Dos and Don’t of dyeing your Hair Red

Red hair is all the rage this season, with style setters such as Rihanna, Florence Welch, Christine Hendricks and our very own Cheryl Cole all sporting gorgeous glossy auburn tones.

But the trend this year is for full on colour, and gone are the subtle shades, the glints of colours that only showed up in the sun. Nowadays it is all about in your face colour popping madness.

Think Carrie Grant’s beautiful blood red barnet, and go for real primary colours that have nothing to do with nature. Steer away from auburns, coppers and russet tones, and opt for black cherry, flame red and blood orange instead.

So if you have made the decision to opt for this statement red colour, what else do you need to know to be able to pull off this very demanding hair hue?

Well, going red can be a tricky look to achieve, but luckily there is a red out there to suit everyone, you just need to know which one to opt for.

First you need to decide which tone your skin is. People fall into two categories; warm or cool. Warm skintones tend to be the olive and tanned colours, so if you look a little browner than your friends, and earthy tones such as green, brown, yellow, orange and beiges look good on you, you are likely to be a warm tone.

Cooler skin tones tend to be the typical English rose colours, pale pink, they burn easily, and if colours such as blues, pinks, purples, neons and blacks look good on you, these are typical cool skintones.

Florence Welch with a deep Red hair

Photograph: Dave Hogan/Getty

Now that you know your skintone you can choose which type of red dye to opt for. Warm skintones should always go for ‘earthy’ reds, the warmer reds which have an orange red undertone such as brick red, terracotta red, blood red and rich chilli red. Cool skintones should go for reds with more of a violet red hue, such as blue red, burgundy or aubergine red.

Apart from choosing the correct red to match your skintone, you should also make sure that your hair is in good condition, as red hair dye has trouble holding onto the hair folicles, and if yours are damaged in anyway, it will be more difficult for the dye to cling onto them. If your hair is in great condition, the small red colour molecules will have a better chance at holding onto the hair and will look glossy and radiant.

If you’re still unsure about which red to go for, you could always start off with a temporary hair colour. Semi permanent colours deliver the same punch and tonal shine and quality as a permanent colourant, but as the name suggests, they only last for a few weeks.

So if you are not happy with the results, you could wash them out, using a strong washing up liquid, or a specific product that removes hair dye. Or you could simply leave the dye in to fade away, which it will do naturally after a few washes.

Rihanna with a Short Red Hair

Photograph: Isaac Brekken/Getty Images

A great way to dabble into the red zone is to use a punchy semi permanent colour such as Fudge’s Paintbox Extreme Colours, £7.65, available from feelunique.com.

These last between three and 30 washes so you can experiment to your heart’s desire in the ruby hues without committing to one particular colour. Alternatively, there are some great permanent box colours on the market at present, L’oreal’s Feria Red range have some fabulous reds that tick all our boxes.

But remember, going red is a little like dyeing your hair blonde; it is pretty high maintenance, you do have to remember to do regular touch ups, not just on the growing roots, but red dyes do have a tendency to fade over time, much faster than other colours.

So it is worth investing in a colour fade protecting shampoo, such as John Frieda’s Radiant Red Colour Magnifying shampoo and conditioner, £5.10, boots.com, to protect the hair dye, once you have decided that red is the way to go for you.