The best red hair dye for the brightest crimson ‘do

These are the best red hair dyes, both permanent and semi-permanent, for your perusal...

red-hair-dye

by Caitlin Casey |
Updated on

So you've broken up with your S/O, and you're looking to make a drastic transformation with the best hair dye, one or two red hair dyes to make it feel a little bit better? Only joking... kind of. Either way, if you're here off the back of a heartbreak or you just want to freshen up your locks with a dye as bright as Dianne Buswell's, then we've got you covered. Here are the best red hair dyes you can shop right now.

If hair health is super important to you and you still want your hair to grow perfectly silky and smooth, then you might want to look at an ammonia-free dye like L'Oréal's Casting Creme Gloss. This just means they're longer-lasting but still gentle on your strands - and we can all do with that.

If you don't have the dough for expensive hair treatments, don't worry. After dying your natural hair - and even if you're looking for hair dye for dark hair - make sure to treat your hair with plenty of hair masks and leave-in treatments.

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The best red hair dyes to shop at a glance:

Best red hair dye for dark hair: L'Oreal Paris Preference Vivids, 8.99 on Boots

Best red hair dye for a multi-tonal shade: Garnier Nutrisse Ultra Color, 7.99 on Amazon

Best cool red hair dye: Schwarzkopf LIVE Permanent Hair Dye, 7 on Boots

On the flip side, if you already use clip-in extensions, you might not care so much about your virgin hair. It's all about your personal preference, and you shouldn't rush into any permanent dye decisions (that's what semi-permanent hair dye is for). So, without further ado, these are the best red hair dyes, both permanent and semi-permanent, for your perusal...

SHOP: The best red hair dye to buy online UK 2024

1.

L'Oreal Paris Preference Vivids, Bright Red 8.624

Best red hair dye for dark hair

L’Oreal Paris Preference Vivids, Bright Red 8.624
Price: 8.99

www.boots.com

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L'Oréal Colorista red hair dye is our top pick for dark hair, and it's permanent, too, so you can keep your hair dye looking shiny and fresh for longer. It promises a high-intensity colour and, with a mix of pure dyes, Up to 3x more shine, which we love.

Pros

  • Reviewers loved how the product brightens hair without using bleach
  • We love that the product leaves hair feeling soft and looking shiny

Cons

  • Reviews say that the product fades quicker than others
Type Cream
Wait timeRead pack instructions
Hair colour permanencePermanent

2.

Garnier Nutrisse Ultra Colour, 5.62 Vibrant Red

Best red hair dye for a multi-tonal shade

Garnier Nutrisse Ultra Color, 5.62 Vibrant Red
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If you're looking for a red hair dye that'll reflect the light and show shineandshadows to give your colour more depth, this Garnier Nutrisse Ultra Colour is the box for you. Using a deep-red hue and high-shine effect, your hair will look naturally glowing, which we can't get enough of.

Pros

  • Reviewers said they received plenty of compliments after using the product
  • We love that the product shows shine and shadows for an in-depth colour finish

Cons

  • Some reviewers said the colour may only last for up to six weeks
Type Cream
Wait time25-35 mins
Hair colour permanencePermanent

3.

Schwarzkopf LIVE Permanent Hair Dye, Red Passion

Best cool red hair dye

Schwarzkopf LIVE Permanent Hair Dye - Red Passion
Price: 7

www.boots.com

View offer

If you're not after a see-your-hair-from-across-the-street colour, then this is the subtle hue for you. You'll still reap the compliments of a redhead, but with this deep, purply shade in this Schwarzkopf LIVE Permanent Hair Dye, your hair will look deeply coloured and will even blur away any unwanted greys.

Pros

  • Reviewers say that the colour is extremely vibrant, especially on lighter colours
  • We love that the product will successfully blur away grey hairs

Cons

  • Some reviewers said you have to double-clarify your hair first
TypeCream
Wait time20-30 mins
Hair colour permanence Permanent

4.

Manic Panic High Voltage Classic Cream Formula, Vampire Red

Best semi-permanent red hair dye

Manic Panic High Voltage Classic Cream Formula, Vampire Red

Rrp: $14.99

Price: $13.99
View offer
Alternative retailers
FragranceNet.com$9.79View offer
Walmart$9.91View offer
Target$15.99View offer

This offering from Manic Panic is our top pick for a semi-permanent hair dye. It doesn't require a developer and works straight from the jar, even promising to leave your hair in a "better condition than before it was dyed." We also love that once you're finished with the jar, you can wash it out and reuse it.

Pros

  • Reviewers said the colour is extremely vibrant
  • We love that the product is eco-friendly, being a vegan and cruelty-free formula

Cons

  • Some reviewers mentioned the product works better on light or bleached hair
TypeCream
Wait time30 mins
Hair colour permanence Semi-permanent

5.

Clairol Nice'n Easy Crème Oil Infused Permanent Hair Dye, Golden Auburn

Best natural red hair dye

Clairol Nice'n Easy Crème Oil Infused Permanent Hair Dye, Golden Auburn
Price: 7.99

www.boots.com

View offer

We have it on good authority that this is the hair dye Stacey Dooley uses (she is on the box, after all...). Apart from that, this is a gorgeously natural shade, and the product is oil-infused to prevent any irritation to the scalp, which we think is a great aspect of the product. We also have a full round-up of the bestauburn hair dyeson Closer.

Pros

  • Reviewers loved the conditioner that comes with the product
  • Reviews say the product is extremely easy to use and is non-drip

Cons

  • Reviewers said the dye was better for lighter hair
TypeCream
Wait time25- 45 mins
Hair colour permanencePermanent

6.

Bleach London Super Cool Colour, I Saw Red

Best bright red hair dye

Bleach London Super Cool Colour, I Saw Red
Price: 6.50

www.cultbeauty.co.uk

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We love semi-permanent dyes such as this one from Bleach London as they are great for those weeks when you fancy being a louder version of yourself, It'll fade away between two and ten weeks (depending on your virgin shade), but after that initial dye, you'll be wowing bystanders with your firey-red tresses.

Pros

  • We love that the product is cruelty-free and vegan
  • Reviewers even loved how the product washes out over time

Cons

  • Some reviews claim it works better on bleached hair for a really vibrant shade
TypeCream
Wait time30 mins
Hair colour permanence Semi-permanent

7.

L'Oréal Paris Casting Crème Gloss Semi-Permanent Hair Dye, Black Cherry

Best cherry red hair dye

L'Oréal Paris Casting Crème Gloss Semi-Permanent Hair Dye, Black Cherry
Price: 9.99

www.lookfantastic.com

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So, you're a bit of a scaredy cat? Only joking. But, seriously, if you don't want to take the permanent dye plunge and you're hesitant to dry out your virgin hair, this colour from L'Oréal is for you. The ammonia-free formula promises softer, smoother and improved hair quality, and some reviews even state that it helped to rejuvenate bleached hair. What's not to love?

Pros

  • Excellent grey coverage according to reviews
  • We love that it is easy to apply and can be done within an hour

Cons

  • Some reviewers said that the product was not as long-lasting on already-damaged hair
TypeCream
Wait time30 mins
Hair colour permanenceSemi-permanent

8.

Schwarzkopf LIVE Semi-Permanent Hair Dye, Pillar Box Red

Best red hair dye for beginners

Schwarzkopf LIVE Semi-Permanent Hair Dye, Pillar Box Red
Price: 7

www.boots.com

View offer

This hair dye from Schwarzkopf is the perfect fix for someone who's not very experienced and just wants to try out a new colour for a couple of weeks. We love that you won't need to commit as it fades fairly quickly, making it perfect for a special occasion, and you can even mix the colour with the provided conditioner for more of a pastel hue.

Pros

  • We love how convenient this product is for those with no hair colouring experience
  • Some reviewers loved the product longevity, especially if you are after something short-term

Cons

  • Doesn't look as vibrant on darker hair, according to some reviews
TypeCream
Wait time30 mins
Hair colour permanence Semi-permanent

What should I look out for when buying red hair dye?

This may sound obvious, but for starters, you need to decide whether you want a permanent or semi-permanent 'do. Are you certain this is the colour you want to sport over the next couple of months? Or do you just want a temporary 'break over'? And, as we've already mentioned, you need to factor how much you value your hair's health into your permanent vs. semi-permanent dye decision.

Next up, which tone should you go for? Well, obviously, you being the decision maker here, you can choose whatever colour you so desire. That being said, here's our advice:

If your skin has warm undertones, then keep an eye out for coppery reds. If your skin has cool undertones, try to look for red dyes with bluey hues. For example, a burgundy or purply red. And, the third option, if your skin has rather neutral tones, well, the world is your oyster, so get experimenting!

What colour can I dye my hair?

Taking the plunge with a permanent red hair dye can be scary, to say the least. But you can always have a go with a semi-permanent dye first. Once you're happy with your colour, you can commit to the permanent a few months down the line.

From silver hair dye to black hair dye to even orange hair dyes (hey, if Olivia Bowen can rock it, so can you), there's quite the array of box dyes to choose from. But, chances are, if you've landed on this page, you've probably got your heart set on a certain rouge-y shade already...

Whether you're looking for a bright red hair dye or a dark red hair dye, worry not because there will be an option for you. But you should also look out for which dyes are best for your hair long term.

Is red hair dye damaging?

Annoyingly, the answer to this question is...it depends. Essentially, the thing about dying hair that can be damaging is using peroxide to strip away your natural colour.

When it comes to using a red dye, if you're a natural platinum blonde, you probably won't need to lighten your hair before you start. So, in this instance, it's likely that the darker red dye won't significantly harm your hair.

By contrast, if you're a natural brunette, you might want to lighten your hair using a blonde hair dye or bleach. Use this before you start the dying process to maximise your chances of achieving a vibrant red. In this case, your hair will probably be in a much weaker condition before you even apply your dye, thus increasing the possibility of damage.

But remember to check the ingredients on a dye before you use it, as some/most permanent dyes use peroxide. The solution? Semi-permanent dye. Again, always check the product's ingredients list, but generally, semi-permanent dyes are peroxide-free. This does mean they might not be as effective, but it's a worthwhile factor to consider when picking your dye.

Is red hair high maintenance?

In short, yes, but there are ways to extend your colour's life.

Prolong your first post-dye wash for as long as possible and minimise your hair washing long-term. Yep, Manic Panic advises its customers to use dry shampoo as much as possible to avoid washing colour from the hair's cuticle.

If you can bear it, try washing your hair in cold water (when you do wash it) to avoid further swelling of the hair cuticle. Also, use baby shampoo; it's neutral (neither acidic nor alkaline) and will help minimise loss of colour. Even better, you can alternate this with shampoo for red hair to keep your tones as fiery as possible.

If you're sick of your red hair and want to move on from your red-head era, using a colour-stripping shampoo can work wonders.

Caitlin Casey was a Senior Beauty & Fashion Products Writer for heat, Closer, and Grazia. She covered shopping, women's lifestyle, popular culture as well as all things trending.

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