How to maintain red hair, according to professionals

From strawberry blonde to cool copper, one thing is clear: It’s a redhead world, we just live in it. And if our latest Mane Muse feature with Madelaine Petsch is any indication, we’re very happy Planet Red residents. But whether you’re blessed with a natural red hair color that needs a zhuzh or want a total hair color overhaul , a beautiful ginger-tinted hue is not just fun and games. In reality, maintaining a red hue requires a well-crafted care routine. That’s why we talked to seasoned colorists Cherin Choi and Adriana Pinto to find out how to make your salon shade last as long as possible. Read our expert’s best tips on how to maintain red hair color below!

About the experts

Cherin Choi is a bicostal hairdresser.

Adriana Pinto is a Los Angeles-based hair colorist.

How to keep red hair

Wait to wash after dyeing

“After coloring, it is essential not to wash your hair for two days,” explains Pinto. “This will allow the color to set into your hair.”

Wash with colder water

“Red hair is high-maintenance, but it’s so much fun,” says Choi. “The red doesn’t fade completely, but it does get less vibrant with each wash.” This is why he recommends a shampooing regimen with water at a cooler temperature.

The dangers of hot water washing are well established. As Pinto explains, “it opens up the cuticle of your hair and it can release a bit of color.” Frequent washing with hot water will make your beautiful ginger hue fade faster, that’s just science. This simple tip can significantly extend the life of your red hair color.

Minimal shampoo should do the trick

Similarly, avoid excessive washing. While we’re all well aware of the pitfalls of overwashing your hair in general (dryness being one of them), it’s even more important to avoid shampooing too often when you’re rocking a red hair color. Choi recommends a “minimal shampooing” to avoid any unnecessary color washout and to keep the processed locks in tip-top shape.

Invest in the right shampoo

“The most important thing is that investing in a good shampoo is very important,” says Pinto. “Don’t use drugstore shampoo!” High-quality color care is very important, especially when it comes to maintaining a super standout shade like a copper or fire engine red. Color-safe shampoos are a must (and you can find our redhead-approved picks below).

Use a color depositing conditioner or mascara

Color maintenance is all about fighting fading, and color-depositing products can help with that. Regular conditioning with a color-depositing conditioner or red hair mask is a must. The right products for “red conditioning will definitely keep [red color] looking good,” says Choi.

Use a detoxifying shampoo before your color appointment

When you go for a vibrant shade of red, you want to make the most of your salon appointments. For the best red results, Pinto recommends using a detox shampoo. “When you go to redo your red, you’ll make sure the minerals are removed, the hard water chemicals will allow you to get the most vibrant red,” he explains. Your personal favorite of his? Ouai Detox Shampoo.

The best products to maintain a red hair color

1. Davines Alchemical Red Conditioner

$35 at

Intensify and brighten red tones with Davines Coveted Color Conditioner. Choi recommends Davines Iconic Conditioner for “easy touch-ups at home.”

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2. Mr. Smith Pigments

$50 at

Extend your tone with a smooth color deposit product from Mr. Smith’s line of pigments. Formulated with almond oil, lavender, and orange peel, Pigments actually soothes the scalp and strengthens hair in the process.

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3. Shrine Drop It Red

$14.95 on

Shrine’s Drop It products are another of Choi’s home color boosting cures for redheads. This semi-permanent dye solution is fully customizable, so you can extend your red without stress.

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4. Milbon Sophistone Color Balancing Copper

$40 at

The perfect shampoo for red hair comes right away. “Using it once a week will keep copper/cinnamon/fiery reds vibrant,” says Pinto. That’s a glowing review we can’t pass up.

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5. Aveda Color Control Conditioner

$35 at

Natural hair care is the name of the game at Aveda. This conditioner is a great silicone-free option to combat fading, an absolute dream product for maintaining red hair colors.

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6. Kevin Murphy’s Eternal Color Wash

$41.31 on

This sulfate-free wash is super gentle and ideal for washing color-enhanced locks. This shampoo also helps fight hard water minerals to keep your hair soft and your tone stunning.

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7. Oribe shampoo for a beautiful color

$46 at

Redheads, rejoice! Another color protectant hair wash we can’t get enough of. Oribe’s shampoo intensely moisturizes to protect your hair and preserve your color.

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Thinking of going red or updating your fiery hue? HERE is a roundup of every red hair color trend!

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