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At one point or another, you’ve likely stood staring in front of the mirror wondering if you should switch up your hair and rock a signature red color. After all, who doesn’t want to look a little fiery every once in a while? But what shade of red hair, exactly, would work best with your skin tone? Well, it turns out there is a red hair color match for pretty much everyone—you just have to know how to find it. Below, we explain how to determine whether dyeing your hair red is the right color choice for you, how to find the best shades of red hair for your skin tone, and how to create the best hair care routine to take care of red hair once you have it.
Before buying red hair dye 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.
While there is definitely a red hair color match out there for just about everyone, all reds tend to look best when paired with cool, pinkish skin. On the other hand, those with olive or warm skin 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. With that said, you should feel free to dye your hair whatever shade of red you like best, but these are just some general guidelines you may want to follow if you haven’t already made up your mind.
If you prefer to keep your look low-key, 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 is super pretty—but in general, it’s not the lowest maintenance color 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 dyeing your hair a shade that’s a little bit lower maintenance. 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, 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 Creme 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 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 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 shade.
DIY it: L’Oréal Paris Féria in Deep Burgundy
Who doesn’t love cake? For a super-sweet look, try this deep 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 perfectly pairs 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 the perfect red shade if you’re looking for a subtler red hue to try.
DIY it: L’Oréal Paris Excellence Creme 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 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
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 shades of red hair 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 paired with warm skin tones and light eyes.
DIY it: L’Oréal Paris Superior Preference in Light Reddish Blonde
Despite being penny-hued, this hair color looks like a million bucks—especially if you have warm, peachy skin.
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.
DIY it: L’Oréal Paris Féria in Power Copper
If you love the look of traditional orange-red tresses, opt for a warm version of the classic ginger ‘do. As long as you have light eyes and a few freckles, this color will work beautifully for you.
DIY it: L’Oréal Paris Superior Preference in Lightest Auburn
If you’d rather steer towards an orange-toned red, burnt orange is for you. This is the perfect hair color for those who want all eyes on them as they enter the room.
If you’d rather keep your hair color natural and have red undertones showcased in your mane, a chestnut hair color 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 Creme 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
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 in Medium Auburn Brown
Things just keep getting 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 in Dark Auburn
This metal-inspired hue first became popular in 2016, and it continues to be a must-have rendition of red, even as 2018 nears its end. 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.
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, 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 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 of 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.
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 the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle AIR DRY IT Wave Swept Spray, braid your hair, and allow it to air dry. Once your locks are dry, take out the braid and go about your day with effortless, carefree waves.
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, How to Determine Your Hair Type.
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