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The Colour of Love

Have a client thinking of transforming their locks to this bold colour? Bookmark this page before your client’s colour appointment.

Red hair can be created in a wide spectrum of different shades, tones and levels. From rich copper to strawberry blonde, flashes of red to full cherry – and everything in between – there is a shade to suit everyone.

We spoke to Josephine Shears from @Ssshagged for her take on this look.

The essentials you need to know

There are so many shades of red to consider when looking at transforming your hair. “Red hair usually looks great on all skin tones and hair types; however, you may need to do some research to find the perfect shade for your client,” Josephine tells us. 

“The first thing to note is that, while red hair is arguably the most striking of all the colours, it also fades much quicker than other shades. This might be perfect for clients who like to switch up their colour regularly, however for clients expecting a longer-lasting effect, suggest a more natural tone to them to ensure less fading.”

Depending on the desired shade, bleaching the hair might be required, however some reds can hold their own with natural hair colours too.

The colour handbook

Pale skin, and green or blue eyes: Fair skin tones go hand in hand with red hair and many with this complexion sport fiery locks naturally.

Natural tones, which will fool even the sharpest hairdresser, range from strawberry blonde to pure copper shades. They bring out blue and green eyes and complement natural freckles perfectly. Pair with a red lip for a striking look which stands out from the crowd but looks effortlessly natural at the same time.

If your client is looking for something more creative, Josephine suggests trying out a mix of sunset colours to create an alternative effect which perfectly complements their pale skin tones.

We love starting with Crazy Color’s Ruby Rouge (£2.65) at the root and blending it into Pulp Riot Fireball (£10.99) in the top third of the hair. Then, mix a small amount of Fireball into Crazy Color Orange (£2.65) and blend into the mid-lengths. For the ends of the hair, work in the Crazy Color Orange. For an elevated look, create a balayage effect with Ruby Rouge throughout the front of the hair to frame the face.


Warm skin tone with brown or dark eyes: Experiment with deeper reds like auburn and cinnamon burgundy.

For darker skin tones with more of a natural tan to them, the contrast with red hair can be enigmatic in its beauty. “Try a deeper red, like cinnamon, to create a warm autumnal effect. Add a balayage to bring out the beauty of this style for your clients,” says Josephine. She also suggests styling hair with a light curl and plenty of salt spray for an easy natural finish which clients can replicate at home.

If your client is looking for something more glamorous, try a high-shine burgundy instead. Next to warmer skin tones, this colour makes eyes pop and skin glow. “It complements a tan perfectly and adds easy drama to your clients’ look,” Josephine says.

Blow-dry hair with big bouncy waves for the ultimate Hollywood vibes.


Darker skin tones with afro hair: Try opulent shades of red like mahogany, vibrant cherry red or copper.

Afro-Caribbean hair looks stunning with a red tone. However, due to its naturally dry texture, it's very important to give it some TLC. “I’d suggest nothing higher than a 20vol and to always use a bond builder/bond-protecting additive in the bleach to look after the condition of the hair,” Josephine tells us. “Apply bleach to the ends to lighten first, and then the roots go on last.”

Keep tones warm to enhance the skin colour, anything too blue-toned or cool will wash out your client. We love this copper caramel style below. The coloured hair has been blended into the roots for easy management and to frame her face, bringing out her freckles and eye colour.

“For certain reds, you don’t need to lift the hair past a level 7/8,” says Josephine. “Reds with a warm undertone sit nicely on hair which isn’t lifted as much.” This cherry red below is a great example of lifting the natural colour just enough to create a rich and vibrant red without causing as much damage.

Alternatively, if your client wants to refrain from any bleach processing, using a semi-permanent red dye will add a subtle hint of colour which comes out in the sun. It will also cause less permanent damage and will keep hair looking healthy and curls defined.

How to care for your red hair

“Caring for red hair properly is super important,” Josephine tells us. “Red pigments don’t stay as well as their colour opposites so need a little more love than usual. They do, however, wash out easier than blues and greens, so that’s a relief.” To keep colour topped up, clients can use a coloured shampoo like Crazy Color shampoo in red (£4.50). Alternatively, you can mix any semi-permanent shade into uncoloured shampoo and conditioner to keep colours looking bright at home

It’s very important with coloured hair to use a sulphate free, colour-safe shampoo. We love L’Oréal Professional Vitamino Color Shampoo (£16.90). It keeps hair soft and healthy and colour locked in. Follow with Fanola After Colour Care Conditioner (£9.95) to moisturise and lock in the colour.

We also highly recommend using a mask 1-2 times a week as hair which is hydrated holds colour better than hair which is dry and damaged. We love Schwarzkopf pH 4.5 color freeze which balances the pH of hair, freezing the colour pigment inside. Balancing the hair’s pH also means it needs to be washed less, which extends the life of colours.

To keep reds vivid, it's crucial to use a good heat protector. Colour which isn’t protected is exposed to all kinds of heat damage, which can reduce the brightness of coloured hair, leaving it dull and faded. We recommend Indola blow-dry spray (£5.50) which uses Pixel technology to also detangle and smoothen hair while blow-drying.

For afro hair, we also recommend KeraCare high-sheen glossifier (£5.35) to revitalise dry, dull hair and add gloss.