I get asked a lot about my red hair from women who are thinking about taking the fiery plunge. I love having red hair. Dying my locks two years ago was one of the best hair decisions I’ve ever made. However, this wasn’t the first time I had red hair. I was actually born a ginger:

Heather

The Southern California sunshine bleached my strawberry hair into pure blonde, much to my red-headed grandmother’s chagrin:

blowing on a thistle

Since then, I’ve highlighted, lowlighted, and dyed my hair lots of different colors, but I think red suits my coloring the best.

mother's day 2012

So you want to have red hair, too?! YAY. Before you join Club Red, this is what I think you should know:

~Red hair is not for the lazy.

And by lazy, I mean hair-lazy. Red hair fades fast – faster than any color my hair has ever been. It also doesn’t grow out well. There’s a reason why you don’t see many ombre gingers. This means you have to dye your hair frequently if you don’t like the roots look. I highly suggest getting your hair professionally dyed the first time you go red, and then asking the colorist if s/he can suggest at-home treatments that you can use yourself if you can’t go back every few months for touch ups (s/he will probably caution you against this, for lots of really good reasons, but it’s always worth asking). But, if you know you can’t or won’t be able to color your hair very often, ask for a very subtle shade of red that is close to your natural color to help your roots blend.

~Extend your color’s life.

The best way to make your red color last is to wash it as little as possible. Obviously this is going to depend a lot on your hair’s texture and your habits. When I am allowed to exercise, I have to wash my hair after every trip to the gym. When I’m pregnant, my hair is awesome and really only needs to be washed every three days. But normally speaking, I try to wash my hair every other day. When I do wash it, I use a shampoo that is made for color-treated red hair. I’ve tried bunches of them (I’m a product junkie), and I’ve found that the ones that seem to make my color last the longest are sulfate-free. Sometimes sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners can be pricey, but I’m currently using a red-head formula by John Frieda that’s only $6.50. I know L’Oreal has a couple that are even less. When you wash, be sure to only put shampoo on your roots, and only put conditioner on your ends. Also, dry shampoos are great to help between washings.

~Cheat!

If you don’t want to rock the roots, there are ways to cover them up. Spray-powdersΒ  do a good job of covering roots (Bumble and bumble makes a good, albeit pricey, product). You can try a root concealer as well, or a touch up color pen (Rita Hazan and Oscar Blandi make the former and the latter). Or, you can use my method of a scarf or headband to cover roots! It’s foolproof!

But really, if you want red hair, I say do it! It’s hair – if you don’t like the result, you can always dye it back!