FAQ: Bleach And Red Hair Color - Is It Damaging?

My hair is dark brown and I would like to color my hair bright red. How damaging would be the bleach for my hair? Is there any other way to achieve my goal without bleach?

In order to have bright red hair, you need to bring color of your hair to a light stage and then tone it. Now it depends how light you have to make it on the target color. If you are looking for warm reds (red/orange red shade), you can bring it to a light orange-y shade and then apply a toner. If you are looking for cool reds (blue/violet red), then you need to bring it to a very pale yellow-almost white stage before you can apply a toner.

Bleach should be used if you colored your hair previously, OR if your hair is very dark (dark brown, black) and you want to bring it to a very pale blond for blue/violet red.

However, you probably could use high lift color (slightly less damaging to hair) if you are looking a for red/orange shade AND your hair was previously NEVER colored.

The images above are

  • bright red/orange-y shade - from Hairdressers Journal Interactive
  • bright red/violet shade - from


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.