Red hair color – it looks so great, but tends to last such a short amount of time. As pretty and brilliant as those auburn tones may be, they're just not built to resist fading.
It's nothing you're doing wrong – red hair dye is composed of larger molecules, which makes it harder for your hair shaft cuticles to hold on to them. That being said, there are steps you can take to extend the life of your red mane, even if you can't get it to stick around for good.
1. Consider going to a professional to get your color done, especially if you're blonde (light-haired women appear to have reported the most trouble retaining red dye). At the very least, a stylist can offer you a consultation, but they're usually the ones with the best-quality dyes and the knowledge necessary to mix the chemicals in a way that's optimal for your current hair situation.
2. Whether you head to the pros or do it at home, you'll want to avoid shampooing your locks for the first 24 to 48 hours. The first couple of days post-dying are when the color will do most of its work in terms of soaking into your hair shaft and "gripping" onto it. Some people also report better results by not letting the water run all the way clear when they first rinse it out.
3. Limit your shampoos as much as possible. Try using baby powder or dry shampoo instead to soak up any grease from your roots. When you do wash your locks, use cold water! Hot water opens up the hair shaft, cold water closes it. You do the math.
4. Switch up your product line to a red-friendly set of shampoos, conditioners and glazes. There are special products designed just for red-headed ladies – some even add some blaze back into your hair every time you use them. Try Redken's Color Extend Shampoo, John Frieda's Luminous Color Glaze and/or Aveda's Madder Root Shampoo.
Beyond that, you'll want to avoid the following as much as possible: Excess sunlight, tanning beds and heat styling. Red may be fiery, but it turns out it's best to avoid adding more heat into the mix. Go figure!