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At one point or another, you’ve likely stood in front of the mirror, staring at yourself and wondering if you should switch up your mane in favor of a signature red hair color. After all, fiery strands are seriously on-trend for 2020. But what shade of red hair, exactly, would work best with your skin tone? With shades ranging from dark red to red-brown and everything in between, there is a red hair color match for pretty much everyone—you just have to know how to find it. Follow along as we explain how to determine if you should go red, decide on the best red hair color ideas for your skin tone, and pull together a color-treated hair care routine to keep red strands in shape. Siren-approved hair, here you come!
Before experimenting with red hair dye colors or booking an appointment at the salon, you should first figure out whether red hair is the right color option for your skin tone—and your personality. So, ask yourself the following three questions before rocking one of the many shades of red you can choose from.
Of course, there’s a red hair color match out there for just about everyone, but all reds tend to look best when paired with cool, pinkish skin. And if you’re working with olive or warm skin, you may have a tougher time pulling off certain shades of red. You’ll see this come into play when you notice there are quite a few more cool shades of red than there are warm and neutral on our list below. Still, that doesn’t mean you should avoid red shades altogether! Just keep in mind these general guidelines if you haven’t already made up your mind.
If you’re working with a light skin tone…add some spice to your strands with a range of strawberry reds to copper shades for a seriously stunning look.
If you’re working with a medium skin tone…you’re in luck! You can pretty much give almost any vibrant red hair color a try. Be sure to stick to warmer shades like golden reds and rich coppers so you can highlight your gorgeous features with ease.
If you’re working with a dark skin tone…think about deep red hair colors. Anything from sultry wine hues to mahogany and burgundy red tones will pair beautifully with your dark skin.
Fancy a natural and understated look? Red hair may not be the best choice for you. Most shades of red are very vibrant and attention-grabbing, so be prepared for all eyes to be on you!
Red hair color shades are super pretty—but in general, they’re not the lowest maintenance colors out there. For starters, if you’re opting for a lighter shade—such as strawberry blonde—you’ll need to bleach your hair first. And if you have a very dark base color, it may take multiple sessions to achieve your desired level of red.
Besides prep work, once your roots start growing in, you’re going to need to touch up your color to help keep it looking fresh. If you don’t think you’ll have the time to commit to this, then you may want to consider a technique that’s more low-maintenance, like balayage highlights. If minimal touch-ups are what you’re looking for, read our article, Balayage 101: Everything You Need to Know About This Highlighting Technique.
Like we told you earlier, there are more cool shades of red hair than there are warm. Here are our favorites.
Not your traditional red, this eggplant-tinted, cool shade is ultra-dark and incredibly sultry. If you have pale skin and dark eyes and are looking for a dark red, this mysterious hue could be the perfect color choice for you.
DIY it: L’Oréal Paris Féria in Power Violet
When you think of red hair color ideas, light auburn might be the shade that first comes to mind. This color looks best when paired with fair skin and light eye colors.
DIY it: L’Oréal Paris Excellence Créme Permanent Triple Protection Hair Color in Light Auburn
This brownish-red color is perfectly cool and a very understated choice if you’re not looking to make a dramatic change to your hair.
DIY it: L’Oréal Paris Superior Preference Fade-Defying Shine Permanent Hair Color in Chic Auburn Brown
Yet another brownish-red hue, this hair color is more red than it is brown. It looks best with light eyes and fair to medium skin.
DIY it: L’Oréal Paris Féria in Rich Mahogany
Your favorite soda from your childhood is the inspiration for this deliciously dark red hair color. The super-dark reddish-brown hue blends two rich colors into one gorgeous shade of red hair. Black cherry looks especially ravishing with brown eyes.
DIY it: How to Get Black Cherry Hair
Looking for something different? This violet-red hybrid looks wonderful against cool skin tones. So, whether you have pale, dark, or olive-toned skin, consider switching up your look with this coveted burgundy red hair color.
DIY it: L’Oréal Paris Féria in Deep Burgundy
If burgundy hair is your forte, consider taking the shade to the next level with a red wine hair color. This seriously stunning hue offers the perfect blend of copper, chocolate brown, and deep red for the ultimate touch of dimension.
DIY it: How to Get a Red Wine Hair Color for Fall
Who doesn’t love cake? For a super-sweet look, try this dessert-inspired red color on for size, and you’ll have your richest look yet. If you have blue or green eyes, it’s truly a no-brainer.
DIY it: L’Oréal Paris Féria in Intense Deep Auburn/Red Velvet
Instead of leaving your favorite gems to your jewelry, try transforming your tresses into a ruby red hue. It pairs perfectly with pale skin and eyes, so consider this hue if you have light, cool-toned skin.
DIY it: How to Get Ruby Red Hair
This deep, cool red hair color has a mix of red and brown tones. This is an ideal shade for those looking for a subtler red hue to try.
DIY it: L’Oréal Paris Excellence Créme Permanent Triple Protection Hair Color in Richesse Collection Dark Mahogany Red
If you’re a fan of bright red hair, this vibrant hue is for you. With blue undertones, the color offers a cool alternative to a fire engine red.
DIY it: L’Oréal Paris Superior Preference Fade-Defying Shine Permanent Hair Color in Intense Dark Red
Similar in tone, this blue-based red hair color is another cool option to try. The color is on the darker end of the red spectrum and looks great on both fair and deep skin tones.
DIY it: L’Oréal Paris Féria in Auburn Brown
We can’t talk about blue-based hair colors without adding raspberry hair into the mix! This hair color works wonders to enhance the skin’s undertones, making it a solid choice for those who dare to go bold with their hair color.
DIY it: How to Get a Raspberry Hair Color
Another cool red-brown hair color we can’t resist? Maroon hair! A chic blend of red and brown with a tinge of purple, this color is a great way to give your strands a tad more dimension and depth. This hair color also complements dark brown and blue eyes beautifully.
DIY it: L’Oréal Paris Colorista Semi-Permanent Hair Color in Maroon
If you love vibrant red hair color ideas, look no further than magenta hair! This color features purple and red hues that come together for a rich, saturated finish. A perfect match for medium and dark complexions, this red hair color will make quite the statement.
Can’t decide between brown hair and red hair? It’s time to put cherry brown hair on your radar! Offering a blend of deep red and dark brown shades, this hue gives your natural strands a taste of color without making a major change.
Although there are more cool shades of red than there are warm ones, that doesn’t mean you can’t rock a bold red shade if you have warm skin. Take your pick from our favorite warm red hair color ideas below.
Maybe you want red hair, but you’re not quite ready to part ways with your beloved blonde. That’s where strawberry blonde comes in. Equal parts red and blonde, this hair color looks especially pretty when paired with warm skin tones and light eyes.
DIY it: L’Oréal Paris Superior Preference Fade-Defying Shine Permanent Hair Color in Light Reddish Blonde
Despite being penny-hued, this hair color looks like a million bucks—especially if you have warm, peachy skin.
DIY it: L’Oréal Paris Féria in Power Copper
Unlike bright copper, golden copper is known for its blend of varying shades of blonde and bright red. Pair it with any warm-toned fair to medium skin tone.
A nice change of pace from other copper shades, rosy copper hair flaunts notes of pink, orange, and red that help to brighten up fair skin and give it a radiant glow.
If you love the look of traditional orange-red tresses, opt for a warm version of the classic ginger ‘do. If you have light eyes and a few freckles, this color will work beautifully for you.
DIY it: L’Oréal Paris Superior Preference Fade-Defying Shine Permanent Hair Color in Lightest Auburn
Want to steer toward an orange-toned red? Burnt orange is the hair color for you. This is the perfect shade for those who want to try their hand at being a faux redhead.
If you’d rather keep your natural hair color and have red undertones showcased throughout your mane, a chestnut shade is a great option. To amp up the red vibes, you can incorporate some red lowlights throughout your hair.
DIY it: L’Oréal Paris Excellence Créme Permanent Triple Protection Hair Color Medium Chestnut Brown
Want to rock a vibrant red mane? Scarlet hair is for you. This mermaid-worthy hair color will give your friends serious hair envy.
DIY It: L’Oréal Paris Féria in Medium Auburn/Cherry Crush
Loved the cinnamon color we talked about earlier? You’ll love warm cinnamon hair! The perfect mix of blonde, red, and crimson tones, this hair color adds warmth and dimension to strands for a winning look.
If you can’t resist pastel hair colors, prepare to have tons of fun with apricot hair. This Instagram-worthy hair color flaunts a mix of peach and strawberry blonde shades to give you an ombré hair color you can’t help but swoon over.
DIY it: Hair Color Trend Alert: How to Achieve Apricot Hair
Last but certainly not least, there are a few shades of red hair that aren’t cool or warm. Here, find out which neutral red hues are worth trying.
While light auburn hair tends to look best on cool skin, medium auburn hair can go either way, making it the perfect neutral shade.
DIY it: L’Oréal Paris Superior Preference Fade-Defying Shine Permanent Hair Color in Medium Auburn Brown
Let’s go a little darker! If you love the idea of going red but want to stick close to your dark brunette roots, dark auburn will do the trick. The golden red and warm brown combo blends perfectly for a hair color that suits all skin tones and eye colors.
DIY it: L’Oréal Paris Superior Preference Fade-Defying Shine Permanent Hair Color in Dark Auburn
This metal-inspired hue first became popular in 2016, and it continues to be a must-have rendition of red, even in 2020. The ultra-trendy shade is part red, part pink, and part blonde and can be customized to your specific skin tone.
DIY it: L’Oréal Paris Féria in Rose Gold
Similar to rose gold, a peachy red offers a combination of hues that is flattering on just about anyone—it just doesn't have the metallic sheen.
DIY it: How to Get Peach Hair
Get the best of both worlds by incorporating cool and warm red hues into your mane. Not only is this a universally flattering option, but it’s also a totally unique way to rock red hair.
DIY it: How to Get Red Ombré Hair
Another reddish-brown shade, this red hair color is for those who prefer to have a more natural-looking red mane. The color can be accented with golden blonde highlights for added dimension.
DIY it: L’Oréal Paris Superior Preference Fade-Defying Shine Permanent Hair Color in Dark Mahogany Brown
Last but not least, fire engine red is possibly the most popular red hair color. This statement hue will have people complimenting your locks on the daily.
DIY it: How to Get a Bold Red Hair Color
If you thought shade selection was the only thing you needed to consider when going red, think again. Once you’ve completed the dyeing process, it’s important to take care of your red hair properly.
Color-treated hair requires special care, so reach for a system with a shampoo, conditioner, and hair treatment formulated for colored hair. Try the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Repair & Defend Shampoo, L’Oréal Paris Hair EverPure Repair and Defend Conditioner, and L’Oréal Paris EverPure Repair Remedy Balm.
Another way to keep your red hair looking it’s very best is to rely on a color-depositing conditioner. The perfect way to enhance your strands, this type of conditioner is formulated with red pigments that work to rejuvenate your color between touch-ups. Think of it as the answer to faded red hair! Simply swap your color-treated conditioner for this offering when your mane needs a little extra love.
Opting for an all-over shade of any color—red included—means you’ll have to put in some maintenance work to help keep your hue looking fresh. If you dyed your hair red at home, keep an at-home hair color kit stocked so that you can touch things up when your roots start growing in. In a rush? Temporarily disguise the look of gray roots with the L’Oréal Paris Magic Root Cover Up in Red, which lasts until your next shampoo.
Why not pair your red hair with curls or waves? It’s a foolproof way to put your new color on display. After towel-drying your hair post-shower, apply an egg-sized amount of the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle CURVE IT Elastic Curl Mousse to your mane, scrunch, and allow it to air dry. Once your locks are dry, you’ll have the perfect set of soft and bouncy curls, all without using heat tools.
Next up: Besides updating your hair care routine to coordinate with your new color, it’s a good idea to make sure your routine is a match for your hair type. For everything you need to know, click through to our article on How to Determine Your Hair Type.
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