Updated: October 31st, 2023
By: Stephanie Vendetti, Co-Founder of How to be a Redhead
Lately our Instagram feeds have been full of red hair inspo and it’s one of the most popular shades on the market. Since I am a natural redhead, it can be confusing because I don’t know what’s good for me or ‘by choice’ reds. Can we use the same products? Should I use something more specific?
For both natural and ‘by choice’, red is a complex color that isn’t the easiest to maintain. But when it looks good, it looks so, so good and that’s what we’re always trying to achieve.
Let’s take two celebrities as an example: Jessica Chastain as a natural redhead and Emma Stone as a ‘by choice’ redhead. Jessica may face fading as she gets older and we’re sure she’s opting for color depositing shampoos or clear glosses to “up” her natural red. Unfortunately, red does fade as we age. For Emma Stone, her main concern is finding the right color. In an interview with Refinery29, celebrity colorist, Tracey Cunningham, gives the 411 on making Emma Stone’s hair red.
“The secret to her red — actually, the only thing I’ve ever used on her — is the Redken Shade EQ gloss. That color gloss is amazing because it feels like a conditioner, but it actually stains the hair. It’s not a real color dye, but because it’s acid-based, it lays so nicely on the hair, giving it that shine,” Cunningham shares.
Before we get into our recommendations, let’s talk about why red hair fades:
Why does red hair color fade so fast?
When it comes to maintaining red hair, the color fade struggle is real. Natural redheads either fade into blonde or brown-out.
For dyed redheads, because the color-molecules in red pigment are much larger than the molecules in other colors, the first few times you try to color your hair red, it won’t fully penetrate the cuticle and stain the hair. This also means it slips out of the cuticle faster with each wash. Even with the most talented colorists in the best salons, red hair dye will noticeably fade at around four weeks. It can even take a few attempts to get the red pigment to stick to your hair. And even then, red hair is prone to fading and looking orange or brassy. It’s important to only use hair care products designed for color-treated-hair, and protect your strands from things like heat, chlorine, and environmental pollution.
Over the years, I have personally learned what works and what doesn’t. Here are 4 tips if you’re thinking of enhancing your red hair with a gloss, whether you’re natural or ‘by choice’:
1. Why we love hair glosses
A demi-permanent hair color (aka hair gloss) is a non-permanent color that gradually fades over the course of a few weeks. It’s a great way to ‘up’ your red, without using any harsh chemicals or permanent dyes. The best part: it’s very low maintenance since there aren’t any roots to cover up after a few weeks.
You can choose to get a hair gloss in the salon or try it at home. The benefit of going into a salon is they will perfectly match your color or the color you’re looking to achieve.
I personally get a Davines in-salon hair gloss every 12 weeks. When I’m noticing my hair turning brassy (around the 8-9 week mark), I opt for a Christophe Robin Shade Variation Care glossing mask in Chic Copper.
If you are looking for an alternative to color-depositing gloss, look no further:
It took many years to custom-make the Finally Glossy® formula and we’re so excited for redheads to enjoy it. We’re thrilled to release another clean redhead beauty product. It is paraben-free, cruelty-free, sulfate-free, petroleum-free, mineral-oil, and vegan. It also contains no perfume, is free of gluten and is silicone-free, phthalate-free, formaldehyde-free and cocamidopropyl betaine-free. This clean formula is formulated with Vitamin B3, olive oil, coconut oil and green tea.
2. Use the right cleansers
If you’re experimenting with at-home hair glosses, make sure your shampoo and conditioner are both color-safe and free of parabens and sulfates. We love both lines from Living Proof Perfect Hair Day and VERB Hydrating.
3. Turn to a color depositing shampoo
A great option for redheads who do not want to do a gloss or dye. If you’re a little nervous to make the hair gloss jump, turn to a color-depositing shampoo. Color-depositing shampoos naturally deposit color in the hair.
You can also use color-depositing shampoo to prolong your hair gloss! I use a color-depositing shampoo and conditioner 1-2 times a week to keep my red hair naturally vibrant.
4. Don’t overwash your hair
Avoid over-shampooing your hair. Try washing it two times a week and use a ‘redhead friendly’ dry shampoo in between. When drying your hair opt to use a microfiber towel! Introducing the How to be a Redhead Soft Microfiber Hair Towel for Redheads. Because wet hair is at its most vulnerable, this custom microfiber towel gently and carefully absorbs moisture from your red hair and dries it quickly, all while protecting it from stretching and breakage. This design is uniquely shaped to wrap all of your hair securely (no matter the length), with an elastic strap to comfortably keep things in place. Your hair journey starts here, redheads.
Rock it like a Redhead!