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Best Red Hair Dye: 15 Affordable Crimson Dyes [Updated 2022]

Written by Arianna Last Updated: April 2, 2017

Luscious red hair can add a beautiful sense of mystery and mystique to your appearance. When coloring your hair red, there are many shades from which to choose.

There are also a wide variety of red dyes to choose from, with each offering different benefits. As you research your options, make sure to keep your hair texture and original color in mind as this can affect how well the dye will penetrate and appear on your hair.

You should also be sure to think about how long you would like to be a redhead. There are red hair dye options for those who want to temporarily test out what it’s like to have luxurious red locks as well as dyes for those who wish to permanently have scarlet red hair.

Below is a quick look into some of the best red hair dyes available. Keep reading below for some extra tips on keeping your red hair vibrant and bright after coloring.

Table of Contents

1. Manic Panic Cream Hair Color – Vampire Red

Manic Panic hair color comes in cream form, which allows for easy application of the product to the strands of your hair. The creamy consistency helps to keep the dye from dripping onto your clothes or skin as you apply it to your hair.

The dye is formulated to condition hair as it adds color, which will leave your freshly colored hair feeling soft and silky. Manic Panic hair color is a direct dye, which means there is no mixing required.

This means you can apply the color to your hair in one easy step without the hassle of mixing together ingredients. The semi-permanent color lasts for a few days to a few weeks depending on your hair type.

An added benefit to this product is that its vegan-friendly formula that does not contain harsh chemicals such as paraphenylenediamine (PPD). The dye itself produces a deep and almost blood-like shade of red.

2. Sparks Long Lasting Bright Hair Color – Red Velvet

Sparks Long Lasting Bright Hair Color is an exceptionally high quality permanent red dye. The color is designed to be more permanent than other red hair dyes so it may provide more long-lasting results compared to other brands of dye.

This dye is a great option for those who are seeking a more adventurous shade as it produces an extremely bright and loud shade of red.

However, the brightness may begin fade over time so you may need to touch it up in order to keep your locks in their crimson state. The dye conditions your hair as the color processes so as to give your hair a soft and luscious texture.

This product contains no ammonia and is not tested on animals so it could be a good option for those who are looking for a cruelty-free option with limited chemicals that still manages to produce a color result that pops.

3. Feria Power Reds Hair Color – Intense Medium Auburn (R57) 

Feria Power Reds Hair Color is specially created by master hair colorists for a variety of hair types. A unique advantage of this dye is that it is good for covering grey hairs, whereas other dyes are not necessarily able to fully cover grey hairs.

The dye is a custom color blend that is designed to cover grey hairs so this is a good option if you have a large amount of them in your hair because it is much more likely to give you effective coverage on every strand of hair.

The end result of this dye is a very intense shade of cherry-like red – a color that can be edgy without being shocking or overwhelmingly bright.

The dye comes in a kit, which also includes a conditioner that boosts the shimmer and shine of your hair, thus preventing any dullness that can sometimes be a result of chemically treating it.

4. Arctic Fox Semi Permanent Hair Color – Poison

Arctic Fox hair color is one of the more gentle hair dyes available. This product contains no animal by-products and is not tested on animals so it is a good option for those who prefer a vegan-friendly hair dye.

While the product is semi-permanent, it contains none of the chemicals that typically cause damage to hair so it is safe to use frequently to re-color or touch up faded hair.

This makes it a good option for those who would like to permanently have red hair without having to regularly expose themselves to the various chemicals contained in other types of hair dye.

The dye conditions as it colors and contains no ethyl alcohol, ammonia, PPD, peroxide or ammonia. The color produced by Arctic Fox’s Poison is a fiery red that will be sure to make a statement.

The dye itself is formulated to have a sweet smell unlike other typical hair dyes, which can have a strong chemical smell.

An added benefit to purchasing Arctic Fox products is that fifteen percent of sales are donated to combat animal cruelty and help animals in need.

5. Garnier Nutrisse Ultra Color Nourishing Creme – Light Intense Auburn (R3)

Garnier Nutrisse Ultra Color Nourishing Creme is specially made with shea, avocado and olive oils.

These three extremely healthy oils work in combination to help prevent drying by nourishing and softening hair while coloring, leaving you with beautiful and soft hair after the process of coloring it.

This color is formulated to cover darker shades of hair. That means that even if your hair is black or dark brown, you can use this dye without needing to bleach your hair first.

This is beneficial because bleaching your hair can be extremely damaging. Another benefit to this is that it shortens and simplifies the process of dyeing your hair.

This dye is designed to be permanent and may last for longer than other dyes before fading or requiring a touch up. The color produced by Garnier Ultra Color Nourishing Creme is bright and vibrant without being brassy.

6. Vidal Sassoon London Luxe – Runway Red (6rr)

Vidal Sassoon London Luxe is a semi-permanent color that is designed to last for about eight weeks.

The color is formulated to hold in your hair for over 40 washes, which means that you can prolong the time your dye lasts by minimizing how often you wash your hair.

The length of time this dye can last makes it a good option for those who want to try out being a redhead for a few months before deciding whether or not to take the plunge and go red permanently.

The dye comes in a color kit that includes a conditioner designed to protect your hair from fading due to the effects of minerals and chemicals within water.

This product is not recommended for users whose hair is more than 50 percent grey as it will not provide the coverage needed for this demographic.

The color produced by Vidal Sassoon London Luxe is a beautiful and bright shade of scarlet.

7. Schwarzkopf Ultime Hair Color Cream – Mahogany Red (4.2)

Schwarzkopf Ultime Hair Color Cream is a luxurious dye that produces a color that is exquisitely beautiful in a more understated manner than the red shades that other dyes may produce.

The formula of the dye is designed to effectively cover grey hairs, making it a good option for those whose hair is more than 50 percent grey as it will be able to provide the complete coverage needed.

This dye produces a beautiful and unique dark shade of red similar to wine. This unique shade provides a color that makes a statement while still being subtle.

The color is a good choice for those looking for a calm and beautiful shade of red, as opposed to those shades that can be more bright and shocking.

8. HiColor Permanent Creme Hair Color – Red HiLights

HiColor Permanent Creme Hair Color has several interesting and desirable features. This product is strong enough to color darker shades of hair.

It does not require you to bleach your hair ahead of time but it can still lighten your color by three to four shades.

Therefore, HiColor is a great option for those who are looking for a one-step dye job that does not necessitate the use of extra chemicals such as bleach or peroxide.

The dye itself has a cream texture, which means it is less likely to drip as you apply it. The color it produces is resistant to fading and is a very bright red.

In spite of the color’s brightness, it does not produce a brassy effect as can happen with some other red hair dyes.

9. Adore Creative Image Hair Color – Ruby Red (64)

Adore Creative Image Hair Color contains fewer chemicals than other typical hair dyes while still producing a bright and long-lasting color.

The dye contains no ammonia, alcohol or peroxide and is formulated to give your hair a soft and shiny texture as the color processes.

This is an exceptionally unique feature when it comes to hair dyes, as oftentimes most dyes contain a large amount of chemicals.

The dye is extremely unique in its ability to transform your hair into a bright shade of crimson while still being exceptionally safe to use due to its lack of excess chemicals.

The shade of red produced by this dye is sure to give a look that is polished yet adventurous.

10. Jerome Russell Punky Color – Poppy Red

Jerome Russell Punky Color is a semi-permanent dye that can be used on many different hair types.

The dye is not acidic and is therefore less likely to stain your scalp or bleed onto your clothes or bedding in addition to being safe to use on bleached or chemically-treated hair without causing additional damage.

The dye will also effectively cover darker shades of hair so users will not need to bleach their hair in order to get the same effect as others.

The formula is non-acidic and conditions hair as it colors so as to result in soft and beautiful hair. This product is not tested on animals.

Poppy Red by Jerome Russell Punky Color will produce a passionate and fiery shade of red.

11. Pravana ChromaSilk Vivids – Red

Pravana ChromaSilk Vivids is a semi-permanent dye made up of a unique formula that contains both silk amino acids and keratin amino acids.

These two types of amino acids work together to give your hair a shiny and vibrant color while simultaneously strengthening your hair.

The silk amino acids produce a bright and long lasting color by pushing the color deep into your hair. The keratin amino acids work to nourish and strengthen each strand of your hair.

The use of amino acids for strengthening hair while simultaneously transforming its color is a new and exciting way to transform the color of your hair.

This product is not tested on animals and it contains no phthalates or parabens. The dye will produce a vivid and beautiful shade of red.

12. Splat – Crimson Obsession

Splat hair dye produces an extremely unique and bright red color. In order to achieve a bright and vibrant red, you must bleach your hair prior to applying the dye.

This is to make sure that the dye can be completely absorbed by your hair. Splat dye comes in a hair color kit that includes bleach so you will not need to purchase that in addition to the color.

You can use Splat without bleaching but the color will be darker, more subtle and will fade fairly quickly.

13. Revlon Colorsilk Luminista Haircolor – Red (150)

Revlon Colorsilk Luminista Haircolor is designed to effectively color many different shades of hair.

The dye will completely cover grey hairs and will even work on darker hair without requiring bleaching, making it a fantastic option if you do not wish to deal with bleaching or pre-lightening your hair.

This dye is permanent so it is less likely to require frequent touch ups due to fading.

The product contains no ammonia and is formulated with a gentle mango butter that nourishes and softens hair. The color produced is a shimmery, yet non-brassy shade of red.

14. Special Effects SFX Hair Color – Nuclear Red

Special Effects SFX Hair Color is a semi-permanent color that lasts for three to six weeks. The color lasts longer when you bleach or lighten your hair in advance.

An interesting feature of this color is that it glows under a black light. The dye has a cream texture that is meant to eliminate dripping and it conditions your hair as the color processes.

Nuclear Red is a good name for this dye, as the shade of red produced by it is exceptionally bright and loud. This product is not tested on animals and is made in the United States of America.

15. Joico Vero K-Pak Color Intensity Semi-Permanent Hair Color – Red

Joico Vero K-Pak Color is professionally formulated to give you a very bright and intense shade of red hair.

While the semi-permanent dye will effectively work on dark hair, it will be brighter and more vivid on bleached hair so you may need to lighten your hair before using this dye.

A unique feature of this dye is that it does not fade into a shade of pink or purple as some red dyes tend to do over time.

Bonus: 5 tips for keeping red hair alive

1. Use a Mild Shampoo.

You should be sure to use a mild shampoo that does not contain oils, sulfates or clarifiers as these ingredients can cause your color to fade or even wash out.

If you purchase a shampoo formulated for treating colored hair, make sure to check whether or not it contains the previously mentioned ingredients.

Even if a shampoo label states that it is for color treated hair, that does not mean that it may not contain ingredients that will damage your color.

You should also try to minimize how often you wash your hair. Lessening the contact that your hair has with shampoo will help to prolong the quality and lifespan of your dye job.

Water by itself can also cause dye to leach, bleed or fade so instead of shampooing or rinsing your hair, consider investing in a dry shampoo to help tide you over between washes.

2. Avoid washing your hair after dyeing.

It is especially important to avoid washing your hair for the first forty eight to seventy hours after you have dyed it. This allows the dye to completely penetrate your hair.

When you do wash your hair for the first time after dying it, give it a good rinse in cold water before you shampoo. This will help to seal your hair cuticle shut so as to keep the color from deteriorating.

Following this simple step and resisting the urge to immediately wash your hair can immensely increase the amount of time your red hair will last.

3. Keep your hair cool.

You should try to keep your hair cool at all times. You should do this because heat can cause the dye to bleed, leach or fade from your hair. This means that you should avoid exposing it to the sun.

If you do go out into the sun, wear a hat or scarf or use a UV protectant in your hair. You should also minimize how much your blow dry or use heat styling tools on your hair.

You can do this by either styling less often or not at all. If you do use heat styling tools on your hair, consider investing in a thermal protectant so as to minimize any damage to your color.

Finally, when you wash your hair use cool or cold water instead of hot. Hot water can open the surface of the individual strands of your hair, which makes it easy for the dye to leach out of your hair.

4. Condition regularly.

It is very important to keep in mind that you should regularly conditioner your color-treated hair so as to prevent dryness.

Conditioning and moisturizing your hair is important because hair being dry and unmoisturized is one of the main reasons that dyes fade or leach from hair.

Always condition your hair using a high-quality conditioner after you have shampooed it. Make sure that you condition your hair every single time you wash it.

If you do not already have a good conditioner, you should consider investing in one that will give your color treated hair the nourishment and strength it needs.

You should also do regular conditioning treatments such as hair masks or hot oil treatments on your hair. This will keep your color bright and your hair soft.

5. Avoid chlorine.

Be sure to avoid letting your hair come into contact with chlorine, as this can cause the color to fade from your hair. Because swimming pools are one of the most common places where chlorine is found, you might consider not swimming.

If you do swim you should do your best to make sure your hair does not come into contact with the water.

If you know that your hair will come into contact with chlorine while swimming you can coat it in olive oil or coconut oil to prevent the chlorine from soaking in. The oil can create a barrier between your dyed hair and the pool water.

You can also soak your hair in non-chlorinated water before swimming as your hair will already be saturated beforehand and will be less likely to absorb the chlorine.

Even if you choose to coat your hair in oil or pre-soak it in water, be sure to wash your hair as soon as possible after swimming to eliminate any chlorine that it may have picked up.

Because chlorine can also be found in tap water, you may also want to consider getting a shower head that is capable of filtering chlorine out of your bathing water.


These are some of the best red hair dyes on the market. If there’s a dye that’s not on the list and you feel like it should be, please let us know down below. Enjoy!



Hi there! My name is Arianna and I have a passion for cosmetics and making myself look beautiful and stylish, especially on a budget. When I'm not diving into the latest beauty trend, you can find me playing tennis and taking care of my cat Mido.

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