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Best Color to Dye Over Red Hair (With Examples)

Are you tired of the never-ending maintenance that red hair requires or just in the mood for a new look?

Whatever the case, when the time comes to choose a new hair color to cover red, which hair color is the best to dye over red hair?

We’re here to tell you which hair color will be your best friend when covering red hair dye, how to choose the best color for your red hair, and how to effectively apply that color over red hair.

Which Hair Color Is Best For Dyeing Over Red Hair?

Brown hair color is the top choice for covering red hair. It’s best to put brown hair color over red hair for a couple of reasons.

What Colors Can I Put Over Red Hair?

If you’re looking to change your red hair, the color options largely depend on your current shade. Here are some general guidelines:

Brown: Pretty much any shade of brown works well on red hair. For light-red hair, go with light brown; for darker red, a darker brown works well. If you want to downplay the red tones, opt for a neutral or ash brown.

Black: This is a solid option if you’re looking to go darker and get rid of the red tones completely. Remember that your hair will not turn brunette but will become a true black that may fade to burgundy over time.

Light Blonde: If you have light-red hair, bleaching and toning can lead to a unique strawberry blonde color.

So, if you’re wondering what colors to put over red hair, brown is the most versatile, black is best for a dramatic change, and light blonde works if you’re starting with a light-red base and are okay with a strawberry blonde outcome.

Why Brown Is The Best Color to Dye Over Red Hair

The number one reason is that brown hair color is dark enough to cover up red hair dye. Red hair dye is very pigmented; therefore, you’ll need something with a lot of dark pigment to combat the red and keep it from showing through the new hair color. Brown is perfect for this. 

There are several shades of brown, from the lightest brown to the darkest brown, so no matter what shade of red dye you’re trying to cover up, there’s a brown hair color that’s dark enough to cover up what you’re working with. 

best hair color to dye over red

The second reason brown works so well to cover up red hair is the wide variety of tones brown hair color comes in.

If you want to completely neutralize the warm tones your red hair dye can leave behind, you can choose a brown with cool tones.

If you still want to keep some warmth in your hair, you can choose a brown with warm or neutral tones. 

Brown hair color allows you to not only cover up red hair dye but also customize your new brunette look. We love a hair color that’s not only practical but also gives you versatile, gorgeous results. 

How to Choose The Best Brown Hair Color To Dye Over Red

Shades of Brown Hair Color To Dye Over Red

1. Choose The Darkness of Brown Shade 

When choosing the best brown hair color for covering up any shade of red hair dye, you need to first make sure the brown hair color is dark enough to cover the red pigment.

The general rule is to use a brown shade one or more shades darker than the red hair dye.

For example, if your hair is currently a vibrant, fire engine red, you will need to go with a dark brown shade to cover it up. Look for a level 4 or 5  when choosing the depth of your brown color.

shades of brown hair color to dye over red
Source: samanthasbeautyconfessions/Instagram

If your hair is currently a faded red or lighter copper color, you can choose a lighter brown shade. Look for a level 5 if you want to be on the darker side or a level 6 if you want to be a lighter brown. 

2. Choose Your Tone

After making sure you’ve chosen a brown shade that’s dark enough to cover up the red dye, choose the right tones to get the brown hair color you want for your final look. 

If you want toned brown hair, choose an ash-brown shade. Ash contains blue and green pigments, blue neutralizes orange tones, and green neutralizes red tones.

So, this combination is perfect for neutralizing and eliminating the warm tones in red hair dye.  

Here are some examples of cool-toned brown hair: 

Red Hair to Level 5 Cool Ashy Brown Hair

We love this level 5 ash-toned brown, it’s dark enough to cover many different varieties of red hair dye and give you a gorgeous, dimensional new look. 

level 4 ashy brown hair color over red

This level 4 ash brown would work particularly well to cover up vibrant red hair dye. A dark shade like this will ensure that the red dye is completely covered and give you a shiny, ashy brunette you’ll swoon over. 

If you want a warmer shade of brown, choose a brown shade that contains neutral tones, which are a combination of gold and ash. These tones will get rid of red and leave you with a golden brown. 

You could also choose warm tones like gold and copper to enhance some of the red that will be leftover from the red dye. Choosing all warm tones will leave you with a chestnut or chocolate brown. 

Here are some examples of warm brown hair: 

warm golden brown tone to dye over red

This is the golden glow you’ll get from choosing neutral tones for your brown hair color. We love this warm level 6 brunette and it would be a great option for covering lighter or faded red hair dye. 

warm brown hair color to dye over red

This is a perfect example of embracing a bit of red pigment leftover from red hair dye. This level 6 golden copper would be a great way to use warm-toned brown hair color to cover up red hair dye and get a breathtaking chestnut masterpiece. 

How To Apply Brown Hair Color Over Red Hair Dye 

Apply brown hair dye over red

After you’ve chosen the perfect brown hair color to put over your current red hair dye. It’s time to apply the hair color.

Let’s go over the steps of applying hair color to make sure the red hair dye is completely covered up! 

Step #1: Section the hair into four quadrants and secure with clips 

Step #2: Start in one of the back quadrants and begin to apply the hair color with a bowl and brush. Working from the nape of the neck up, take ½ inch sections of hair and apply the color in each small section from root to end.

Taking small sections of hair will ensure every strand of red dye is being covered with a brown color. 

Step #3: Once you’ve applied the hair color to the first back quadrant, take a gloved hand and gently work the color into the hair by moving it between your fingers and thumb.

This step will guarantee that the color is fully saturating the hair and you won’t be left with any splotchy areas where the red hair dye still shows through. 

Step #4: Repeat these steps in each quadrant until all the red hair dye is completely covered with the brown hair color.

Process the color for the full recommended processing time (check manufacturer instructions). Do not rinse out the hair early, leave the color on for the entire processing time so that the brown hair color can completely cover the red! 

Step #5: Rinse, shampoo, condition, and blow dry to reveal your new brown hair, you’ll find the red hair dye is long gone! 

Key Things to Remember: 

  • Brown is the best hair color to dye over red hair dye.
  • Pick the shade and tone of the brown hair color according to what shade, tone, and vibrancy of your current red hair.
  • Choose a shade of brown that is at least one shade darker than your red hair dye 
  • Cool-toned browns will eliminate all red and warmth from your hair while warm-toned browns will give you warmer browns that can embrace some of the leftover red pigment 
  • When applying brown hair color over red hair dye, concentrate on saturating each strand of hair by taking small sections and working the color into the hair. Be sure to process the brown hair color for the full amount of time in the manufacturer’s directions.

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