13 May 2010

Red Hair: How-To and Upkeep!

Hey everyone,

UPDATED 1/12/2010:
I now used a couple of different products on my red hair, so be sure to check out these videos:

And the second has lots of information on keeping red hair really bright and vibrant:

Original post:

First of all, a big HELLOOO to the hoards of newbies here, who found my little place on the interwebs via Young Fat & Fabulous.
It was a complete honour to be chosen as this month's YFF Girl of the Moment, as Gabi and her blog are major inspirations for me.
So thank you, thank you, I hope you enjoy reading, and thank you for all your lovely comments both on YFF and here!

Secondly, THANK YOU for your birthday wishes via comments and Twitter. I turned 21-years-old yesterday! You lot are too nice to me, sometimes!
I got some wonderful gift and can't wait to share them with you soon.

Right, now onto business.

Lately I've been getting lots of emails about my hair - mostly about the colour, what dye I use, how I take care of it etc. And I've replied back as best I can, but I always think it's best to see pictures of the products so I'm going to share here what I use.

Having red hair is awesome, and I believe there's a shade of red for everyone - from neon tomato red, to deep auburn!

If you haven't dyed your hair red before and are unsure - I'd at least recommend trying a semi-permanent dye, or ask your stylist for advice (most salons offer a free consulation).
Red fades very easily, but is near-impossible to completely remove from your hair if you don't like it, short of dying it a darker shade on top.

1: The Dye Job.

I've been dying my hair for nearly ten years now, and I am so loyal to Schwarzkopf's Live XXL range of hair dyes. I've tried their brown, purple, black, and black/blue and they're all incredibly beautiful.

At the moment I'm using the colour 'Real Red':

£4.79 from Boots.

It looks really intense on the box, but will only probably come out that colour if you bleach your hair beforehand. I only had blonde highlights, and with the dye on top they really shine through and give my hair a bit more texture - so I would recommend doing that.

I've had to use this dye twice. First time, my hair was quite thick and longer than it is now, so I still had some brown patches - especially in the bottom layers of my hair. So I waited a few days, then dyed it again.
The instruction booklet suggests that when you first apply (ie: not just topping up) you leave the dye on for 30 minutes, but my rule of thumb is leaving it on for an extra fifteen minutes. In my personal experience, the dye has always came out a little more intense, and lasted longer.

It's always recommended to do a strand test, but if you are going for the extra fifteen minutes, this is essential!

Also, if you have long and/or thick hair, I'd reckon get two boxes as sometimes I don't think it goes very far!

2. Upkeep.

So now you have gorgeous, glossy red hair - you'll want to keep it that way, right?
Red hair is famously difficult to keep as it fades so easily, so you're gonna have to invest a little extra money into caring for it.
But don't let this put you off, as the products I use are to be used after shampooing - so they're very easily inserted into your regular haircare routine.

First, you'll want to buy a colour-care shampoo. I've tried a lot of non-colour specific ones, like Tresemmé and Herbal Essenses, and they all seem to do the same thing.
However, I use Radiant Red by John Frieda, which (as you can probably tell by the name!) is specific for redheads - natural and faux:

£4.89 from Boots

This is the BEST shampoo I've used for colour care. This hasn't faded my hair at all, and keeps it very glossy and shiny. And a small amount goes a long way with a lovely lather.

There's also a conditioner in this range, but instead I use John Frieda's Radiant Red Colour Glaze:

£6.99 from Boots.

This is a gorgeous "shine booster and colour glosser" intended to recharge coloured hair. It conditions and also has a small amount of deep red dye mixed into the formula.
It's quite an odd consistancy - very runny and you have to be careful not to spill any in your bath or shower or this stains like MAD!
Basically you applied this while you're still in the shower to still-wet hair, and leave on for at least three minutes. This is great if you're in a bit of a hurry and want a quick boost for your hair.

But I love me some leave-in conditioners, so what I did was with towel-dried hair, applied a medium layer of the product through my hair, put on a shower cap and kept it on for a few hours.
Afterwards my hair felt deliciously soft and shiny and the colour was definately topped-up. I was a bit put-off at first, as my hair seemed darker (the colour in the Glaze is a DEEP red, remember), but this lightened after I next washed my hair.

The only problem I have with this, is the amount you have to use. This can be fine for lots of people, but when I condition my hair, I usually only have to use a pea-sized drop for my whole head as I have very fine hair, and lots of conditioner weighs it down.
But if I only used a small amount with this, I don't think I'd get the same result with the colour boost.

So every other week, I instead top up with Pillar Box Red by Manic Panic:

£7.00 - available from punk/goth shops, or online. I use BeeUnique.co.uk.

Anyone who spent their teenage years as a goth/punk/emo etc. will recognise this brand. They're famous for wild, weird and wonderful colours.
If I applied this to blonde hair, I'd get a neon-red look. But this is fine for me just to top up with.
So after shampooing, once a week, I put a generous amount through my hair, stick on my shower cap and leave it for a few hours when I'm pottering about the house.

(NOTE: DO NOT use these techiniques when you have company! At least company you wouldn't want to see you in an grotty old-maid shower cap!)

So yeah, that's what I do to keep my hair vibrant and healthy.
I've tried to cover as much as I can think of, but please just ask away if you have any other questions!

So I hope this helped some of you redheads - and potential redheads out there.

I handed in my last Media theory essay today, and I only have a few more assignments to complete, so I'm planning lots of lovely posts for you guys.
Luckily, I've been feeling very inspired lately.

I'll probably post about what I got for my birthday tomorrow! I had such a lovely day.

All my new followers may not know, but I'm also on Twitter - feel free to follow me there too.
I tweet about fashion/beauty, and also personal Tweets so you can get to know me a little better!

Muchos love,


  1. You look great in red:) Great tips if I ever decide to be a readhead again! :D

  2. Looks great! I don't know if I can pull of the red look, but you look great!



  3. i have been so tempted to go red again lately but the fading is always something that has bothered me.
    I think i'm just going to take the jump and these tips will be a godsend :D

    X Lisa | strikemypose.blogspot.com

  4. Awesome stuff!
    I'm often a very dark auburn - I especially love to go for a reddish day around autumn time. My hair is naturally very close to black, so it often comes out looking just black but when it catches the light just right it will look fiery, which I love!

  5. Manic Panic is a really good way to keep full colored hair a bit more fibrant and not so fast fading. I also loved their colors.
    And I also used the violet plum color from Schwarzkopf XXL Color and liked it alot.

  6. Sandra: RED?! Y'mean something that's not pink?! Teehee, I kid ;P Thank yooou xxxxx

    Gazel M: There's a red for everyone! If it's not vibrant, even a warm red on dark hair looks amazing in the light!

    Lisa: Yep, the upkeep costs a few more pennies - but not too much more time! If you do it, send a picture/link my way :)

    Bethamint: Yeah mine is nearly black too - blame my Italian heritage! But I've been dying my hair for so long I think it's given up trying to resist ;)

    Katrin: I wore their purple hair dye for YEARS, I love it so much. It always starts nearly black, then fades to purple - LUSH! :) xxxx

  7. Happy Birthday!
    I'm a newbie here, and found you via Gabi's feature,
    Nice Blog!!!=)

  8. I love red hair on people! It looks great on EVERYONE!


  9. I used to have red hair for ages but on me it looked terrible haha. The one thing I will say about Schwarzkopf live though is I was dying my hair brown once and it went to like proper jet black and stayed like it for months! Luckily I wasn't *that* bothered but others might want to be more careful! x

  10. Red hair is great, but the best way to keep it read is to dye it with Elumen. It really stays red. Love it.

  11. Ah, Manic Panic! I used it to dye my hair red in the 9th grade and didn't have such a great experience.

    At the time, my hair was pretty damaged. I'd bleached it twice and dyed it a boring shade of brown when my mom forced me to change my jet black hair before high school. Months later, I decided to try semi-permanent dye to keep from further damaging my hair. I applied the Manic Panic, but when I rinsed and dried my hair I was horrified! My healthy roots had barely absorbed the color, while my damaged ends were practically florescent! I blame my hair, not the dye, for the two-toned color.

    You, on the other hand, did a fabulous job on your lovely red locks :)

    I recently went back to being a redhead--this time, from roots to ends!--so I found your tips very helpful.

  12. Ann: Thank you, and welcome! :)

    xladx: I agree, there's a red to suit everyone! The key to keeping it looking fabulous is to look after it properly! xxxxx

    Tamara: Thank you, I hope you found them useful!

    doublevodkacoke: Oh yeah I've noticed that before - but it for me it's always faded slightly lighter after a couple of washes. I think it depends on the original colour you started with underneath.

    Niina: Really? I haven't heard of that? :)

    Ashley: Yeah I've heard they can react pretty strongly to bleached hair. I've definately had horror stories where my roots have gone bright pink and the rest of my hair had stayed black - but it's all trial and error :) I'm so glad you found the tips useful - you'll have to let me see a picture of your gorgeous red hair :) xxxx

  13. Your hair looks great : ) I have brown hair and it is a pain! The upkeep on dying is so difficult. I should dye it myself like you. Very smart.

  14. I've used that red hair dye, in streaks, but now I wish i'd dyed it all red as i really like the colour!

  15. Thank you SO much for this...I love red hair but am always disappointed at how quickly the colour fades. These are some awesome tips, I think I'm going to buy the Live XXL dye on Ebay (can't get it in Canada...booo!).

  16. Life with Kaishon: Oh I couldn't afford going to a salon, so I've always done it by myself :)

    Katie: Yeah I've had red streaks too - but there's nothing stopping you from going all red :DDD

    Alicia: Awww that sucks you can't buy it in Canada, it's one of my fave brand. Let me know how you get on :) xxx

  17. Great post, really useful tips for natural redheads as well.will look for the John Frieda ones asap!

  18. I've totally missed this one. Really need to try John Frieda stuff since most shampoos will strip off the colour from my hair even if I have red pigment in my hair. I've washed my hair twice already after dying them to darker bright red and they're fading already. :D

  19. Im a newly Red head ( using loreal feria spice power) and I love the colour but it fades so quick and I don't wash it for than twice a week( i am a natural blonde and it fades pink) I try to go at least 4 days before washing and I use dry shampoo and hairspray, just bought some manic panic and I'm gunna give that a go.I get very paranoid about fade as i am a very busy person.

  20. Hi. I was looking on some tips for red hair and came across your blog. :) I've got just one question - doesn't Manic Panic damage your hair? You've said you're keeping in for a few hours, but it's a hair dye, right?
    I'm a bit confused and also scared to try it because - if that's a hair dye and not a toner, and if I keep it in my hair for a couple of hours, wouldn't it all just fall off my head? :D

  21. I'm dying my hair this color today~ :D I'm sick of the Bright pink and I've been different shades of red before, from dark to medium too really bright red so yeah Wonder how it turns out this time haha!~ Your hair looks fab BTW! :D x