Ask the Experts: Tips Tailored to the Unique Needs of Red Hair August 04, 2018 08:52

With a career that spans decades, Jennifer Morgan has a reputation for being an expert in the industry. A journey that began with training under the tutorage of Dennis Langford, managing director for Toni&Guy Australia, Morgan has been a salon owner since the age of 21, while also boasting an impressive career with L’Oréal Paris/Redken which saw her working with the technical team before moving into the role of National technical manager. 

Known in the industry for being a specialist colourist at Morgan & Morgan Hair Collective since 2001, Jennifer is the go-to girl with any colouring conundrum and her passion and skill set are enviable in the hairdressing community.

Her technical expertise and precision with colour work has also seen her in the roles of Artist and Educator for industry heavyweights such as L’Oréal, Redken and more recently Schwarzkopf.

So in this blog we ask her to tell us everything she has learned about Red Hair  

Whether you're already a redhead or thinking about a new red shade, find what you need to know about red hair and get inspired by some of our favourite red hair trends.

NATURALLY RED?

Red hair is caused by the most kick-ass mutant gene of MC1R. Here’s your science lesson for the year: MC1R is responsible for pigmentation and how much melanin, or pigment, your skin and hair has. There are two forms of melanin, eumelanin and pheomelanin. Those with more pheomelanin have red or blond hair, freckles, and skin that burns easily.

Redheads have super-skin powers. Their fair skin has trouble absorbing vitamin D from the environment, so somewhere along the way, it adapted and can produce its own vitamin D in low-light conditions. Redheads can also sense changes in the temperature faster and more intensely than those with other hair colors. So if you’re cold, they’re colder, and if you’re warm, they’re hot.

You need to have two copies of the gene (a.k.a. both mom and dad had red hair). If both parents are gene carriers but do not have red hair, you have a 25% of being a gorgeous ginger.

Less than 2% of the population are redheads. This percentage is much lower than in the past. As people move about more, travel, and find partners from different cultures, there’s less potential for them to mate up with other gene carriers. Northern Europe has the largest concentration of natural redheads.

Red hair color has secret strength. Red hair holds onto its pigment the hardest. Maybe it’s trying to make a point, as in, don’t change me. This hue needs to be bleached out, then dyed over to alter its natural state.

Reds have fewer and thicker strands than blondes and brunettes. On average, redheads have about 90,000 strands, blondes 110,000, and brunettes 140,000. Because each fiery strand is significantly thicker and coarser than its color counterparts, it makes hair look fuller and easier to style.

Most redheads have brown or hazel eyes. Blue eyes and red hair are both recessive genes, so if you’re lucky enough to possess this exotic combination (only about 1% of the population does), count yourself extra lucky and go buy a lottery ticket.

Fame loves redheads. From Marilyn Monroe (as Norma Jean she was an auburn beauty) to Adele to Queen Elizabeth I and Prince Harry, red hair, red carpets, and royalty just go well together.

WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE COLOURING YOUR HAIR RED

Becoming a redhead is like no other hair transformation. Before you embrace those copper, burgundy, or crimson hues, make sure you know what to expect from your red hair colour service.

IT MIGHT TAKE TWO VISITS (AND SOME IN BETWEEN) TO ACHIEVE YOUR DESIRED SHADE

It's always best to know what you're in for before you visit the salon for a hair colour service. It's important to know that just like it might take a few services to get a platinum blonde to their desired level of blonde, your colourist may need a few times with your hair to achieve the perfect shade of red you’re looking for. Each additional visit will help improve vibrancy and get you to your desired colour. In order to keep your hair its most vibrant, you may need to swing in to the salon in between appointments for protein treatments. This is something you can talk to your colourist about to see what is best for you. You can also use Rescue Peptide Repair at home to keep your hair and colour strong.

All our red clients should be leaving with a Fab Pro Conditioner tailor made for their particular shade 

ADDING RED TO BLONDE IS DIFFERENT THAN ADDING TO BRUNETTE

If you’re looking for blonde red hair or more of a strawberry blonde look, or if you have previously lightened or highlighted hair, your process will be different than someone who has a brunette, or even grey, base. If your hair is naturally blonde and has never been coloured, the red can be deposited directly. Colourists can take a few different approaches when applying red to brunette colour.

For instance, they can apply colour directly to the hair or they can use the Vibrance line to tone the hair before upping the intensity of the red meanwhile. For grey coverage, colourists can’t add red right to the roots.

RED HAIR DOESN’T TAKE LONGER TO PROCESS

Good news is that each visit doesn't have to be longer than normal. Despite it having more pigment than other colours, adding red to your hair won’t require more time in the chair. It processes in about 20-40 minutes. And might take up to 45 minutes if your colourist is using other techniques as well. In short- red hair is no less accessible than other colours!

DISCOVER THE A RED THAT INSPIRES YOUR NEXT LOOK

There are so many ways to incorporate red into your hair colour. Discover some inspirations and trends!


Bright copper hair is vivid and intense—like a shiny, new penny! It’s an exciting choice if you have fair, peach-colored or golden-toned skin and green or hazel eyes. Get ready to stand out in a crowd—this is a colour that gets noticed!

Ginger red hair is a spicy, light or medium reddish brown tone that is one of the most natural-looking reds in the spectrum. (In fact, in the UK, natural redheads like Prince Harry are called “gingers.) Natural redheads have fair skin and green or brown eyes, and often have freckled complexions, so opt for this shade if you can tick those boxes on your skin tone and eye colour profile!



Copper highlights can be added to darker red shades to add realistic dimension and make red hair colour look brighter and more energised. Ask your stylist to try balayage highlights for a modern, natural effect. Add copper highlights to red hair colour if your skin is fair or golden, and if you have green, brown or hazel eyes.

Light auburn hair is a blend of light golden red and light brown. It’s been worn to perfection by actress Emma Stone! It’s a beautiful shade if you have a creamy, peach-toned or golden complexion with blue, green or warm brown eyes.

Medium auburn hair is a combination of medium golden red and medium brown. Scandal’s Darby Stanchfield’s remarkable hue is a perfect example of this shade. It’s striking with her porcelain complexion and blue eyes. It’s also an ideal red shade for people with green or warm brown eyes.

Golden copper is a warm and spicy hue—a blend of dark golden blonde and light, bright red. Actresses Amy Adams and Jessica Chastain wear this shade beautifully. Choose this shade if your complexion is porcelain, peach, golden or neutral, and if you have blue, green, hazel or warm brown eyes.

Red copper hair color is a rich, bright blend of red and orange/brown. This shade will flatter fair-to-medium, peach-coloured or golden-toned skin and blue, green or hazel eyes. Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks makes a strong and sexy statement with red copper hair colour!

Dark auburn hair colour combines deep golden red and rich, warm brown. It’s an elegant and sophisticated shade of red that is beautiful on people with any warm or neutral skin tone—from peaches and cream to golden or bisque—and with blue, green, warm brown or hazel eyes. Actress Julianne Moore has made dark auburn hair her signature.



Red mahogany hair is a deep, cool, reddish brown colour. It’s a beautiful choice if you have fair or medium cool-toned skin and green, blue or brown eyes.

Cherry brown hair is a delicious blend of rosy red and rich brown—think of cherry cola! Choose this shade if you have medium to deep and cool-toned skin and brown eyes.

Intense red hair is just that—a bright, intense, true red shade. A million paparazzi grabbed photos of Rihanna when she sported intense red hair in 2012. It was striking with her brown eyes and deep golden complexion; try it also if you have an olive complexion.



Rose gold hair is one of today’s trendiest shades—it’s a coppery pink shade inspired by the jewelery of the same name. Rose gold hair colour can be subtle or intense, and it’s great for people with porcelain, tan or olive complexions and all eye colours.

Cherry hair is a rich, deep red with a touch of blue/brown. It looks best on darker skin tones and brings out the richness of brown eyes.



Burgundy hair is a dark red violet shade that is dramatic and memorable. It suits people with complexions that are dark or olive-toned and looks striking with brown or icy blue eyes.

Black cherry hair is a rich, deep blue black shade with a touch of very dark red. It looks best on darker skin tones and on people with cool brown eyes.

Red velvet hair is a rich, cool, deep red—reminiscent of the luscious hue of red velvet cupcakes! Choose this colour if your complexion is cool, dark or olive, and if you have brown, cool blue or emerald eyes.

Ruby red hair is a clear, deep, rich red inspired by the gemstone of the same name. It’s a dramatic shade when paired with a pale, porcelain complexion and with light blue or light green eyes.

Red black hair is an extremely dramatic hue—very deep and dark with just a hint of red. Another popular way to combine red and black hair colour is to add dark ruby or garnet red highlights or panels to an overall black shade. Wear this colour if your skin is dark or olive, and if you have brown or green eyes.

Aubergine red hair is a highly exotic shade. It’s a deep eggplant hue that can be very dramatic. This shade should only be worn by people with cool skin tones and cool or neutral eye colours. It will be highly unflattering to warm, golden or tawny complexions!

Red violet hair is a rich, exotic shade that is a blend of red and purple. It wouldn’t be a choice for anyone looking for a natural shade, but it can be very fashionable and dramatic. It’s beautiful on people with dark complexions and dark eyes.

Magenta hair is a deep purplish red shade that definitely makes a statement! It’s a favourite of fashion-forward and artistic types of people, whether worn as an accent colour in streaks, highlights or panels, or as an all-over shade of red hair dye. It’s most flattering for people with medium-to-dark complexions and dark eyes.