Why is My Hair Turning Red – Why Hair Color is Changing to Red, Explained

Why is My Hair Turning Red – Why Hair Color is Changing to Red, Explained
March 26, 2022 Ellis James
Ever looked in the mirror and realized that your hair has started looking differently than it once did? If you’ve been seeing more hints of red in your hair, you may be wondering, “why is my hair turning red?” Natural hair and color-treated hair can both turn red for various reasons. Today, we’ll take a look at some of these different reasons to help you solve the mystery of why your hair has started turning red.

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Why is my hair turning red?

If your hair has all of a sudden started turning red, you’re understandably curious and possibly worried.  You may be asking questions like, “what does it mean when your hair starts turning red?”

If your hair is turning red, there are a few different possible explanations.  These explanations will also vary depending on if it is your natural hair color that is changing to red or dyed hair that is changing to red.

In the next few sections we’ll try to help you get to the bottom of what is making your hair turn red and share some suggestions to help you get rid of the red tones in your hair.

 

Natural Hair

There are many interesting facts and correlations tied to our natural hair color.  If you’ve noticed that your natural, not dyed hair has started changing red, you may be wondering what is causing the change.

Why is my hair turning red naturally?

Understanding the chemistry of being a redhead can be a bit complex.  However, if you’ve always had a different hair color that is just now starting to turn red, you may be even more confused.

Some possible causes for the change in your hair color include:

  • Genetic predispositions and age
  • Using a shampoo that is too harsh for your hair
  • Not eating the right vitamins and nutrients
  • Swimming in chlorinated pools
  • Too much sun and UV exposure
  • Mediation side effects
  • Choosing hair products that have the potential to change your hair color
  • Hormonal changes

My Hair is Turning Red with Age

One of the possible causes of hair turning red that we listed above is age.

Your genes can determine whether your hair will change colors as you get older.  Just as some people’s hair turns gray as they age, others may become a redhead as they get older.

If someone in your family has red hair, it may be more likely that your hair will start to turn red too.

Why is my natural black hair turning red?

Why is my black hair turning reddish brown?

There are a few possible reasons why your naturally black hair is starting to turn red.  These can include:  UV exposure from the sun, malnutrition, pregnancy, swimming in a chlorinated pool, or even your genes.

 

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Dyed Hair

Now, what about dyed hair that is turning red.

Some of the possible reasons why dyed hair turns red will sound very similar to the reasons why natural hair can turn brown, while others may be completely different.

First, the hair dye color you chose may have been too light for your hair.  Some of the warmer tones from your hair may be showing through the color you chose.

Another possible explanation is that the color you chose for your hair had warm undertones.  This can cause your hair to look brassier and reddish in color.  Next time, look for a hair dye with cool tones to prevent your hair from turning red.

Also, just as swimming in a chlorine-treated pool can cause your natural hair color to change to red, it can also alter the color of your dyed hair and make it appear redder.  This is because the chlorine oxidizes the color, which will make brown appear more red or brassy.

Too much time out in the sun may also cause your dyed hair to start to look red.  Wear a hat when you’re going to be out in the sun to limit how many UV rays hit your hair.

Why did brown hair dye turn my hair red?

I dyed my hair brown and it turned red!  If you’re saying this, you’re not alone.  There are a few different reasons why brown hair can turn red after being dyed.

Overtime, after dyeing your hair brown, the color will begin to fade.  This will cause the color of your hair to change, and can bring out the warmer tones from the dye color.  Brown hair can fade into a coppery red color.

How can I keep my hair from turning red when I dye it?

If you plan to dye your hair and change its color, there are a few key things you should do to prevent the color from changing to red.  Before grabbing a box of dye or heading to the salon, keep these tips in mind:

  • Pick cooler colors:  Cooler colors, with blue or green tones, won’t start to look brassy, unlike warmer-toned colors.  If possible, look for a hair color with “ash” in its name, as this will definitely have a cooler tone.
  • Stay out of the sun and chlorine:  As we mentioned above, chlorine can cause both natural and dyed hair to turn red.  If you want to keep your hair from turning red, try to stay out of the pool as much as possible.
  • Try blue shampoo:  Blue shampoo can neutralize the warmer brassy tones in hair. Adding a blue shampoo to your routine after coloring your hair can help keep it your desired color.  You can even consider adding a blue hair mask to your routine about once a week.
  • Protect your hair from mineral deposits in the shower water:  Iron, chlorine, and other mineral deposits are found in tap water.  When you take a shower, these minerals get in your hair and can make it look brassy.  When you’re not washing your hair, wear a shower cap to prevent the minerals from depositing on your hair.  You can also look into getting a shower filter that will cut back on the number of minerals that come out with the shower water.

 

How do I get rid of red tones in my hair?

If you have unwanted red tones in your hair, there are steps you can take to neutralize them.  One thing you can do is to use hair toner.  Hair toner can help remove brassiness from hair and neutralize the red tones.

Using blue shampoo, as shared above, can also help to neutralize the red tones in your hair.  You may also want to try a stronger, more concentrated blue hair mask.  Since this is a more concentrated treatment, though, only do it about once a week at most.

 

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If you’re ready to re-dye your hair or change the color and need to remove the red from your hair, you can start with a bleach bath.  To do a bleach bath, you need to mix equal parts of developer and bleach  (about 50 mL each).  Then, add a gentle shampoo to the mixture.  You should use enough shampoo to double the total amount of liquid.  So, if you used 50 mL each of bleach and developer, you’ll need 100 mL shampoo.

After mixing all the ingredients, apply the solution to towel-dried hair while wearing gloves.  Work up from the tips of your hair, so you apply the mixture to the roots last.  Let the mixture sit on your hair for a maximum of 45 minutes, but check on the progress about every 5 minutes to make sure your hair doesn’t lighten more than you want it to.

Once finished, thoroughly rinse out your hair.  If you plan to immediately re-color your hair, you should not use conditioner.  If you do not plan to re-color right away, you should use a deep conditioner to moisturize your hair.

 

Does ash brown cancel out red?

Yes, ash brown can cancel out red dye.  Ash brown hair dye has a blue or green tone, meaning it won’t become brassy and red.  Choosing a warm-toned brown hair dye will make it more likely for your hair to become brassy and appear red in color.

 

Hair Turning Red: Closing Word

While there are some interesting facts about redheads and having red hair and blue eyes is pretty rare, if your hair is turning red against your wishes, your first concern is likely to try to counteract the change.  Hopefully you’ve gained some understanding about what can cause hair to turn red and what you can do to fix your hair and prevent it from turning red in the future.

Read through some of these other posts about dyeing hair on our blog to learn more about dyeing your hair.

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