Do you have to bleach your hair to dye it red or burgundy?

too much makeup

  • You should consider two issues to know if you should bleach your hair to dye it red.
  • They are the current color of your hair and the red shade you want to achieve.
  • For example, if your hair is black or dark brown and you want a bright deep red, you should bleach it.
  • On the other extreme, if your hair is blonde, you can choose almost any red shade without bleaching.


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If you’re thinking about dyeing your hair red, you need to know many things before applying this beautiful shade.

Do I need to bleach my hair before coloring it?


Only your hair has the answer.

It mainly depends  on the color you have in your hair now and what red you are looking for. This opens up a universe of possibilities. 

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What red level do you want to wear in your hair?

The answer to that question will reveal if bleaching is necessary or not.

If you want a dark reddish-brown or a burgundy (the perfect mix between red and purple) there is most likely no need to bleach.

However, if you go for a reddish blonde, it will depend exclusively on your base color, that is, your current hair color.


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Do you have virgin or colored hair?

one bleaching session

This question is key to know if we should bleach or not. Now that you know what shade of red you want, you need to know what to do with your base color.


  • If your hair is virgin and needs to be bleached, it’ll be a mild one to lighten your natural dark tone.
  • However, if your hair is colored, bleaching should be stronger according and you should know that  bleached hair doesn’t retain the color in the same way. The tone that we apply begins to degrade faster with washes than it does on a non-bleached hair. 


It’s key to know this colorimetry rule to understand the hair dyes in the market.

The rule teaches us that “a dark tone can be applied on a light tone. However, a light tone DOESN’T TAKE on a dark tone. Therefore, in that case, you’ll have to bleach”.


Understanding this simple principle of basic colorimetry, which applies to any shade, will help us understand that we can never apply a blonde tone on a black one, for example, because we wouldn’t be able to transform it into blonde.

In that case, it’ll always be necessary to bleach.


Do you have black, dark brown, or brown hair?

two bleaching sessions

If you have black, dark brown, or auburn hair, you’ll almost certainly have to bleach. The exception would be if your hair is virgin and you’re not looking for any other than a reddish tint. In all other cases, you’ll have to bleach your hair.

Depending on how much you could bleach your hair  (i.e. how light your hair becomes), you’ll be able to apply a shade of red. 


As I mentioned, the more you bleach your hair, the faster the red color will be washed out. So, keep in mind that you’ll need to tone it down more often.


Is your hair light brown or dark blonde?

red hair toners

If your hair is virgin or dyed, the bleaching process will always be simpler. A small sweep will be enough to achieve a bleaching level suitable enough to apply a red tone and get the desired color.

 Good news and bad news: Keep in mind that the lighter the bleaching level, the brighter the red will be, but the faster it’ll wash away too. 


If you decide not to bleach your hair, you have to know that you’ll get a darker red color. It won’t be as bright, but it’ll last longer. The luminosity it takes will depend on the shade you choose for that reddish tone. If could be mahogany red, copper, or mauve.


Do you have blonde or light blonde hair?

If your hair is blonde or light blonde, you won’t need to bleach it. Any red shade will automatically take on a very bright red.

The first few applications will probably wash out a little faster. However, as you repeat them, they will take better.


 Of course, you must be convinced of the change you’re going to make;  once your hair is red, going back will be an extremely long road with several bleaching sessions, changes to reddish-brown tones, and successive changes to return to blonde again in no less than a year.

So, before making the change, analyze the pros and cons, study the different alternatives, and talk it over with your stylist.


Is your hair bleached blonde?

If your hair is totally bleached and you apply a reddish color, you’ll have orange hair a couple of washes later. The lack of internal support will make the red wash out immediately.


To prevent this, you should first get a pre-pigmentation. This treatment consists of adding artificial pigments to support the color so that it lasts through washing without washing out.


Tips for those who want to have shiny reddish hair

  • How you maintain your red color is very important: wash your hair two or three times a week maximum.


  • Always use the coldest water you can stand. Look for specific shampoos for reddish hair. Look for intense nourishers that seal the hair cuticle to prevent the color from washing out.



  • One last tip: use dark towels, especially during the first few washes, because that’s where most of the excess hair dye washes out and the towels will be dyed as much as your hair.

Also, make sure, especially during the first few washes, to dry your hair. Otherwise, you run the risk of staining your clothes.



If you choose to color your hair red, remember that bleaching is not always necessary. Red hair dyes require careful attention. You’ll have to take good care of your hair. However, on the other hand, red shows a strong personality, a very sexy side, and a well-defined character. So, long live the reds!

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