Red Hair: make it long, healthy, with shine

I love my hair and I always have.  You can read more about that in my past blog post, My Hair is Not My Beauty. I love it so much I spend a crazy amount of time and money on it for upkeep.  This post focuses on the products I use to dye it as well as the products I use to style it.

Hair Dye:

OK, real talk. If we could all afford to go to the hair salon every 4-6 weeks to get our hair dyed, I know we would.  I LOVE going to the salon.  Dropping $200 every 4-6 weeks is not in my budget but if it is in yours, more power to you!  For this reason I try and ask as many questions about hair dying when at the salon for my cut.  I have learned that boxed color from the drug store is not that great. Basically, you should try and avoid it. My ultimate solution? Salon quality dye for at home use.

DISCLAIMER: ALWAYS consult a professional before dying your own hair. If you are in the market to go bleach blond, NEVER do it on your own.  Please. You will kill your hair.  I’ve done it.  Don’t be me.

Products I use:

DeveloperDeveloper- Oreor 30 Volume Creme Developer

The developer is what allows the color of your natural hair to lift so the new color can deposit into the hair shaft. I use 30 because, as my hair guru said, it is a great lift for red hair when you have a medium ash blond hair color naturally. They usually come in 20, 30, and 40.  I used straight 40 with blond to do my own ombre, and it turned my ends into a gum like texture and frayed them beyond repair.  This is why I plead with you to go to the salon for bleaching.  It has to be timed so perfectly and they have products to save your hair.

I got every creative and decided to mix two colors from the same brand.  This gave an orange copper red tone.  Again, be prepared to cut off all your hair if this doesn’t work.  In my case it works great!

Intense Copper Hair Dye CreamColor: L’Oreal- HiColor Red HiLights Copper Permanent Creme Hair Color

This is a cream based intense orange red.  I like this for adding lighter tones to my color and also I am convinced that when my hair fades, this is why it looks like a strawberry blond color.



Intense Copper Hair DyeMega Reds MR1 Light Intense Red Copper Permanent Hair Color

This is a liquid base that has more cherry tone to it, which makes it very bright when I first dye it. It fades well, but if not applied all over, can be obvious where the dye was placed and where it wasn’t.

To help avoid this, make sure to “glaze” all  hair with dye. You do this by running water through the hair and the dye for a bit and letting it sit for 5-10min resting on all parts, before washing it all out.

When dying hair, be sure to wear gloves, use a mixing bowl or two,  and a tint brush. Also, since you are doing this at home, and it’s best not to get dye all over yourself, a cape is a good investment. I also cover my surface under where my supplies are with an old towel.  This makes clean up and furniture/floor protection guaranteed.

Once you are happy with your color, how do you keep it nice between dyeing? Proper hair care products are essential.

Hair Care Products:

Products can be very costly and it is hard to find good products that wont break your budget. My hair no longer tolerates products like Suave, Tresume, and has never ever been able to handle Pantene. [BTW, Pantene is literally one ingredient away from mop and glow, don’t use it!]

Aveeda was my go to hair care product line. Now I am 100% converted to R+Co. This brand is mid-cost, less expensive branch of Oribe. If I could afford Oribe ($300 for a shampoo and conditioner liter set?! Who can afford this?!) I would get it exclusively. However, R+Co is just as great and has made my hair so happy!  I mix and match between the BelAir Smoothing Shampoo and the Gemstone Color Shampoo. Then for conditioners I mix it up between the BelAir Smoothing conditioner and the Atlantis Moisturizing Conditioner.

High Dive from R+CoThese are best paired with High Dive Moisture Hair Creme. This product keeps your hair so soft and smooth after styling.  I feel like it was a gift from the hair gods. I also love the hair spray (which smells DIVINE!) and prep spray.  I recommend mixing and matching as you see fit!  They also have mouse, gel, texture sprays and dry shampoo.





Initialiste from Kerastase Kerastase Initialiste serum was recommended to be my by my hair Guru after I chopped my hair to my chin and wanted it to grow quickly. And boy did it work. My hair is not past my shoulders after a year and a half, is silky, and healthy. She recommends it for men and women both who think their hair is thinning as well. I’m a believer!





Dry shampoo I wash my hair every two to three days if I can.   Batiste Dry Shampoo  helps my roots not look greasy.  Beware, using too much dry shampoo is not good for your hair. Be very picky about the product you use.  If you want to be sure you know what you are using on your hair, you can make your own.




That wraps it up for what I use for my own hair.  Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.  Have a fabulous hair day!

My Hair is Not My Beauty

Ah, hair.  One of my all time favorite subjects.  For my first blog post about hair I thought I’d share my own life long hair relationship.

Red at 6 years old, blond hair

My father and myself at a Girl Scouts Father Daughter dance. It was football themed. He has on a Bears jersey and my Mother made me a Girl Scout cheerleader outfit.

Red with a pageboy hair cut

Pageboy. I’m so cute though, right?!

When I was young I started out life with naturally straight blond hair (see left-SO BLOND!).  I like all children was at the mercy of my mother’s hair styling choices. Pageboys were the go to style until about age three (see right). It was also the early 80’s, so 70’s styles were still holding a death grip onto the last bits it could.

When first grade arrived I started to take some initiative in what my hair looked like.  For a school portrait in first grade I felt it was imperative that I wear a classic side ponytail for my photo.  Hello 80’s style, we are in full swing now!  My mother, after much persuading, agreed we could do this.  After she painstakingly got the hairstyle perfect for the picture, I went to school confident I was going to have the best pictures. These portraits however were taken after recess.  The end result was not pretty.  Needless to say I think I destroyed all evidence of this portrait and my mother, rightly so, informed people she did not send me to school looking like a disheveled mess. Thus my love hate relationship with style and hair began.

Being born in ’83, I was not really old enough to truly embrace the 80’s fabulous-ness (except that side pony). As the 90’s came I was not a grunge kid (I’d heard teen spirit on MTV, it was cool, but I could not understand what this guy was singing about, plus I had a little sister so we listened to Raffi in the car. See, I was SO cool!). While I was busy navigating getting new friends in Marin Country California I understood that I was not as cool as these Californian’s, but I did not understand how to achieve this level of cool.  I hated jeans and skirts. My life was so hard.  I used my loud mouth and humor to get people to like me, not my clothing or hair!

Flash forward to Arizona at the end of July right before my 7th grade school year. I decided that this whole being hip to the current trends thing might help me in a place where everyone knew each other from elementary school (I had been in CA and knew no one except those whom I had 6th grade classes with). I was also going to be in ‘smart’ person math with 8th graders!  It was time to step up my game. In my mind the coolest way to start the new year was with a pixie cut. I thought this was the cutting edge of cool fashion trends. However, the rest of the student body let me know how wrong I was from day one

red short hair

One of the best “Short Hair” styles of my life.

[flash forward a few years and the pixie was all the rage! I was a fashion maven before her time].  The ridicule I received scarred me for the next 15 years.  I refused to get a haircut until I was a sophomore in high school.  This resulted in some terrible mullet hair for the next year and a half [I even refused to get the Rachel and it was the 90’s people!].  Only my father still has a picture of this truly  terrible hair time.

In high school my hair had grown out splendidly! This was also the time to experiment with color.  My blond was turning into a mousy brown and it was oh so bland. I went first with blond highlights, then chestnut brown, and then auburn. After auburn I wanted more red! I had the worst hair dying experience of my entire life because of this.

Tip:If you tell a hair stylist that the last time they dyed it a deep red and it faded to a light red, and you want it to be a light red again, don’t let them convince you that they need to dye it the deep red color and let it fade to the light red.  It’s a lie and your hair just ends up magenta for six months. If you want magenta hair, it’s great but I wanted copper red.  The minute I left the salon I burst into tears and called my mother immediately sobbing telling her how horrible it was. The minute I got home (literally 5mins later) I washed my hair four times in a row to get as much dye out as possible.  I cried all night long about the horrible color. Dramatic huh? I refused to let anyone dye my hair for a full year, even myself! When I finally got my butt back to the salon I talked to the hair stylist for a good half hour before I even let her show me hair swatches of reds.  She at least got me to trust a stylist again.  She was amazing.

Natalie Portman with Short Hair

My inspiration! I did not look this stylish when I did it.

At 24 I got the most dramatic hair cut I’ve ever gotten in my entire life!  I was inspired by Natalie Portman in V for Vendetta.  She looked so good and was such a bass ass.  I wanted to be that to! SO, off to the salon to get a cut like the one on the right.  The hairstylist asked me for 20 minutes if I was sure this is what I wanted. I was sure.  I certainly looked bad ass after this was done. When my friends asked me years later why I did it, I feel that the real reason was I needed chop it all off to prove to myself I had more beauty than my hair.

You see my hair for 90% of my life has been the only part about myself that I have loved unconditionally! After the middle school bullying about my short hair I was extremely protective and sensitive about it. After my coloring fiasco, even more so! These thoughts and feelings about my hair had been my constant gauge of self worth.  It’s what people always complemented me on. Nothing else physical seemed good to the rest of the world. Why should I value anything else about me if others didn’t? Chopping it all off really broke that cycle.

No longer having hair really forced me to look at every aspect of myself and start loving more about me than my hair.  It was liberating and empowering.  It was also down right scary to be so exposed.  Hair can be a curtain to hide behind and I did not have it anymore. I learned to love new parts of me and appreciate them as well.  [I learned I have three cow licks on my head as well.  Styling my short hair soon became very very hard.  Faux hawks were my go to for quite some time.] This also really broke the cycle for me of allowing others to dictate to me what my hair should be!  No longer would I ever let people make me feel bad for my hair cut.

Red with long hair and bangs

BANGS! Great idea if you want to constantly style them and do the upkeep. Not a good idea if you don’t (me!).

Red short hair

The hair chop to blend in those grown out bangs.

Now I can go from long to short and not think that my world has ended because I don’t have long enough hair (left and right). I  know for certain I LOVE having long hair. It is not the only thing that defines me, just a really great part that defines me.  I have finally found a copper red color I LOVE and if I had a dollar for every time someone asked if it was my natural color I’d be able to have a professional dye my hair on the regular.

So, what can I learn from my hair journey so far? I think all to often in our culture we assign value based off a person’s looks and hair is a huge part of it.  What color is it?  Are you bald or balding? Are you styling it every day or not?  Because of my love for hair and hair styles I tend to notice someone’s hair first.  I can be very judgment, I admit it.  However, thanks to a lot more body positivity in our culture and in myself it’s changing.  In my opinion this is the best time to be alive and have hair! Want rainbow hair?  No problem.  Want it short, a symmetrical, shagged, vintage, or anything in between?  GO FOR IT! Tell me about your hair loves and hates below.