Faux Redheads, Please Share Your Knowledge with Me

Naturally, I have black hair. Not raven black, rich black or blue black; just a nice flat (yet oddly shiny) black hair. Nature was wrong. I was meant to have pretty, pretty red hair. I usually prefer to go with a rich red or a nice burgundy, but that’s when I’m going to my stylist. He’s a god and uses magic to make my hair perfect. At the moment I’m doing it at home and trying to get basic “red” from a box from the store results in black hair that looks red only when the noon day sun shines on it. Fortunately, I have access to the Dope, know a lot of people go faux red here and a Sally Beauty Supply is nearby. About the only thing that I’m against using is henna. If you like henna and it works for you I’m very glad, but it’s just not my thing. (It does sound neat in theory though.)

As far as the condition of my hair, it’s in pretty ok shape (especially considering all of the dyeing and color stripping I’ve done in the name of the perfect red). The roots are terribly oily, the rest not so much, but I have multiple goo that works well to even things out. Parts of my hair are board straight; others slightly wavy and a few sections have quite a bit of curl to them. This is part of the reason my stylist is a god; he can take my crazy ass hair and make it perfect (although monetary sacrifices to Frederick Fekkai help too!).

I already have one of those dryers that covers your head. I’m guessing that I’m going to need a level 30 developer, but should I use a lightener first? Also, any color brand suggestions? Orangey red looks surprisingly good on me, but I’d prefer a less orange true red that looked red all of the time, not just under the noon sun.

Thanks for any help!


Henna doesn’t work for me, and I have very dark hair. You can’t even tell it’s there. I think it doesn’t have the right stripping.

I have to recommend if you are looking for a particular color and your hair is really dark, you need to do one of two things:

Bleach it as light as you can get and then apply the red dye, OR
get it done professionally.

Black hair does not take color well at all IME. I use a bright red and it makes my hair a lovely dark auburn. (Go figure).

That’s all the advice I have. I don’t know about what level of developer, I’m afraid, I just played with different dyes until I found the color I liked.

Henna doesn’t strip at all, on any color hair. It will lay down color like any colorant, but it will not lighten hair. It will add a red sheen to even black hair, but usually that’s only visible in direct sunlight. To get a light or bright red with henna on black hair, just like with chemical dye, you need to do a two-step process, first lifting (let’s call it what it is, ladies - it’s bleaching, either with peroxide or ammonia) and then using the henna or the box mix to deposit the red color.

And that’s all I can offer, since I’m a henna gal, reformed chemical dye user. Henna’s kept my hair red for two years with one application (of course I have outgrowth, but the part that existed when I hennaed it is still red) and it’s stayed a true red, unlike the Nice and Easy/L’Oreal/Revlon maze I used to run bi-monthly.

Good luck!

Henna, unfortunately, didn’t do a darn thing to my hair. And I find it way more work and labor then I want to do. So I just use the dye. I love the smell of henna, so it’s a pity.

I don’t want to bleach my hair or do any kind of two-step process. Actually, I’m really anti- bleaching. I don’t want my hair to stay red for two years, either! Part of the reason I like the dye I use is in six weeks or so, if I don’t like it or get sick of it, it’s pretty much started growing back in fully black. I want to be able to stop using it at any time.

So WhyNot and I have almost exact opposite needs for our hair. :slight_smile: Hopefully, this will actually help you OP, provided you know what it is you want to do!

I’d suggest biting the bullet & going to a professional colorist–at least the first time. You’ll definitely need to bleach your hair first to get a good red.

(Mousy brown turning white here–henna works fine for me!)

Yes - you need to bleach black hair first, and then apply the red. You aren’t going to get red hair straight out of a box you bought at the store with such a dark natural color. I’d suggest saving up for the stylist and letting him do it. You’ll get the best color with the least amount of damage.

I’ve never tried henna, but that will probably be my decision in my ever-continuing quest for RED HAIR*. Let us know how your dye job went, ok?

Update on my hair.

I was writing an update post last week, and while composing it I thought, well, since I can’t go and see my stylist, why not get someone to call him, talk to him about my hair, and then see what kind of goo he says to put on my hair (and what kind of chickens to sacrifice, wands to buy, ect.).

My grandmother and I sat around for a while examining my hair in quite the girlie way, trying to figure out just how to describe it. She called and spoke to my sainted stylist (most of my family goes there, and his uncle runs the place so between us there’s a real family feeling).

In the end, we decided that that my sweet pea would send some pictures to him of my hair when it was all nice and clean. Unfortunately, his computer is acting up so he couldn’t see the pictures. He emailed me from his cell to let me know what was going on, can you feel the love? My sweet pea is going to do something so my sainted stylist can see the pictures and he can give me advice. I’ll update after this hurdle.

I’d like to think everyone for the advice given to me here. You guys rock!

Best thing that I have ever learned about maintaining faux red hair is to wash it in the coolest water you can stand. Apparently off all colors, the red comes off most easily, and cool water deters it.

Easier to do in summer than winter.

Yeah I’m a dark brown and when I’ve gone red in the past you have to bleach that shit like its never been bleached before. BLEACH. and then bleach it again.

Aveda red conditioner (I forget their fancy name for it) works WONDERS in helping maintain a good red color. It is so strong it can stain your fingernails if you’re not careful. Great stuff.

Not really relevant to the thread at hand, but any aspiring redheads should check out this baby ( dailymail.co.uk )

I wonder what her hair will look like when she’s 20!

Don’t wash your hair every day. Your hair and your scalp don’t really need a daily scrubbing, and washing will fade a red out quickly, particularly if you do it with hot water.

I use cool water twice a week. Sometimes in the winter, it’s once a week.

I get my regrowth touched up every 4 to 6 weeks but the rest of it stays a nice cherry red (like the skin of a bing cherry) so well that I only get color applied to that part of my hair every 8 to 12 weeks.

I pay a pro to do it. I’ve never been able to achieve this color without a pro because the developer they use is of a different volume than what is standard in the off-the-shelf stuff.

Oh, stay outa the sun and the chlorine filled swimming pools. Sun will naturally screw with your color, and all that chlorine really messes it up.

Silly question, silly answer.

I have dark brown hair naturally and have gone red many times. The best one step color I’ve ever used was L’oreal Excellence Hicolor. It is designed for use with dark hair and works wonders without a lightener or bleach first. My personal favorite is the red fire. :slight_smile: