8 Tips For Switching From Blond To Red Hair (Because Fiery Passion Is Always In Style)

Are you staring down your golden or platinum blond hair, thinking it's time for a change? Before you settle for your go-to shade of brown, consider a more creative path: red hair. Everyone loves a red hair moment — red hair is powerful, sensual, and completely reimagines your look. Ranging from strawberry blond to copper, ginger, or auburn, red shades add a vibrancy that you rarely get with other hair colors. That said, bold choices are not without their pitfalls, and red hair is a notoriously frustrating color to acquire and maintain.


Going from blond to red is one of the easier ways to get a crimson hue, but it still takes some careful planning to pull it off. If you want to express yourself with a shiny rose gold or a sultry cherry red, you'll have to take a deep dive into the world of dye chemistry and color theory.

Prepare for commitment

Don't dye your hair red unless you're ready to commit. Dyeing your hair red is a more complicated process than other colors and you'll likely end up spending a good bit of time and money to get the crimson shade you desire.


The trickiness of red hair comes down to the large size of red pigment molecules. As professional stylist Jamie Wiley explains to Byrdie, "The red color molecule sits on the surface of the hair cuticle and cortex rather than penetrating the hair as deep as other color molecules." For this reason, it can take multiple attempts to successfully deposit red color into the hair without it washing out.

Moreover, once you do have red hair, it takes a lot of effort to break down those chunky red particles. The original red hue will fade, but unless you want to get aggressive with bleach, you'll probably have to wait for your roots to grow out to get rid of the underlying red tones.

Always go to a professional

Resist the siren call of that red box dye. As pretty as the model on the package may look, achieving those results on your own is unlikely.

Attaining the perfect shade of red hair often involves mixing multiple dyes and anticipating how your existing blond will interact with the new color. A box dye formula won't match your hair's unique needs. The dye may be too harsh or concentrated and leave you with excessively bright red hair. If you have bleached hair, a permanent box dye can make your hair dry, brittle, and prone to breakage.


Even if you have experience dyeing your hair other colors, red may still be too advanced. Red is a vibrant statement color, and very unforgiving when it comes to mistakes. Any patchiness or discoloration will be immediately evident. However, a professional colorist has years of experience working with red dye and will use high-quality, customized products to treat your hair.

Study the red rainbow

Red is an incredibly broad color category. Try to select a shade of red that pairs well with your skin. Most people's skin is either warm or cool-toned. Your skin might have a more neutral tone, but it will still lean more warm or cool. You can check your skin tone with a few different methods. The easiest is to decide if your skin is more flattered by gold or silver jewelry — warm skin looks best with gold jewelry, and cool skin looks best with silver. Also consider whether you look best in pure white (cool skin) or ivory (warm skin). If you have cool skin, stick to shades of red with a pink or purple undertone. Folks with warm skin should choose a red with an orange undertone. You may also want to think about how bright or muted your skin is. All skin colors can have a bright or soft shade. Matching the vibrancy of your red hair with your skin will give you a more harmonious look.


Be wary of dark reds. Without darkening your blond hair first, using a deep red dye could leave you with cartoonishly pink hair. If burgundy or auburn is your dream hair color, then be prepared to have heavily processed hair. To avoid spending days in a salon chair, folks with light hair should opt for strawberry blond or copper shades instead.

Plan your approach

Fortunately, you have lots of options for how you want to acquire your red hair. Unlike darker hair colors, which usually need bleach before using red dye, blond hair is well-positioned to transition to a red shade.


The most extreme option: permanent dye. Permanent dye is a bold choice and means that you'll be committing to red hair (and all the maintenance involved) for a long time. With a permanent dye, the red pigment penetrates your hair shaft. This method minimizes the amount of fading you'll have to deal with, but it also means you'll probably have to grow your hair out when you're done with your red locks.

If you want to experiment with red hair without making a big departure from blond, consider getting a gloss. A gloss, also known as semi-permanent color, will coat the surface of your hair with color and allow for a more subtle change. Glosses are an especially good option if you have golden or honey-blond hair — the red tint will perfectly integrate with the existing warm tones to create a gorgeous copper shade. Keep in mind that glosses only add new pigment. They don't contain chemicals that break down existing pigments. For this reason, you should work with your colorist to find a gloss that mixes well with your current shade of blond.


Fading is inevitable

Rapid fading is part of the deal when you commit to red hair. Whether you want to keep your red hair for the long haul or experiment with a quick ginger phase, it's best to anticipate the fading in advance and embrace it as part of your red hair journey.


If you want your glorious crimson mane to stay bright, you'll likely have to hit the salon for touch-ups every month. For some folks, salon visits are a special self-care ritual that they look forward to, but if you don't have the budget or time for constant appointments, you'll need to incorporate fading into your hair color plan. Many stylists recommend dyeing your red hair a shade darker than your goal color to compensate for fading. On the other hand, you can also add red highlights or balayage instead of dyeing all of your hair, so that you can easily revert to your original blond as the red disappears.

Maintenance matters

As with all color-treated hair, your red hair will require extra care. Proper hair care helps minimize fading and strengthens your delicate, chemically processed tresses. To reduce fading, decrease how often you wash your hair. Every time you wash your hair, more red pigment washes away. Right after you dye your hair red, try to go as long as you can before your first shampoo, ideally for two or three days.


When you wash your hair, use shampoo and conditioner designed for dyed hair. A good shampoo gently cleanses your scalp without containing harsh ingredients, while a quality conditioner for color-treated hair contains nourishing, hydrating ingredients that strengthen your strands. For extra color preservation, use a shampoo and conditioner with red pigment around once a week. Red shampoo is a simple way to refresh your color.

You should also take special care to protect color-treated hair from environmental damage that can lead to color fading and hair breakage. While you can't live with your head in a bubble, you can modify your daily habits. Avoid heat styling when possible, and when you do use a heat tool, coat your hair with a heat protectant first. Additionally, try to keep your red hair out of the sun, as this will also increase fading. Consider wearing a hat or scarf, or using styling products with SPF.


Adjust your makeup and wardrobe

Your hair color isn't the only thing that changes when you go red. Having red hair dramatically alters which clothes and makeup look best on you. While your favorite pink shirt matched fabulously with your golden locks, it may now clash with your new ginger hair. As you start dressing for red hair, it will take some trial and error to figure out which colors flatter you most.


Changing your makeup will also be a factor. Your red hair emphasizes different features or color tones in your face, such as the green in your eyes or the natural flush in your skin. Depending on your coloring, you might need to take it easy with certain shades of blush and lipstick. You also may want to get new eyeliner, mascara, and eyebrow products that match your hair color. While taupes and honey browns look lovely with blond hair, deep, chocolate browns are better suited for bright red hair.

You won't need to throw out your whole closet or makeup drawer, but you will need to be strategic about which items you use and which new pieces you decide to invest in.

Be stylish, not trendy

To quote Oscar de la Renta, "Fashion is a trend. Style lives within a person." If you choose to change your hair color, make sure you're doing it because it suits your style, not just to follow a trend. This especially pertains to red hair, which has been on the rise as a popular hair color.


Trends are a great source of inspiration, but getting red hair requires far too much effort to only do it to match a temporary trend. And beauty trends are increasingly fleeting, with most viral TikTok trends lasting no longer than a few weeks. While the Kendall Jenners of the world have access to skilled professionals who can radically change a hair color in one day, most people should stick to styles they can enjoy for a long time.

Instead of going for the spiced copper shade that everyone fell in love with in the autumn of 2022, try choosing your own signature red. Stand out from the crowd with your one-of-a-kind style and make the fiery statement that red hair's meant for.