Several years ago, I let my colorist take my hair from blonde to bright red. It was a nice fling, but I'm happiest as a blonde… or at least I was until I fell under the siren spell of these red ombré hair ideas. Sure, ombré has been around for a while—but you've never seen it quite like this. Think rich and vibrant cherry hues, deep crimson roots, and fiery highlights that are seriously making me consider a major hair change.
In short, if your hair is feeling blah as of late and you're feeling a little dangerous, red ombré hair should be your next color. We spoke with expert colorists to find out exactly how to nail this fiery trend.
Meet the Expert
- Lorena M. Valdes is a colorist at Maxine Salon in Chicago.
- Jafra Bryant is a freelance editorial colorist based in Los Angeles with over 13 years of experience in the industry.
"The best color for a traditional red ombré is a dark base with a dark brown or black," says colorist Lorena M. Valdes. "The pop and shine that happens between both is my favorite combination. On the lighter side, I love the mahogany base, and a true red on the ends is one of the most requested red ombrés."
Red Ombré Hair
Choosing a Shade: According to Valdes, those with a dark brown or black natural hair color have the easiest transition to red ombré. "It’s my favorite base to do it on. So many options with a dark base are just a matter of the intensity desired."
Maintenance Level: Medium. This will require visiting the salon every three to six months to brighten the shade up again, but may also require in-between glosses to maintain vibrancy, Valdes tells Byrdie.
Goes Great With: To best complement red hair, stick to eye shadows in warm undertones, such as bronze or brown. As far as your lips, you can wear a nude shimmer or a bold red.
Similar Shades: Magenta hair, burgundy
Price: The price of this hair color varies according to how much color you receive, the technique used, and if any pre-lighting or bleaching is necessary first.
Here are 24 amazing red ombré hair ideas for when your hair needs a major makeover.
Vanessa Hudgens gives her natural dark hair a burst of energy with this fiery ombré look. Valdes says that bright hues like red can fade fast, so use color-protecting shampoo and avoid washing your hair daily.
Red Ombré Locs
Singer Chlöe Bailey gives her locs a playful edge with this gorgeous red ombré hue. "To keep red ombré looking great on highly textured hair, I would keep to a similar hair care route they have been doing at home," says freelance editorial colorist Jafra Bryant. "4C hair loves to be moisturized with hair masks like Christophe Robin's Prickly Pear Mask ($69)."
We love this painted-on red-violet color by My Stylist Salon in San José, California. If you have cooler skin tones, this shade may be a good choice. "I would say folks with more pink or red undertones should make sure to fit the color to you," Bryant advises.
Blonde and Red Bob
Blonde hair gets the perfect splash of color with this red ombré bob. Bryant says that blondes have an easier application process than darker hair colors as they don't have to bleach first. "The fade on a blonde can be nice depending on the hair color line used, [as it often] fades to pink," she says.
Modern Day Ariel
Ariel hair just got a modern makeover. This gorgeous look starts with a deep red color at the roots and transitions to a bright, fiery red at the ends. This color is mermaid-approved!
Merlot is the perfect color when you want to rock this trend, but also want a totally wearable, more subtle shade of red that's perfect for the office.
Reverse Red Ombré
Actress Isis King found the perfect hue to compliment her skin tone. She has a reverse red ombré, with the lighter red at the crown transitioning to a deeper shade at the ends.
What's the best way to keep this color looking bright? "Color-safe and locking shampoos are the first step, [as well as] avoiding hot water, using a heat protectant whenever you use any heat (blowdryer, flat irons, curling irons, hot rollers, etc), protecting your hair when swimming, and not washing daily," Valdes says.
This red-to-orange ombré is not for the faint of heart, but it also happens to be insanely gorgeous. Bryant says to maintain this color, add a bit of hair color, such as Pravana ($12), to you shampoo. "It won’t shift your natural color much, but will add to the ombre area. It’s light, interchangeable and easy to mix into your at-home regimen to replenish the color each time you wash. Always ask your colorist which shade is best."
Beachy Red Ombré
Colorist Christine Silverman may be known for her impeccable blondes, but this red ombré hair is absolute fire. For beachy waves, spray in Beach Club's Volume Texture Spray ($32) before drying your hair.
Bumped Up Brunette
A more subtle take on the red ombré trend, this close-up further proves this needs to be your next hair color.
Fade to Peach
Dark roots give way to pieces of red that fade to bright peach. To keep your hair shiny after coloring, work in a few drops of Moroccanoil Treatment ($32) after styling.
Shades of red, magenta and blonde are expertly woven into her darker hair for an edgy and totally Instagram-worthy look. To keep your red color extra vibrant, Bryant says to "add a bit of your red color into your shampoo," with Manic Panic's Hair Dye in Rock and Roll Red ($10).
Grungy Red Ombré
This grungy red ombré embraces the '90s vibe. As a bonus, it requires little upkeep, as it grows out nicely. Wash with Madison Reed's Red Revive Plus Refresh Hair Color Set ($42) to prevent your hair from fading.
Red Orange Twists
These twists and that reddish-orange ombré are perfection.
To find the right shade of red, look for photos of models that have a similar skin tone (pale, olive, dark) and eye color as your own. Your colorist will help you find the shade that works best for you.
Imagine having a literal sunset on your head every day... magical. To copy this look, ask your colorist for a deeper red at the root, transitioning to a lighter red fading to a peach at the ends.
We are so here for this vivid magenta ombré look. This plum or wine-toned shade of red looks great on olive or darker skin tones, and the darker shade will fade to a slightly lighter red, which can make it lower-maintenance if you like both colors.
Red, White and Blue
This red ombré, white and blue color combo is a fun summer look. Bryant says that unlike other colors, red doesn't fade nearly as quickly as the blue. "Red loves to stick around for the long haul," she says.
There isn't enough room for all the heart-eye emojis we want to give this hair color. This is a more subtle version of the red ombré trend, with its copper hue over a more vibrant red.
Basically the fire emoji IRL. To copy this look, ask your colorist for deeper red on the crown, transitioning to a strawberry blonde at the ends.
Raspberry red fading to cotton candy pink is a surprisingly soothing gradient. To preserve this color, wait 48 hours after coloring it before washing it. This gives the hair cuticle time to absorb the color.
We don't want to play favorites, but this might be ours. Like your skin, your hair also needs SPF to protect it from the UV rays, which can fade hair. Bumble and bumble's Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Heat & UV Protective Primer ($29) is a good choice.
This face-framing ombré is simply stunning. If you don't want to do all-over color, adding in some pops of red around your face is a great option.
Long and Wavy
Jessie Woo looks radiant with her long, red ombré hair. "Red is one of the easiest tones and colors to reach on darker hair colors or natural hair," Bryant says.
We love the contrast in this pinkish-red ombré. Beach waves help to accent the color contrast in your hair. Use a medium-barrel curling iron, such as the Beachwaver Rotating Curling Iron ($149) for the perfect wave.
Can you DIY red ombré hair?
Yes, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's your best option. Be aware that depending on how dark your natural hair is, you may need to bleach it first (with something like L’Oréal Paris Colorista Bleach Ombré Bleach, $11), before dying it red. However, to avoid any hair mishaps at home, consider seeing a professional colorist.
How do I know which red ombré shade will look best on me?
Consider your skin tone and natural hair color. In general, if you have lighter features (think: fair skin and blonde hair) you'll tend to find lighter and/or brighter reds more fitting, whereas deeper reds tend to favor those with darker features. So brunettes or those with black hair may want to try a dark red ombré, while blondes might give a strawberry blonde ombré a go. However, these are more guidelines than "rules." For example, fiery red ombré can create a "wow" factor when combined with dark tresses.
Is red ombré hair low-maintenance?
While ombré is generally low-maintenance, red color is less so. That's because it tends to fade more quickly than other hair colors and in that sense, it requires more upkeep.