How to Get and Keep Bright Red Hair

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brightredhair I’m Sam, and I’ve been experimenting with the perfect red hair for    many years! I’ve recently updated my hair method, and my hair is brighter than ever! CLICK HERE to see the new one! If your heart is set on a darker red that glistens in the sunlight, continue along the tour. 🙂

red hairA little birdie told me you’re wanting to go red, or you’re looking to improve your red hair routine. I’ve been at it for many years and I’ve found a system that helps me achieve exactly the red I want all by my little lonesome at home. I’m not a professional, but I’ve always been a little bold—anything I can do to skip the salon, sign me up!

Please keep in mind that your results may be a lot different than mine depending on the color you start out with! My routine does not involve bleach. If you’re ready to grab life by the horns and tackle this yourself, let’s get right into it.

What You’ll Need

What You’ll Do

[Prep your area if you need to, you may make a mess here. Slap some vaseline on your ears and hairline if you’re wanting to avoid coloring your skin. It happens!]

The first thing I do is dye my hair with the Feria R68 boxed dye, following all the instructions on the box. Feria’s line of Power Reds is exactly that–powerful reds. They each contain a packet of a color booster, that acts as a stain or semi-permanent dye. This is why your hair looks shockingly bright after using a product from their Power Reds line until slowly begins to fade. GOAL: We’re going to hold onto that shocking shade.

Time to make red conditioner:

Next, while your boxed dye is working is magic, or sometime later, grab your jar of Manic Panic and scoop it out into a bigger bowl. Squeeze the contents of your conditioner bottle into the bowl with the Manic Panic and mix, mix, mix! I have a whole page dedicated to making red conditioner, click here to teleport.


How It Works

The box dye is excellent to use as a base, and while their color booster is a great idea, it tends to fade way too fast! We are going to be re-charging our red a couple of times a week with the homemade red conditioner we just made. Genius!

[Side note: Manic Panic is a vegetable dye that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals. It’s very gentle and perfect for use a couple times a week. It will not damage your hair!]

Tips to Prevent Red Hair From Fading

Red hair is the color that tends to fade the most. Here are some things you can do to prevent that:

  1. Use the red conditioner at least once a week
  2. Wash and rinse your hair with cold water
  3. Change up your hair washing routine and try to only wash once or twice a week
  4. Use color-friendly hair products


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Do you think _______ boxed dye will work?

A. I only have experience using Feria’s Ruby Rush because their Power Reds line is the only boxed dye I’m aware of that has the color booster packet. I can’t guarantee it’ll work the same. Life is short, so experiment away!

Q. How often should I use the red conditioner?

A. As often as you’d like, really. I only need to use it once a week. It depends on how often you wash your hair.

Q. Where can I buy Manic Panic in stores?

A. Beauty supply stores, like Sally Beauty. You may want to try a Hot Topic store as well, they’re known to sell it too.

Q. Can I use different shades of red from Manic Panic?

A. Yes, although each red will give you a different result! Have some fun and play around with the shades, they’ve got Pillarbox Red, Wildfire, Rock N’ Roll Red and Red Passion. You can even play around with the pinks and see how it turns out!

Q. Can I use another semi-permanent or temporary instead of Manic Panic?

A. Absolutely! As long as it’s a temporary or semi-permanent dye. The temporary dye brands I know of are Manic Panic, RAW, Splat, Special Effects, and Arctic Fox.

Q. Will this colored conditioner method work to extend the life of other fashion colors, such as green or blue?

A. Yes! My hair is currently blue and I’ve made a blue conditioner! 🙂 You can also make a toning conditioner by taking a little bit of purple Manic Panic and adding it to white conditioner!

Q. How do you get your eyebrows to match your hair so well?

A. I got lucky and found the perfect pencil to fill my brows in on the first try! I mix both Rimmel London Professional’s eyebrow pencil in 002 Hazel with Jordana Easyliner for Lips in Tawny. 🙂

Product Mentions

Also if bright ruby-colored hair is what you’re going for, you may want to check out these related red hair posts as well:

Show me on Instagram if you’ve recently done your hair using this method! I’d love to see any color experiments, as well. You can find me at @hauntedhousewife!


Achieve and maintain your vibrant red hair with these tips and tricks!


  • Darlene Bilyeu

    I just stopped dyeing red . I started with Feria 56, then R67, and maybe one more change. I loved it. I started getting a lot of color left over, or build up, which was very embarrassing when I stained my friend’s towel. Any way, I stopped dyeing, toned down the red and am letting the gray show. My son told to go back to dyeing because the gray was making me look old. LOL I just commented because I love the color and felt fabulous wearing it. I hope you have a fabulous time.

  • dianne

    I’ve used Manic panic before, but not in the way you suggest as a weekly conditioner. I wanted to ask you if using it as a conditioner mix stains? Do you use your bare hands or gloves? when I color it normally with manic panic, it’s a hot mess of stain hell.

    • Yes the conditioner mix stains for a couple days so I wear gloves in the shower when I apply it! It also recolored my nail polish and was super irritating so YES gloves all the way lol

  • I love dying my hair red but it usually lasts for like a week and then it comes out when I am shampooing my hair regularly. I never thought about using Manic Panic like that I will definitely give it a try! Do you have any suggestions for shampoos/conditioners to use? Shampoo just totally strips the color off 🙁

    • Try using color-depositing shampoos and conditioners for red hair! Quantum makes some, there’s John Frieda Radiant Red, Jioco also makes one. Or you could grab cheap bottles of shampoo and conditioner along with the Manic Panic and make your own! 🙂 Also wash your hair with cool water (as cool as you can tolerate) and try not to wash it as much! I wash mine 1-3x a week using Batiste dry shampoo in between 🙂

  • Adrienne Johnson

    OMG this is the shade of red I am looking for. Thank you for creating this blog 🙂 I wish I would of read it before making a trip to Sally’s lol. I have a couple of questions. I bought the Quantum Riveting Reds shampoo and conditioner. The liters were on sale super cheap. And I bought the L’oreal Chroma Ruby. Will the hair color I bought work? And also can I add the manic panic to the riveting reds conditioner i bought? If not its cool. I can just alternate between the two.

    • Hi! Judging by the color swatches I’m seeing of Chroma Ruby on google, I think it’s super similar and will work just fine! The Quantum shampoo and conditioner appears to do the same thing the Manic Panic conditioner would do, but on a smaller scale… try it -without- the Manic Panic first. If it doesn’t boost your color as much as you’d like, make a separate Manic Panic conditioner because the Manic Panic will make a biiiiiig difference! 🙂

  • Lala

    Thank you for responding. I will give it a shot and if not enough red, well then its another trip to Sally’s for some Manic Panic. Sally’s isn’t exactly local for me or I would of already been there as soon as I read your blog hehe! :p Buuuut its worth the trip to get the gorgeous red hair 🙂

  • LA from NJ

    Yippie! Worked like a perfect charm.. Someone at a beauty supply store told me of this method so i had all the supplies needed in hand.. using the maniac panic Vampire red and conditioner.. im back to the fierce red head i was three weeks ago.. thank you for reconfirming the method and making me feel more comfortable about trying it!!

  • Carina Felix

    Hi i have red balayage hair i want to do this to my hair but im afraid that it will bye my dark hair red and i dont want that do you think the manic panic will bye my bark hair red please help