How can I brighten up my red hair without frying it? #Style & Grooming#advice#beauty products#hair Updated Oct 12 2015 (Posted Aug 12 2011) Offbeat Editors Offbeat Home & Life runs these advice questions as an opportunity for our readers to share personal experiences and anecdotes. Readers are responsible for doing their own research before following any advice given here... or anywhere else on the web, for that matter. This is a rad red, but I don't think it's quite what Kaci's looking for. Photo by claude estèbe. Used under Creative Commons license. Kaci's gotta know: I'm a redhead, and I'm looking for a safe and gentle way to brighten my natural red. I've finally gotten tired of killing my hair, but I'd still like to jazz it up a little. I've looked at at-home henna creams, but I don't have experience with them. I'd really appreciate first-hand knowledge. Besides henna, are there other options out there that I should know about? What have y'all used on your hair? Henna? Kool-aid? Lay it on us in the comments. PREVIOUS Our great adventure: traveling and starting a family NEXT Talk to me about your exciting pregnancy-friendly sports, and post-baby sport motivations Show/Hide comments [ 88 ] Henna! specifically, get body art quality henna and mix it with lemon juice to bring out the vibrancy. i add some olive oil for extra conditioning and either paprika for a more copper red, or cloves for a more cherry-purple red. mix to the consistency of mashed potatoes. let sit overnight. if it's still really thick add a bit of water to the thickness of pancake or brownie batter. work in sections, roots first. much easier with a friend to help. when you're covered in goo, wrap up with plastic wrap and leave it for 4-8 hours. easiest way to get it out is dousing it in dollar store conditioner a few times until it just feels like slightly gritty hair instead of scary muddy dreds. then wash and condition as usual. bear in mind that you cannot bleach out henna. you can only dye darker over top of it, but it will never fade. It is almost 2 years that I am using the Natural Mahogany hair dye. When I started dyeing my hair I experimented with many different hair colors but this one is indeed the best and my all-time favorite. So trendy!!! So Vibrant!!! It's simply amazing. I have undeniably tumbled in love with Mahogany color get from http://www.thehennaguys.com/ . The brand I am using to get my hair dye was the first natural hair color selling brand I tried and it never gave me the chance to even think about any other. I agree that the color will not be so long lasting and starts fading away after a couple of months but still the faded away mahogany hair color looks so lovely. I can give you up some real ideas for the maintenance of the color, use tea or coffee (without milk for sure) for mixing the color or use few drops of rice vinegar in the mixture. The results would be splendid. It is a BRILLIANT product definitely and I am simply "IN LOVE WITH IT"…… I'm not sure how safe or gentle this would be, but there are hair glosses you can get that brighten up your natural color. I believe the application is similar to hair dye. Sorry, no personal experience, I'm just aware that they're out there. They're just like semi-permanent hair colours, but clear. They coat the hair making it brighter and shinier. They're just as safe to use as semi-permanent colours and I was actually going to suggest it too First I would like to state that I am a cosmetologist (hair professional) In my opinion the best color gloss is a Cellophane from the Sebastian line. I'm a natural redhead but because of all the things I have done to my hair through my life it's more of a dull coppery color. I like my hair being vibrant so I use the Cellophane in Red Hot. It is applied like hair and it is a semi-permanent (though how long it stays is up to how you care for your hair.) it is an organic product and so it has no harsh chemicals in it. This is a salon quality product. because there's no ammonia or lightener at all, these glazes are perfect, especially if you ever plan on dying your hair ever again. henna can wreak havoc with future hair-coloring if you're not reeeeally careful. the redken shades eq mentioned below is great, but every haircolor line has a type of color similar to this. ask your hairstylist for a semi-permanent color that sits on the outside of your hair, coats it with color, or just mention glaze. lthey'll know what you mean. what's awesome about them also, is they coat the outside of your cuticle, so they make the rough bits lay down and frizz less! do be aware that they eventually wash out, so you'll have to refresh them as well, just as you would touch up your roots with permanent color… I use Aveda Madder root shampoo & conditioner. It's kinda pricey, but well worth it! It keeps my hair less of an orangy color, and brings out the red. I've sworn by Aveda Madder Root since 2005 and it takes my reddish/light-brown hair to the next red-level! To keep the prices down, I buy the giant bottles and actually mix the conditioner with a cheaper one. The shampoo is not very strong, but the conditioner is, so mixing it down actually helps the tips to not be so much redder than the roots. And every now and then I use a clarifying shampoo cuz the constant color-depositing WILL weight fine hair down. If you're willing to go the salon route and color it, try Redken Shades semipermanent. I color my dark blonde hair a bright copper red and it would be appropriate in your situation, too, since you'd be sticking close to your natural color. It fades out great and has actually made my really thick, coarse hair a lot more manageable, shiny, and healthy. I know it's not a natural solution, but in my case, it's made a world of difference in how frustrated I get with my hair on a daily basis. I promise Redken did not pay me to say that–I just love my color 🙂 Almost exactly what I was going to say (right down to my natural color and my current shade!). I had been going to a salon the past few times I had colored my hair, but expenses got in the way. Recently I just went to a beauty supply store and picked up 2 colors and mixed them and did them myself – it turned out great! So if money is an issue, you may want to try that. Just be aware that if you go any darker than your hair color, it will be a long while before you can go back lighter, unless you want to use bleach. If you end up deciding to use bleach at all, please please go to a good salon. They know what to put into your hair to take care of it so it doesn't get quite as fried. I recently gave in and tried the henna products offered at LUSH cosmetics. I went for the "auburn" color and still got a pretty decent red glow. Another customer at the shop was a natural red head and used the henna to augment her own color and it was amazing and bright. Please note, though, that the warnings about being messy, smelly, and time consuming are true. I would suggest doing it on a free weekend and have plastic gloves, a shower cap, old towels, a squeegy bottle to apply the henna, and possibly another friend to help make sure you covered your entire head…unlike just slopping it on like I did… I had a good friend who swore by all of Lush's products, and I know she used their henna products in her hair–she got some beautiful colours out of it by simply altering the amount of time she left it on or swapping whether she did or didn't cover her hair in plastic wrap. I worked at Lush for a couple of years, the hennas are one of the hardest products to use but they're very cost effective and the results are awesome. I used them myself for a while, before I went pink. I still have part of a bar that I've never gotten rid of because they simply don't go bad. Depending on the length of your hair you can get 2 or even 3 treatments out of 1 bar. http://www.lushusa.com/shop/products/haircare/henna-hair-dyes/ The best way to handle them is to grate them up (most people that are regular lush henna users have a dedicated old cheese grater) and slowly add just under boiling water until you get a paste and then have a friend paint it on. My roommate and I used to make it a girls night. Ooober girly movies, facials and pedicures. You really do need help to do this, and I wouldn't recommend a bottle only because you would need to water the product down a lot more if you are using one. Also it can stain the skin (its henna after all) and with someone else applying it you are less likely to get it on yourself. You should wrap it in plastic and then wash if off a few hours later, some people even sleep in it. Wrapping it makes it more red, leaving it open makes it more brown. Something about the oxidization process. The longer you leave it on the more intense your results will be. You can build it up too, if you like it the first time but you want it even more intense just do it again a week or two later. It fades naturally so you wont get a grow out line either. I really liked the way it make my hair feel, and I'd love to use it again in the future. Mel – I wonder if you found the results worth the hassle? I was always interested in what people thought about it because very few actually use it. I'm not sure I'd say lush henna is cost effective. It's $25 for one or two applications. I got henna at my local Indian market for $3 and that was enough for two applications. I was thinking in compared to pro dyes, or even most boxed dyes in stores (costs about 21 for me to do my hair once, and depending on the company I sometimes need 2 boxes for shoulder length hair). I have not ventured into the local Indian stores but next time I'm in the market for henna I'll look into it. Last time I was purchasing I still worked for Lush and the discount is awesome. Well said Shaya. I've been using Caca Rouge (I love how Lush names their hennas)for almost 10 years on my mousy-brown hair. Everyone thinks I'm a natural redhead! I touch it up once a month to perpetrate the lie, and everything you say is great advice. I would add that some heavy face cream smeared around your hairline helps to prevent stains, and if you use a hair dryer over the plastic to warm the goo on your head, it seems to speed up the process. Also, I've found that when you first wash it out, it looks great and shiny, but it's after the second shampoo that it gets its most vibrant colour. I love it. Totally worth the hassle for me. I had a baby three months ago and was all "Looks like there's no time for henna" and went with the regular dye and regretted it. I had to stay away from my baby while those chemicals were on my head – with the henna, I can still nurse and cuddle for the hour or two it takes. Some people are put off by the smell (it's earthy), but it reminds me of green tea. I can't say enough good things about it. Try henna. Any brand. Thanks guys! I love the smell too, and the dye line was one thing i was worried about! Great feedback! this is just one more vote for lush's caca roughe. i've been using it for almost a year and i love it. mix it with a light conditioner to make it go on easier and have a more mild tinting effect. I am a natural redhead (auburn) but it is graying and getting darker…I love the lush henna bars. Makes my gray look like copper highlights lol. I love the tones you get and it takes me back to my old red color. No more strangers asking "where'd those kids get that red hair?" lol it's messy and I do have the hubs help me but it's so worth it. Most natural color I have found as a ginger 🙂 That is exactly why I'm reading this forum—because I can no longer tolerate strangers asking me where my toddler gets her fiery red hair. From meeeeee, dang it! I used it a couple of times years ago, but stopped mostly because the smell would stay in my hair for at least a month. I did! I liked how shiny and thick my hair felt afterwards. It didn't quite blend the old salon highlights I had with the rest of my hair (my original intent, and I did a test section first!), but it turned the lighter parts of my hair a pretty red. The biggest problems I had as a first time customer of Lush's henna was applying it (since I do not have anyone around to help, really). I kept getting compliments from friends on how nice my hair looked. I'm not sure it's the same for every shop but my local Lush actually offers to do the henna for you 🙂 Just a tip! I've never heard of that before! I know we did a few parties where we henna'd employees hair to demonstrate it but we never did it for a customer. You must live by an awesome store! Henna is great, BUT it takes commitment. Henna interacts badly with salon dyes, so after you've used henna you may need to wait for the henna'd hair to grow completely out before going to a regular dye. I've had mixed results, sometimes it wasn't an issue. The last time though, my chocolate brown salon dye came out a carroty, carroty orange. But! I have had good results with henna on its own, and with kool-aid mixed with food coloring! Also, if you have any unnatural dye on your hair right now, you'll have to wait at least two months before coloring with henna to avoid reactions. Some places advise waiting until all of the color has grown out of your hair. Unfortunately, this is why I haven't made the switch yet. I use Garnier Nutrisse R3 and I worry that henna won't get me to my signature color since my natural color is medium auburn. Totally UNTRUE that henna reacts badly with salon coloring. If you use actual BAQ henna with NO ADDITIVES, there is absolutely no reaction with chemical dyes. Please read everything at http://www.hennaforhair.com. I've always used BAQ henna and put it over salon dye that is less than 2 months old, older than 2 months etc etc and never had a problem. i have never had trouble going from dyed hair to henna'd hair, but putting salon dye over henna tends to have bad results. Vegetable based dyes may not react but salon types are brutal sometimes and the reaction to beach is even worse. I'm speaking from personal experience and the experiences of some friends. It DOES react. I've been using henna for six years. I've used it before and after chemical dyes (I wait about a month or six weeks between) and have NEVER had any adverse side effects. Just sayin'. I second henna! I have natural auburn hair, and I use a red henna to brighten it up ever so slightly from time to time. It's messy, but it stays for a long time! Henna, but it's a bitch to work with. You have to vaseline up your nape, neck, ears and forehead to make sure not to stain them, it's hell to work into your hair and you always run the risk of dying your scalp red, too (although that's never happened to me). And if you get drops of it anywhere there is a porous surface (like caulk between tiles) it will NEVER, EVER come out. I bet that some hippie health food stores probably sell natural henna-based hair washes which may be more what you are looking for. Also the Manic Panic semipermanent dyes are quite gentle on hair – if you just want to brighten it up, do some Googling to find out how to modify Manic Panic for your needs: I've heard tales of people mixing it in shampoo or conditioner or leaving it on for half the time to get just a brightening rather than a full-on color. I personally go to the salon and pay gobs of money to get dye jobs with the most expensive, least damaging dyes…but I couldn't do that even a few years ago (not enough $$) so I used henna. You can add a little manic panic or special effects to your daily conditioner for a nice touch of red. I'd get a different conditioner to use once a week to give your hair a break. The only problem with that is it might dye your fingernails/hands a little too, so you might have to stick with red nail polish. My hair styalist does this for herself to maintain her blue. I've used Manic Panic mixed in conditioner for years, it's great for maintaining colour and I don't see why it wouldn't give natural red a boost too. I think henna is fun! And TOTALLY not as intimidating as it seems. Trust me, you will not go wrong with it. I've been hennaing my hair twice a year for years, and I have never dyed my scalp (nor seen anyone who has). I don't do the high-maintenance job with it that you're supposed to ("brush some along a 1" section of hair; repeat for your entire head"); I just make sure that all of my hair seems wet/muddy with it. Then I wrap it up tightly in plastic (I use plastic bags but if you're fancy you can use a shower cap) and wait the allotted time. The washing out can be a little messy, depending on splatter. BUT if you wipe all henna-touched surfaces down immediately, they won't stain (it's only if it sits for a few minutes or more that it starts to stain). The best part is how AMAZING my hair feels afterward. Even if you couldn't see the henna in my hair, I'd still use it sometimes since it's such a good conditioner. And while I don't grease up a lot, I do put some cocoa butter (any oil-based product will do, including olive oil if you don't have oil-based lotions) along my hairline and behind my ears, so I don't accidentally stain myself there, where I might not see it otherwise. And once I forgot to oil up my hands beforehand, and my nails were slightly yellowed. Just the once, though. Sorry for the long comment; I just really enjoy hennaing my hair, but had been really scared to do it the first couple times because of how intimidating the process had seemed. You can do it! Depending on how dark you are naturally, I've had great results with beet juice. Less messy than henna but doesn't last as long. I would be seen as a strawberry blonde at best, but when I use beet juice I get this injection of color that lasts several weeks. Absolutely no damage and I literally just use the water I've cooked the beets in. I think I just found a new use for my father-in-law's favorite thing to try to push on us at the dinner table, haha! i'm a barely-ginger, too. And I have tried EVERYTHING. Henna is a pain, and stinky. I have started using semi-permanent (like Natural Instincts.) Anything like that, SEMI-PERMANENT, will rinse out gradually without showing roots, and it isn't as damaging as permanent colors. Its usually less that ten bucks a box, so doing it every 6 weeks isn't to pricey to keep up 🙂 You could try an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse. That helps balance the PH of your hair and helps the cuticle to lay down which boosts shine like WOAH! I typically do 4c of water to 1/2c ACV. . . Braggs, organic, raw. 🙂 I'm sat here currently with a head full of hair dye! I'm using Directions hair colour – see here: http://www.lariche.co.uk/directions-hair-colour/ It's non permanent, non smelly, vegan friendly and really lovely and softening on your hair. The colours are great! I don't go down the natural route becasue I bleach the hell out of my hair first to ensure the colour is as bright as possible – but this isn't essential, just my choice. They are available on ebay (cheaply) and I highly recommend them! ps. on head now are: cerise, alpine green and neon blue! Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu I've been growing my hair out for two years. It's longer than it's been since I was in high school and cut it all off. And now I really, really, really want it to be pastel pink. Me too Cat…CHI makes a semi-permanent pastel pink that has good staying power & doesn't bleed all over your linens. If you have any stylist friends get them to hook you up! It's my favorite pink by far, and I've tried sooooo many. I just spent the last two years growing out my hair and getting it healthy. Now that I have no salon dye in my hair it looks great, but the color was blah. I recently tried Surya Henna in mahogany and LOVED it. It comes in creme form and is a little less drastic than the powdered form (from what I've been told), but I really like the results. It gave my hair color an extra punch, plus it made my hair feel thicker and more manageable. You can pick it up on Amazon for like $10, and there's tons of youtube videos and reviews online as well. I've had great results with the Surya, too! I hennaed my hair six times a year for four years. Usually I just used the cheap Indian grocery store type, but Surya is definitely easier to apply. Something important to consider, though: lots of people here have mentioned that henna fades away on its own. This is only true for some people! My hair has a light, porous texture (wavy), and this lets the henna grab on tight — I got spectacularly vivid color results, but it never really faded. I had terrible roots for months when I finally decided to grow it out back to my natural color (light brown). Eventually the ends of my hair turned *orange* before I just chopped it off. I loved the color and texture of my hennaed hair, but I don't think I will do it again, given the way it holds to my hair. Henna washes out of shiny straight hair much more quickly. Of course, if your hair is dark or naturally red, roots will be less of an issue. That is really interesting. I also have wavy hair, and I had a semi-permanent dye (supposed to last no more than 4-6 weeks) that I used for quite some time, and eventually, when I decided not to use it anymore, I couldn't get rid of it, and had to wait for it to all grow out. I guess it was my hair texture. I agree with the person who suggested Redken Shades EQ…you can even have a small amount of red mixed with clear, to boost the color a tiny bit & add shine. It's a demi-permanent color meaning it'll eventually wash out in 6ish weeks (depending on how often you shampoo). As a professional colorist, I HIGHLY recommend using a tinted shampoo and/or conditioner. Both Aveda and Goldwell make good red ones. Hope that helps! i haven't tried, but a friend which brown-red hair (darker than mine — i'm more strawberry-blond-ish) rinses her hair with green tea to bring out the red. it takes a couple days to really be noticeable, but i've definitely seen the results for her! I can chime in another vote for Lush henna, I've been using it for nearly 10 years. I mix the red and chestnut shades together, gives my light brown hair a nice auburn tone. A warning about henna. Although it is lovely, all natural and will actually improve the condition of your hair; it is damn near permanent. As in, it can't be bleached out (bleach + henna = completely destroyed hair) and it can only be dyed over very very carefully. This is why salon workers loathe it, it can't be "fixed" using salon methods. So if you try henna, do a couple of strand tests on hair you pull off your hairbrush. If you don't want to try henna, I've heard that soaking hair in green tea and sitting out in the sun will pump up the colour a bit (like lemon juice does for blondes). I use henna that I get at the Indian market. All the warnings are right- stinky and messy. However I LOVE the color it leaves my naturally dark brown hair. Pretty red highlights. Another "however" on henna. If you are fairly gray it leaves the gray strands a metallic looking orange. I don't mind it in my 10% gray hair, but it would look weird in 40% gray. I've used henna mixed with indigo to cut back on this effect – the gray is still reddy, but with a bit more brown. It looks good with my near-black hair. I get mine online at http://www.mehandi.com/ I actually have a similar question. I recently died my hair red after letting my natural hair grow out for about 4 years. I kinda am regretting this. So now my roots are grown in (dirty blonde) and the red has faded to a rich gold blonde colour. Would I be able to use henna to make my hair red without it looking weird? Or should I opt for semi-permanent while I let my hair grow back out? Im really sad about my hair. And it's really long and I have no desire to cut it. From what I've heard Henna doesn't mix well with "other" dyes. I can't say I would recommend the henna solution- personally I'd find a shampoo that amplified the blond and stick with it to gently change and fade the rest of the red out. You can also always try to town down the rest of your hair with a toner. OR if you are looking for a faster solution I would suggest a bleach and shampoo mix to even out the color. After words I would suggest giving at least the tips a good rubdown with some Argan Oil. Hennaboy website for me (a Brit) They also have good advice for "how to". I add a touch of something acidic to my henna and my friend swears by freezing then thawing it to get maximum "wow" with her colour. Having henna'd my hair for years I will say that if you can get the consistancy "just right" – something a little thicker than double cream – then it won't drip once you have wraped it in cling film. I still get the consistancy wrong half the time though. The other good/bad thing is that it does fade a little – so it is not as bad to grow out as bleach on light brown hair. On the other hand it bonds to your hair (or something) which is why you have to bleech it like crazy to die it lighter again afterwards. My vital props are plastic gloves, cling film, towels and vaseline. My husband is very good at dying my hair with it now so a patient partner might be handy too. One more thing – I am pretty sure that my hair has lost some of its curl since hennaing so that might wiegh with you as either a plus or minus. If you add a touch of amla to your henna it will cancel out the curl deadening effect of the henna. You only have to do it every 3rd to 4th dye job. I seriously vote for henna too. I've used it for years. However, if you use henna, you cannot dye as the dye wont be able to penetrate. Henna is a great way to moisturize, condition and shine up my naturally frizzy hair. It comes in many shades. I think some products could be a bit risky… so I'd recommend Coloura Henna. HENNA! Make sure that you get body grade henna (the stuff in the stores is not actual henna) I have heard great things about Lush henna however it was a bit pricey for me. I am close to Little India so that's where I get mine ($3 a bag and I can get 1.5 applications out of one bag….I have thick hair) However any location that does threading and henna should be willing to sell to you. It will be dry. Mix it with non pulp orange juice (lemon seems to be too drying) till it is a yougurty consistency, cover and let sit in a war room over night. For your first time you might want help putting it on (it can be weird to get used to it) and just relax……(I always left mine on for a few hours at least) I have done everything under the sun to my hair and henna is my all time favorite as far as how it treated my hair and the beautiful hue that I would get (there is NO box color that will give you what henna can) Agreed. You want body-art grade henna. it will come as a dry powder. all it is is ground up leaves of the henna plant. This will not react with other dyes. The henna that is sold as hair dye will react, because it contains mineral salts, and that is what is reacting. I've been using henna on my dark brown hair for over a year, becuase boxed dyes just *won't* stay in my hair, I had a permenant dye that was completely washed out in a week, i hadn't even shampooed it! however, i have used chemical dyes in between in an emergency (you want me to go *where*!? tonight!? but i have re-growth!) and haven't had any problems. added bonus, soft shiny hair, less hair fall (henna is a mild astringent, tightens pores on your scalp so it holds on to your hair better) and less tangles in my very curly hair. to prep, i add lemon juice to help release the dye (you can use oj, or vinegar if you prefer) olive oil to condition and makes it a little easier to wash out, and warm water, to a yoghurty consistancy, then heat it a little over a double boiler. slop it on my hair (gloves, old clothes and Vaseline highly reccomended) wrap it in cling wrap and leave it on til i can no longer stand it (usually 2 – 3 hours). i also sometimes add essential oils to cover the smell. i don't actually mind the smell, but hubby's not a fan. (i think it smells earthy and kind of like a cross between parsley and erm… pot.) have *alot* of conditioner on hand to wash it out. Well since you only want to "jazz up" your natural red I would suggest using a vegetable based dye to just coat your hair. My personal preference and suggestion would be Special Effects or Manic Panic Amplified Pillarbox Red or Hot Hot Pink. This would up the vibrancy and just build on the natural base. Just shampoo with something strong, towel your hair, apply the color (and blow-dry it a little if you want it more vibrant. It really locks in the color.) Rinse in cold water – ta-da. An easy way to upkeep the color there is also Manic Panic High voltage Shampoo. Personally how I keep my frizzy curls in check is- I don't shampoo but once a week usually. I usually "wash" with conditioner (shampoo strips hair of natural oils. If you Shampoo- try to only shampoo your roots and gently do so using just your palms in a circular motion.) and I always use cold water for my hair- that makes the "pores" in the hair shrink down and grab onto the color. Many will notice that when they use a vegetable based dye like Manic Panic or Special Effects their hair is also softer and healthier feeling- it's because the damaged pores that were once feeling brittle to your hands and fingers are now "filled" which makes your hair feel smother and healthier overall. I also have a few days in the week where I oil my hair (especially my tips) and I comb it back and let it just well… sink in. I usually start on a day where I've got work that day but I'm off the next two/three so that people don't see me when I'm all oily and icky feeling. I take some of my Moroccan oil (I use One 'n Only Argan Oil "derived from Moroccan Argan Trees" you can get a very small bottle that will go a very long way at Sally's Beauty Supply for $5-7) and rub it into my tips and then just work upwards. I try not to get it near the roots on the first or second day simply because the roots are usually new hair and do not need the oil as much. I blow-dry it in and then tie it back and sometimes even put a scarf over my head if I feel it needs it. Every day after that I rub a little more oil into the tips if I feel it needs it and then cover it with a plastic bag and then a towel. I've found that the plastic bag and the towel really amplify the body heat that it holds and my hair is warmed so that it really sucks up the oils. I usually "rinse" it with a conditioner that "repairs" and give it another day or two before I shampoo JUST my roots. My hair is soft and silky and uber manageable. I think the best thing about this method is that "I" am a lazy person and this is one of the easiest lazy ways of doing this. I'm extremely "hands-off" lazy for the most part and this makes it easy. 😛 Hope this info is helpful. Come and use the shower at my house! The iron in my water turned my hair red…. sadly though, red is not my color. When I was in high school, I thought I had auburn hair. Turns out, my family's well was just really, REALLY iron-y. My hair color completely transformed when I moved away. 🙂 Holy Crap! is that healthy? UM….not so much. http://www.southlandsoap.com/home.html She make a couple of different products. One is a henna shampoo bar that slowly adds color to you hair and can be used to combat fading. She also has a henna based coloring product called Unique that isn't ye olde paste method. I've ordered from her in the past and been vary happy with her products. She tends to send free samples as well. She's added some products since then that I haven't tried yet though. Hey, thanks for that link! I'm going to try out their Options bar and see if I can't brighten up my red. It also seems like the owner is pretty passionate about her business and who doesn't want to support that? I vote for Special Effects. I've had every color hair under the sun (recently went from black to a current bright orange/plum/light brown mix) and previously wanted a pumped up red color, something that would look like an amped up natural. The colors are vegetable based dyes, so they make your hair feel soft, and if you don't leave them in for long you are left with a nice tint that will last you a for a bit. It'll wash out after a couple of shampoos, and it won't be a super crazy punky color, just a super dimensional red. I used it over a box-kit red and it was a really gorgeous color without having a ton of chemicals. I dyed my hair with Kool-Aid when I was a teenager. I have dark brown hair, used cherry flavor Kool-Aid, and it definitely turned my hair reddish. It didn't last super long (maybe a week or so, but I washed my hair every day) and it made my hair smell AWESOME. I am sure it'd do an excellent job brightening already-red hair. The way I remember doing it was using about 5 packets for my shoulder-length hair, and mixing it with my usual conditioner.I put it in my damp hair, put a shower cap on, and left it in for an hour or two. However, if you want to try it, I recommend doing a search to see if someone has more precise instructions! Henna is nice and all, but it does not last. At all. I actually went red with henna [On blonde hair], and it only lasted five washes [With natural, sulfate free shampoo]. Henna is great, however, for making your hair super healthy. I suggest stopping by your local health food store and picking up some permanent natural hair dye. I cannot for the life of me remember the name, but it's in a green package, is great for your hair, and works wonders [And, as I just said, is permanent!]. No ammonia or any of that other gross stuff in normal hair dye. Were you using pure BAQ henna? Because the pure stuff IS permanent on your hair. Mine has lasted months. All I really know is that it was Surya Henna. Surya is not permanent – it'll do the trick to brighten it up temporarily, but it only has a tiny amount of actual henna. If you use BAQ (body art quality) henna, it IS permanent and, IMHO, much, MUCH better as far as the condition it leaves your hair in afterward. I am a henna artist, and I will use nothing but Jamila henna on bodies and hair. It is simply THE best – pre-sifted and date-stamped so you can be assured of its freshness. agreed. I use BAQ henna, and haven't dyed my hair in coming on 6 months, and it's still orange. I convinced my sister to try it once, (she's usually very very bottle blonde, but her hair needed a rest for a while and she had to do something else for a year) and her hairdresser told her off, cuz apparently you can't even bleach it out completely. My friends and I go to an organic hairdresser who specialises in using chemical-free products – they're becomming quite popular in parts of NZ. My local store also sells Australian brand Tints of Nature which is "crap" free and not much more than the regular brands of dye http://www.tintsofnature.com.au This is not an all natural suggestion, but I've had good results from John Freida's Radiant Redhead line. At one time I mixed a 'marigold' tinted shampoo from Clairol with a darker red glaze from John Freida. I was able to perfectly control what shade of red I ended up with, and the resulting color was rich and multidimensional. My natural color is a brown that doesn't take dyes well, so I used the products over blond highlights. It took several daily washes to attain the color was going for, but since I re-applied every time I washed, I never had to worry about my roots. I used a red-tinted conditioner for a while to brighten up my auburn hair. It worked! My mother has red hair and every once in a while she hits it with sun-in spray and then a hot hair dryer. Works like a charm! I'm a natural red head myself. When I'm in the mood for change I will dye it a shade or two brighter. It's not noticeable to other people, but it is to me. I also use the Radiant Red collection of shampoo/conditioner by John Freida; they work really nicely. From time to time I will wash my hair with pomegranate juice. In my experience it gets a nice bright red sheen to it. You may want to research it before trusting me completely on this though. I forgot: Davine's Alchemic System shampoo and conditioner may be a good lift, too, in either copper or red. They're expensive, but easy and you wouldn't need to use them every day. I used to use just the conditioner once a week, combing through and leaving it in maybe 10 minutes. It deep conditions well, too. I used light mountain brand henna that I got from PCC, whole foods has it too. I didn't use hot distilled water as the instructions indicated, but instead used bottled lemon juice. My natural color is dark red, but it's been fading now that i've passed 30. i love the effect of the henna, it's bright and it covered my white hairs. it's more permanent than drugstore-bottle red, too. but, i don't wash my hair often so it might be different for you! I use Henna from Lush.com. I have shoulder length hair, medium thickness and one block is perfect for me. I use a coffee grinder to get the right consistency and leave it in about an hour and a half. It lasts forever as far as I can tell. I color about once every six weeks to catch the roots and brighten it up, but I don't lose color much. Two words: JAMILA HENNA. Get the fresh stuff, add lemon juice and a tiny bit of room-temp black tea, let sit overnight. In the morning, put the goo in your hair (it's kind of like mud), let it sit as long as you can stand it (6 hours is best!). Voila – Lucille Ball Red Hair. NOTE: If you are a brunette or darker, it will give you red highlights. Ahh Jamila Henna ooohh I loved that stuff so much…I almost cried when my local indian grocer closed down – now I can't get it anywhere in my town 🙁 So I moved on to lush. Get the Sales Assistant to give you a sample of ultrabland and use that instead of Vaseline around the hair line…actually I'm pretty bad I never bother with that, as the skin on your face, ears and neck exfoliates itself in 3 days so if you mess up in three days you'll be fine. But wear gloves though!! Ohh and I've found you dont need to grate, just pour boiling hot water on the blocks and let them sit 10 mins, then they go mushy and you add more water (and lots of stiring) to get them to the double cream consistency I use Davines copper conditioner, it works AMAZING. For 28 bucks it's pricey but I have had the same bottle for over 6 months. I have auburn dyed hair with natural copper highlights, this brings out just enough red/copper without making me orangey. I mix it in with my regular conditioner for a little pick me up. The smell is very perfumey, but it does absolute wonders for my color. I have natural auburn hair, too, and whenever I cut it people ask if I've colored it darker. I HATE that! I'm so mad that my hair has gotten darker, because I've identified as a redhead all my 37 years. I swore in high school that I would never color my hair, but I'm just so angry at my hair for betraying me that I'm ready to turn to the (dye) bottle. This thread has been very helpful! My hair is pretty darn short now (with this cut, I kind of look like my dad when he was in high school) so I'm thinking about the Sun-in method or the tinted shampoos or conditioners. I refuse to be a brunette the rest of my life. I absolutely refuse. My best best would be Henna – have been using it for almost 3 years without any issues. It is Auburn and is completely natural. But definitely be aware of the brands you are using, LUSH is good. not so sure about the others. Here is a post that can help you out on the harmful effects that may be present in some Henna products – http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/harmful-chemicals-in-henna/ I would do a henna gloss rather than a total application if you just want to brighten the color. BAQ henna please! I have been using henna now for about 7 years. In the interm my hair has faded to silver grey under it, was very pretty but aged me a lot. Using some cider vinegar makes the henna cover really well over the grey. I was having trouble with hair loss and thinning so about the same time I started using the henna I went no poo. I swim 3 times a week so I use a cap and rinse with baking soda in water then follow with an apple cider rinse. Its gotten thicker and I actually can get a style out of my hair instead of just super fine static flat hair. I use Rainbow henna light brown, I mix it with hot coffee and vinegar to darken it since I want it a bit browner, It starts getting darker on the roots so I switched to the blond for the ends with the coffee and vinegar. It still has a red color to it, but I love it. With practice it is not such a mess to use-but I have a special hair dying robe. LOL I mix it put it on and wait at least an hour and rinse it out. Using conditioner gets it out easy so I don't have to wash it at all. It has done wonders for my hair, it is the longest and healthiest its ever been. I do have to do it once a month or I look like a skunk with silver roots. I really don't notice a smell, and none of the burning scalp like with conventional dyes-and those do stink. If the smell bothered me I might add some lavender oil or something to the mix. When the hair gets dry I have used coconut oil and it helps to condition it. But I haven't had to do that since I went no poo after it grew out the nasty ends. Even after swimming I can get a comb thru the hair without conditioning it flat first. It took about 3 weeks for it to start to adjust the oil factory. LOL And after swimming it was crunchy, but it soon changed for the better. I was kinda surprised to find I actually have some natural curl to my hair. I will never go back to conventional hair dye. I would think if you only wanted to brighten the hair using the blond would do that as it really is quite light, almost clear. Comments are closed.