We all know that red is one of the rarest hair colours in the world, with less than two per cent of the population naturally having red or orange hair. However, over the last decade or so, the colour has become extremely popular with celebrities like Emma Stone, Ariana Grande and Rihanna all rocking their own version of the flaming shade.
In fact, Google search terms such as “best red hair dye UK” have gone up a staggering 120% in the last five years, and “red passion hair dye” and “red semi-permanent hair dye” have gone up 90% and 70%.
So, with a good percentage of the UK and Ireland opting for the bold, no-nonsense look of red and orange hair, we’ve decided to put together a guide on the best way to look after your luscious locks.
If you have coloured hair, why not take a look at our colour care for winter hair guide here.
If you are a natural redhead, congratulations - you have beautiful, unique hair! However, due to its uniqueness, it needs special care to keep it looking vibrant and shiny all year round.
When caring for your naturally red hair, the most important thing to consider is its vibrancy. Red hair is notorious for being lively and fiery, and to maintain this you must look after the hair cuticle. As they are the outermost layer of a hair strand, your hair cuticles are what protects your hair from damage and imparts shine. Therefore, it’s a good idea to care for your red hair cuticles by hydrating and smoothing them with oil. Finally, to close the cuticles of your hair, we recommend applying a serum with a silicone and vitamin base a few times a week to lock in that smooth, shiny finish.
Natural redheads are usually blessed with thick hair, and because of this, their hair will crave moisture and hydration. Because of its shape, it's harder for natural oils to migrate down the strands of thick hair, leaving them much drier. Therefore gentle hydration is key to avoid this and maintain healthy locks. We suggest opting for a moisturiser that has water as its first or second ingredient, deep conditioning regularly, avoiding excess heat, and finally trimming your ends regularly.
Finally, when it comes to shampooing and conditioning your natural red hair, make sure the products you use aren’t too heavy. By ‘heavy’, we mean any products with harsh ingredients that can strip hair of its natural oils. Sulphate-free shampoos are a great option as they offer a gentle yet thorough cleanse without harsh chemicals. It’s also a good idea to look out for products that include the likes of argan, coconut and other nut oils as they too will moisturise, and finally, keratin as this will help keep frizz at bay and leave hair looking smooth.
Read More: Dry Hair Be Gone
Whether you’ve fully dyed your hair strawberry blonde, crimson red, scarlet or copper, or have opted for some highlights instead, your new red hair needs special care to make sure you get the most out of your colour.
When it comes to dyed red hair, maintaining your colour is essential! Therefore, when you initially dye your hair, we recommend waiting at least two days before washing. If washed too soon after colouring, the cuticle could lift and your hair colour may seep out, causing it to fade almost instantly. Moreover, for dyed hair, it’s a good idea to limit the number of times you wash it per week, as the more often you wash your hair, the faster the colour will fade. If a build-up of oil begins to form on your scalp in between washes, use dry shampoo on your roots to help it appear cleaner.
Furthermore, we recommend opting for a shampoo and conditioner that has been specifically formulated for coloured hair - preferably one that is free from both alcohol and sulfate. There are also products out there that are designed to deposit additional colour onto your hair every time you wash it. However, keep in mind that this can change the appearance of your hair colour.
Dyed red hair can become dry and brittle, especially if coloured frequently, and, because of this can make your hair look faded and dull. To restore your coloured hair and get back its moisture, it’s a good idea to invest in a good hydrating conditioner and hair mask. Keeping your hair moisturised is essential for maintaining your vibrant red hair for longer. A deep conditioner, like a hair mask or a hot oil treatment, will pump your hair full of moisture and nutrients to keep it looking healthy, strong, and bright.
Finally, unlike natural red hair, dyed red hair needs extra protection from the elements. For example, swimming in chlorinated water can bleach out your hair which will drastically change its colour. Furthermore, saltwater is extremely bad at drying out your hair and making it dull and lifeless. Therefore, if you do decide to go swimming in chlorine or saltwater, we recommend wearing a swimming cap or other protective headwear, or alternately, avoid getting your hair wet.
If you are looking for that salon-fresh look at home, then we recommend the Wella Professionals Color Fresh Mask. This zero-damage colour-depositing mask is a Millie’s favourite for a temporary change of colour. Use this at-home treatment weekly to easily add a blast of vibrant red to pre-lightened hair and transform your look in just 10 minutes! The temporary colour fades gradually and the rich care ingredients in the formula leave the hair feeling smooth and moisturised.
Shu Uemura Color Lustre Masque - €57.60
For those with dyed red hair, maintaining your colour in between trips to the salon is essential. At Millies, we love this Shu Uemura Color Lustre Masque with its antioxidant-rich goji berry extract that helps protect coloured hair from fading. Not only does this hair mask deeply condition but it also promotes shiny hair, which will leave your colour so vibrant it looks like you've just had it done.
Most natural redheads will find that their hair can become quite thick, brittle and dry at times, and because of this, they need the correct products to combat this. This Kevin Murphy Silky Smooth Repair Bundle has been specially designed to nourish dry, damaged, frizzy hair back to full health.
Enriched with proteins, enzymes and amino acids, the Repair Me Wash will replenish the hair from root to tip. Furthermore, the Kevin Murphy Repair Me Rinse is a deeply nourishing and strengthening conditioner that will gently lubricate the hair while also restoring and protecting against future damage.
Finally, the Kevin Murphy Young Again is a daily leave-in treatment oil that has been Infused with immortelle and packed with antioxidants. This weightless treatment provides intense nourishment, leaving hair looking smoother and shinier, as well as helping to protect against environmental stressors and heat damage.
Kérastase Soleil Bain Apres-Soleil - €23.30
As mentioned above, coloured red hair needs extra protection from the elements - especially the sun and the sea! At Millie’s, we love this Kérastase Bain Après-Solei shampoo after a long day in the sun. Bain Après-Soleil is developed with Kérastase's Photo-Défense Filter which provides active protection against both UVA and UVB rays; cationic silicone to create a hydrophobic barrier; ceramide to strengthen and reinforce the hair, and finally softening and smoothing polymers, for simple detangling.
This Color Wow Style on Steroids Performance Enhancing Texture + Finishing Spray is a must-have for anyone with coloured hair. We love this product at Millies because the spray does not 'cloud' colour or leave any unwanted sticky residue, instead, it provides thermal protection plus sets hair for long-lasting results. Finally, this spray will help your hair stay hydrated, strong and under control, without damaging your colour.
For more information and high-quality products for your coloured red hair, take a look at our expert haircare solutions here.