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How to Fix Hair Color That’s Too Red? A Hair Color Specialist Explains

So, you decided that red was going to be your new hair color and when it’s finished, in fact, it’s a little too red! what can you do?

When it comes to fixing a red that is too red there are a few things we need to do first. Firstly we need to ascertain what level the red we have is actually on.


Fixing Hair Color That’s Too Red

Hairdressing industry standards mean that all hair colors are actually on 1 to 10 scales, 1 being black and 10 being white blonde. Reds are no different, they basically go from a very pastel rose gold in a level 10 to a black with underlying red in a number 1. But to fix the red, we need to work out what shade of red it actually is.

Level 6 Red

To explain in easy language to understand, there are 3 ways to fix your too red hair. The first and probably the easiest is to color over the red with another slightly darker chocolate color to eliminate so many of the red tones.

However, it may eliminate a lot of the red tones initially. However in about a week, it will settle in the land, your underlying reflection will become apparent and your new color, then the colored over will have a very definitive undertone of red!

tips to fix too red color

The second choice is to neutralize some of the red tones with the green or anti-red tones.

This is where you need to be able to work out what your base color is. Because if you decide to tone or neutralize some of the red out, it will need to be on the same level or darker.

The anti-red or green tones (being on the opposite side of the color wheel to neutralize) will not work if the level you are toning on is lighter than the current color on the hair. To give you an example, if your hair is a vibrant number 6 level, you need to use a level 6 (or 5 or below) with either a green color correcter or an anti-red in it to help neutralize the red.

If you are trying to neutralize the rose out of your rose gold very light, level 9 hair, you need to use a level 9 or 8 or below with a fraction of green or anti-red in it to neutralize the “Rose or red tones” out of the hair. If you were to use level 8 with green or anti-red on level 6 hair, It won’t do anything!

If you have looked at your red, and it’s really too red, but you really do not want to go any darker the other option is to apply a gentle bleach bath, made up of clarifying shampoo, bleach and semi activator.

1:1:1 mix, ie, 30 grams of bleach powder, 30 grams of clarifying shampoo and 30 grams of semi-activator. This mix needs to be applied quickly and evenly and will give an overall lightning effect of 1 to 2 shades.


Level 5 Red

Pro tip: It’s not advisable to lift any more than 2 shades because it will make the new color applied blotchy and uneven.

You then have the opportunity to apply a new color at the desired level taking into account the underlying reflect and pigment that will come back through red.

The other option is to add some anti-red or green to the new color mix to balance out the red overload in the new color.


Pro tip: Whenever you have had to do a ‘color correction‘. Like any one of these options firstly it takes a couple of days to ‘settle in’, secondly it usually takes 2-3 colors after a color correction for the color to be perfect again!


Thirdly and most importantly- if you have used box colors to try and achieve your perfect color, I apologize in advance, but very rarely is your color going to be the desired outcome/color.

Box colors adhere to the hair shaft rather than penetrating and implanting the color pigment to achieve the desired colors. Box colors also use a “one size fits all “ approach to peroxide levels that are used in the hair color.

To give you an example most colors use 20 vol peroxide or 6% to cover grey. through the mid-lengths and ends we actually only need a semi-activator or 1.5%. When the 6% is pulled through rather than the correct formula of only 1.5% it causes excessive breakage (otherwise known as a chemical haircut ), excessive dryness, a dull matte look to the hair and it does not feel nice at all!

When the correct salon color is used it causes; healthy shiny hair. Well-hydrated hair due to the silk proteins and nutrients in the semi colors, also makes it feel like it has substance and is actually Growing!


So, now we have the red we love, it’s super important to be kind to your tresses. This means using a salon-quality shampoo and conditioner and mask once a week, it means protecting your gorgeous locks from the sun and chlorine if you are a swimmer!

Red has a very large molecule of pigment, which means it actually can fall out of the hair quite easily if the cuticle is left open by insufficient conditioning/ hydration or the hair becoming dry from heat styling. Now you have the ultimate red – GO AND ROCK IT!


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