Red hair is a showstopper and, surprisingly, incredibly versatile. You can go auburn, cherry, orange-red, burgundy, and beyond. Trying a vibrant color for the first time can be scary, so we're here to give you some expert guidance before you take the plunge. You may be inspired to try a DIY at-home highlighting session, but our expert colorist Vauneeka Sutton advises making an appointment with a pro. (Mainly to guarantee you get the look you're hoping to achieve the first time around, especially if your hair is chemically-treated or natural.)
"On virgin non-color treated hair, red highlights can be achieved using hair color only depending on the vibrancy desired," says Sutton. "Natural hair sometimes needs an additional kick of power because of the many cuticle layers. So, for bright cherry reds and coppers, bleaching will provide the best end result because it allows the orange undertone to be exposed, giving a great foundation for toning or glazing with red."
Below we'll share 15 examples of reds on a variety of skin tones to reference the next time you visit your colorist.
Meet the Expert
Vauneeka Sutton is a professional colorist and assistant manager of education at Color & Co by L'Oréal.
CHOOSING A SHADE: According to Sutton, red hair can work on a variety of skin tones, but you'll want to consider your undertone. "A super-easy way to identify your skin tone is, if silver jewelry flatters your skin best, you have a cool skin tone. If gold jewelry flatters your skin best, you have a warm skin tone. If your skin is flattered by both, then you have a neutral skin tone." She suggests copper and auburn for warmer skin tones, merlot and burgundy for cooler skin tones, and if your skin is neutral, you can try both warm and cool shades of red.
MAINTENANCE LEVEL: "Red hair color, in general, can be high maintenance," explains Sutton. "Fading and loss of vibrancy are often experienced by red color wearers. Red highlights can be maintained by using a color-safe shampoo and a red-colored conditioner on a weekly basis." In addition to at-home maintenance, she suggests getting a fresh glaze of red every 4 to 6 weeks.
SIMILAR SHADES: Copper, auburn, and burgundy
PRICE: Full highlights and balayage typically start at $230 and go up from there.