How to Easily Get Bright Red Hair

The Haunted Housewife - How to Easily get Bright Red Hair

Are you trying to conceal a crimson crush? I’ve colored my mane red for going on three years now, after sporting almost every color under the blazing sun. My opinion of red hair is a solid one: it’s my favorite.  Of all the strawberry blondes, coppers, gingers and shades of auburn, I prefer the most unnatural shade. My blog’s most popular post is my red hair tutorial – How to Get and Keep Bright Red Hair. I feel that it’s my duty to tell you all that I’ve recently stumbled upon a new method for even brighter hair IMG_1140without bleaching.

Our magic ingredient is L’Oreal Red Hicolor Highlights! These are meant to be used for highlights on darker hair; the mixture gently lifts and deposits color at the same time. Raven-haired beauties, are you in?

My hair is nearly waist length, so I need to use two tubes of color. If you want a darker blood red, you’ll need to use L’Oreal Hicolor in both Red and Magenta. For brighter hair, I use two of the Magenta shade.

So, again:

Dark Red:  Red + Magenta

Brighter Red/Pink:  Magenta + Magenta

What You’ll Need

  • two tubes of Loreal Hicolor
  • 30% developer
  • gloves
  • non-metallic mixing bowl
  • tint brush
  • measuring cup
  • Optional: Vaseline, if you’re worried about having red skin. You’ll apply this around your hairline and ears before you start coloring.

Got it? Great! Now, into the bathroom like the mad scientists we are!

How to Mix

Squeeze out the tube(s) of color into your bowl. You’re going to use a 1:1 ratio of the color and developer. If you’re only using IMG_9325one tube of color, you’ll need 1.2 oz of developer.  For two tubes of color, you’ll need 2.4 oz. Use the tint brush and mix until smooth, absolutely no chunks.  Time to grab your gloves!

How to Apply

Start by brushing through and parting your hair into 4 sections. Working with 1 section at a time, use the tint brush and apply the color to the ends of your hair and work your way up. After all of my hair was covered in color,  I twisted my hair into two Princess Leia buns and waited for 30 minutes.

Once the time is up, rinse with lukewarm water in the shower. Shampoo and condition as normal.

IMG_9317Seriously guys, this red is no joke. I get compliments on it all the time! Don’t forget to scrub your shower real good, it will look like a crime scene in there! As for easy maintenance, avoid using hot hot water on your hair in the shower and I prefer to dye my hair once a month.  Oh, and be sure to whip yourself up some red conditioner to make keeping up with red hair easier. Hope this was your dream color!

Product Mentions


December 9, 2015


  • Rachel Dashwood

    Love your red! I can’t find the hicolor dye so easily here in the uk, have found a few shades but no shade chart to see what the options are.. You don’t know of one somewhere do you? X

    • I don’t 🙁 they’ve got them on amazon! You may want to try calling around to different beauty stores and see if they carry it or have something similar! I hope you’re able to track it down! 🙂

      • Tonya Young Bishop

        Can I use the hicolor on already dyed hair? I have read its only for virgin hair and want this red so bad, I know this is an old post but hope you reply.. Thank you:)

        • Just responded to your email a little bit ago! Yes, it’s meant for dark hair and will work on dyed hair too! The lighter your hair is, the brighter the red will be 🙂

  • A friend of mine just pointed me to your blog. I’ve been using these for a year now and love it! I use 1/2 and 1/2 magenta and red as well but I use a 40 vol developer just on my roots and mix the dye with conditioner for the lengths so I don’t process them over and over. It still fades a little faster than I’d like (I wash once a week in cold water but I’m still significantly faded after 5 weeks) but that being said this is soooo much better than the bleach and Manic Panic route I used to go (no more koolaid sweat at the gym, yay!). To make up for the fading I’ve been using oVertone conditioners and seriously, those things are life changing… they keep my color PERFECT between colorings and condition so well. No more fried ends! I’m so happy to see someone else using these for all over color and not just highlights – glad I’m not the only one who thought they might do the trick.

    • Red hair fades so incredibly fast 🙁 I agree, the bleach and manic panic route wasn’t as awesome as hicolor. I haaaaated bleaching my hair, it damaged it a ton. The I know the koolaid sweat feeling haha! I haven’t heard of Overtone conditioners til you mentioned it, I’m gonna look into those so thanks for the tip! Also–Disqus is telling me you’re also a blogger so I’m gonna check out your blog! 😀

      • Yeah, definitely check out oVertone! I’ve only been using it for a few weeks since I waited to give it a try until Black Friday but it’s already made a huge difference. I got my hair cut a week ago and usually I get it cut at the very end of my dye cycle when it’s faded and gross and then dye it right after the cut but my stylist was pretty baffled by how red it was this time despite my grown out roots. Plus he commented about how soft and nice it was!
        I do blog although I’ll admit I haven’t had time lately. I’ve got a huge backlog I’m hoping to make a dent over the next two long weekends lol.

  • claribel

    how do i make the conditioner? do i just use some of the loreal dye and mix with the pantene conditioner? i actually just dyed my hair about 1 hr ago with the same exact color.. &bought me some conditioner for red heads.. should that one do? or should i whip the homemade one up? lol

    • Conditioner for red heads might work! If you want to DIY it, don’t mix the loreal dye with the pantene, you’re going to need to use Manic Panic (or something similar) with the pantene 🙂 The color I choose to use is called Vampire Red!

  • Jess Dunaway

    Hi there. I’ve been following your blog for a while, and I tried this and the other red dye trick. The problem I’m having is my hair won’t dye as bright as yours. It keeps coming out darker than I want. Should I try the 40 developer, or should I bleach it once, which I have never done, to achieve maximum red perfection. I did the 1 bottle of magenta with 30 Ion developer, and got the color you used to have. I want RED red so bad.

    • What color is your hair naturally? Mine grows out blonde, so that may be why it’s easier for me to get the brighter shade. The 40 developer will give you a good amount of lift, try that before bleaching. I avoid bleaching as much as possible! Is your hair long? I have to use two bottles of magenta, my hair is super long. Each time you dye it, the previously dyed parts get brighter and brighter.. kind of like when you go from a dark color to a light color, each additional time it gets lighter… if that makes any sense lol. But yes try the 40 developer before you try to bleach! Good luck!

      • Jess Dunaway

        I have a medium light brown gray mix. I started going gray at 18. I don’t like the idea of bleaching. My hair is about shoulder length right now. I think I understand now, and the color has already grown on me overnight. I watched a few youtube videos on the subject, and from what I have gathered I just have to keep dyeing it red, and it will keep getting redder so that’s perfect.

  • Gina Bobina

    Do I need bleach if my roots are dark? My hair is dyed red but roots are coming in and need overall brightening. Do I need to bleach the roots first?

    • The Hicolor lifts while it deposits color and is specifically for dark here so I don’t think you’ll need to bleach. 🙂 avoid bleaching as much as possible!