How to Keep Red Hair From Fading

These easy tips and tricks will keep your fiery hue fresh.

Bad news first: Red hair color is the hardest to preserve. “Redheads absolutely require the most upkeep,” explains colorist Patrick Ryan, co-owner of Mixed Co. Salon in Chicago. Blame the large size of the color molecules in red dye, which makes them the most prone to slipping out of the hair shaft and leaving your shade looking lackluster. The good news: There are plenty of easy ways to keep your hue fresh and vibrant, without constant coloring.

1

Cut Back on Washing

red-hair-in-wind
Photo by foxline/Getty Images

H2O is any hair color’s number one worst enemy, so simply minimizing how often you wash is the best way to keep it vibrant, notes Ryan. Ideally, redheads should try to limit shampoo sessions to no more than twice a week. In between, use a dry shampoo, like Unite 7Seconds Refresher, to freshen your strands without risk of fading. The other benefit that comes with more infrequent hair washing is less heat styling, and heat is yet another factor that will speed up fading, adds Ryan.

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2

Invest in the Right Products

When you do wash, make sure your shower is stocked with a color-safe shampoo and conditioner. Red color-depositing shampoo is also a good way to refresh your shade. Our pick: Joico Color Infuse Red Shampoo. Just use it sporadically, cautions Ryan—if you’re washing your hair twice a week, work it into the rotation once every other week. Overdoing it can cause too much pigment buildup on the hair, which can interfere with future dye jobs.

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3

Get a Gloss

Technically this does require a visit to the salon, but it will be a quick trip and well worth your time. “A clear gloss seals the cuticle, both increasing shine and helping lock in the color,” says Ryan. “It only takes 10 to 20 minutes and can be done every two to three weeks.” Plus, it’s way less expensive than a full-on color appointment.



4

Ask for Lowlights

Sticking with lowlights, rather than highlights, is a surefire way to help extend the time in between color appointments. The grow out and fading is always much less noticeable when it’s at the bottom of the hair, rather than at the roots, points out Ryan. And consider exactly what kind of red tones you request, too. “The fierier and brighter the red, the quicker it will fade,” says Ryan, so consider opting for darker, auburn hues.