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How to Keep Your Red Hair Color and Your Money From Going Down the Drain

Updated on February 23, 2014

Eight Ways to Keep Your Color Longer

You can spend a fortune on the perfect shade for your lovely locks. So let's make sure you don't wash all that cash and color down the drain.

If you are a red head you already know that your color is the hardest of all colors to maintain. If not treated properly, it can fade within a week. So, it is wise to take special precautions with your hair to make your color last and stay bright.

  • Wash your hair the day that you get your hair dyed. There is old wives tale that has been going around that you should never get your hair dyed on freshly washed hair. The truth is that advice is really only relevant to people that are going to have a procedure done that would be damaging to their hair, such as bleaching. The dirty hair would have more oil on it and would have a layer of protection. But, red dye does not damage and so this would not apply.
  • After dying your hair, don't wash it for 72 hours. This may seem impossible, but it really helps the color bind to your hair better. If you feel like your hair is feeling oily, grab some baby powder and sprinkle some in your hand. Run your hand through your hair until you no longer see any oily areas or powder. You can blow dry your hair on cool to make sure the baby powder has been absorbed and is no longer visible. Your hair will look and smell fresh.
  • Water is your number one enemy. When you dye your hair the pigments go inside of the hair itself. But, when you get your hair wet with hot water not only are your lifting the hair shaft allowing the pigments to escape, the hot water also stretches your hair, relaxing the shaft allowing for pigments to escape. So try to use cool water when washing and rinsing your hair.
  • Shampooing your hair everyday is just asking for your color to be stripped away. Water itself can take away your pigment, then add in a detergent. Wash less frequently. The more you wash your hair, the faster your color will fade. Believe it or not, there is no reason to wash your hair every day. If you must, use dry shampoo. For the times when you do need a real shampoo find a color supportive shampoo and conditioner that is designed for red heads. But make sure you consult with your hairstylist first to make sure you are not using a copper red shampoo on a blue red color.
  • Get a clear or red cellophane gloss hair treatment about one week after your color. The cellophane gloss hair treatment is one of the best-kept salon secrets. Just like putting a spa mask on your face, a cellophane treatment is used to give life back to dull, troubled hair. Some refer to it as a Glaze. Don't be fooled, a gloss lasts weeks longer than a glaze.
  • Consider Henna. Henna is a flowering plant. The leaves of the Henna plant contain a natural and very effective coloring pigment: Lawsone. This Orange/Red dye releases as the leaves are crushed. Drying, milling, and sifting the Henna leaves into a fine powder maximizes the pigment (Lawsone) release. The powdered henna will activate with air and water. After mixing to a paste, you can apply directly to your hair or skin for Natural, Super-Effective coloring. Henna temporarily tattoos the body, and permanently colors hair. It has a more permanent effect than commercial dyes and is basically chemical free.
  • Avoid the sun. Just like our skin our hair can be damaged by UV rays. They tend to have a bleaching effect on hair. So, either buy a hat or UV protectant spray or mask for hair if you have to be in the sun. The same rules apply to tanning beds.
  • Avoid swimming pools. Chlorine is another enemy to your hair. Also found in bleach, it will strip your color fast. If you must go into the pool, please try a deep conditioner and don't rinse it out or put on a swimming cap.

Keep That Beautiful Red Hair Red

Listen, not everyone can pull off red hair. So, if you are one of the beauties that can do it, you owe it to yourself to keep your hair it top condition. Once you've found a perfect shade that works for you, follow the tips above so that your color will look great and stay that way longer. You'll get everyone's attention with those gorgeous red head tresses. Like they say looking good is feeling good. So, keep that red hair red.

Here's a little recipe that is good for weekly treatments:

Homemade Color Depositing Conditioner Directions

Ingredients and tools:

  • Deep conditioner, or a conditioner that’s thick enough to not drip off your hair
  • Semi or demi permanent, ammonia-free dye. Ion Brilliance demi permanent color or whatever you choose from Sally’s Beauty Supply Note: This formula does not require developer, so don’t buy any.
  • Vaseline or similar emollient
  • Mixing bowl and utensil
  • Gloves (if you want to avoid stained hands)


  1. Mix the color and conditioner together at a 1:3 ratio (that is, one part color to three parts conditioner) — make enough to saturate all your hair, but don’t make all of it because it will not keep.
  2. Gently wash your hair with shampoo, then towel dry.
  3. Apply Vaseline or some other protectant to your hairline to keep color from staining your skin.
  4. Begin adding the color to your roots, working your way down the ends of your hair — saturate evenly
  5. Leave on for 15-40 minutes.
  6. Rinse thoroughly.

Play around with it! If you want the color to be more intense, use a 1:2 ratio, or a permanent hair color, or leave it on longer.

Do this at least once a week. Your color will look amazing, You can correct the shade if you're unhappy with how it’s fading. In fact, it will look shinier and feels healthier than ever before, probably because it’s being deep conditioned weekly. The absence of a developer and using an ammonia free dye keeps the solution from ravaging your hair. That being said, if for some reason your hair can’t tolerate this process, obviously don’t keep doing it!


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