Since I have been lovingly branded as a ‘former redhead who rants’, I may as well use my extensive knowledge of the colour red to teach those who wish to obtain it how to do so. From the darkest red, to the brightest orange, since I was 14 I have come across every shade, sometimes mixing it with regretful results. So, without further explaination, here is to how to make your head a lovely shade of crimson goodness.
Don’t worry, it doesn’t even hurt. If your naturally blonde like me, you probably won’t have to bleach your hair to get the bright red you want, but if you’re darker than mid brown, I recommend doing so. And unless your a hairdresser, DON’T do this at home. You could end up damaging your hair so badly there will be none left to dye later. Also, don’t bleach it more than once, and use treatments to keep it feeling alive, don’t leave it fried. It’s a process and it takes time.
Picking a shade
Believe it or not, there are many different kids of red, and some people need to be aware that what they want will not always look good with their skin tone. Again, I recommend talking to a hairdresser, but if you want to try and pick your own shade, know what shades suit your skin tone and what you should be avoiding.
Dyes, stains and colour tints
Before doing the permanent thing, take the colour for a test drive with either a small amount of hair or a 14 day wash out. If you want to jump straight into dyes, I find Garnier and Loreal have the best shades of red as the brand who used to make the colour boosters stopped doing so (they can still be found in discount stores I think). If you just want a hint of red, try colour bombs you can get from hairdressers which you simply use in the shower, they last for quite a while. I find stains are the most effective when it comes to fire engine red hair. Fudge makes some really rad ones and there are 3 different red shades, an orange and a pink. They can also be mixed to make a desired shade (I’m planning on mixing the orange and the mid red). But be warned, they stain EVERYTHING, not just your head. I remember looking like a tomato the first few times I used them. Use gloves and get someone to help get the dye off with shampoo when it’s just been applied.
Reds are a massive pain for people who don’t have the time to dye it often, especially in summer when it seems to get bleached out so fast. The longest I went between dyes was 2 months and my hair looked pretty lacklustre. Permanent dyes tend to fade less and to a less vibrant shade of ginger, but when it comes to stains, they’re not for you if you can’t dye your hair monthy at least, sometimes refreshing the colour every two weeks! The key is, and this could put you off, washing your hair less. If you shampoo it twice, do it once, and use leave in shampoos between washes to keep your hair feeling clean and full. If you have oily hair, do not use leave in conditioner, it makes it feel yuck. Also when you dry your hair, use volumizing products to keep it fuller for longer. Bedhead make some good ones. I know everyone says about dye specific shampoos, and they help, but not as much as you think. If you buy one, get one that has dye in the product. It may stain your bathroom tiles (sorry dad) but it helps.
Dying it out
So you’ve had enough of the red insults and want a way out. Not to worry, especially if your hair is dark. Simply just buy a darker shade, treat it and poof! No more ginger. But if your like me and want to go blonde, it’s going to be a lot more work. It took my very good friend (a PROFESSIONAL hairdresser, do not do this at home or you will end up with fried, orange hair) 4 hours, 2 bleaches, 1 colour and 1 treatment to make my hair feel alive and looking naturally blonde, and still it had a red tint to it. After about 6 weeks, go and get the last of that sucker out. I have to apologize to Madeline for putting the red back in my hair though, sadly I got bored with blonde and it didn’t last long for me.
Also, after the bleaching, don’t expect to keep the length if you have it. The ends of your hair will be fried and my hair went from being reasonably long to just over shoulder length, so from THIS
And now in the process of going back red (currently, orange and blonde for fun).
and now finally…
…Putting up with the insults
Prepare to get called ranga, ginge, red, fanta pants, fire crouch and get bouts of yelling about anyone famous who has red hair or people saying you have no soul. Enjoy!