How to dye your hair red without pre-lightening

If you had to pick the best time to go red, December would win! Red is the signature colour of Christmas and New Year’s, so you may as well try it on yourself. It takes a lot of confidence to go red but once you’re there, it’s so much fun! Plus, red hair colour is a statement, by colouring your hair red you are telling the world: “Hey, I am here! I am confident and brave!”

So if you ever wanted to try this magnificent hair colour but were afraid to damage your hair, this post is for you. We will show you how to dye your hair red from brown without pre-lightening at home, easy and under £7. 

Choose the best red hair colour for your skin tone

Best red hair colours for light skin tone are Rose Gold, Deep Amber and Red Velvet.

Best red hair colours for medium skin tone are Intense Red and Hollywood Red. Try Sunset Orange as well – not exactly red hue, but suits your skin tone perfectly.

Best red hair colours for dark skin tone are Rich Plum, Red Velvet and Rose Gold. These are basic guidelines for choosing red hair colour for your skin tone, to find out more read our guide “What Hair Colour Will Suit Me?”. 

How to go red from brown without pre-lightening

Good news – most of the intense and dark red hair dyes don’t require bleaching your hair in advance. Our new red hair colours will work on dark blonde, medium blonde and light brown hair colours.

To colour your hair you will need to mix hair dye with developing lotion. This mixture will automatically lift your hair pigment and turn it into a desired shade of red. Unfortunately for light and bleach blondes, bright red hair colour may look too overpowering with such hair. Try something more subtle instead, for example, Rose Gold hair colour.

Before you begin…

There are a few important tips we want to share with you before you start applying the colour. Red dye is very noticeable, so put on an old shirt or cover your shoulders with a dark towel. If you know you’re a messy person, throw some towels on the floor too. And don’t forget to open the window/door to make sure you’re not breathing in as many chemicals.

How to dye your hair red at home, step-by-step

Step 1: Divide your dry, unwashed hair into 4 sections, front to back and ear to ear.

Step 2: Apply some olive oil (or Vaseline) on a cotton pad and rub it around your hairline (don’t forget areas behind your ears). This will prevent staining.

Step 3: Wearing gloves provided, empty the tube of colour cream into the application bottle and shake until thoroughly mixed.

Step 4: Apply the mixture evenly to each section starting from the bottom section, roots to ends. 

Step 5: Comb through, secure your hair with a clipper on top of your head and wait for up to 30 minutes (read the instructions provided). While you are waiting, check if you have any dye on your skin or surrounded area and remove it as soon as possible.

Step 6: Almost there! Wash your hair with a colour-safe shampoo – you know that you’re done when the running water becomes clear. Then apply a conditioner. Rinse again. 

Dry and enjoy your new beautiful red hair colour! 

How to maintain red hair colour

When you just coloured your hair red, forget about your favourite white clothes for a couple of days, they may turn pink! But it’s only for a few days and then you’re back to normal life. Well, almost – if you loved hot showers, now you’d have to love wearing a shower cap too – red hair colour is very sensitive to the heat. And then, use a standard hair colour maintenance kit: a nice sulfate-free shampoo, a conditioner for colour-treated hair and a hair colour refresher once in a while to keep vibrant and fresh.

Enjoy your new red hair colour!

Michael Rushby


This blog has been created for anyone interested in creative hair colouring. From celebrity styles to useful hints and tips, our aim is to give inspiration and offer you useful information to help you colour your hair at home, safely but adventurously.

We would love to hear your feedback, and any suggestions on topics you would like us to cover.

Happy hair colouring

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