How To Maintain Dyed Red Hair

I asked celebrity colorist Aura Friedman exactly what it takes to maintain Chastain-caliber color.
Publish date:
January 13, 2015
conditioner, shampoo, red hair, Davines, Hair Color, colorists, Nexxus

Don't call it a comeback, because redheads have been chic for years. But admittedly, red hair is trending right now, and the red carpet at the Golden Globes on Sunday night was filled with stunning shades of copper.

I've only recently jumped on the redhead bandwagon in the last few years, even though stylists have been trying to get me to go that route for decades. My greenish-hazel eyes and freckles are certainly the stuff that gingers are made of, but I was always scared to go that route until I started seeing my current colorist and purveyor of hair color fantasies, Aura Friedman.

I was coloring my hair out of a box for years until my old roommate suggested I see Ms. Friedman, and once she had me in her chair, I never looked back. In the six years that I've been seeing Aura for my color, she's given me just about every color I've wanted, so I trusted her to take me to red when the moment felt right. We've gone all over the red spectrum, from my original dark, autumnal moment that we started with, to the strawberry blonde thing that I'm doing now that will probably stay in my permanent rotation.

People ask me constantly if it's natural, and I tell them yes, because why else would I dye my hair, use fake tanner, and get eyelash extensions? Clearly I want people to think this is just what I look like.

I have a feeling that after the Golden Globes that there will be many a woman who wants to try out red, and I say GO FOR IT. But I have a secret to tell you first. It's a little bit hard to care for. It's no ombré, where you can just let your nasty old roots grow in for six weeks and it looks exactly the same as when you left your colorist's chair. It takes work to have Jessica Chastain-level color. And though I've been red for a while now, I'm no expert, so clearly I turned to my dear friend Aura for some advice in that arena.

Here are some tips for maintaining your red hair, from the only woman that I will let color my hair.

On why red hair is hard to care for:

"The red color molecule is the largest, so it is the most difficult to maintain and keep vibrant," says Aura. OK, glad to hear it's not just me. I was beginning to think my hair-care skills were slipping a little.

On what you can do daily to maintain the color:

"Use a cool rinse on your hair before leaving the shower. This will seal the cuticle and maintain your hair color." Aura also recommends protecting your hair from heat styling. This is not rocket science for savvy folks reading this site, but it's crucial for longevity if you're going red, and especially when you're tempted to turn the heat up this cold winter. She recommends Nexxus Color Assure Glossing Tonic before applying heat to the hair.

On how often you should get a touch-up:

"You should touch up red hair every four to eight weeks. It helps to gloss your hair in between your root touch ups." Aura has definitely turned me on to the benefits of a gloss in between visits. In fact, the last time I saw her we didn't do any highlights — just touched up my roots and glossed the ends. It definitely helped with the shine factor.

On products she swears by for color-treated hair:

"I recommend the Nexxus Color Assure Pre-Wash Primer and Color Assure Shampoo and Conditioner. There are color conditioners that can help maintain crimson and copper tones by Davines."

I have yet to try the Nexxus products Aura is recommending, but I will surely be trying them ASAP because I'm in the market for a new sulfate-free shampoo. (When am I NOT in the market for one? I've yet to find one that I don't get sick of after a month.)

I can confirm that the Davines Alchemic conditioners for red hair are amazing. I started using Davines Alchemic Conditioner Red back when Aura gave me some edgy blonde ends, and I would use this conditioner on the weekends when I wanted temporarily pink ends. Now that I'm red all the time, I'm using Davines Alchemic Conditioner Copper a couple times a week.

Are you feeling this ginger trend or too scared to try for yourself like I was for so many years? I can tell you I'm not shying away from red anytime soon, regardless of a little extra work. (Now if I could just figure out how to style my hair as cool as Sienna Miller's, then I'll have the hair of my dreams.)