Best Red Hair Dye, Color Shades for Dark Hair, Brown Hair and Your Skin Tones

What is the best red hair dye for your skin tone? Let’s find out the best brands of red hair color for home coloring, including box and drugstore brands. We’ve also discussed shades such as vibrant or bright red, dark red etc. and which ones look good on light to medium skin tones, dark skin tones and more.

Red hair color is an all-time favorite choice for women who seek a more rich and fiery hair shade that literally turns heads. Celebrities like Lindsay Lohan, Rihanna, Ariana Grande, and many others have embraced this trend by sporting sizzling red shades in the past. And while anyone can dye their hair red, very few actually know what shade really suits them in advance.

You may for example see a friend looking stunning in a total fiery red shade but the same shade in you might appear clownish or just “too much”. And if you want to really know what is the best red hair dye for you, read on the rest of this article:

Best red hair dye brands and shades
Best red hair dye brands and shades. Source: PBSC Space

Best Red Hair Dye Shade

The main characteristic of red hair dyes that sets them apart from other shades, is that they are far too many red hues or hybrid red hues to choose from, more than any other hair color-some for example some shades are absolutely red, others are copperish, others are plum, while others lean towards the orange, blonde, or brown side. Red is very versatile and flexible shade, but if you really want to make the right choice that will suit you and doesn’t appear “off”, here are some tips to consider:

Best red hair color for medium skin tone and cool undertones

For light to medium skin-tones with cool skin undertones these shades are ideal:

  • Ginger red with golden undertones e.g. Nicole Kidman
  • Light copper brown with orange undertones
  • Bright Orange red
Best red hair dye - strawberry blonde
Orangey-rad shade. Image source: Girlstalkingsmack

Avoid: Vivid true red shades as they will make your skin look more red and irritated than it actually is.

Good red hair dyes for light skin tones, warm undertones

For light to medium skin tones with strong yellow or golden undertones (warm undertones) these shades will look great:

  • Dark copper brown
  • Caramel brown hair color
  • Dark cherry red with slight copper undertones
Light copper red on light skin tones
Light copper red on light skin tones. Source: LatestHairstyles

Avoid: dark and medium shades with strong blue/violet undertones as they will make you look washed out or appear gothic/lifeless (unless this is what you want to achieve). Light shades of copper e.g. copper blonde will also make you look more yellow so you better stay within the range of dark warn coppers, to balance your skin tone out.

Red hair color for neutral undertones

Medium to dark skin tones with no obvious skin undertones will look amazing with these shades:

  • True bright reds with neutral or slightly blue undertones
  • Violet/plum reds
  • Medium caramel brown with blonde highlights

Avoid: Ginger reds or too light coppery shades as they won’t make an interesting and flattering contrast with your skin tone.

If you are still unsure of what shade of red will look the most flattering, it’s best to consult an established hair stylist with expertise on hair color—he/she would be able to recommend the most flattering shade for you, based on your colors and your undertones.

Rihanna's red hair color
Rihanna’s red hair color.

Best red hair dye for dark hair

Those with dark hair who don’t want something extraordinary or too light or don’t want to bleach their hair (for obvious reasons), can experiment with dark shades of red such as violet red, mahogany red, or dark copperish brown.

If you want to achieve a lighter shade of red like for example medium to light copper or brassy red, you will need some amount of bleach (fortunately not much) but the dye you will choose must have lightening agents and ammonia to lighten your hair 1-2 tones successfully—otherwise you will end up with a dark violet/eggplant color.

The best red hair dye we recommend, both for its vibrant and long-lasting color as well as hair nourishing properties is Revlonnissimo in shade 7.44—this shade is perfect for those with dark hair want to achieve a lighter –but not too light—shade. Ideally, you should mix this with a bleach/crème peroxide of 20 if your hair is medium brown and 30 if your hair is black or dark brown – brunettes.

Best Bright Red Hair Dye

For those whose hair is light bright red shades are ideal, especially if you have a cool skin tone—those with darker hair may still achieve a vibrant red shade but bleach is needed depending on how much dark your hair is to begin with.

Image source: TrueBeautyBrands
Image source: TrueBeautyBrands

If you want to get a professional result either at a salon or at home, L’Oreal majirel magi rouge in shade 7.64 is a perfect choice as it’s a vibrant true red shade that doesn’t have any obvious copper or violet undertones and offers vibrant, long-lasting color that lasts up to 6 weeks.

The only thing here to consider is use a special shampoo or treatment designed for red hair, as bright red hair shades tend to fade after just a few washes, if not proper care is taken. John Frieda, Pureology,  Redken, L’Oréal professsionell all carry special lines for preserving the color of red hair—some even contain some amount of color themselves.

However, since many of these product lines come with harsh chemicals like for example sulfates, some more eco-friendly and natural options are rinsing your hair with cranberry juice after shampooing or pomegranate juice to make the color look more radiant.

Best Drugstore Hair Dye, At Home Box Red Hair Color

Drugstore hair dyes still remain a popular option for those who want to achieve a more subtle result with less money. If you are looking for the best red hair dye at home, there are virtually thousands of shades to choose from various brands, although the most common brands available are L’Oréal, Garnier, Revlon & Clairol.

The question is, which is the best drugstore hair dye of them all? Based on various reviews on the Internet, L’Oréal Preference recital is the best line since it carries various vibrant red shades (more so than every other brand), has great coverage of grey/white hair and lasts up to a month, giving an almost professional looking result at home with minimal effort. They also come with an anti-fade technology that preserves your color for longer, with no need of regular touch-ups. So if you are looking for the best red hair dye that doesn’t fade, L’Oréal recital range of reds is your best bet.

Now in case you are wondering which are the best shades to try out, if you are frisky want to sport out a true head-turning shade of red, we recommend you try shades 6.64 and 6.66—they are true fiery reds with a hint of copper that suits most skin-tones—from the lightest to medium and even darker ones.

Those who are looking for more natural red color towards the ginger or copper side, shades 6.45 and 7.34 are ideal as they are still rich and vibrant without looking too excessive.


Best Permanent Hair Dye & Best Red Hair Dye Brands

Permanent hair dyes, unlike drugstore hair dyes, give a more long-lasting result that doesn’t fade easily and looks more professional.

However, you need some prior experience of dying your hair at home with drugstore brands maybe, before you attempt to buy a permanent red hair dye—this is because red shades are the most challenging to achieve and if you are not sure what you are doing, you might end up with shade of red that looks awful on you and you may spend double of the amount of money you have previously invested since your color may need some professional correction—which of course counter-productive.

You must consider first the hair color you have to begin with e.g. dark or light and then choose a red shade that will complement your skin tone the best.

With that being said, there are quite a few options of permanent hair dyes that really get you a professional looking result, even from the comfort of your own home.

Here are some options for best permanent red hair dye brands:

Wella Koleston Perfect

This permanent hair dye range has a wide plethora of shades and over 70 colors in their arsenal. The reds alone are 25 so this gives you many different choices to choose from.  The one thing to keep in mind is that some users have reported that the shade they got was a bit darker than their desired target, so maybe perhaps you should consider getting a slightly lighter shade of red, especially if you have dark hair and use the appropriate volume—usually around 20-30.

Paul Mitchell Hair Color

Another great choice for those looking to achieve a truly luxurious and rich shade whilst keeping their hair nicely nourished and shiny. This is because this hair dye contains intense nourishing agents to minimize the damage and keep the color and condition of the hair intact for longer. Recommended shades:  6R (medium true red shade that suits many different skin tones) and 5RO (medium red brown).

The above professional brands are available in online beauty supply sites like sally’s beauty & eBay and typically cost anywhere between $7-15 depending on the brand and seller that carries them out. Of course you will have to buy a mixing peroxide/bleach of 20 or 30 strength, which is appropriate for most red shades with up to 2 tones of lightening.

Paul Mitchelle red on medium hair cut
Paul Mitchelle red on medium hair cut

Video on How to Dye Hair Red without Bleach

One Comment

  1. Here is another natural redhead who turned blonde in her early 20’s and now she uses henna to get her beautiful red hair back.

    Another natural redhead posted in the comments on her blog that her natural red hair is also starting to fade and she looks young too,and the redhead who runs the blog,Strawberry Rouge,whose red hair turned blond in her early 20’s,said back to her,that most people don’t realize how common it is that natural red hair fades.

    In another post on her blog,an 18 year old woman showed pictures of her natural red hair faded to blonde,and her beautiful red hair she now got back from using henna.

    I also recently read comments to a youtube video about how to get red hair using henna,and one woman said that she was a natural redhead whose hair turned into an ashy brown,and she said nothing is worse for a natural redhead than for them to lose it and she said henna is the rescue. Another young woman said that she was a natural redhead and for some reason it turned dirty blonde.

    Here a scientist gives a very detailed genetic explanation on a science page for young people,to the question a young woman asked,Why Is Red Hair And Brown Eyes so Uncommon?

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