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7 tips for maintaining red hair

tips for red hair

tips for red hair

I've had red hair for a few years now and it's the most difficult shade to keep as good as the day you coloured it. I'm asked how I dye and maintain my red hair all the time, so I thought I'd share my tips with you. This doesn't just apply to red hair, if you're thinking of using any hair colourant, natural or bright, these tips should help you maintain your colour. I apologise now for the length of this post, it seemed to make more sense to do it in one hit rather than break things down.

Keep it healthy
Before we even talk dye and keeping things bright, it's important to look after your hair before you colour it. If your hair is damaged or dry, the dye won't take very well and you will of course cause more and more damage, and we don't want that right? So make sure you have regular trims every 8 weeks or so and use a hair mask once a week. Personally I love the Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Intensive Mask, as it makes my hair feel so nourished but yet light, perfect for fine hair like mine. My hair is really dry so I use the Phyto 7 Hydrating Day Cream which asks like a moisturiser for your hair. I rub it into my ends most days and it helps keep everything healthy. Heat styling can also make red hair fade, so try and limited the blow drys and straightening etc, and if you do use heat on your hair, make sure you use a good heat protectant. I've been using the GHD Heat Protect Spray one for yonks now and it really does the trick without weighing my hair down. I also use the Wet Brush Paddle* on both wet and dry hair and it's really gentle and doesn't snag at all. I used to use a Tangle Teezer but the not having a handle really annoyed me as I'd always drop it or fling it across the bathroom. The Wet Brush is really worth checking out though as it glides through the hair without tugging and I get hardly any snags with it. It also gets to the roots a lot better than the Tangle Teezer so you can be sure you've got every knot out. The paddle brush is really good for smoothing out my hair too.

There's so many hair dye brands now that produce vibrant bright reds. I used to have really bright red hair and I found that most brands that you could buy in Boots insisted on just having orange-red colours which on me faded to orange really quickly. That's one of the reasons why I actually switched over to copper instead. I hated the colour my hair used to fade to, but now I like the strawberry blonde that my hair lightens up to, which I know is sort of cheating given that we're talking about maintaining red hair, but the less you can get away with dyeing your hair the better. I use the L'oreal Feria Preference dye in either Mango Intense Copper or Paprika Power if I want to go a bit brighter. I also only apply permanent colours to my roots as they lighten the hair and if you repeatedly put them all over you'll end up with very over processed and damaged hair. On the lengths of my hair I use a much gentler, semi-permanent dye. There's lot of these around now which are more stains than anything. I use the Creative Image Adore colour in Cajun Spice. This isn't the easiest to get hold off but you can get it from Bee Unique, Ebay or in little local afro-carribean hair shops for about £4-5. This is the best range of semi-permanent colours I've used and they have everything from natural colours to very vibrant shades. There's no chemicals in this so I can use this every couple of weeks if I need to. Other brands worth trying out are Directions or Manic Panic. I find using a gentle semi-permanent dye really important in terms of maintaining my red hair as I know it's not going to cause lots of unnecessary damage. I also, quite naughtily ignore the directions a fair bit as they say to leave on for 15 minutes under heat. All well and good if you own a hair salon! I wash my hair first, skip conditioner and apply to towel dried hair. Then I put on a rather unattractive shower cap and leave it for about half an hour. Lastly, I blast it with a hair dryer for 15 minutes (with the cap still on). This I find gives me a stronger colour which lasts about three weeks.

Use specific products for coloured hair
Never use harsh shampoos on your red hair as they will strip your colour like nobodies business. You can either go for sulphate-free products or those that are designed to protect coloured hair. I must admit, I like the lather that sulphates give. It's bit of a marmite ingredient, but each to their own I guess. I love the feeling of really clean hair so personally I use it sparingly as I don't want to strip my hair (and colour) too much. I really like the Schwarzkopf Essence Ultime Diamond Shampoo* and Schwarzkopf Essence Ultime Diamond Conditioner*. These are designed specifically with coloured hair in mind as they have a protective formula that acts as a gloss to seal in colour and moisture, meaning your colour lasts a lot longer. The ingredients include keratin and refined-protein which are really good for keeping your hair strong and in good condition. I find that these two products keep my red hair nice and soft and smooth too. I can go a lot longer than I used to between washes with Schwarzkopf Essence Ultime too, which is also super important for me. In terms of styling products, try and avoid alcohol as this will strip colour out of your hair.

Keep it cool
Hot water opens the hair cuticles and so when the cuticles are wide open, the colour can run out a lot quicker. If you turn down the shower and keep the water nice and cool the colour will not come out as quickly. This also leaves your red hair a lot shinier as the cuticles close nicely and leave your hair super smooth. No one likes a cold shower so I tend to wash my hair over the side of the bath so the rest of me can stay nice and cosy, a godsend in winter!

Cut down
Probably the best tip I can give to maintain red hair is to reduce the frequency that you wash it. I have fine hair which does get greasy quickly but I find washing my hair every three to four days really helps. Dry shampoo is therefore my best friend. The only one that I've found that keeps my hair feeling clean enough is the Batiste Coconut & Exotic Tropical Dry Shampoo. There's still room for improvement, so if you have any recommendations for better dry shampoos please let me know! I also swap out regular conditioner for leave-in conditioner every couple of washes. I use the Living Proof No Frizz Leave-In Conditioner. It helps keep my hair tangle-free but I also find that it's moisturising without feeling heavy on my hair. My hair does tend to frizz so this really helps it behave without having to straighten it all the time.

Mix your dye and conditioner
If you mix a little of your semi-permanent dye with your conditioner you can top up your colour a little bit every time you wash it. I don't do this that often, but if my hair is starting to fade and I don't have the time to dye it then this is a great step for topping things up.

Keep out of the sun
The sun is not very kind to coloured hair and will make it fade. Just as you should be applying sunscreen to your skin, you should also protect your hair. There's loads of good UVA and UVB protection sprays out there now and Charles Worthington do a pretty good one. Failing that, keep out to the sun for prolonged periods or wear a hat.

These are just a few tips that I find to really help me but if you have any tips to share, please let me know. Also if you have any questions on maintaining red hair, do ask as I love to chat to you guys :)


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