Many of us red heads have a hard time maintaining the vibrancy of this beautiful but stubborn color! There are many ways to preserve your color, but just as many ways to ruin it. These tips also apply to any artificial hair colors you may have.
First things first, see a professional colorist! Now I understand not everyone has the time and money to be in the salon every four to eight weeks. However, box dye on any occasion is NEVER recommended. Professional colorists customize your hair color to fit your hair thickness, texture, color, and the amount of grey coverage needed. Box color will not. They are a one size fits all product. I don't know about you, but in my case one size definitely does not fit me! Boxes have one developer in each package that in most cases is much higher than necessary. This is especially the case with red colors. Often times they use anywhere from 40 to 70 volume which blows open your cuticle causing very unnecessary damage to your hair. This will cause the red pigment to wash out very quickly.
Once you have colored your hair the desired red, you should wait at least 48 hours to wash your new hair. Why? This will help the cuticle seal down and make the color last much longer.
Next, I would recommend purchasing a few shampoo and conditioners. You always want to use sulfate free and paraffin free products. A cheap non-color safe shampoo can strip red in one washing. You may think I am saying that in order to get you to buy the better stuff here, but the higher detergent drugstore type shampoos will truly strip your color quickly. Also, conditioners with a high paraffin content will bind to your color and make it wash out more quickly. I am a huge fan of Seven Haircare and Unite products. They make several color safe shampoo's that are great!
You also want to invest in color shampoos or conditioners. A few of my faves are Gem Lights from Celeb Luxury (they have many other colors) & Joico Color Infuse Shampoo and Conditioner (they also have a few other colors) These are pigmented shampoos that will allow you to replace pigment that is lost when washing, being in the sun, or any other environmental conditions.
Wash your hair in cool or cold water and don't wash daily. I am often times a hypocrite when it comes to this because I take scalding hot showers. I do try to lower down the temperature as much as I can. (much to my body's hatred of cold water) Hot water will open the cuticle causing the color molecules to escape. This also goes for flat Irons and curling irons being to high. Many people will flat iron at 450 degrees daily, which is so terrible for your hair. That temperature is meant for chemical services provided by professionals. Please lower the iron down! Do not wash your hair daily. Ideally if you can, wash it twice a week. Scrubbing your hair daily is the biggest killer for red hair. When it is wet the hair shaft swells, Red pigment being the largest pigment slips out at a faster rate than brown, blue or any other pigment. Dry shampoo is your friend!
Keep your hair out of the sun! I am a California girl, so I very much understand the pull to be outside at the beach, or hiking. Do what you can to protect your gorgeous locks from the harsh rays of the sun. Wear a hat or scarf, stay in the shade or under an umbrella if need be.
Now that you know some of the major tips and tricks to maintaining that beautiful hair of yours, enjoy it!