Blondes, brunettes, and everyone with hair that falls between the two: Something is missing in your life, and you don’t even know it yet. There’s a whole other side to the hair world that you’ve never explored, and that’s red hair color. Whether through a deep burgundy hue or something a bit more vibrant, red hair is the ultimate step for the mane adventurous that’s adaptable to every skin tone and color.
Looking to add a little spice to your life but don’t know where to begin? We teamed up with Suzie Bond, L’Oréal Professionnel artist and master colorist, to bring you some of the hottest red hues out there. Keep scrolling for 40 of the best red hair color ideas to try when we can finally go to the salon again plus the maintenance tips you need to know about.
How can I keep my red hair color from fading?
Red is a notoriously hard hair color to maintain. Bond assures us, however, that with the proper products and hair care routine, you can keep your color looking as fabulous as the day you walked out of the salon.
First, Bond suggests swapping out your regular shampoo and conditioner with a system formulated to protect color-treated hair. The stylist recommends L'Oréal Professionnel Vitamino A-OX Color Preserve Shampoo and Conditioner to her clients. This system provides color and UV protection to help prolong color radiance and enhance shine.
Depending on the shade of red you opt for and your base color, your colorist might need to use bleach to achieve your hue. Bleach will always cause damage, but your colorist will help to improve the look and feel of your strands before you leave the salon. We also recommend adding a weekly hair mask like L'Oréal Professionnel Vitamino Color A-OX Moisturizing Masque to your routine. This nourishing mask targets weakened and damaged areas of colored hair and wraps it into a lightweight film to protect against every day wear and tear.
Now that you’ve got your at-home hair care covered, it’s time to head back to the salon. Bond says you should plan to head back to the salon every four to six weeks to touch up your new growth and brighten your locks.
What hair color is best for red hair?
Eager to try a red hair color? We don’t blame you! When it comes to achieving the red shade of your dreams, however, it’s best to avoid DYing it at-home. Red is a notoriously finicky color, so we always recommend leaving your red hair color transformation to a salon professional. They’ll be able to create a specific formula using professional color to help you leave the salon with the best possible results.
What are the different colors of red hair?
Good hair day by @suziebond.
Red Hot Red
This crimson hue is a head turner and is perfect for anyone looking for a dramatic hair transformation in the new year.
“This shade is exactly what it sounds like: not for the faint of heart,” Bond says. “If you are looking for an all-over show-stopping hair color, you’ve found the right one.”
To achieve this fiery color, Bond says your colorist will apply a permanent shade beginning at your roots and throughout your mane all the way to your ends. If you have naturally dark locks and are hoping to achieve a vibrant red hue, Bond says your colorist will likely have to pre-lighten your mane with bleach.
Good hair day by @suziebond.
Think of copper penny as red hair for beginners. It’s just red enough to officially call yourself a redhead, without the heavy lifting of maintaining a fiery crimson hue.
“This soft venture into copper and copper brown is great for all the things: gray coverage, highlights, a soft semi-permanent enhancement,” Bond says.
In addition to being an excellent hue for just about any color service, copper penny also looks great on every skin tone.
“Soft coppers can be worn by every skin-tone,” Bond says. “The level of lightness or depth is where each person needs customization to make you look like you were born with it!”
If you have naturally light brown, deep blonde, or coppery locks, your colorist should be able to whip up your dream copper penny color in one sitting. If you have a more dramatic natural hue, it may take a few appointments before you walk out of the salon with perfectly copper penny strands.
Good hair day by @suziebond.
If you love copper penny hair and want to take it to the next level, copper fire hair is perfect for you. This quintessential red hue is guaranteed to multiply your compliments this year. Bond says the only way to do this color justice is to go completely red.
“Since this is a fashion statement choice, an all-over color service is required,” she explains.
Good hair day by @suziebond.
Merlot hair color is perfect for anyone who wants to go red but can’t imagine parting with their dark locks. The red wine-inspired shade is a beautiful blend of rich brown, burgundy, and juicy cherry red. It also has the added benefit of being one of the most low maintenance red hair colors available.
This hair color is all about customization. If you want to add a subtle red hue to your dark brown locks, ask your colorist for burgundy and cherry red highlights or ombre. If you want your merlot hue to resemble a fruity sangria more closely, ask your colorist for an all-over deep cherry red.
Good hair day by @suziebond.
Apricot blonde is the exact opposite of merlot: It’s perfect for anyone looking to go red who can’t imagine parting with their blonde locks. If you’re a natural blonde who’s always thought about going red, this shade is just for you. To achieve this hue, your colorist will hand paint subtle shades of reddish apricot atop your blonde locks.
If you’re not a natural blonde, your colorist will have to pre-lighten your locks with bleach, before whipping up your dream color. Even though bleach will always cause damage, a professional can help minimize the look and feel of said damage.
If honey blonde is the shade every woman tries to go in time for summer, light red is the same Holy Grail shade for redheads. Like copper, light red falls on the very warm side of the color family. However, this color is far more blonde-influenced than copper, edging very close to strawberry blonde.
If your complexion leans toward the warm side, choose a shade of red hair specifically formulated to make you look like a bronzed goddess. That perfect color is undoubtedly burnt sienna, a fiery mix of orange and blonde notes with an undertone of orangey red.
Red hair—particularly the shades that incorporate blonde—is an incredibly summery look. Strawberry is certainly one of those beach-ready shades. The brighter, blonder version of copper looks lovely alongside a light tan.
Dark red hair is an intense, glowing shade that’s perfect for dyed-in-the-wool redheads or brunettes making the transition to the ginger side of things. Depending on your tastes and your stylist, the shade can include notes or orange, chocolate, and purple.
Picture dark red hair that’s accidentally had grape jam spilled all over it, leaving behind a pure purple coat of color—that’s cherry red hair. The shade is vibrant and juicy, surprisingly just as good a fit for spring as it is for winter.
Like a full-bodied red wine for which it’s named, burgundy hair is all about making a loud statement. The brown-purple shade relies on subtle hints of the color to add depth to the otherwise chocolate-hued hair color.
Is cherry still not enough vampy purple to make you satisfied? If so, ask your hair professional to give you a grape-inspired ‘do, trying out the shade purple red. Much like a similarly named crayon you might recall from childhood, this hair color is eggplant-inspired goodness.
While dark red falls on the purple side of the hair spectrum, auburn is undoubtedly a true red shade. The gorgeous color is a more intense version of chestnut hair, mixing medium and dark brown with red for a glossy shade that works on almost every complexion.
Like the syrupy center of your favorite beverage, this soda-inspired color brings a hint of red to an otherwise dark brown mane. This shade is an exceptionally low-maintenance take on red, perfect for the brunette who wishes she could mix things up.
Unlike copper and strawberry, ruby is a cool red shade that calls to mind pomegranates rather than cherries. The blue-red color looks phenomenal on very pale and very dark skin tones, highlighting the undertones of the skin.
Warm peachy red is having a real moment. By now, you’ve probably seen the shade in dozens of matte lipstick tubes, blush palettes, and the like. Instead of applying the color to our lips, we’d rather wear it in a way that’s semi-permanent.
If you’re looking to join the red hair club in the least obvious way possible, brown red is the shade for you. Combining warm chocolate base notes with peppery orange and blonde, your stylist will mix a color that just barely edges into red hair territory.
We haven’t met a single social media trend we don’t love, and pinkish red hair is no exception. The shade incorporates both ruby and pale pink, creating a very cool tone that lies between pastel and fuchsia.
Unlike pink-infused hair, blood orange is all about the juicy notes. There’s barely a hint of red here. Instead, the shade is primarily an orangey blonde that looks a little space-age chic.
Think of raspberry red hair as a rich take on fuchsia, one that draws from a rich, red base. This color is youthful and luminous, making it the perfect decision during a quarter-life crisis or even post-breakup.
If caramel, honey, and strawberry blonde were mixed by the greatest colorist in the world, the result would be golden red. This shade is a stunning mix of warm, buttery hues ideal for ladies with light and medium skin tones.
Here’s another infinitely wearable shade of red. This caramel-influenced color suits women of all skin tones, combining ashy notes with warm red and brown. Instead of spending another year on the same old caramel hair, add a surprising flash of red to the mix.
If you’re itching for a change, don’t be afraid to try a whimsical hair look that involves several other colors in harmony with red. Case in point: sunset hair, a rainbow of orange, purple, and red that’s taken over social media.
If you were a club kid or have any interest in over-the-top beauty, chances are good you’ve thought about trying out crimson hair. The vibrant shade is true, neon red, the kind no one will miss from across the room.
It isn’t often we associate the word “burnt” with anything positive, but this splashy red is an exception to the rule. Burnt orange is bright and coppery, flattering a wide range of skin colors.
Most of us remember maroon as one color on our school’s crest. Liberated from the dullness of athletic uniforms, you’ll be surprised how sophisticated a maroon shade can look.
If you’re a natural brunette who’s been itching to uncover her redhead alter ego, diving right into neon red can feel like too much. Instead, try an understated reddish brown hue to transition between the two color families.
Green And Red
Got Christmas on your mind? Green and red together don’t just signify the beloved holiday anymore. When updated to a mint and magenta duo, you’ll be surprised at how gorgeous (and distinctly not seasonal) the color pairing is.
Pastel pink’s beloved younger sister is rose gold, the social media-friendly shade every influencer tried in the past couple of years. If you’ve been wearing blonde for awhile and are looking for an easy update, rose gold is calling your name.
Everyone should spring for an over-the-top hair color like magenta at least once. Like a fashion accessory or a dramatic pair of heels, it’s an interesting experiment in styling yourself and looking a little different than you’re used to.
Blue And Red
Blue and red may immediately scream “American flag,” but that’s not the only way to wear the color pairing. Over a dark base, your stylist can blend the dramatic tones into each other for a statement-making finish.
When you go red, there’s always the option to really go red. This neon shade is straight out of a comic strip or spy novel. Be warned that bright shades tend to fade quickly, so you’ll need to discuss a custom care routine with your stylist.
Mahogany isn’t just for your TV stand anymore. This cherry-inspired shade combines the best of dark brown and red into one single shade that’s appropriate for any age.
Aubergine (otherwise known as eggplant) isn’t just a vegetable. This rich shade has been making waves online for its wearability.
Put down your cocktail and use it as inspiration for your next salon appointment. This juicy, fruity shade is a sophisticated, modern take on red hair color.
When in doubt, just go ombre. This stunning blend of orange and red will add dimension to your hair and keep you perfectly on-trend.
If you're not interested in the idea of constantly returning to the salon, embrace a technique that's all about the growing out process. Balayage is always a smart choice!
Like the spicy root, ginger hair color is an unforgettable and unique item. The rich orange notes will brighten up your face, making the perfect transitional shade from winter to spring.
Good hair day by @hairbykatienoel.
Bring a little va-va-voom to the scene with black red hair. This striking, bright shade is all about the drama.
Good hair day by @georgewater.
Anyone up for dessert? Red velvet hair color is more than just a trend—it's a lifestyle.
Interested in changing your hair color? Use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.