have a giant bottle of it in our shower and it's a heaven send!
Red shampoos and conditioners -- I use John Frieda's Radiant Red daily shampoo + conditioner. I've tried the "Ravishing Red" stuff in the past and it was absolutely horrible. It stripped my hair of it's color and I threw out the bottles immediately. This is just my personal opinion! I've found that JFRR works best for me, but you might feel differently!
I've also used CHI Infra shampoo in the past with good results. I'd limit this to once or twice a month if possible though. Before I redye my hair, I always do a leave-in conditioning treatment... maybe a few hours, maybe overnight. Then I rinse and let my hair "dirty" for a day or two before dying it. Leave in conditioner will also strip some of the brightness of your dye so be sure you do it toward the tail end of your routine.
To make your hair shiny and soft -- I recommend CHI Silk Infusion. A tiny dime-size amount will work wonders on how your hair appears. Just be careful not to saturate your roots or your hair will look greasy.
If you're going to dye hair extensions to match your hair -- I recommend trying to find extensions as close to your shade of hair as possible (pre-dye). You can dye them the exact same way you dye your hair. I recommend a box of dye for your extensions, and a box of dye for your hair. You can leave the dye in your extensions for as long as you need (I've even left it in overnight before.) Obviously I don't mean dye them with them clipped in... but on a trash bag or old towel, or even in your bathtub!
So here are some quick FAQs about red hair that I get daily... in case you're too lazy to read up there! ;)
- What hair dye do you use? L'Oreal Excellence For Dark Hair Only in Red Fire. You can buy it at Sally Beauty Supply or Amazon.com
- What shampoo + conditioner do you use? John Frieda Radiant Red, along with a leave-in conditioner and/or CHI Infra shampoo.
- How often do you have to dye your hair? Every 2-3 weeks. I try to stretch it as long as possible, but I have really really dark roots, and red hair fades incredibly quick.
- How much does it cost you to dye it each time? The dye is roughly $6 and the developer is $7 for a large bottle. Then I buy an applicator bottle and gloves. Each time it's roughly $10 or a little bit less probably. Maybe $20/mo total.
- Will that dye work if I have... The dye I use is intended for naturally dark haired people that currently have no other dyes on their hair. I have used the dye on lightened hair and the outcome was not a pretty one. I do not recommend it unless you currently have dark hair without the assistance of dye.
- Always do a patch test with your dye if you've never dyed your hair or if this is a new dye to you. You dont' want to end up with a horrible skin reaction, burns, or an infection! Be smart! ;)
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Please note that I am of course, not a hair stylist in any way. I only know what I've learned from my own experiences and from my best friend Jessica (who is a hair stylist... and she shakes her finger at me daily!). My method may not be the best, most advised, or anything of the sort, but it is what I do. My hair hasn't fallen out yet, so that's a good sign. Maybe? ;) Goodness knows I'm willing to learn some pointers from anyone myself!
Any other bottled-redheads out there got any tricks and tips they'd like to share? Love a certain product? Have a better way of doing it than me? Please share below!