Between my real hair and extensions I’ve worn in the past, I have had every single color of the rainbow in my hair at some point in my life. I started dying my hair at the tender age of thirteen: my first experience was bright turquoise tips at the end of my naturally dark brunette strands. I am now twenty years old and still in love with changing my hair color. It’s become a part of my regular beauty routine and I believe my best personality traits shine through my hair: fiery, stubborn, outgoing and eccentric.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that with a personality like that, I picked red as my signature hair color.
Here’s the best way I can describe red: it’s that one friend you have who can be unsure or flaky with most social interactions and activities, but she still has a good heart and never fully abandons or leaves you. Red hair washes out and fades incredibly quickly, but if you ever want to strip out the color entirely with bleach or cover it forever with a darker dye, well, I wish you luck. Although the color fades rapidly, it has a very strong stain to it and is difficult to remove. Red hair is probably the biggest commitment you will ever make in life, besides marriage or paying your student loans back in a timely fashion, but I find the color to be worth it.
Red can work for anyone of any race as long as the wearer purchases the correct shade to complement their skin tone. I have olive skin with very yellow undertones (thanks, Sicilian-Italian mother and Puerto Rican father!), which doesn’t show well in photos but is clear as day in real life and natural light. As a result, I don’t normally use warmer dyes, such as orange-reds, for fear that I will look too sickly. My go-to dye is a shade of blue-red: L’Oreal Hicolor Highlights in Magenta. The L’Oreal Hi-color brand is actually made for people with darker hair who do not want to bleach their strands to get to red; it comes with a built-in lightener. They carry both warm and cool reds to satisfy a large and varying mix of customers.
Once the actual process of dying my hair is over, I feel great. My hair not only looks fantastic in the sun but is also bright and colorful enough to satisfy my picky nature. And then the hard part arises: maintaining the color and keeping it bright and saturated for as long as possible. Along the way, I’ve learned some helpful tips for the aftercare of red:
1. Don’t use drug store box dyes under any circumstances whatsoever. There’s no guarantee they will cover your hair evenly and are very unhealthy for your hair. Always buy dye from license beauty supply stores, and never be afraid to ask the clerk for help and recommendations.
2. Wait at least two days after a dye session to wash out your hair. This gives the red particles time to lock into your strands.
3. Try to wash your hair every other day, and only rinse it out with cold water whenever you do need to wash it.
4. Use shampoo and conditioner made for color-treated hair! It’s even better to use sulfate-free shampoo to keep your color lasting longer.
5. Veggie dyes like Manic Panic and Punky Colours aren’t just for scene kids; you can use these in between your regular chemical dye sessions to pump up the fading color in your ends!
As you can see, red hair is a lot of maintenance and a lot of hard work. However, it’s such a great shade and I absolutely love putting the time and effort into keeping it at its best. Blondes may have more fun, but redheads shine the brightest!
What fun colors have you tried in your hair? Have you ever tried red? Share with us in the comments!
Written by Nikki Mancuso