So you've broken up with your S/O and you're looking to make a drastic transformation? Only joking...kind of. Either way, if you're here off the back of a heartbreak or you were just inspired by Stacey Solomon's GORG red hair transformation last week, you've come to the right place.
Taking to Insta to show off her new dye job, Stacey revealed that she actually achieved her incredible crimson locks AT HOME.
She said, "I would usually go to my hairdresser to dye my hair but she’s on maternity too and I made the decision this morning so no one was available." You go Stace.
Now, for the info you're all here for, we can confirm that Stacey used theL'Oréal Paris Preference Permanent Hair Dye Kit in the shade Budapest Intense Red but, before you trot off to have a go yourself, take note from Stace:
"I used two bottles," she said, "my hair’s really thick and really coarse, but I feel like with two bottles it’s really even, there’s no patches or anything."
And there you have it! Go shop Stacey's bargain hair dye now (before it sells out 😳) or, if you fancy perusing the red hair dye market a bit more before you take the plunge, then keep scrolling...
The best red hair dyes - our top three picks
Taking the plunge with a permanent red hair dye can be scary, to say the least. But, you can always have a go with a semi-permanent dye first and, once you're happy with your colour, commit to the permanent a few months down the line.
From silvers to pinks to oranges (hey, if Olivia Bowen can rock it, so can you), there's quite the array of box dyes to choose from but, chances are, if you've landed on this page, you've probably got your heart set on a certain rouge-y shade already...
Whether you're looking for a bright red hair dye or a dark red hair dye, worry not becuase there will be an option for you. But, you should also look out for which dyes are best for your hair long term.
For instance, if hair health is super important to you and you still want your hair to grow perfectly silky and smooth, then you might want to look at an ammonia-free dye like L'Oréal's Casting Creme Gloss.
On the flip side, if you already use clip-in extensions, you might not care so much about your virgin hair - it's all about your personal preference, and you shouldn't rush into any permanent dye decisions (that's what semi-permanent is for).
So, without further ado, these are the best red hair dyes, both permanent and semi-permanent, for your perusal...
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Best red hair dye for dark hair L'Oréal Colorista red hair dye is our top pick for dark hair and it's permanent, too. It promises "high intensity" colour and, with a mix of pure dyes, "Up to 3x more shine. "Pros: Intense colour even on dark hair and the post-colour mask helps to maintain the hair's natural moisture. Cons: Box warns against use on light blonde hair. Customer review: "Really bright colour considering I did it over my natural hair which is dark brown! Easy to apply, great instructions, came on time. Definitely worth the money."
Best for a "multi-tonal" dye If you're looking for a red hair dye that'll reflect the light and show shine and shadows to give your colour more depth, this is the box for you. Pros: Works on dark hair in a deep-red hue. Cons: Intense colour only guaranteed for up to eight weeks and reviews state it can stain skin, so use a barrier cream around the hairline. Customer review: "I am always complemented by others when I use this hair colour at how nice the colour is. It lasts well, often between 4/6 weeks before I re-colour my hair again. Overall I'm really pleased with the results of this product."
Best cool, dark red hair dye If you're not after a see-your-hair-from-across-the-street colour, then this is the subtle hue for you. You'll still reap the compliments of a redhead but, with this deep, purply shade, you'll refrain from turning your boss' head when you walk into the office on Monday. Pros: Maintains hair shine and successfully blurs away grey hairs. Cons: Not as long lasting as some of its competitors. Customer review: "Live XXL reds take well and last well PROVIDING you get your pre and aftercare right. Red is the largest molecule: it won't take if your hair shaft is full of plasticised silicones so double clarify first. Nor will it stay red if you deep condition or use hot water or sulphate shampoo daily afterwards. If you are slow at root application, use a second freshly mixed box to coat the lengths."
Best red hair dye for a ginger hue We have it on good authority that this is the hair dye Stacey Dooley uses (she is on the box, after all...). Apart from that, this is a gorgeously natural shade and the product is oil-infused to prevent any irritation to the scalp. Pros: Blends three tones for natural-looking high and low-lights, and smooths out grey hairs. Cons: Better for light hair, turns darker hair more auburn than golden. Customer review: "First it's easy to use and non drip. It produces a very natural colour. So natural that people don't believe I've used a hair dye! It comes with clear instructions and a great conditioner. My only complaint is it tends to fade after a few weeks!"
Best bright red hair dye Semi-permanent dyes are great for those weeks when you fancy being a louder version of yourself, and this dye from Bleach London is the perfect pairing for that mood. It'll fade away between two and ten weeks (depending on your virgin shade) but, after that initial dye, you'll be wowing bystanders with your firey-red tresses. Pros: It's cruelty-free and vegan, and lasts two to three dyes per bottle (on long hair). Cons: Some reviews claim it works better on bleached hair for a really vibrant shade. Customer review: "It's so bright, gives such an amazing coverage and looks stunning. And it washes out slowly but really nicely."
Best red hair dye for minimal damage So, you're a bit of a scaredy cat? Only joking. But, seriously, if you don't want to take the permanent dye plunge and you're hesitant to dry out your virgin hair, this is the colour for you. The ammonia-free formula promises "softer, smoother and improved hair quality," and some reviews even state that it helped to rejuvenate bleached hair. Pros: No harsh chemicals and no nasty smells. Cons: Colour not as long-lasting on already damaged hair. Customer review: "Fantastic box dye!! First time I've ever dyed my own hair and it was very easy to apply. All done in around half an hour. Colour is great and good grey coverage."
Best red hair dye for a short-term switch up This hair dye from Schwarzkopf is the perfect fix for someone who's not very experienced and just wants to try out a new colour for a couple weeks. You won't need to commit as it fades fairly quickly, making it perfect for a special occasion, and you can even mix the colour with the provided conditioner for more of a pastel hue. Pros: Easy to apply. Cons: Has a more vibrant effect on bleached hair and starts to fade after a couple weeks (though this could be seen as a positive). Customer review: "Bold colour, amazing, lasts about a week on darker hair."
Best semi-permanent red hair dye This offering from Manic Panic is our top pick for a semi-permanent hair dye. It doesn't require a developer and works straight from the jar, even promising to leave your hair in a "better condition than before it was dyed." Pros: Resealable jar, vegan and cruelty-free formula and up to six weeks of colour (if you follow the brand's care instructions). Cons: Works better on light or bleached hair. Customer review: "My favourite red hair colour! For anyone who is looking for a red that is not an orange red, this is perfect. I've had so many compliments on it. I put this over my natural hair colour, which is a medium ash blonde, and it came out so vibrant. No need for lightening my hair prior to the colour application. The hair colour does transfer to your skin very easily, but it also comes off very easily."
Best red hair dye for a minimal fade If you're worried about your punchy red hair fading to pink after several washes, then you need to check out Arctic Fox. Poison is an orange-based dye and, as such, encourages the dye to fade into a lighter version of itself as opposed to a pastel pink. Pros: Vegan, cruelty-free and conditioning, rather than stripping. Cons: Expensive and better for lighter hair. Customer review: "Love the arctic fox range, always been my go to brand for colours! Don't use if you're not wanting a bright colour, this is SUPER bright, especially in sunlight!! I personally LOVE bold colours so this suits me perfectly. You'll find yourself turning heads with this colour. It also smells gorgeous (as do all arctic fox products). Oh and I did bleach my hair before hand, I recommend doing this as they don't take to dark colours."
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What should I look out for when buying a red hair dye?
This may sound obvious but, for starters, you need to decide whether you want a permanent or semi-permanent 'do. Are you certain this is the colour you want to sport over the next couple of months, or do you just want a temporary 'breakover'? And, as we've already mentioned, you need to factor how much you value your hair's health into your permanent vs. semi-permanent dye decision.
Next up, which tone should you go for? Well, obviously, you being the decision maker here, you can choose whatever colour you so desire. That being said, here's our advice:
If your skin has warm undertones, then keep an eye out for coppery reds.
If your skin has cool undertones, try to look for red dyes with bluey hues - like a burgundy or purpley red.
And, the third option, if your skin has rather neutral tones, well, the world is your oyster so get experimenting!
Is red hair dye damaging?
Annoyingly, the answer to this question is...it depends. Essentially, the thing about dying hair that can be damaging is using a peroxide to strip away your natural colour.
When it comes to using a red dye, if you're a natural platinum blonde you probably won't need to lighten your hair before you start. So, in this instance, it's likely that the darker red dye won't significantly harm your hair.
By contrast, if you're a natural brunette, you're might want to lighten your hair before you start the dying process to maximise your chances of achieving a vibrant red. In this case, your hair will probably be in a much weaker condition before you even apply your dye, thus increasing the possibility of damage.
BUT, remember to check the ingredients on a dye before you use it, as some/most permanent dyes use peroxide.
The solution? Semi-permanent dye. Again, always check the product's ingredients list but, generally, semi-permanent dyes are peroxide-free. This does mean they might not be as effective, but it's a worthwhile factor to consider when picking your dye.
Is red hair high maintenance?
In short, yes, but there are ways to extend your colour's life.
Prolong your first post-dye wash for as long as possible and minimise your hair washing long-term. Yep, Manic Panic advises its customers to use dry shampoo as much as possible to avoid washing colour from the hair's cuticle.
If you can bare it, try washing your hair in cold water (when you do wash it) to avoid further swelling the hair cuticle and use baby shampoo; it's neutral (neither acidic or alkaline) and will help minimise loss of colour.