Best hair dyes for red and ginger hair – updated for 2017

14 May

My earlier post about how to dye hair red or ginger was really popular and I’m often asked which are the best red hair dyes for dying your hair red at home so I’ve scoured the high street to create a list of the dyes available.

Choosing a shade of red hair dye is as simple as a) deciding if you want to go red or ginger / orange and b) working out your base hair colour.

Which shade of red hair dye should I choose?

1. You need to work out your base hair colour shade. This is your natural colour before you dye it:

shades 10-7 = blonde
shades 8-6 = ginger / redhead
shades 6-3 = brunette / brown hair
shades 2-1 = black hair

For example, my natural red hair has lots of brown so my base colour is 7.

Should I dye my hair red or ginger?

You have two choices – either add copper tones (to dye it ginger) or red tones (to dye it red).

Please note I am NOT a hairdresser so please read the instructions and check with a professional before using any dyes if you’re unsure, this is just to help see what shades are available across different brands.

You can also then choose your hair colour by picking a shade according to your base colour. I’ve listed them by base colours below to help you choose the right shade of red hair dye for you.

Choosing a hair dye for ginger hair / redhead

Your natural hair colour is bleached, light blonde or strawberry blonde (shade 10-9) and you want to dye your hair bright orange / ginger

Washed Out Orange – Bleach London: semi permanent, lasts 2-10 washes
Orangehair – Colorista Washout semi-permanent

Your natural hair colour is bleached, light blonde or strawberry blonde (shade 10-9)  and you want to dye your hair bright red

9.2 Pillarbox Red – Live Ultra Brights
Real Red – Schwarzkopf Live Intense Colour
Ronde – Colorista Paint Copper
Red – Pick and Mix Colour Semi Permanent

Your natural hair colour is blonde, strawberry blonde or light ginger (shade 9-8) and you want to dye your hair red or ginger

8.34 Rich Copper Gold – Superdrug Radiance
8.45 Fire Red – Superdrug Radiance
8 Born Red – Nice ‘n Easy

Your natural hair colour is a dark blonde or ginger (shade 7) and you want to dye your hair ginger or red

7.8 Paprika Power – L’Oreal Preference Infinia

7.64 Intense Copper – Garnier Nutrisse Ultra Colour
7.6 Spice Power – L’Oreal Preference Infinia

7.5 Ravishing Red – Superdrug Colour Vibrance

7.4 Intense Red – Superdrug Colour Vibrance
7.40 Intense Copper – Garnier Olia
7.4 Mango Intense Copper – L’Oreal Preference Infinia
7.4 Mango Copper Burst – Superdrug Colour Vibrance

Your natural colour is dark ginger or brunette (shade 6) and you want a deep red or ginger shade:

6.88 Intense Red – L’Oreal Color Expert

6.7 Scarlett Power – L’Oreal Preference Infinia

6.6 Fiery Red – Garnier Nutrisse
6.6 Intense Red – Garnier Olia (Perm)
6.6 Intense Red – Garnier Nutrisse

6.46 Light Copper Red – L’Oreal Excellence Creme
6.45 Amber – L’Oreal Casting Creme Gloss
6.45 Intense Copper Auburn – L’Oreal Preference

6 Born Red – Nice ‘n Easy

Your natural hair colour is dark brunette / brown (shade 5) and you want to add red or ginger tones.

5.65 Berry Red – L’Oreal Casting Creme Gloss
5.62 Vibrant Red– Garnier Nutrisse
5.6 Hot Chilli Red – L’Oreal Preference Infinia

Your natural colour is dark brown or black (shade 4,3,2) and you want to add a deep red or ginger tone.

4.6 Deep Red – Garnier Olia
4.6 Deep Red – Garnier Nutrisse
4.6 Pure Ruby Power – L’Oreal Preference Infinia

3.6 Deep Reddish Brown – Garnier Nutrisse Creme

2.6 Dark Cherry – Garnier Nutrisse Ultra Color

Have you tried any of these? Let me know!  Any favourites?

39 Responses to “Best hair dyes for red and ginger hair – updated for 2017”

  1. Sammie 01/12/2012 at 10:03 am #

    This is EXACTLY the kind of help I was after! :-) I have natural ginger hair and have gone from blonde to dark brown over the years but fancied another change. I’ve gone for the garnier nutrisse fiery red and thought it might not look right or be ok for my colour. But your chart has helped me out :) looking to dye it over the next few days so wish me luck :-)

    • IntoTheRed 01/12/2012 at 11:21 am #

      Hi Sammie
      Aww thanks, I’m really pleased I could help. I’ve been confused in the hair dye aisle for years! Definitely let me know how it goes – the more reviews the better! X

  2. Lucy 25/01/2013 at 11:08 pm #

    Love this. I actually chose the 6.0 light auburn from nice ‘n’ easy and I’m hoping it will work on my brunette hair! x

    • IntoTheRed 07/03/2013 at 3:18 pm #

      Hi Lucy

      How did it turn out? :)

      • Lucy 07/03/2013 at 4:18 pm #

        It looks lovely – I actually only did it last night as I needed to give my hair a bit of a rest! I’m considering doing a second bottle to get a richer colour.

      • IntoTheRed 07/03/2013 at 4:20 pm #

        Awesome! I’m thinking about trying a henna gloss on mine next time.

      • Lucy 07/03/2013 at 4:53 pm #

        Ooh nice! I’ll keep an eye on your blog to see the results if you post them.

  3. Kiki 27/03/2013 at 5:24 am #

    This article is super helpful but I’m having issues pulling up the Majirel color chart embedded your other post. I googled it but a million different results popped up, and I wasn’t sure which chart you used. Would you mind providing the link for the chart so I can get a base understanding of what my color is?

    Thanks so much!
    Kiki, your fellow ginger in Seattle

  4. Fiona 10/05/2013 at 8:58 pm #

    This has been super helpful, thanks :) The best colour I’ve found for what I wanted (a rich copper auburn, not too orange but enough to be really noticeable – Addison Shepherd style!) is actually a semi-perminent one, Amber by Casting Creme Gloss, I’d really recommend it for anyone with blonde or already ginger hair. Also, what colour are you wearing in the picture? That’s essentially what I want and have had to go to salons for it!

    • IntoTheRed 17/05/2013 at 7:01 am #

      Hi Fiona,
      Thank you! Which photo do you mean? The colour varies by different photos!

    • Georghia 25/03/2015 at 2:24 pm #

      That’s the one I have been using for over a year (Catherine Tate style) sadly it fades way too quickly :(

  5. Jessica 04/06/2013 at 2:52 am #

    Hello! You blog is amazing!
    I have a question. I have brown hair with some light brown tones. I want to try ginger more on the orange side with copper tones but I don’t want it to be permanent. Do you know of any non permanent dyes that you would recommend? Preferably drugstore

  6. Plain Jane 18/06/2013 at 3:21 pm #

    Hi, found your blog in my endeavors to get red! I am a light brown naturally, with a little red undertone. I am Scottish and have the right skin tone to pull it off. But I can not get it to stay or be consistent. I was using Loreal preference 48 Copper blonde, first it went strawberry blonde over my dyed medium blonde, 2nd time same thing. Then, went to touch up roots and roots went way darker. Got another box, touched up the ends, went darker but still not quite as dark as roots,,,,ugh. So looked up salons for a good color, read that Paul Mitchell was a good one so booked an appointment. By the time of the appointment it had been 3 weeks from the Loreal color and it had faded to a light strawberry. Girl at salon used a mix of their copper blonde and lighter red, turned out perfect but washed out with first wash!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. missblb 24/06/2013 at 12:46 pm #

    I used the Intense Mango Copper by L’oreal Feria over 6 months (I think this was 3 applications)…. it is my favourite shade ever, just absolutely what I have always wanted.

    Sadly, it completely destroyed my hair, with it snapping off, and very hard to brush- I couldn’t get a brush or comb through it at all! I spoke to two different hairdressers about it and they both said I should stop using the dye immediately, probably too much ammonia in it. I had to have my hair cut quite short in order to get rid of all the poor damaged broken hair :(

    • IntoTheRed 29/06/2013 at 11:59 pm #


      That’s a shame :( I used Feria for quite a while and it was alright on mine. Maybe take it easy and use a more natural product like henna instead?

    • Alicia 31/07/2013 at 1:44 am #

      thats a shame cause i had to cut my hair and I’m going back to the hair salon to get layers done to try and get my natural hair back fast and i decided to listen to my hair dressers advice and stop dyeing until most of my red is back or if my hair is in a alright condition , which i recently decided that home dyes arent worth it , it wastes your money just for you to have to go to the hair salon to try and make your hair half way decent , so just let your hair heal and eventually it will grow .

  8. Jennie 18/07/2013 at 8:42 pm #

    Great article, thanks! Word of warning, Olia intense red on my hair, which is strawberry blonde/red with natural copper and auburn and very light blond too, comes out a rather plum almost purple red, so be careful! I’d certainly suggest not leaving it on as long as they tell you too, 20mins would’ve been more than enough on my hair! Also, it doesn’t smell anywhere near as nice as they say, only a little nicer than normal dye.

  9. Aoife 23/07/2013 at 5:50 pm #

    I used this one 7.4 Intense Mango Copper by L’Oreal Feria
    I am a natural red hed just trying to cover up the grey, I don’t know what went wrong! It was so bad I had to get a darker colour to cover it up and I may have to go to the hairdressers to fix it. Any ideas anyone?

  10. Alicia 31/07/2013 at 1:38 am #

    I am a natural red and have dyed my hair a lot over the years since i was 14 I’m now 16 and i dyed my hair dark browns then i had extractions done at the hair salon and had a dark red dyed then it went dark and i tried a home dye which was a very dark red …….big mistake i ever made because it brought back the brown . so if you want to dye your hair go to a hair salon you can trust because its not impossible to go red or go a different type of red .

  11. Rachel 03/08/2013 at 3:50 pm #

    Hello! I’ve stumbled across your blog whilst looking at going ginger. I’m very interested in the L’Oreal Feria 74 Mango Intense Copper but I’m a little worried about it going really orange as oppose to coppery as my base colour is about a 10. Any ideas on which dye is best for getting natural looking ginger hair?!

    • IntoTheRed 03/08/2013 at 3:59 pm #

      Hi Rachel
      If you’re a 10 then almost any colour is going to look really really bright. The best option is probably to dye your base colour a bit darker then dye ginger no top if you don’t want super bright.
      Best wishes x

  12. Anne 05/08/2013 at 11:46 am #

    I used 7.64 Intense Copper by Garnier Nutrisse Ultra Color on my hair recently and it caused my hair to go red, ever since then my hair grabs red with every hair dye. I really don’t recommend it.
    I am now struggling to find a hair dye that doesn’t grab red. I used the Paprika Power by L’Oreal and it grabbed red. :(

    • Georghia 25/03/2015 at 2:20 pm #

      Same here! I looked like a traffic light. I had to strip my hair to get rid!

  13. Nazmiye 16/08/2013 at 10:16 pm #

    Hi! Firstly I would really like to thank you for this blog! This absolutely helped me with my decision. I have naturally dark brown hair, and had it dyed to a coppery ginger colour. As I wanted to continue on my own (colouring it I mean) , I needed the right colour. I have been looking for it for ages and now I know I found it (thanks to you) :)!!! It is the 8:34 Rich Copper Gold by Superdrug. Note that I had my own 40 vol oxidant and didn’t use the one came with the box for my roots, my ends were done with the product and it is amazing!! So I would recommend this to everyone and thank you again xx

  14. belynda 20/08/2013 at 1:06 pm #

    I’m Too very interested in using the L’Oreal Feria 74 Mango Intense Copper. But I’m too worried about if it will go orange? I’m about the same colour as your natural colour is a mid auburn about a 7 on your colour chart. Will it lighten my colour or will it just look orange rather than cooper?

    • IntoTheRed 21/08/2013 at 5:28 am #

      Hi there
      Well, in hair terms orange is copper! So it’s hard to define the difference. But the darker your natural colour, the less bright orange it will go. Blonder hair will go brighter. I think you should be fine if your base is a 7.
      Best wishes x

  15. Nikolee 22/09/2013 at 5:37 am #

    I have tried all sorts of red dyes over the years including ammonia free ones at the salon. I cant afford to go to the salon and have given up on the chemical dyes because of the ammonia etc. I have tried going strawberry the red heads grey and it looks yuk. So I am back to henna which cannot be beaten for lustre and depth of colour. I mix about 2 tablespoons of henna powder with about 1/3 cup filtered coffee for its brown base and the juice of a lemon and leave it overnight to for the henna to release. Then I apply to roots only and leave for 4-6 hours before rinsing out and washing my hair. It is cheap and it works for me. I buy the henna poweder from an Indian food store. My current brand is Indya which has some Amla and other conditioning herbs in the mix.

  16. Mark 29/10/2013 at 3:41 pm #

    Strange request but I’m a bloke who has red/ginger hair – sadly its going grey – at my temples and also my beard – do you know of any dyes that are suitable for both head and facial hair?

  17. Mary Tupaea 08/01/2014 at 1:40 am #

    Awesome awesome blog post! I’ve been a bit on the fence with going red but deep down, have always wanted to do it! I used to be a brunette but am now a bleached ginger which I cannot stop getting compliments over, and now I want to become a bright red head! I used an app on my phone to turn me red and wow! I love it! It looks amazing, and I’m so thankful that I’ve come across the info on here! In two days time, I will be a full blown red head! :D

  18. Lesley 22/01/2014 at 12:00 pm #

    I know this is an older post but I just stumbled across it while doing a Google search for at home hair color. I’ve been having my hair dyed red at a salon for a year or 2 now but I can’t really afford to pay to have it professionally done now. Money has gotten tight so I’m looking for a cheaper way to make my naturally mousy dirty blonde hair look a little better without having to pay so much. I think my hair is about a 7 maybe? I’m not sure. If it helps here is the salon dye job faded out
    I’ve never dyed my own hair before… what are the chances I could get a good, natural looking copper/cinnamon/something like that red/ginger? And any idea which shade/type I should go with? I’m so lost and confused!

    However, as lost and confused as I am now its a lot less than I was before I found your blog so thanks. :)

  19. Liz 01/02/2014 at 9:45 pm #

    I simply can’t thank you enough for your lovely blog. Natural strawberry blonde and trying to get advice on how to dye was a nightmare, always “why would you want to dye it. Don’t do it” After reading your blog not only am I going with “mango” I’m doing it with pride!!! From one ginger to another THANK YOU!!!!!

  20. Kimberlee 16/03/2014 at 2:38 am #

    Hi I just recently after 20 years of having blonde hair went to red…I used Goldwell 8KG and for maintenance I use Goldwells Color Mousse in 7K once a week..No ammonia it really deposits color great. For maintenance I use Tressar Watercolors Shampoo in Liquid Copper. And a Copper Conditioner as well…I wish I could post a picture because everyday someone comes up to me and says how gorgeous it its..Yes it is somewhat pricey..I only wash my hair 3 times a week…I have long hair..Very pleased.

  21. Moriah 21/03/2014 at 5:01 pm #

    I need to know which color you used in this photo : It is my dream color. It popped up when I googled Olia 6.6, so I was curious if that’s actually what you used. If so, I’m going to go out and buy it right this second.

  22. kelsey vickers 22/09/2014 at 10:50 pm #

    Great post! I am a natural redhead myself, but last year I wanted to go for a brighter, more intense red. I actually used Splat hair dye, which, I’m sure hairdressers wouldn’t be crazy about that. But it worked wonderfully for me!

  23. Laura Brennan 01/01/2015 at 12:33 am #

    I was natural red head but was teased etc so as a 20 something I have been very colour and more. Now I am a 30 something. I also lost my hair through illness. I have been using superdrug Rich copper gold and its great but always good to have other alturnatives when I am boosting my red locks thank you for this post x

  24. Hannah Louise 31/01/2015 at 9:05 pm #

    Be careful using henna hairdyes, they add metallic salts into henna hair dye products to make the colour more vibrant, which is safe, until you try to re-colour with a box dye. The chemicals can kill your hair. Just a warning! But helpful article :)

  25. Georghia 25/03/2015 at 2:14 pm #

    Argh so many. I bleach my hair (it’s naturally a Cheatnut brown maybe a 4?) and use Amber Loreal, but it’s semi permanent so I’ve been searching for a new shade. I have one called Colour Excellence but it’s too red as opposed to the auburn/ginger I want and it’s patchy because I have thick hair. The colour I want is like picture Catherine Tate and there you go. That is the cokour I want. I hate being a brunette! And I always miss at least one dark root at the back. Grrrr!

  26. Lydia 05/07/2015 at 2:08 am #

    I have natural light to medium auburn hair. What would anyone recommend for good gray coverage. Everything I find is for blonde or brunette going red. I have never dyed before.

  27. emma 06/10/2015 at 11:34 pm #

    Hi im naturally ginger but been dying my hair black for years with every few years trying to go back but not succeeding so ending up black again, two days ago i used a pre lightener all its done is turn orange in patches! Im thinking of using another pre lightener on the patchey areas that i presumed i missed as was doing my self and then going over with the wash in wash out superdrug colour you mentioned in another post would this work? Im not fussed if there are a few darker and lighter areas as they will slowly fade the more i wash and use the colour! Just looking for a little advise as no one seems to understand red hair! Thanks x

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