Why Is Red Hair Hard to Dye?

Do you have natural red hair? Then, you're one of very few - 1 to 2 percent of the population! But if you want to take a break from your red tresses, you need to be ready for the battle about to ensue. Red hair is notoriously hard to dye, and if you're wondering why, this is the article for you. In it, we'll share exactly what makes red hair so difficult to dye and what you can do about it. 

This is Why Red Hair is Hard to Dye

Red hair is the unicorn of the hair world. Few people have it, and altering it with bleach or dye isn't easy. Red hair is difficult to dye because it has a unique pigment that is not easily removed during the coloring process. The pigment, called pheomelanin, is responsible for the red and orange hues in the hair. Unlike other hair pigments, pheomelanin is resistant to chemical changes caused by dyeing. 

What Happens When You Try to Dye Red Hair

When redheads try to dye their hair, the pheomelanin makes its presence known. Typical hair dyes, high-lift hair dyes, and even bleach all have difficulty getting the red hair pigment out. As a result, multiple color and bleach processes are often required. This can take a huge toll on the hair. 

Any time you overprocess hair, it can become brittle, dry, and prone to breakage. This can damage the hair cuticle, which is the outer protective layer of the hair strand. Over time, the damage can weaken the hair and cause it to break off. 

The difficulties surrounding dyeing red hair are very much apparent. Professional colorists, stylists, and everyday people know that red hair is the problem child of hair color transformations. That's partly why many natural redheads either choose to forego coloring their hair or develop extensive hair damage after removing that stubborn hair pigment from their strands. 

How to Dye Red Hair Safely

The key to dyeing red hair without sacrificing its integrity is to be conservative. Going blonde from natural red will take a lot of bleaching and could cost you the health of your hair. Instead of going for ambitious hair color transformations, go either darker or within two shades lighter than your natural shade. That way, you won't need to eliminate all the red pigment in your strands. 

For those who want to go lighter, like blonde or platinum blonde, we recommend going to a colorist in your area for a professional service. They have access to high-quality dyes and may carry Olaplex, a hair bond rebuilder. It can be added to your hair color service to minimize the damage you incur while trying to remove your natural red pigment. Once that's done, you'll be able to add whatever tone you want to your bleached strands. 

So, there you have it! We hope you found all the information you needed in this article, and we wish you the best with your hair! 




Author: Andrea Reyes

Andrea is a mother, wife, writer, and natural hair enthusiast of 15 years. Currently on her natural hair journey, she’s been trying countless products and techniques to understand and embrace her natural hair. She is the creator of NaturallyTextured.com, a new website featuring informative articles that share tips, tricks, and techniques aimed to help others learn to love their hair through proper hair care. She writes with the hope of making hair care easier to understand and implement.

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