FAQ: Why Does Red Hair Fade?

I color my hair but I have a problem keeping it vibrant red. It always fades. What can I do to keep it from fading?

I read somewhere that the molecule of a red pigment (pheomelanin) is perhaps smaller than that of a black or a brown pigment (these two last pigments are sub-types of eumelanin). When any of these pigments intermingle with peroxide and ammonia, the molecules become bigger and thus harder to leave the hair. So IMHO  if the red molecule becomes bigger due to chemical process, it still may be a tad smaller that those of black or brown pigments and therefore "escape" and fade from hair.

Here are several reasons why hair will not stay vibrant red:

  • sun's UVA and UVB rays are very damaging to hair (use UV shield products and/or hat on your hair if you want to retain your red color)
  • if you use inexpensive shampoos made with harsh chemicals they "strip" the hair (chose gentle shampoos, designed for color treated hair)
  • if your water is too hard (that means it contains minerals) - minerals can build up on your hair shaft and  prevent color to process properly and can cause fading of your color - use water softener systems if possible
  • your hair cuticle is way too porous (open/damaged) - molecules escape from the cortex through "the gap". A solution to this problem - after you use gentle shampoo and moisturizing conditioner use low acidity rinse (ie. vinegar diluted with water) to close cuticle so your red color molecules stay in
Try to let your red color to "settle" inside your hair for 48 hours before you'll give it another shampoo (just like you would do with a perm/relaxer). One of the most vibrant reds are made by Redken company - so have your hair done in a salon that uses this product. They should sell hair care products for color treated hair also. Artec makes shampoos for color treated hair as well. 

This post should be taken as a first step for a discussion with your hairdresser and/or colorist about your ideas, desires or problems with your hair. Under no circumstances, you should act upon this post ONLY. I strongly advice you to have your hair done by a skilled and reputable hairdresser/colorist in your area.