This post actually should be called “how I keep my dyed red hair vibrant and AS ARIEL-LOOKING AS POSSIBLE” because tbh that’s my true goal these days. I want mermaid-length hair. Complete with the vibrant red hue. And obviously Ariel’s stunning volume.
Now that you understand the goal… how do I achieve it? Even more: how do I keep my dyed red hair vibrant during a global pandemic in which (a) it’s hard to get in to see a stylist for root touchups and (b) I’ve lost my job and I’m trying to be budget-conscious. Regular hair appointments and budget-consciousness don’t always go hand in hand.
In this post, I’m going to share my biggest dyed red haircare tips and tricks as well as my favorite products for preserving my own red locks. Red is notoriously hard to maintain, so think of this as expert-level hair maintenance for dyed hair. What does that mean? Basically, my tips and products below should work for any dyed hair. I actually used many of the products included in this post when I was a blonde, and I’ve just fallen even more in love with them as a ginger!
Oh and PS: these photos were taken nearly 8 weeks after my last salon visit! If that’s not proof that my method for keeping my dyed red hair vibrant works, I don’t know what is!
My 5 Biggest Tips and Tricks to Keep Dyed Red Hair Vibrant
1. Wait to wash
So my first and biggest tip is to wait to wash your hair after you go to a salon. As with any dye, washing too soon (or too frequently) will lead to faster fading. When I was blonde, that would mean my hair turned brassier faster. As a redhead, it will now go orangey brown. Not exactly ideal.
If you’re blonde or brunette, haircare experts generally recommend waiting at least 2 days wash your hair the first time after your salon visit. As a redhead, I like to wait at least 3 days to wash my hair after visiting the salon. Sometimes even longer.
Waiting to wash your hair gives your hair the time it needs to absorb the dye. Before that initial wash, it’s really important to keep your hair as healthy and nourished as possible. That means try to keep the hot tools to a minimum during these 3 days. Use dry shampoo in small, targeted doses as needed (I like this one that’s focused on hydration), and run a color fade-preventing serum through the ends.
2. Turn the temperature DOWN
This will likely disappoint those of you who love a scalding hot shower, but there is legit nothing worse for dyed red hair than hot water. Hot water opens up the cuticles on each strand, allowing water (red hair dye’s enemy) and shampoo (red hair dye’s other enemy) to get in there and wash out the red hair dye. On the other hand, cool water seals the cuticle, preventing fade. And it makes your hair look super shiny.
If a cold shower sounds absolutely miserable to you, don’t worry. I turn the temperature down in my shower only while shampooing and conditioning. The moment that’s over, I put my hair back up.
3. Wash your hair as infrequently as possible
Speaking of shampooing and conditioning: wash your hair as little as you can. When I first started dyeing my hair red, this worried me. Anything more than 2 days in between washes turns my roots oily and flat and my ends dry and brittle. It’s a truly tragic combo.
To get by in between washes, I use my favorite hydrating dry shampoo and volumizing spray at the roots to soak up the oil and give me volume. I also use this serum daily. It’s specifically formulated to strengthen and repair split ends while also preventing color fade.
These days, I shampoo and condition my hair 2-3x a week. If I workout and my hair gets really greasy on a non-wash day, I might lightly rinse my hair (without shampoo or conditioner), blow dry, and then apply some dry shampoo. But typically, I’m able to get away with only washing 2-3x a week – perfect for keeping my dyed red hair vibrant!
4. Use a deep conditioning treatment
To keep ginger hair from fading, I recommend using a deep conditioner at least once a week. In my case, that means every other wash. I use this hair mask to keep my hair hydrated. The entire Iles Formula line is allergen-free, paraben-free, and color-safe, and I love the scent.
FYI the proper order (with washes in between) when using a hair mask is:
- Deep Conditioning Treatment / Hair Mask
If you grab my go-to hair mask, remember to towel dry your hair before using it. As mentioned earlier, hair cuticles open up when hair is wet… But super-wet hair will dilute the hair mask and make it less effective. Oh and you should leave it in for about 15 minutes.
On my hair mask days, I like to have a bit of a pampering session. While I have the hair mask in, I’ll do a face mask and/or my nails. It’s the perfect little chill moment in an otherwise hectic week… and I always emerge feeling like a million bucks.
5. Keep chemical irritants, hot tools, and sun exposure to a minimum
Before I dive in, I need to recommend using my favorite serum. Not only is it a heat protectant: it’s also specifically formulated to keep hair nourished, shiny, and protected from harmful UV rays. I use it every day… and especially before using any hot tools.
Now to dive into this tip.
Let’s be honest: out of everything on this list, this is the hardest haircare tip to live with. It’s basically like saying “don’t have fun or do fun things to your hair”. Boo. How lame.
During the summer, I love being in the water or playing in the sun. Or even just drinking on a patio! But chlorine, saltwater, and UV rays can wreak havoc on your hair. Chlorine can mess with the color (bleaching, etc), while saltwater and UV rays dry and dull haircolor. It’s seriously tragic.
As a result, I try to keep my head above water whenever possible (and if that’s not a metaphor for my life right now, idk what is). Again, I use my favorite serum daily to protect my hair from UV rays, humidity, and free radicals. Oh, and I wear a hat whenever I’m going to be outside for prolonged periods of time.
Now for the hardest bit: hot tools.
We all know that heat damages hair. It can make color look dull and faded while also splitting ends and making your hair more brittle. But it makes your hair look so pretty and polished! What’s the point of even keeping dyed red hair vibrant if you can’t style it?
Despite the truly crazy-high cost, I would also recommend using Dyson’s hair tools. They’re all made with heat protection in mind. For the most bang for your buck, I recommend the Airwrap Styler – it comes with curling attachments, straightening attachments, and even an attachment so you can use it as a hairdryer. I rarely use any other hot tools on my hair these days.
My Weekly Haircare Routine that Keeps My Dyed Red Hair Vibrant
To keep my dyed red hair as vibrant as possible, I stick to a haircare routine. Religiously.
- 1-2x per week: Normal wash using the Iles Formula 3-step system
- 1x per week: Deep conditioning wash
- 1-2x per month: Wash using the Olaplex bond repair system (do this in place of a normal wash)
All other days, I apply finishing serum to my ends and use dry shampoo / volumizing spray as needed. Sometimes, if my hair is particularly greasy, I’ll rinse it without shampoo or conditioner (so just water).
To cut down on breakage, I use a silk pillowcase and these silk scrunchies at night, and I try to avoid using clips and hair ties during the day. Finally, I try to always use a wide-toothed comb while brushing my hair (also cuts down on breakage).
Did I miss any products you’d recommend for caring for dyed red hair? Or do you have any haircare tips you love? Let me know in the comments below!