Finding the best hair color for red hair means picking shades with undertones that will flatter – not clash with – your complexion. We’ll check out the absolute best red hair color shades for different skin tones in this guide!
What’s the Best Hair Color for Red Hair?
- Consider your natural hair color for hints
- Mirror your skin’s undertone in your new color
- Pick shades similar in depth to your eye color
The best hair color for red hair isn’t a one size fits all shade that’ll suit everyone. Your best red shade varies based on your natural hair color and complexion. Your natural hair color can give you helpful hints about the shades of red that will look best on you.
Natural redheads, warm brunettes, and warm blondes look amazing with golden, bronze, or copper undertones in red hair color.
If you were born with warm-toned strands, the metallic and warmest reds should look really flattering with your complexion. Try any shade of copper, light auburn, or chestnut red-brown with golden-toned highlights for a gorgeous glow.
Natural cool blondes and cool brunettes can rock “icier” red shades like raspberry, dark auburn, and merlot. These reds have cooler undertones so they won’t clash with cool-toned skin like warm reds do.
Mimicking the cool undertones of your natural color with specific shades of red can help your new shade look more natural. Consider a cool-toned mocha or espresso root melt or smudge to help cooler red shades blend in with less root maintenance.
As long as you choose shades of red that have undertones in the same color family (warm or cool) as your natural hair color, you’ll end up with a flattering red color that won’t clash with your complexion.
But one of the hardest parts of picking out a shade of red is deciding how light or dark your new color should be. You can look at the depth of your eye color to get a quick assessment of how deep or light your red (or any color) shade should be!
The general “rule” is lighter eyes look better with lighter hair colors, while darker eyes look better with deeper hair colors. It’s not very exact, but it can help you land on shades of red that won’t look too harsh or washed-out for your coloring.
If you have light blue, green, pale brown, light hazel, or light gray eyes, you’ll look good in the lighter shades of red that match your skin’s undertones. Strawberry blonde and light copper or auburn would be great options for warm hazel and pale brown eyes.
Light pink-toned reds like raspberry are great with cool-toned blue, green, or gray eyes. Darker eye colors – deep blue, green, hazel, brown, or gray – tend to look best with hair colors that have plenty of depth. Lighter shades can look washed-out.
Try intense medium to dark shades of red that suit your skin’s undertone for the best results. Dark blue, green, hazel, brown, or gray eyes will sparkle with medium to dark copper, auburn, merlot, or burgundy color.
Vivid red shades like candy apple red or watermelon red also look great with an intense eye color. With that said, you might look amazing with a hair color that doesn’t follow this rule.
It’s just a starting point to help you find flattering shades that won’t clash with your skin and eye color. Don’t be afraid to experiment with a few deep and brighter red shades to see which depth you prefer!
16 Best Hair Color for Red Hair Ideas
Take some inspiration from the list below and see how variable red can be! These are 16 of the best hair color options for red hair. Whether you’re hoping to go copper, dark auburn, vivid red, or something in between, you’ll find gorgeous color ideas below.
1. Dark Auburn and Copper Ombre
Can’t decide between a deep, rich red and something brighter? Try an ombre with warm auburn and copper color and get the best of both worlds! This color combo works best on warm skin tones, but suits eye colors from light to dark.
2. Medium Auburn
Light and medium eye colors with warm undertones indicate medium shades of red like this warm auburn are a good match. Try this dimensional shade all-over for a natural look with brown undertones.
3. Bold Orange-Kissed Copper
Turning up the golden orange undertones in copper color makes for a really bold and bright shade. This one’s perfect on warmer skin tones with light to medium eye colors, but will look awesome with darker eyes, too.
4. Sanguine Red
Sanguine red is passionate and bold if you’re looking for a red shade that won’t blend into the background. This shade has both warm and cool undertones with a medium-dark depth that makes it almost universally flattering.
5. Golden Strawberry Blonde
Don’t get stuck thinking copper, auburn, and vibrant reds are your only choice for red hair color! Strawberry blonde combines golden yellow tones in a warm blonde with faint copper or rose-gold color for a warm shade that suits lighter eye colors especially well.
6. Cool Medium Auburn
Auburn is typically on the warm side because it features red and brown undertones. Adding a very subtle violet toner to the color cools it down like in this medium auburn shade. Try it with a cool skin tone and medium to dark eyes for the most flattering effect.
7. Vibrant Multi-Toned Copper
Copper this vibrant and bold looks great on anyone with warm undertones, but a light to medium eye color will really set it off. Bright orange-red copper and slightly more crimson shades blend into the look for lots of depth and dimension.
8. Bright True Red
If you’re going for loud, vibrant color that lights up the room, true red is ideal. This shade gets your attention in a medium shade that looks great with lighter eyes. It’s a true, balanced red with blue and yellow undertones so it can work for warm or cool skin!
9. Cool Dark Burgundy
Burgundy hair color has a more neutral undertone with some cooler tones mixed in. This dark shade with red and purple undertones is a good match for medium to dark eye colors and suits a cool skin tone best.
10. Copper to Candy Apple Ombre
Bright, orange-red copper color makes the perfect companion for vivid candy apple red in an ombre color. This is a warm-toned look that looks great with a peachy or golden warm undertone or if you have a naturally warm hair color.
11. Medium Chestnut
Chestnut brown color has a heavy red undertone that makes it very similar to auburn. It has a slightly more golden tint and looks decidedly red with a rich brunette shadow. This medium shade is perfect for light to dark eyes and suits a warm undertone best.
12. Medium Copper-Auburn
This golden, coppery auburn color is warm and rich with just enough depth. In a medium shade, it’s not going to look too harsh on lighter skin or wash out deeper skin. It’s got brown undertones that balance the red and looks amazing with all eye colors, from light to dark.
13. Dark Maroon
Dark red-brown shades like maroon have plenty of inky depth but also feature some vibrant tones and a lot of shine. This color is great for warm or cool skin tones because it’s got a slight violet undertone that neutralizes the warmth a bit. It looks best with darker eye colors.
14. Watermelon Red
Pink undertones in red can really soften up the color to suit a lighter complexion or eye color with cool undertones. This shade is high-maintenance, but is one of the most vibrant options for cool undertones who don’t want to go too dark with their color.
15. Light Copper
Light natural eye color with a warm natural hair color means light copper could be the perfect color for you. It’s bold and punchy with vibrant red tones that keep it bright and vivid. Layer copper tones with a golden blonde color for an even lighter take on these same undertones!
16. Cool Raspberry Fire Balayage
Cool raspberry red and fiery red-orange color create a gorgeous balayage combo for cool-toned complexions. Warm red colors will clash with cooler skin, but these cooler red shades have flattering blue and pink undertones.
Things to Consider
Now that you’ve got some pretty red shades to consider, there are a few more things to keep in mind about going red. Red is a notoriously high-maintenance color that’s difficult to pull off at home, but it’s all about the shade you choose and how you handle your roots!
- When in doubt, auburn is universally flattering. If you just can’t decide on the perfect shade of red for you, try a medium shade of auburn. With undertones of red, slight gold, brown, and sometimes violet, it’s got some warmth and coolness in it to flatter all skin tones and eye colors.
- Make sure your hair is up for it. Will you need to bleach your hair first to achieve a light copper or strawberry blonde? Will the color be demi-permanent for less damage or permanent to stay longer? Are you prepared for the color refreshes and touch-ups you’ll need to keep it fresh? Make sure your hair is healthy and you’re committed to maintaining the color first.
- It might look too dark at first. Red hair dye has a tendency to appear darker at first thanks to the larger pigment molecules. It only takes a few days and a gentle shampoo to soften the color, so don’t despair. As long as you show your stylist a few photos of the specific shade you want, your color should look perfect within a day or two if it seems too dark right after dyeing.
- Go with a shadow root for less maintenance. You can minimize root touch-ups by getting a shadow root, smudged root, or root melt with your new red hair color. Adding a darker shade at the roots helps blend out natural root growth without making a touch-up necessary right away. It’s a small touch that makes a big difference!
- Use the right shampoo and hair care. Fast-fading red needs gentle sulfate-free shampoo. Wash dyed red hair less often to keep it fresh and vibrant. For ultra-vivid shades, you may want to use a pigmented conditioner each week to keep your tones bold! Always use heat protectant spray before doing any type of heat styling after dying your hair.
So, What’s the Best Hair Color for Red Hair?
Getting a pretty new shade of red might be the perfect way to tweak or transform your look! It’s a really fun color family that has a range of warm and cool shades to suit any complexion.
Keeping your natural hair color and eye color in mind is the real secret to finding the best hair color for red hair. You’ll be able to play up your natural undertones and get an effortless, cohesive look by using your own hair, skin, and eye colors to handpick a flattering shade of red.
Warm natural hair colors – warm reds, blondes, and browns – should steer toward the warmest shades of red like copper, strawberry blonde, bold auburns, and deep chestnut colors.
Cool natural hair colors – cool blondes and browns – look best in cooler reds, like raspberry, watermelon, vibrant true red, and burgundy.
It’s simple to find how light or dark your chosen shade of red should be to look natural on you, too. The depth (light, medium, dark) of your eye color tells you generally how light or dark you should go to avoid your color looking too light or harsh.
With these simple keys in mind, you can achieve a beautiful red hair color that suits your complexion and coloring perfectly. Whether you’re thinking of going soft, subtle, and natural or loud, bold, and vibrant, we think you’re going to love being a redhead.