How To Make Your Red Hair Last As Long As Possible

photos of woman with long red hair color

Coloring your hair is a major investment. However, some colors are more of an investment than others. If you color your hair black, chances are good that the shade won’t budge for a while. Red hair, on the other hand, means getting prepared to head back to the salon—a lot. Red hair color is notorious for fading fast, but that shouldn’t stop you from embracing the fiery shade. Red is the perfect color for anyone looking for a drastic, sexy makeover. The color red oozes sex appeal, allowing you to channel your inner siren.

Want to learn how to make your red hair color last longer? Sean Godard, Redken brand ambassador and global artist, is here to school you on everything you need to know to stop red hair from fading and ensure your hue looks flawless for weeks to come.

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Why does red hair color fade so fast?

Before you learn how to make your red hair color last as long as possible, you should know why it fades so fast in the first place. Godard says the reason the color red fades so quickly is pretty simple—it all comes down to science.

“Red fades fast because it has a larger dye molecule that sits more on the surface of the hair,” he explains. “The brighter the color is, the more direct dyes are involved and the faster it can fade.”

Because red color molecules are larger than other color molecules, the type of dye you choose will also make a huge impact on how long your hue lasts. For the longest-lasting color, your best bet is to opt for permanent red hair dyes as opposed to a semi, demi, or temporary dye.

Permanent dye is formulated with tiny molecules that can penetrate the hair cuticle and enter the hair cortex. Once the molecules are inside the hair cortex, bleach and ammonia lift the hair’s natural color allowing the dye to give your strands a new hue. Whereas semi, demi, and red temporary hair color just coat the hair with color.

How To Maintain Your Red Hair Color At Home

Considering how fast red fades, it should come as no surprise that it is a high maintenance color. To ensure your color looks flawless as long as possible, Godard says you’ll need to stock your bathroom with the proper supplies. The stylist recommends a hair care system like Redken’s Color Extend Magnetics Shampoo and Conditioner. The system will help to gently cleanse, detangle, and strengthen color-treated hair with Redken’s exclusive RCT Protein Complex to treat hair from the root, to the core, to the tip. The Color Extend Magnetics care system with Charge-Attract Complex delivers charged amino-ions that attract to the hair fiber to form a barrier. The formula is lightweight and non-stripping, while hair feels fortified and color radiance is secured for optimal looking vibrancy.

Caring for your colored strands doesn’t end with shampoo and conditioner. How you style your hair can also affect on how long your hue lasts. While you should always use a heat protectant when you heat style your hair, it can be even more important when you have colored locks.

“Using heat protectant products like Redken Iron Shape 11, can help the color not fade as fast when styling,” Godard explains. “Keep your hot tools at a lower temperature to help minimize damage.”

The final—and arguably most crucial—part of your at-home hair care is being able to identify when it’s time to head back to the salon. Godard advises clients who’ve gone red to come back to the salon every four weeks for a glaze, refresh, or tone. Heading to the salon regularly allows your colorist to keep your color in tip-top shape and administer any treatments that will help your hair look and feel its best.

“I always refresh the ends of the hair with acidic colors like Redken Shades EQ or Redken City Beats to help maintain the longevity and condition of the hair,” Godard says.

While red hair color will require you to head back to the salon with some regularity, you can rely on products like L'Oréal Professionnel's Instant Root Touch Up in the auburn red shade for hair, to mask your roots in between appointments. 

Now that you know exactly how to make your red hair color last as long as possible, you can slay crimson locks all year long.

Interested in red hair? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.