Monday, 21 May 2012

Red Hair Journey & Tips

I've had red hair for around 6-7 months now. It wasn't an 'off the cuff' decision, I had been planning to for a very long time but had always been held back. Through sheer boredom decided to go for it one day, prepped with many a box die to attempt to get my jet black hair red. I decided I would let you know how I got to the colour I was now and a few fore-warnings before even considering to go red. Please note I am NOT a hairdresser, nor do I claim to be, these are simply my experiences and tips. Here go the fore-warnings:

1. It costs a bomb!

This is literally NO LIE. If you want that beautiful vibrant red colour to last, be prepared to spend a LOT of money getting there, because red dye does not last, no matter what you do to it. This is due to red dye molecules being considerably larger than other colours meaning they shrink much faster and you end up with faded hair. The colour your hair will fade to will be dependant on the undertones of the dye you use. If you use dye's with titles such as 'fire red' or 'nuclear red', it is most likely your hair will fade to orange. Dyes with a more pink undertone such as 'cherry red' or 'magenta' will most likely fade to a murky pink. My top up dye preference is Crazy Color's 'FIRE' and 'PINKISSIMO' mixed together meaning my hair fades to orange in some places, and murky, mouldy, gross pink in other places. I order my Crazy Color from EBay which I can get for around £4.00 a bottle.

To 'attempt' to keep your colour fresh, be prepared to invest in a good colour care, sulphate free shampoo and conditioner. My personal preference is Loreal Professionell Serie Expert Vitamino Color shampoo and conditioner. You will also need to stock up on SEMI permanent dyes such as the aforementioned Crazy Color as your hair will most probably need topping up before your roots come back through and you need to use a permanent colour.

The permanent dye I use when I need to top up my roots or if I ever want to go brighter is Loreal Majicontrast Magenta which is also equally as expensive. I have to top up my roots around every 5 weeks! I order mine from Hair Products Online at £7.99 a tube. You have to mix this dye with a developer which can also be ordered from Hair Products Online. I use Loreal Creme Oxydant 1000ml 20 vol 6%

2. Wave Goodbye to nice hot showers!

It may only be a myth but from researching before I dyed my hair red, nearly everything I read suggested it was vital to wash your hair as little as possible (gross) AND, to wash your hair in cold water. This is because hot water opens up your hair cuticle allowing the water to penetrate where the dye has been deposited and ultimately rinse it out faster. Of course, if it's a one off your hair isn't instantly going to be horrible and faded but I do notice a lot more bleeding red dye in the shower water if I rinse with hot water. As you can imagine, this is not ideal, it's actually pretty uncomfortable and normally means washing your hair SEPARATELY to your body as I personally cannot bear standing in a freezing cold shower. If you love washing your hair everyday then don't dye your hair red, it's simple. I wish I had learnt this before doing so. You will probably have to bare looking like a complete mug with a shower cap on the days in between washing your hair. I usually wash my hair once every 3 days (that is pushing it, most suggestions advise once every 5 days but there is no way I can stand that!)

3. Your towels, bath, skin, clothes WILL turn pink.

The semi permanent dyes that you will inevitably have to use to top up your colour in between permanent dyes are extremely pigmented and stain almost everything they touch. This means allocating at least 2 old t-shirts and towels for when you dye and wash your hair. It also means you or your mum (haha) better have plenty bleach for the bath/shower afterwards. It stains tile grout, bath enamel, your FACE, pretty much anything.

4. It will damage your hair.

The Loreal Majicontrast dye I mentioned before has been raved about by many red heads through out You Tube and blogs. This is primarily due the fact is is a 'one step' dye meaning you do not have to pre lighten your hair before hand with bleach. Please note that this is considered a 'professional dye' meaning it technically should only be used by experienced hairdressers and professionals. The amount of 'lift' it will give is completely dependant on both the condition and colour of your hair. I actually discovered this dye AFTER I had already managed to get to a deep burgundy red through colour remover and box dyes. I actually liked the colour of my hair so when I used it, I applied it only to my roots, mixed with a 30 vol developer. This was a mistake: because the roots were virgin hair, they turned a fire engine red within minutes. From then on, I have used this dye with a 20 vol developer as I do not require as much 'lift' due to my hair already being red. The main 'misconception' with this dye is that it will not damage your hair because there is no 'bleach' involved, but this is completely untrue. All permanent dyes will damage your hair. In no way am I saying that this is as bad as a bad bleaching job, but developer NEEDS bleach to be activated therefore there is still bleach in this dye. What is meant by one step is that it both lifts (bleaches) and deposits colour in ONE STEP meaning there is no need to PRE lighten your hair. Damage is repairable though, it just means you have to be that little bit more careful with your hair, treat it a bit like a wound (haha). It needs looking after and a lot of love and attention to keep it happy - deep conditioning treatments, careful brushing, protein fillers, minimal heat styling etc.

5. People will stare.

This may seem like a bit of a silly one, but it is true. Bright red is not a 'natural' colour and although that does not make it any less beautiful, people in general will stare at anything 'un-natural'. Already being a bit of an... absolute weirdo makes it a lot easier for me to handle as I am used to the dodgy looks and comments and take it on the chin. For some people, it's not so easy, especially if you have not been exposed to such judgement before. Please do not get me wrong though, for every negative comment made, there is always a much more positive one to counterbalance. Even the days in between dyes when you feel like crusty the clown, I assure you someone will always tell you they love your hair. My favourite so far is someone genuinely believing I was Holly from Geordie Shore even though both my boobs squeezed together would not equate to the size of her nipple (drunk people).

6. You can't really wear red anymore.

I know it sounds silly again but you will understand if you ever go or have been red. Red looks good with black, black looks good with red (hair wise). I almost find I look really washed out if I wear a red dress with red hair, but again, this is my own experience only.

If you have any questions then leave a comment and I will be happy to answer. :)


  1. I had red last year & I adored it but everytime I washed my hair it looked like a murder scene in my shower! Not only was it a pain to keep the red it, it was just as bad trying to get the red out of my hair!

    1. It is an absolute nightmare isn't it! Sometimes I do get really sick of how high maintenance it is! Black was a simple colour. Not looking forward to when it's time to change! x

  2. Love that color! Amazing!!:)

    following, and looking forward to future posts hun.

    1. Aw! What a lovely comment! Thanks so much babe, likewise. :) xxx

  3. Omg I love your color. That's where I'm trying to get to but after reading this I'm nervous about the upkeep. I may go for ombre. Unfortunately I was "blessed" with gray hairs at a young age so there's that too. Thanks for all the details and tips!

  4. Hi I know this is an old post bit am looking for some advice. I made a silly mistake and used 30 vol with Magenta and roots are on fire!!! Will it work out of I redo all with Magenta and 20 vol or will it make worse? I love the ends but it's just my roots :(

  5. Hi I know this is an old post bit am looking for some advice. I made a silly mistake and used 30 vol with Magenta and roots are on fire!!! Will it work out of I redo all with Magenta and 20 vol or will it make worse? I love the ends but it's just my roots :(

    1. Hi Ceara. I just wrote a big reply there and lost it. It's an old post but I still have red hair. Oh no, it's a nightmare when that happens! :( I wouldn't suggest going over all of your hair with the 20 vol, you'll just end up making the roots even brighter. If you like the colour of the roots, you could try using the 30 vol again on ONLY your lengths and ends and steer clear of your roots. If you prefer the colour of the lengths and ends, I would go over all of it with a slightly deeper semi permanant like Directions Rose Red or Tulip. Your roots will still be slightly lighter than the rest, but it should blend in a lot better. Don't be scared if it comes out a bit dark/purply when you first use the semi-perm, once you have washed a few times - it will lighten up to a lovely deep magenta. I am not a hairdresser, but this is personally what I would do. Hope that helps :) x


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