With the weather getting colder, who’s ready to warm up their hair color? [Raises hand] Lucky you–fall is the perfect season for shades of classic, current and always-stunning red hair. Got cold feet? Don’t worry. Thanks to its wide spectrum, from 'ronze to burgundy, cinnamon to copper, every complexion can rock a red. We’ve got all the info you need, so proceed with confidence, and read up on going red for fall.
RED HAIR AND SKIN TONE
FAIR SKIN TONE
For those with porcelain skin (i.e. fair with pink undertones), a coppery blonde will light up your creamy skin and makes features pop. If you’re fair but neutral, try a soft auburn with hints of copper and gold, found in Genova Red. Those with fair skin with yellow undertones should would look great in this color, as well, as it perfectly complements the golden hints in their complexion. Go too vibrant and it can make this skin tone look paler. And for fair ladies with a little olive going on, opt for a light, golden brown with hints of mahogany, like Como Light Brown. Or you can opt for a 50/50 mix of brown and red for the perfect combination. The main takeaway for this tone: steer clear of the extremes—too orange or too warm—to avoid making fair skin look sallow.
MEDIUM SKIN TONE
Because there’s more pigment in your skin, your complexion can manage deeper, warmer red hair hues with ease. Try a rich auburn, with hints of copper and gold, such as Sardinia Red. And if you’re in the olive family, consider a mahogany brown with hints of gold, like Firenze Brown. Choosing a red with the same undertones as your complexion ensures that you’re working with your skin—not against it. Translation: you’ll look like a natural redhead. Golden-tinged reds tend to be the most flattering (vs. cool, blue-based reds like scarlet or crimson), and avoid eggplant or maroon hues as they could make skin take on a yellowish cast.
DARK SKIN TONE
There are two schools of thought when it comes to red hair for darker skin. If you’re looking for a more natural look, your best bets are dark auburn to deep golden brown with hints of mahogany, such as Catania Brown. Or if you’re looking for something a bit more dramatic, look for a deeper, redder mahogany, such as Trieste Red, which can look stunning against darker skin. Just stay away from orange-y, brassy tones.
CARDINAL HAIR CARE RULES
If at first you don’t succeed, dye, dye again.
Don’t freak if your hair fades fast. It can take multiple rounds before red hair color really takes. The reason? The red hair molecule is the largest of the color molecules and therefore, slips out of the cuticle the easiest. If your strands are very dry, damaged, or you’re going red from blonde, it’s difficult for them to hold onto the big molecule. Even healthy hair has a hard time making the true color stick, so take heart and hit the bottle again.
Wash less. Wash smart.
Wait at least 48 hours after coloring your hair to wash it—better yet, wait a week if you can. Lathering up right away can open the cuticle, allowing the color to fade out quicker. When you do finally hit the shower—once a week is ideal—use lukewarm to cold water and a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo. Hot water can literally steam your color out, and by finishing with a cool rinse, you’ll close the cuticle and lock in color. If you’re feeling greasy in between showers, rinsing with water is fine, or use a dry shampoo to absorb excess oil.
After using a permanent hair color like Radiant Cream Color to achieve your perfect red hue, top it with Color Reviving Gloss to seal it in, deep condition, and add major shine. Try this layered approach to lengthen your red’s staying power: color, then cool rinse finish. A couple of weeks later, repeat your gloss treatment to revive color with just a hint of tone and loads of luminosity.
Treat it right.
Keep hot styling to a minimum. We know this is easier said than done, so when you do need to blow dry, spritz strands with a thermal protectant spray first and store your metal brushes (which can get as hot as styling tools). Also, consider installing a shower filter to remove color-dulling minerals and prevent buildup.
Keep it up.
Because the oversized red hair molecule doesn’t penetrate the hair shaft as deeply as other colors, no matter how you nurture your red, it will fade. It’s a sad fact of hair life. Re-color every 4 weeks to keep your red looking natural, warm, rich, and totally head turning.
Check out the latest Radiant Red Hair Color Ideas from Madison Reed to find your next inspiration!
And don't miss our Madison Reed Hair Color Chart.