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How to dye your hair red at home

Here’s a few things to consider if you’re thinking of going red.

coloring tips

Dying your hair at home can be an intimidating experience. But don't worry, it's not as scary as you might think. Whether you're a dark brunette or a warm blonde, we'll tell you everything you need to know about going red.

Here are some of our favorite tips you might want to consider if you're thinking of dyeing your hair red at home.

1. Understand your skin tone

Looking at your skin tone can help you determine which shade of red hair color would suit you best.

Copper tones work really well if your skin tone is warm. For fair skin, try a rose gold or auburn blonde shade. If you've got medium or olive skin, a red-brown auburn will look amazing. Darker skin tones can easily pull off rich, bright shades of red like burnt orange, fiery red, or a rich burgundy.

2. Think about your eye color

Just like skin tone, your eye color can help you pick the perfect shade of red for your new hair do.

If your eyes are green, blue, or hazel…

Think about using a warmer shade with red-orange undertones, such as auburn, if you have naturally blonde hair, or a shade with red-violet undertones, such as burgundy, if you are naturally a brunette.

If you’ve got brown eyes…

You can use any shade of red, from burgundy and maroon to neutral to light or even darker red hues - the choices are endless.

3. Consider your hair color

Transforming your untreated dark brown locks into a light red shade overnight can be challenging.

The good news is that you probably won't have to bleach your hair to go red. But you might have to lift (use a permanent hair color made to lighten and tone your hair) your color before achieving your desired bright red look. 

Before choosing your desired red color, check your current shade first.

  • Red hair dye for dark hair - If you have medium to dark brown hair, select a Nice’n Easy (permanent) shade that is two levels lighter than your natural shade to get the brightest, most vibrant results. Or try our new Natural Instincts Bold shades that are designed for dark hair.
  • Red hair dye for light hair - If your current shade is blonde and you want to go completely red, start with a shade that’s closer to your natural color, such as Nice’n Easy 8R Medium Reddish Blonde. You can always choose to go a few shades darker next time you dye your hair.

4. Test before you apply

After choosing your color, we'd recommend doing an allergy test (even if you’ve colored your hair before). It’s easy to do:

  1. 1. Mix small, equal amounts of color and activator into a non-metallic bowl with a plastic spoon.
  2. 2. Apply a small amount of the mixture with a cotton ball or swab to the inside of your arm near the bend of your elbow.
  3. 3. Allow to dry and leave it on for 48 hours (make sure you don’t wash it off!).
  4. 4. If a rash, redness, swelling, burning or itching occurs, you may be having an allergic reaction. Stop using the product.

And make sure you do a strand test before applying it directly to your hair. This will help you decide whether you like the color and is a great way to avoid any mishaps. Just make sure to follow the instructions inside the box.

To test the dye, take a section from the underside of your hair and color it roots to ends. Let it process for the full recommended time, rinse, and blow dry your hair. This is a great way to check to make sure you have the right timing for the tone (vibrancy) you want.

5. Dye your hair red like a professional

After choosing your color, it's time to start dyeing your hair. Here are some of our favorite step-by-step tips that can help you achieve the perfect color.

  1. 1. Make sure you have two boxes of dye ready to go, especially if you have long hair. If you don't end up using both boxes, you can always store the second one for the next time you're coloring your hair.
  2. 2. Cover your clothes and floor with dark towels or plastic bags to avoid staining.
  3. 3. Use sectioning hair clips to part your hair.
  4. 4. Apply vaseline or any greasy lip balm along your hairline and on your ears (this is to avoid staining your skin but be careful to not get it on your hair).
  5. 5. Put your disposable gloves on.
  6. 6. Once your setup is ready to go, it's time to start coloring your hair. It's best to apply it from roots to ends to guarantee even results.
  7. 7. Let the color process for the full time (you can find this on the instructions leaflet or from the timing you used during the strand test), then rinse with cool water to avoid washing away your beautiful red color.

6. Maintain your red

Red is the fastest color to fade, so you’ll probably need to touch up your color quite often (maybe even every four weeks). But we do have some tips and tricks that can help you maximize your color and maintain your hair health.

1. Use the right hair care products

Having healthy hair will help keep your red hair color longer, so use color-safe shampoos and conditioners specifically designed for color-treated hair. A color-depositing shampoo can also do a great job of keeping your color vibrant.

2. Shampoo less

Try to wash your hair less often to stop your red from fading. If needed, you can use dry shampoo to help keep your hair fresh in between washes.

2. Condition

On that note, conditioning is super important for colored hair as conditioner forms a protective layer over your hair strands. Deep conditioner helps trap hair color molecules from escaping and fading away quickly. Why not try a leave-in conditioner for extra color protection?

3. Pick the right water temperature

Remember to wash your hair in warm water instead of hot water. This helps keep your hair healthy by keeping the hair cuticle more sealed and smooth.

4. Be wary of excessive heat

Let your hair air dry naturally or use a blow dryer on a warm setting to finish your style (and try to avoid using heat styling tools). If you are using hot tools on your hair, always make sure to use a heat protectant. Also, try to avoid heavy sun exposure or try wearing a hat when outside in the sun.

7. Add some gloss

A gloss is a great way to keep your hair shiny, vibrant, and fresh. Our Color Gloss Up range offers a salon-inspired color boost that will help keep your red vibrant for longer (while also conditioning your hair). It's super easy to use, you just need to squeeze the color out of the tube and apply it for up to 15 minutes. And voila!

We’d recommend using a gloss about two weeks after you’ve first colored your hair.

Not sure where to start? Discover our tips and tricks for coloring your hair and maxing out the lifespan of your color.

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