Dyeing my hair red at home

Disclaimer: I’m going to talk about some of my recent hair dye experiences, but I’m not a professional. If you use any products I write about¬†or follow any of the steps I took, I can’t predict your outcome, but here’s how I dyed my hair red at home:

Although it’s been several months since I’ve had red hair, I thought I’d go ahead and post about it. When I was researching dyeing my hair red at home, I couldn’t find a lot of posts that showed pictures of women with light or medium brown hair going red, which was a bit frustrating. Maybe this post will help give someone a little scope on the colors.

BACKGROUND:

I’ve dyed my hair red five¬†times at home now. The first time was not good (I’ll explain in a minute). The second time was okay. The third time? Perfect! The fourth and fifth times were upkeep, and then I decided to go back to brown, which is what I have now.

I had been toying for months (maybe longer) about dyeing my hair red. I had a reddish-brown thing going on fall of 2014 for a couple of months before I went to brown and blonde highlights. When I was in high school, I went through a henna stage, so I knew that red was a good color on me. That wasn’t an issue. It took me a long time to go back to red because I wasn’t sure what color, and I also didn’t want to pay money at a salon. I knew that if I wasn’t going to go to¬†a salon, I’d better know what I was doing.

Well, the first time I tried last year, I still didn’t know what I was doing. That’s because I did it kind of on a whim. I mean, yes, I’d been thinking about it for months, but the day that I went back to red was just a random day that I said, “Okay! I’m going to do it!” while I was at the store, walking by the hair dye aisle. So I didn’t really think that through. Don’t do that.

This is the brown I started with.

The instructions on the dye box said to apply the dye to my roots first and then the rest of my hair. I learned the hard way that, that was completely opposite of what I needed to do. My roots were “virgin” hair, whereas the rest of my hair had medium brown dye on it. I ended up with “hot roots,” which means they were significantly brighter than the rest of my hair. I also didn’t get the dye on evenly, so I ended up with uneven brown sections and red sections as you can see in my hair below. Not a good look.

Uneven brown and red

After that, I started buying L’Oreal’s CHROMA True Reds dye¬†and a bottle of developer from my local Sally Beauty Supply. I also bought a little bowl with measurement markings and a extra-wide brush, and then a bunch of upkeep-type items since I’d read that red hair fades easily.

Here’s what I bought from Sally’s, and it looks like a lot (and it is), but with some sales going on, it¬†cost me less than $50!

  • L’Oreal Technique CHROMA True Reds in¬†3RV CHROMA CHERRY
  • L’Oreal Technique Oreor 20 Volume Creme Developer (If you have darker hair, you’ll probably need at least 30)
  • Hair Color Mixing Bowl
  • Extra Wide Jumbo Tint Brush
  • Regular Tint Brush
  • Hair Color Mixing Whisk
  • Rattail Comb
  • Quantum Riveting Reds Color Replenishing Shampoo
  • Quantum Riveting Reds Color Replenishing Conditioner
  • Ion Moisture Miracle Leave-In Conditioner
  • SalonCare Shorty Section Clips
  • SalonCare 2 Black Reusable Gloves
  • Ion Color Intense Moisture Conditioner (2 sample packs)
  • Ion Repair Solutions Effective Care Treatment (sample pack)
  • Ion Color After-Color Sealer (sample pack)

I also went to Ulta and bought the following, which cost me about $15 (my receipts are long gone, so I’m guesstimating here).

  • Love for Hue Color Care UV Protectant Spray
  • Batiste Dry Shampoo in Blush

I treated my hair first with the intense moisture conditioner, and then I used my blow dryer to dry my hair. After that, I followed the directions on the box for the CHROMA dye and mixed it with the developer in my mixing bowl. I alternated between the two different-sized tint brushes, but I ended up using extra-wide brush the most. It just made the process go faster.

The dye started off as light pink, but the longer it sat, the darker the dye got.

I purposely put the dye on the brown sections of my hair first. I knew that those spots would need to process a little longer than the rest of my hair.

Letting dye sit on the brown spots for about 10 minutes before I moved on to the rest of my hair

I waited about ten minutes before I started dyeing the rest of my hair. I know some people put Vaseline around their hairline to keep the dye off their skin, but I didn’t bother. It was easy to take off after the fact with shampoo.

IMG_5376
Sooooo bright

I let the dye sit on the rest of my hair for about 20 minutes, and then I rinsed. Here’s the key with bright red hair dye though: don’t rinse your hair until the water is clear. You have to rinse until your the water is running¬†pink, and that’s it. And every time you wash your hair, you’ll lose some of the dye. That’s why I would use the color replenishment shampoo and conditioner. They are¬†a red shampoo and conditioner that add color every time I would wash my hair.

Cherry red


I loved my time with red hair, but the upkeep was a lot of work. Besides using the color replenishment shampoo and conditioner, I only washed my hair every 2-3 days. I used dry shampoo in the meantime to keep my hair looking fresh. It worked. My hair stayed very bright right up until I needed to dye my re-growth, but it was time consuming, and I went through a lot of product.¬†I’ve since gone back to brown, and I used Color Oops to do so.¬†I’ll write another post detailing how that went.

Have you dyed your hair red at home? How did it go?

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