When it comes to transforming yourself into a redhead, with the countless shades to choose from, it can be overwhelming to settle on just the right shade. And while we've left behind the old beauty rules (ahem — redheads
can, in fact, wear orange) it can still be helpful to know which shade to start with if you do decide to take the color theory approach to match your skin tone to find the best best red hair dyes for at-home color jobs. Here's a cheat sheet to help you get started: Fair tones: If you have fair skin, opt for strawberry, copper, and gold hues that bring out pink undertones, giving your complexion a natural looking blush. Medium tones: Medium-toned skin has a little more wiggle room when it comes to choosing a hue, but for natural-looking color, stick to medium shades of copper and auburn, which will complement the warmth of your skin. Dark tones: Medium auburns and the darkest shades of red — even those with violet tones — pop on those with dark-toned skin.
While shopping, keep in mind that the permanent dye options on this list contain ammonia, so you'll want to invest in a
deep conditioning treatment to keep your hair in tip-top shape after coloring.
Without further ado, let's dive into the
best red hair dyes that'll let your inner redhead shine. We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.
The Best Copper For Fair & Medium Skin Tones
copper red hair dye is fade-resistant, lasting for up to 10 weeks, and comes with a post-dye glossing treatment to give your hair a silky shine. It offers 100% gray coverage, but reviewers say you'll need two bottles if your hair falls past your shoulders. The light copper red pictured here is great for fair skin tones, but if you’re medium, you might want to opt for chocolate copper or desert copper. It contains ammonia, which will help the color stick, but be sure to stock up on a deep conditioner to keep hair shiny and strong. Glowing Review: “It’s a gorgeous color. I have people comment on it every single time I color. And the one question I’m asked that tells me it’s a natural looking color for a redhead is ‘is that your natural color?’"
The Best Auburn For Medium & Dark Skin Tones
auburn hair dye complements the warmth of medium and darker skin tones and adds natural highlights and lowlights that last for up to eight weeks. It offers 100% gray coverage and comes with a color-optimizing cream for more dramatic results, as well as a post-dye conditioner to soften hair. You can choose from three shades: light auburn, dark auburn, and auburn brown. Keep in mind: This formula does include ammonia for more vivid results, but you'll want to deep condition regularly. Glowing Review: “6AB Chic Auburn Brown is the perfect shade of auburn — not too dark and not too light. Not pink or orangey. Just love it — in the past I've had to mix two colors to get this shade. Left my hair in good condition too.”
The Best Mahogany For Dark Skin Tones
This mahogany red color will complement darker complexions and lasts for up to eight weeks before needing to be touched up. Providing 100% gray coverage, the dye comes moisturizing pre- and post-treatment conditioners that are packed with collagen and ceramides for extra strength and hydration. But be sure to use a deep conditioner weekly as well, since this formula has ammonia. Glowing Review: “First time ever home coloring my hair and it looks great! [...] I used the dark Mahogany color and got a rich dark mahogany all throughout. My hair is shiny and soft and the color covered all my greys."
The Best Fire Engine Red For Anyone With Cool Undertones
bright red hair color is the pick for anyone looking to make a statement, it’s perhaps best suited for those with cooler skin undertones — i.e., anyone who looks great in blue-red lipstick shades. (Still not sure? Check your veins: If they look more blue than green, you have cool undertones.) Lasting for up to eight weeks, the dye comes with a post-treatment conditioner to nourish hair. Reviewers say it's great for covering grays, but this formula, too, has ammonia, so you’ll have to be diligent about hair care. Glowing Review: “Love this color. Always get compliments on my hair, even though it's been this shade for years. If you want to make an impression, this is the colour for you.”
A Gentle, Ammonia-Free Vegan Permanent Dye
Formulated without ammonia, parabens, or sulfates,
this vegan hair dye is the most gentle permanent dye option on the list. Available in shades like burgundy, medium golden mahogany, and the light auburn pictured here, the formula offers 100% gray coverage and is infused with hemp seed oil to moisturize the hair shaft and help prevent breakage. The dye comes accompanied a post-color glossing treatment, but keep in mind: The color only lasts for about six weeks. Glowing Review: “The red is beautiful, bright & shiny. My hair feels soft. Smells good & easy to apply."
The Best Semi-Permanent Dye If You're Not Ready To Commit
bright red hair dye fades faster than the permanent colors — in about four to six weeks — so if you're nervous about going with a super bright shade, it's a fairly safe bet. It still provides a rich, vibrant color, and since it's ammonia- and peroxide-free, it's gentler on hair than many permanent dyes. And while the color is the most vivid if you bleach your hair prior to applying, reviewers say it works just fine without it. Be forewarned: Users report that it stains quickly, so it’s best to wear gloves while applying. Glowing Review: “It gave me this gorgeous red, and is very easy strip away for another color. I would recommend it to anyone who likes changing colors frequently."
A Temporary Red Wax That Washes Out
temporary hair wax adds a pop of color but washes out with a single shampoo session. It's a fun option for curly or textured hair, helping to mold and elongate curls as it coats hair with color. And it's also free of ammonia and other potentially harsh ingredients. Glowing Review: “This soft wax is very hydrating for dry, curly hair, yet it’s not greasy or stiff; so it helps tame the frizz while holding a hairstyle in place. Also, it provides excellent coverage over gray hair.”