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Can You Dye Your Hair Red Over Dark Brown?

Dyeing your natural hair without using bleach, toner, or lightener can be risky. However, depending on your hair dye brand, you can get the job done. 

Before you go crazy and start brushing red hair dye all over your head, you must first learn the answer to this question: can you dye your hair red over dark brown? Read on to find out if it works and how you can do it. 

Can I Dye Red Over Dark Brown Hair?

Yes, you can dye red over dark brown hair. The final result will depend on the shade of red you choose and the darkness of your brown hair.

If you have very dark brown hair and want a vibrant, bright red shade, you may need to lighten your hair first using bleach or a high-lift dye.

If you’re okay with a deeper or more subtle red shade, you can apply the red dye directly to your dark brown hair.

You can purchase a red hair dye that doesn’t require pre-lightening. Applying 40 Volume red hair dye on dark brown hair is one of the best ways to get the red color you desire. 

The volume of your developer correlates to how dark your hair currently is and how light you want it to become. For example, with a 40 Volume, you can easily dye your hair red over dark brown without much of the hassle. 

However, there are many things to consider before dyeing your dark brown hair using red dye. 

Things to Consider

dyeing hair red over dark brown

Here are a few things to consider before you can dye your hair red over dark brown: 

Lightness and Darkness of Your Hair  

Dark brown hair is a relatively dark color hair, but it can have light portions mixed throughout your strands. 

Once you’ve determined the lightness or darkness of your hair and how much of your hair you want to dye, you can start figuring out what kind of red hair dye is the best for you. 

For example, darker brown hair blends with certain shades of red, which could look like a different shade than on the box. But, on the other hand, the red may look too dark, or when mixed with your brown hair, it could have hints of purple. 

Also, depending on if you use bleach or not will affect the outcome of the red you use. 

Bleaching your dark brown hair turns particular strands blonde. Dyeing your hair blonde before applying red hair dye allows the red to stick easier to your hair. If you leave some portions dark brown, it’ll create an ombre effect on your hair. 

Your Hair Health 

Another thing you should consider before dyeing your brown hair is its health. Once you know the current condition of your hair, you can start deciding the type of hair dye you can use. 

For example, if you have healthy hair, it’s a good idea to use permanent hair dye. Permanent hair dye is especially useful if you plan on dyeing your hair only once. 

On the other hand, if you have dry or brittle hair, semi-permanent hair dye is the best product to use. Semi-permanent dye is less damaging to your hair, so if it’s already damaged, then it’s best not to ruin it any further. 

As we stated above, 40 volume developer is the best option for darker hair. However, if you keep it in your hair for too long, you’re at risk of drying out your hair, and over time it can become brittle or damaged. 

After dyeing your hair, you should do a hair mask or deep conditioner once a week to keep your hair healthy. 

So, Can You Dye Your Dark Brown Hair Red?

Now that you know it’s possible to dye your hair red over dark brown, you can decide to dye it with or without bleach. 

Before you proceed, make sure you evaluate the current health of your hair and determine what type of red hair dye would be best for you. 

Once you’ve finished dyeing your hair, make sure you look into the different aftercare routines to ensure your hair stays red for a long time.


Are you still wondering if you can dye your hair red over dark brown hair? Here are some frequently asked questions that’ll help you understand the answer. 

Does red hair dye fade quickly?

Yes, red hair dye fades quickly, and it’s well-known that hair color fades the quickest. The molecules in red hair dye are big, making it difficult to penetrate your hair strands for a long time.

How to keep red hair vibrant?

Attempting to keep your red hair vibrant is all based on your aftercare routine. The best way to keep your red hair vibrant is by using sulfate and paraben-free shampoos. These shampoos are color-safe and won’t strip the dye from your natural hair.

Does red hair dye cancel out dark brown hair?

No, red hair dye is the opposite of dark brown, so the colors don’t cancel each other out. If you have naturally dark brown hair and put red on top of that, then you’ll need to strip the color from your hair. Afterward, you’ll need to dye the remainder back to brown.

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