ReadHead’s redhead quest for perfect hair.

For anyone who is  (blessed. blessed? blessed!) with naturally red or some other color of hair that “people pay good money to get at the salon,” this is for you.  Born a natural redhead, I have lived through the carrot top jokes, the “you’ll love your hair when you’re older” on repeat while boys turned their nose up to anyone who was described as being a redhead, and the stylist who just CANNOT BELIEVE I would dye my hair as if it’s a sin to touch it. I balayage my hair blonde because I want to.

I believe that I have now made my way onto the “no” list for a few stylists.  I have learned over the years that before I set an appointment, I tell the nice receptionist my stipulations which almost immediately puts me in the what in the… category. “I have long and thick hair, and want someone who is experienced with red hair.  It takes a long time to do and this is the style I want which includes two processes.” I show up at my appointment, sit in the chair and get a frown from the stylist who realizes that I’m incorrectly booked on time, I have A LOT of hair to deal with and they aren’t really sure which colors to pick.  Sigh.  My picture with the deep brown root and the bright ash blonde turns out as expected – slightly darker red root and warm blonde. Palm to the face.

If you’re a redhead who is planning to go a lifted blonde or balayage, here’s some tips.

  • Red hair is proven to be tougher to dye, is stubborn and fades faster.
  • It requires more time to process and will always have a brassy undertone unless you have multiple processes to get it to where you want. If you want a bright blonde, talk to your stylist about going with an ash blonde to combat the brass.
  • Go to someone who is experienced in red hair.  You’ll thank yourself.
  • A violet shampoo is essential to keeping your hair from getting brassy.  However, if you have a sensitive scalp like me, you may have to alternate with a gentler, sulfate-free option.  My favorite, albeit harsh with a old flowery smell that makes me pay for a few days with a dry scalp is Clairol’s Shimmer Lights. I have yet to find a better toning shampoo.
  • Accept yourself the way you are.  I may need to take my own advice on this one.  There are colors we just aren’t meant to achieve.  Perhaps I should save my money and go with that au natural color everyone pays top dollar for.

Have a suggestion on how to get the best color at the salon? Drop us a line in the comments.




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