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ASK RONA: How to Cover White Hair – Tips for Vibrant Red Hair at Any Age

QUESTION: Hi Rona! I am trying to find a solution to white-turning red hair. So far, I’ve attempted both salon and home color rejuvenations which both fade quickly.  I am searching for a staying color like Susan Sarandon but I am constantly covering my white hair. What are my choices for reasonably priced, natural red hair? Usually, the advice is to color lighter than your original hair color. For blondes and brunettes, that is obvious– but what about redheads? -Teri 

Most natural redheads turn white, not gray, so this is a typical question! Depending on the amount of white hair you have will have a lot to do with how you color and maintain your hair for the best results. More white usually is a faster fade. Lighter red shades fade faster, especially if they are lighter than your natural color,” Rona shares.

Take the following advice to your hairstylist:

1. If you have more than 50% white:

Keep your red shade a little bit lighter so the regrowth doesn’t show too quickly. This will allow you to stretch out your root touch-ups. Use a demi-permanent color to refresh color through the ends which will also create less damage and help color last longer.

2. If you are less than 30% white:

…and don’t mind a little bit of white/gray in-between colorings, red highlights in three shades are the best. They provide low maintenance and give natural results. In fact, I have clients that I touch up every 3 to 5 months with this process. Shade number 1 is lighter to camouflage the white hair (level 8 or 9 in a golden red for sparkle). Shade number 2 is a brighter, medium copper (level 8 or 7). Shade number 3 would be close to your natural tone and should be woven through the hair in a chunkier pattern to break up the white hair as well as cover them and keep within your natural level.

READ: 10 Root Cover-Up Products for Redheads 

Remember: Your most important at-home maintenance is a shampoo and conditioner “for color-treated” hair to prevent fading.