How To Dye Black Hair Red: A Step-By-Step Guide

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I have had my hair every color of the rainbow — and, at times, had rainbow-colored hair, too. I’ve dyed my hair from red to blue, white to green, gray to purple, and every other transition you could possibly imagine.

Out of all the hair color transitions I’ve done, dyeing my hair from black to red was the toughest. If you have jet black hair and want to get a beautiful red hue, you have your work cut out for you. Here’s how to dye your hair — specifically, how to dye black hair red — without having to take a trip to the salon.


RELATED: 15 Best Red Hair Dyes For Dark Hair (That Won't Make It Look Brassy)


1. First, you’re going to need to get your supplies.

You can’t dye your hair without the right supplies, you know! To begin your hair dyeing journey, you’re going to need to pick out a dye color that you enjoy — ideally, one that comes with a bleaching kit too.

If your hair is dyed black, you will need a hair dye remover kit, and a color correction kit. On the other hand, if you’re naturally raven-haired, you may need extra bleach. No matter what your real hair color is, you also should pick up some restorative hair masks, since dye can be rough on hair.

2. Now, you’re going to need to prep your hair.

If you have naturally dark hair, this means that you will need to bleach your hair blonde. You should try to aim for a golden blonde color, at the very least. The lighter your hair color, the better your hair dye will take hold.

If you have dyed your hair before, you’ve got a couple of extra steps to do. The first thing you’re going to need to do is use a product like Color Oops Hair Color Remover to remove the existing dye you have in your hair. Though this won’t remove all the hair color you have, it will remove the majority of it — and that will make dyeing your hair red all the easier.

Once you have removed any dye from your previously treated hair, you’ll need to bleach your hair. Just like people who have naturally black hair, you will want to follow the instructions and bleach your hair until it’s at least a golden blonde.

3. Next, you’re going to need to give your hair some time to breathe — and a little help.

It’s no secret that bleaching is awful for your hair’s health. In fact, it’s one of the leading causes of hair damage and hair breakage. So, now is the time when you work to make sure that your hair stays in decent condition.

Before you dye your hair red, take time to add a moisturizing hair mask to your hair for a deep-conditioning treatment. This will help undo some of the damage done by the bleach and color remover, all while making your hair silky soft to the touch.

If you’re not sure which hair mask to use, asking a worker at a beauty supply store is a good way to find one that will pair well with your unique hair texture. I find that Argan oil and keratin hair masks work wonders for keeping your hair strong.

Do not skip this step! If you aren’t careful with your hair, it can become damaged beyond repair. The rumors you hear about hair loss due to excessive bleaching are not just rumors; they are true stories.

If you want to give your hair a little break, take one to two days to just let your hair recover. You’d be surprised at how much it can help. This isn’t necessary, but I’ve seen that it works pretty well.


RELATED: How Often You Should Really Wash Your Hair, According To Science


4. Once your hair is primed and prepped, it’s time to dye your hair.

After you’ve made your hair ready to soak up all that color, you can dye your hair. If you’re using a typical “non-professional” hair dye, there will be instructions on the box that give you detailed steps on how to get the full color dye job you want to do.

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If this is the first time dyeing your hair red, I strongly suggest using black towels to mop up the mess. Also, you might want to keep hair dye wipes around in case you get some on your face. For reasons totally unbeknownst to me, red hair dye is way more drippy than it should be!

5. Aftercare is important, too.

Going from black to red is a huge ordeal, and frankly, it will damage your hair a little. So, if you want your hair to look and feel like human hair, you’re going to need to step up your maintenance.

It’s smart to get a shampoo that is designed for red hair or color-treated hair once you’ve decided to commit to red. A good conditioner can also help you keep your hair feeling great. If you want a shade of red that has blueish undertones, you also might want to pick up a bottle of purple shampoo to wipe away any brassiness that could develop.

6. Speaking as someone who’s done it, here’s another thing you should know...

Red hair is not like black hair. Dyeing your hair red is a major commitment in terms of both time and money spent on it. It’s one of the most high-maintenance hair colors on the market, with the other three most high-maintenance colors being white, blue, and green.

So, if you do decide to make the change, make sure you’re willing to handle the maintenance. You’re going to have a lot on your hands, but trust me, it’s going to be worth it in the end.


RELATED: 11 Easy Ways To Naturally Lighten Hair Without Touching Dye Or Bleach


Ossiana Tepfenhart is a Jack-of-all-trades writer based out of Red Bank, New Jersey. When she's not writing, she's drinking red wine and chilling with some cool cats. You can follow her @bluntandwitty on Twitter.