Beautiful young happy woman with long flowing red hair
Image: Shutterstock/Raisa Kanareva

Have you ever thought of trying out blazing, cherry red hair? The kind Rihanna was known for at one time? Or maybe you want a more natural bright auburn, like Amy Adams’ iconic red hair. From bright copper to deep velvet red, you’d certainly have your choice of the shades. If you’ve been thinking of this look, below is your guide for how to get bright red hair, and how to maintain it.

Choosing A Shade

When it comes to bright red hair, you have a few ways you can go about it. You can choose a blue-red, which is your wild Rihanna red, like red velvet cake. This shade works with any skin type since it’s a statement color, but it especially looks good against dark skin tones.

You could also go a blazing orange-red. This shade works well with light-to-medium skin tones. That bright, rich Amy Adams auburn is also an option if you’re looking to go a more natural bright red. This deep auburn looks best on light to medium skin tones.

If you can’t decide, look through photos of people with bright red hair. Usually a certain shade will pop at you, like it was your hair color of destiny all along. Another option is to do a strand test and hold the dyed strand up to your cheek to check if the shade is really you or not.

After you’ve chosen your shade, it’s actually surprisingly easy to achieve bright red hair.

Getting Those Radiant Red Locks

The great thing about bright red hair is that it’s the most mainstream of the bright fashion colors. For instance, if you wanted bubblegum pink hair, you’d most likely just have to bleach out your hair and apply a semi-permanent dye. There just isn’t the profusion of ready-made box dye kits for other fashion colors.

If you want bright red hair, you have a few options:

  • Feria’s Power Reds: These are a line of reds from a dye brand that is known for its bright fashion colors. Protip: If you have darker hair, pick some of the brighter red shades so it shows up better.
  • Vidal Sassoon: This line has some of the shades of bright fashion red. It tends to go best over medium blonde to medium brown hair.
  • L’Oreal HiColor HiLights: This is a mix-your-own favorite for people looking to lift dark hair straight into bright red without bleach. You mix it with a separate developer.

Those are just a few of the most popular bright red hair dyes out there. Once you have the color you want, the real game begins.

Keeping Bright Red Hair Vibrant

Making sure your bright red hair stays bright red is the real trick. The minute you start washing your hair or go outside, the color wants to start its race to fade. The conventional rules for keeping hair color vibrant certainly apply here. Wash your hair as little as possible, wear swim caps in pools, wash your hair in as cool of water as you can stand it, cover your hair in the sun, and use a good shampoo/conditioner that deposits red color back into the strands, or at least preserves color.

Just note that no matter what, the redder the hair, the faster it fades. So another key way to keep the wildest red hair vibrant is to do regular touch-ups with semi-permanent conditioning dyes like Manic Panic (which has a truly epic selection of bright red to orange shades). If you rely only on permanent dyes, despite your best efforts, you could be dying your hair every few weeks. That will just fry your hair. So get a temporary boost of moisturizing color instead.

And if you really want to be proactive, add some moisturizing temp dye to your conditioner to color-saturation preference.