How to maintain red hair

This summer, red hair is big news, whether it's Rihanna's cherry red locks or Blake Lively's copper mane. The good news is that there's a shade of red to suit everyone. The bad news? Red is one of the hardest colour dyes to maintain.

Rihanna's vibrant red locks

High maintenance hair

"Red hair dye has the largest colour molecule which makes it harder for the dye to penetrate into the hair shaft," explains Katerina Michalakis, senior technician at Michael Van Clarke. "Instead it sits on the surface of the hair and slips away much faster than other colours."

Additionally, colour fade is especially noticeable on dyed red hair. "Red is a particularly difficult colour to maintain as it reflects the light more than any other shade," says Lorraine Matic, Fudge UK Educator. "This means that when the hair is damaged, or the colour is beginning to fade, it's a lot more obvious. Look for specialist shampoos and conditioners that contain free radicals to help prolong colour in between salon visits."

[See also: How to curl your hair with a straightner]

Ladies in red
So, which shade of red is right for you? If you've got pale skin, or green or blue eyes, a fiery red could work wonders. Mad Men's Christina Hendricks recently dyed her tresses a gorgeous flame red that perfectly complements her skin tone. "Christina has perfect porcelain skin for her new fiery red hair — it brings out her bright blue eyes," agrees Katerina Michalakis at Michael Van Clarke.

Christina Hendricks' fiery red mane

If you're olive skinned, opt for a copper tone — Gossip Girl Blake Lively recently hit the bottle and ditched her sun-kissed blonde locks for a coppery, golden mane. "Blake has gone from blonde to a very soft copper which complements her bronze complexion and looks great on long hair," says Katerina.

Blake Lively's copper red tresses

If you're feeling brave, a deeper shade of red hair can look amazing - especially on paler complexions, says Katerina. "Julianne Moore always looks stunning. With her deep red hair contrasting with her Celtic complexion, she's got perfect skin for this colour."

Julianne Moore's deep red 'do

Put down the shampoo!
Once you've dyed your hair, there are several things you can do to prevent colour fade.

"To prolong the vibrancy of your colour, avoid washing it for 36 hours after your first shampoo, post colour," says Lorraine Matic at Fudge.

"This will allow the dye to really set into the hair shaft, thus prolonging its colour life."

Colour care
Looking after your hair becomes especially important when it comes to maintaining your colour — especially for those with pre-lightened hair. "You can prevent your red hair from fading so quickly by using a colour locking shampoo and conditioner," says Katerina Michalakis.

"The better the condition of your hair, the better your colour will hold. If you've had your hair dyed in a salon ask your colourist to recommend a colour shampoo for you to use at home to refresh your colour."

Additionally, invest in a deep conditioning treatment and use it once a week without fail. Ojon's Revitalising 2 Minute Hair Mask (£30, uses powerful plant extracts to smooth the cuticle and smooth frizz.

For daily use, opt for a conditioner specially designed to minimise fade, such as the Aussie Colour Mate range (from £3.67, For a conditioning colour boost in between dyes, use Fudge Colour Conditioning treatments (£2.49, stockists 01282 683100) — individual sachets of product which boost colour while provide a burst of moisture.

When you're out and about, keep a serum or repairing spray to hand to help banish frizz and protect hair from harmful rays which will cause the colour to fade. Pureology's Essential Repair Colour Max spray (£16.85, stockists 0800 783 3026) helps protect hair from external aggressors whilst boosting shine.

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