How to Darken Bright Red Hair

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Use a dark shade of brown or black to cover your bright red hair.
Use a dark shade of brown or black to cover your bright red hair. (Image: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

For those with dark hair, dyeing their hair normally requires pre-lightening — which can cost a lot when done at salon, and is also damaging to the hair. Fortunately, if your hair is already a shade of bright red and you want to dye your hair darker, you don’t have to mess around with pre-lighteners. When dyeing your hair darker, you can dye over the existing color using an at-home dyeing kit. Dye your hair a dark shade of brown or black so the red hues do not show through the hair color.

Things You'll Need

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Comb
  • Old shirt or towel
  • Gloves
  • Mixing bowl
  • Hair dye and developer
  • Tint brush
  • Clips
  • Plastic cap or bag

Shampoo your hair in warm water to remove as much of the original bright red color as possible. Comb it out so it is free of any tangles.

Put on an old shirt, or cover your shoulders with a towel. Section your hair into four sections and secure them with clips — this will make it easier to saturate all the hair. Put on your gloves and begin mixing the hair dye and developer per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Apply the dye to the hair, starting with one section of the hair. Apply the hair to the roots first and then move down to color the ends. Do the ends of the hair last because they soak up more dye.

Continue coloring your hair until all the bright red hair has been covered in darker dye. Cover the hair with a plastic cap and then wait. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions so you know how long to let it process — usually about 20 minutes is adequate.

Remove the cap and wash and condition the hair until the water runs clear. Try to hold off shampooing your newly darkened hair for a few days so the color has more time to set.

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