Before you pull an Emma Stone, there’s something you should know. Red hair requires more maintenance than any other shade, according to celebrity colorist Danny Moon of Andy LeCompte Salon. “The dye molecules found in red hair color are typically larger than that of other hues,” says Moon. Since those over-sized molecules can’t penetrate the hair shaft as deeply, “after three to four weeks, red hair tends to fade.” Womp, womp.
That said, with a little TLC, you can achieve Christina Hendricks-level locks without making the salon your second home. Your first move—or lack thereof—should be to avoid washing your hair for 48 hours after dye has been applied. After the two-day mark has passed, “rinse using very cold water to help close the cuticle and seal in the color,” says Moon. When it comes to normal washing, Moon stresses the importance of using shampoo and conditioner labeled as “sulfate-free” since, he says, these formulas tend to be more gentle and less likely to strip hair of natural oils and dye. Even so, it’s ideal to wash just once a week, since the longer you can go without, the less likely you are to experience fading. A spritz of dry shampoo (Batiste Dry Shampoo in Vibrant Red ($9, dermstore.com) is red hair-friendly) is your best bet to combat oil in between, according to Moon.
But longtime not-so-natural redheads know that skipping a wash or two can only keep hair luminous for so long. That’s why Moon tells his red-haired clients to use an at-home treatment between salon appointments for an extra boost. “A conditioning treatment is a great way to revive vibrancy and tone, which is just what redheads require,” he says. Moon, a guest artist for Pravana, recommends the brand’s NEVO Color Enhancer Treatment ($20, pravana.com for salons) as it deposits professional dye but is applied like a deep conditioner. “After you shampoo, apply the treatment to towel-dried hair and leave for one to two minutes before rinsing,” he says. If you apply a similar product monthly, you’ll find you only need to visit the salon every six to eight weeks.
At the end of the day, Moon’s advice to (unnatural) redheads is simple: “Be good to your red hair and your red hair will be good to you.”