How To Keep Red Hair Dye from Fading [13 Tips] 

Learn 11 tips from our article on how to keep red hair from fading and preserve your hair’s vibrancy. 

Red hair is bold, brilliant, and beautiful. Any gender and age can rock red hair. It is, however, a difficult color to keep. You will need to know how to keep red hair from fading. We will give you 13 tips in this article. So, keep reading! 

Why Does Red Hair Color Fade So Fast? 

Compared to molecules of other color pigments, the molecules in red pigments are much smaller.

As a result, when applied, they cannot penetrate fully to color. They will also slip out easily after wash days. 

Most of the time, you can only retain red hair for 4 weeks.

13 Tips to Keep Red Hair Dye from Fading 

Use shampoos and conditioners for colored hair 

Although it is simpler and less expensive to keep using the same shampoos and conditioners that you had before you colored your hair, it will not be able to take care of your hair.

You need to use products that are specifically made for colored hair. These are often labeled as “color safe” products

This is because of the varying ingredients between regular and color-safe types. The former tend to have sulfates, which can take away the pigments of your hair, while the latter contains proteins, amino acids, antioxidants, anti-fading agents, and UV protectors, all of which preserve the vibrancy of colored hair. 

Here are the shampoos and conditioners for red hair that we recommend: 

Use dry shampoo to space out wash days 

While limiting your wash days, there is a chance that your hair becomes oily and greasy. In this case, to guarantee that you still look presentable, you can use dry shampoo.

It absorbs the oil and grease in your hair to leave your hair looking and feeling fresher. You should choose dry shampoo with an invisible formula so that there are no white residue or flakes left behind. 

Note: Some dry shampoos can also double as a volumizer and styling product. 

Seven tips to make the most out of dry shampoos: 

  • Shake the dry shampoo bottle before you uncap and use it. This will make sure that the product is well-blended and well-distributed, as sometimes, the starch in aerosol formulas can sink to the bottom between uses.
  • Do not hold the bottle too close when dispensing the product. The nozzle should be about an arm’s length from your scalp. 
  • Section your hair beforehand to identify the oily parts. You do not want to apply dry shampoo on non-oily parts because then, they appear stiff. 
  • Work the dry shampoo one (oily) section at a time. 
  • Wait a few minutes for the dry shampoo to do its job. 
  • After applying the product, use a wide-toothed comb to remove any white residue. Alternatively, you can use your fingers. 
  • Apply it once or twice a week but do not use it in excess. Otherwise, it will accumulate into starch buildups that clog your follicles, and thus, weaken your hair. Hair loss and skin issues like infections and dermatitis are other consequences you want to avoid. 

Here are two dry shampoos that we personally love: 

Use a color-depositing shampoo (occasionally) to revive your color 

Color-depositing shampoos release colored pigments into the hair. As such, they can be a fantastic tool for extending and reviving the color of your hair. Each will come with different usage instructions, but these are the general steps to take: 

  1. Conduct a strand test. This ensures there are no adverse effects, including redness, swelling, and itching. Also, you will have peace of mind knowing how much time is needed to get results. 
  2. Wet your hair thoroughly with lukewarm water. Make sure you do not use hot water, as ir can damage your hair. 
  3. Squeeze out excess water from your just-wet hair. 
  4. Lather the shampoo, then massage it into your hair. 
  5. Let the shampoo sit on your hair for the time specified on its packaging. 
  6. Rinse the shampoo away with lukewarm or cold water but not hot water. Remember that rinse carefully. You need to be sure that there is no residue at all. 
  7. Follow up with a quality conditioner. You can use a color-depositing one.  With a color-depositing conditioner, take note that you will have to leave it on for 5 to 15 minutes. 
  8. Rinse once more with cold water to complete. 

Note: Afterward, check that there are no remnants in your shower or bath.

Since they can leave rather stubborn stains, you do not want to discover them several days later, when they have already hardened. When you identify them, be sure to rinse right away. 

In our case, we want a red-depositing shampoo. Here are two well-praised ones: 

Use anti-UV products and wear hats or bandanas  

The sun can cause your hair to discolor and fade. Therefore, you need to protect your hair from the sun’s rays.

To do this, you can use hair products with anti-UV formulas and/or SPF. Here are some that you can consider getting:

In addition, you can shield your hair by wearing a hat or a bandana when you go out. This will lengthen the life of your red hair. 

Keep your hair healthy 

Healthy hair is better at retaining color. Therefore, it is important that you invest time and effort in keeping your hair healthy. You should test your hair condition once in a while and track it closely. 

It is not a bad idea to pamper it regularly with hair masks. They typically contain a blend of hydrating ingredients, softeners, and strengtheners to keep your hair in tip-top condition.

Masks hydrate, soften, replenish, rebuild elasticity, nourish, detangle, and defrizz. In essence, they can do wonders for your hair. 

You should use a hair mask at least once a week. If your hair feels like it requires extra care, it is possible to use it twice or thrice a week. 

The general steps to using hair masks are as follows:

  1. Wash your hair with shampoo and rinse thoroughly with warm water. 
  2. Apply the mask to your hair. 
  3. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Rinse your hair with water.  
  5. Dry your hair with a fresh cloth.
  6. Style your hair as you normally would.

Note: There are specific instructions for each product. So, be sure to read and stick to them. 

You should also ensure you are maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet. If you are lacking certain vitamins, be sure to use supplements. You can find ones for vitamins A, C, D, E,… easily in the market. 

Avoid swimming pools 

Swimming pools contain chemicals, like chlorine, that strip the red color from your hair, in addition to making your hair dry and brittle.

In addition, if there is chlorine on your hair, the only way you can fully get rid of it is with a clarifying shampoo, which, as you will learn in even more detail later, will fade your color. As such, if you can, steer clear from these pools.

If you must go swimming, wait for at least 2 weeks after coloring your hair. Plus, minimize the harsh effects by wetting your hair with tap water and conditioning it beforehand.

While swimming, protect your hair with a cap. Afterward, be sure to completely rinse your hair out with clean (non-pool) water. 

Avoid saltwater

As with avoiding swimming pools, you should stay away from the sea. Saltwater can dehydrate your hair. 

This prompts it to become dry and takes away its elasticity. As a result, your hair is easily tangled, brittle, fragile, and by this token, prone to breakage.

Moreover, you may observe more split ends and discoloring. 

Avoid using products containing sulfates 

Sulfates can strip the red from your hair. However, many hair products, namely shampoos, contain sulfates because they are the chemicals that make a product sudsy and able to lather. 

As such, when you are choosing products for your hair care regime, examine the ingredients list carefully. Get products that are free of sulfates.

Avoid using clarifying shampoos 

Clarifying shampoos are made to deep cleanse hair. Typically, they have powerful formulas and ingredients to get rid of build-ups, oils, and dirt.

As a result, during this process, the red color in your hair can also be washed off. It is best to stay away from clarifying shampoos after coloring your hair. 

Never shampoo right after dyeing

You should NOT hit the showers right after coloring your hair red. You must wait for at least 2 days before washing your hair.

Otherwise, your fresh color can seep out and go straight down the drain. If you wait for about 48 hours, the colors will have had time to saturate the strands. 

If your roots become oily or greasy during the 2 wait days, you can use some dry shampoo to make them appear cleaner. 

Try not to shampoo every day 

Even though you can shampoo after 2 days of dyeing your hair, you should NOT wash it every day.

The more often you wash your hair, the faster the color fades. Hence, to preserve your red color, try to limit your wash days to once or twice a week. 

Do not use hot water 

When you do wash your hair, make sure you are NOT using hot water.

Hot water prompts your hair to expand and the cuticle on each hair strand to open. This, in turn, lets water and shampoo into the internals of the hair and washes out color. 

So, instead of hot water, stick to cool water. Cool water seals the cuticles of your hair strands and locks the red color.  

If you live in a cold area and on a specific day, it is too cold to shampoo without hot water, consider using dry shampoo. 

Avoid using heat-styling tools regularly 

Just as hot water is bad for red hair, heat applied to the hair through heat-styling tools is a no-no.

It can cause the hair dyes to fade fast. Therefore, it is necessary to heat-style as infrequently as possible. Your best bet is to let your hair air dry!  

If you must use a heat tool (i.e., blow dryer, curling iron, straightener, etc), make sure you use a heat protectant spray to protect your hair. 

If you do not already have one, consider these:

How to Touch Up Red Hair When It Fades? 

Use color refreshers 

There are plenty of color refreshers in the market that you can use for touching up fading red hair. They can come as cream or spray formulas.

After application and a few minutes of waiting, the vibrancy of your red color can be revitalized.

A good color refresher will contain hydrating and nourishing ingredients that leave your hair soft and shiny too. 

Use root concealers

As explained in the name, root concealers are products that conceal the roots. In essence, they cover the roots where colors may be discolored or faded — looking a lot different from the ends of the hair. 

Usually, they come in spray, gel, and powder formulas. They are not permanent and can be washed off with water and shampoo. 

We would recommend using them for special occasions and not daily. Here are the steps to using them (by formula type): 

Steps to Use Spray Root Concealer 

  1. Dry and style your hair as you normally would. 
  2. Cover your shoulders and other exposed skin areas with a towel. 
  3. Shake the bottle well and hold it about 6 to 12 inches from your hair. 
  4. Apply the product, starting with the roots nearest to your scalp. Spray in short bursts; two to three seconds each. 
  5. Spritz the product on a tissue to dab the areas around the hairline. 
  6. Let the spray dry completely on your hair.
  7. Brush through your hair from root to tip to blend the product. 

Note: Store spray root concealers from flames and never use them near any kind of open fire. 

Steps to Use Gel Root Concealer 

  1. Decide whether you want to use it on dry or wet hair. 
  2. Squeeze the product out onto the applicator that comes with it. 
  3. Apply it to the visible roots. 
  4. Wait for at least 1 minute for it to be absorbed.
  5. Blend the gel in by blowing drying your hair on low heat. 

Steps to Use Powder Root Concealer 

  1. Clean, dry, and style your hair as you normally would. 
  2. Dab powder on the brush that comes with it. 
  3. Brush the product at your roots. Keep brushing and dabbing until it looks blended. 
  4. Set with hairspray if you want.

Remove buildups

Chemicals, pollutants, and products can accumulate on your hair and scalp. They then dull your tresses and cause discoloration.

To remove them, consider rinsing your tresses with apple cider vinegar and water. Here is how you go about it: 

  1. Prepare apple cider vinegar, water, a spray bottle 
  2. Mix apple cider vinegar in the spray bottle with a 1:5 ratio.
  3. Cap the spray bottle tightly and shake to combine the ingredients. 
  4. Spritz the solution onto your hair after shampooing. Make sure you close your mouth and eyes while doing this. 
  5. Let it sit for roughly 30 seconds. 
  6. Rinse it out with water. 
  7. Condition as you normally would. 

Note: You should only use this rinse solution once a week. 


Now that you have our 12 tips on how to keep red hair dye from fading, you can put them to action and keep your red hair as fiery as when you got them. If you cannot remember all these right away, bookmark this! 

Which tip did you already know? Which did you find the most helpful? Which was surprising? Which made the difference for you? Let us know below!


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