It’s true — red hair is the rarest hair color in the world. So much so to where less than 2% of the world’s population is a redhead. But what you may not know is there are multiple shades of red.
When people think of redheads, they often think of orange-red hair. But you’re missing one of the most beautiful hair colors ever: auburn. Auburn is a mix between red and brown. This color has different shades and looks flattering on just about everyone.
Do you want to dye your hair auburn? If so, you’ll want to know how to pick out the best auburn hair dye.
Choosing Hair Dye Type
Since auburn is a natural hair color, you can find this color in a variety of hair dye types. The hair dye you select depends on the longevity of the dye and certain people will take to these different hair dyes better.
Permanent hair color is exactly what you think it is. The dye will enter each hair strand to chemically alter the color, permanently changing your hair color. Because of this, permanent hair dye lasts the longest. But with time, the color will fade and your roots will grow in.
Permanent dye is the best option for some people. For example, if you’re looking to cover grays, permanent dye offers the best coverage.
Since permanent dye changes the structure of your dye, not all colors are available as permanent dye. This mainly applies to unnatural hair colors, such as pink and purple. But since auburn is a natural hair color, most auburn dye is available as a permanent color.
Demi-permanent dye is a long-lasting option if you don’t want to change the color composition of your hair. It doesn’t contain ammonia and uses a low-volume developer to open the hair’s cuticle and deposit the color. Because of this, your demi-permanent hair color will usually last up to 24 shampoos (though all dye manufacturers vary).
Certain people will also benefit from a demi-permanent dye. For example, if you naturally have auburn hair and are slightly changing up your color, demi-permanent is a good option. A demi-permanent color is also a popular option if you’re correcting hair color or are letting your natural color grow in. This is also a good option if you’re adding auburn highlights.
Is demi-permanent color a good option if you have grays? If you want to blend in the auburn color with your gray, then choose a demi-permanent color. But if you want to cover grays, then it’s best to choose permanent dye.
Semi-permanent color lasts the shortest because it doesn’t alter your hair’s color composition at all. The dye merely coats the surface of your hair, so your color is only for the short term. Semi-permanent is great if you’re experimenting with auburn hair or are mixing in different shades, such as if you’re doing a balayage.
Different Shades of Auburn
After you decided what type of hair dye you want to use, it’s time for the best part: choosing the shade of auburn you want! Even though auburn is a mix of brown and red, there are many variations of auburn out there.
If you want a rich auburn with more vibrancy, then choose a light auburn color. This color is more of a classic ginger-red that you’re used to seeing, but it’s warmer than coppery. On the plus side, this shade is universally complimentary. Light auburn is also the perfect color if you want to light up your complexion or if you’re looking for highlights.
If you want something deeper than light auburn but not too dark, choose a medium auburn. This is usually known as the classic auburn color: a perfect mix of red and brown. It has some gingery aspects of red hair but is bolder with brown added in. While this color looks great on everyone, it looks best on those with pale skin.
If you want to add red to your hair but don’t want to stray too far from a dark brown, then dark auburn is your color. This color is deep but still very warm. It’s also extremely rich since it leans more toward dark brown. Because of this, it will suit anyone — no matter your skin or eye color. There are different variations of dark auburn hair, as we will detail below.
Mahogany is a great color if you want to add more red to your hair, but you don’t want to commit to a full head of red hair. This color adds a subtle reddish hue to brown hair, adding color but not drawing too much attention. The best part? This color still looks natural. Mahogany does tend to be a deep color, so this color is ideal if your hair is already a dark brown.
If you want a rich color that subtly has red hues, then choose burgundy. It’s more intense than mahogany since it adds more hints of red-violet.
It also has less brown, so you get more of a saturated red color. This is also a great option if you’re looking for a universally flattering shade of red. The burgundy hair color may also be called maroon or red velvet, so keep this in mind if you’re shopping for a burgundy hair dye.
Raspberry is a great color if you want a cool-toned red. What separates raspberry hair from other hair colors on this list is it adds more purple hues. The result is a unique red-purple berry color. There are different shades of raspberry — some are pinker while others are redder. But all raspberry hair dyes are very vibrant. You can also find both light and deep raspberry hair color variations.
I just dyed my hair this color a few months ago! However, the red faded out and I re-dyed it black.
Black cherry (or Cherry Cola, as my hairstylist called it) is what it sounds like: an extremely dark red-brown color. Most black cherry hair colors feature cool-toned red hues, but I’m sure you can get the same effect with warm-toned red hues. This way, black cherry hair will look flattering on just about anyone.
This is a color similar to light auburn, but still has some differences. Cinnamon is a unique color that uses more blonde than brown. The result is a very warm and vibrant shade of light auburn.
Another reason why cinnamon is so popular is it can easily add dimension. Your hair will look stunning, even with a low-maintenance color.
If you truly want the jazziest shade of auburn, choose scarlet. Scarlet is a true cherry red with subtle hints of orange. Your hair will not only look alluring but will also look bright and shiny.
Choosing Auburn Color by Skin Tone
One of the best aspects of auburn hair dye is it’s flexible.
You can find warmer and cooler shades of red to compliment your skin undertones. In addition, there are many brown-based shades of auburn. These are safe, since brown hair looks good on virtually anyone.
You’ll also want to keep your skin color in mind when choosing an auburn hair color. If you’re fair-skinned and don’t want a color too intense, then choose a brown-based dye. If your skin is dark, you can pull off a brighter auburn.
What’s the Best Auburn Hair Dye?
Some of our favorite auburn hair dye brands and colors include:
- Schwarzkopf Colour Expert in Auburn Brown
- Clairol Nice n’ Easy in Light Auburn
- Garnier Nutrisse Creme Colour in Chestnut Auburn
- Revlon Colorsilk in Bright Auburn
If you want a warmer auburn, choose the Clairol dye. If you want a cooler dye, choose the Schwarzkopf dye. The Revlon dye is lighter while the Garnier dye is darker.
How to Maintain Auburn Hair
After you find the perfect auburn hair dye, your work isn’t over. You’ll have to follow some essential steps to properly maintain your auburn hair dye.
Use Color-Safe Shampoo and Conditioner
When you dye your hair any color, you’ll want to use color-safe hair products.
For best results, use a shampoo and conditioner formulated for color-treated hair. Thee products don’t contain harsh ingredients that will spill out the dye.
In addition, you’ll want to wash your hair less. Use dry shampoo and dry conditioner in-between washes.
Wash Hair in Cold Water
When you do wash your hair, wash it in cold water. At the hottest, wash your hair in lukewarm water. We get it, nothing feels better than a hot shower. But there are a couple of reasons why you should turn down the water temperature.
Heat opens up the hair cuticles and removes excess dye. In addition, hot water moves excess oils from your hair. Washing your hair in cold or lukewarm water will not only preserve your dye but is better for your hair.
Refrain From Using Heat Tools
As stated previously, heat opens up the hair cuticles which can decrease the vibrancy of your auburn hair color.
In addition, excessive heat styling can damage your hair. Your hair took a lot of damage after the dye, so be sure to give your hair a break and opt to ditch the blow dryer and other products.
What if you love styling your hair? Opt for alternatives. I personally use a texturizing spray to give my hair more curls. You can also use scrunching products. If you want straight hair, use relaxing hair products and blow dry your hair on the cool setting.
Answer: While auburn is generally a universally flattering color, you may still be unsure if this color will look good on you — especially if you don’t have brown or red in your hair.
A good hack is to look at your eyes. Look for gold or yellow flecks in your irises (the colored part of your eyes).
If you have golden or yellow flecks in your eyes, this is a sure sign you’ll look good with auburn hair. These golden or yellow hues indicate that warmer colors look flattering on you.
What if you can’t find golden or yellow flecks in your eyes? You likely don’t have them if you have blue or even dark brown eyes.
This doesn’t mean you won’t look good with auburn hair. You’ll just have to choose a specific shade of auburn, since cool colors probably look better on you.
Choose raspberry for a lighter and brighter auburn and choose Cherry Cola for a darker auburn.
Answer: First, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
If you’re dyeing your hair a light auburn or if you have dark hair, you’ll have to bleach your hair first.
Most manufacturers suggest the level your hair should be before dyeing. Bleach your hair to that level. The longer you leave in the bleach, the lighter your hair will be. Since you risk damaging your hair, always be cautious before bleaching your hair.
From here, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Most box dyes include the pigment plus developer, though you may have to buy separate developer. Mix this up, apply to your hair, and leave it on for the recommended amount of time. Rinse the dye out and wash your hair.
Answer: If your hair is naturally auburn, you likely have Northern and Western European descent. Some North Africans also have natural auburn hair.
If you visit these regions, the locals may have natural auburn hair. Otherwise, you usually won’t see auburn hair anywhere else.
Auburn hair is one of the rarest colors in the world, which is why it’s one of the most coveted hair dye colors.
If you want to dye your hair auburn, you have many dye types and shades of auburn to choose from.
Just about every dye manufacturer also makes auburn hair dye colors. Once you know what you’re looking for, choosing an auburn hair dye will be easy.
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