What colors can I put over red hair? 5 options from a hairdresser

thoughtful redhead woman

  • To know what colors you can put over red hair, you need to consider the red intensity you have in your hair.
  • The stronger your red hair is, the darker the color you should apply over it. So, your options will be between black and light brown.
  • If your hair is dark red, (3.66 or 4.66) you can opt for black or dark brown.
  • If your hair is medium red, (5.66 or 6.66) you can opt for brown 4 or light brown.
  • If your hair is soft red, (7.66, 8.66, or 9.66) you can apply either black, any of the browns, or even dark blonde.


I’d like to confess something today…

Don’t be a gossip! I’m not going to confess that I’m in love…


What I do want to confess is that when my clients ask me   what colors they can put over their red hair,   I get the shivers.

But why?


Because red hair is one of the most difficult colors to cover.

However, I don’t want to discourage you. I just want to be realistic and share it with you.

I understand you’re anxious to cover your red hair with another color. I know clients who hate their red hair because the red dye fades easily.


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  If your hair is red, you can’t apply a blonde dye.   If you do, your hair will be orange and you’ll have to ask for help from a professional stylist.

The only solution is to bleach your hair, but you could seriously damage it if you do it yourself because bleaching is quite aggressive.


So, having said that, let’s get down to reality.

Is there a color you can put over red hair?


Yes, there is.   You can choose between black and brown.   We’ll talk about them later.


Before that, there’s something else I would like to warn you about.

You can put black or brown over your red hair, but you’ll need to do it repeatedly to cover the red.

I think you’ve had your fill of reality. So, it’s time to start dreaming.

I invite you to discover together what color you can put over your red hair.


If your hair is dark red, you can put black or dark brown hair colors over it

Revlon black dyes to cover red hair
 Which color level would match dark red hair?  


You can ask your hairdresser friend for a color chart and compare your hair with samples of 3.66 o 4.66.

Have you confirmed that your hair is dark red? Then, let’s move on.


As I told you before,   your options, in this case, are black 1 and dark brown 3.  

As a colorist, what color do I suggest for you?


I advise you to go for dark brown 3.

Black is a difficult color to maintain. And it’s even harder to remove if you get tired of it or don’t like it anymore.


Dark brown will cover red hair and be easier to maintain.

Three or four applications will make the red be gone from your hair.


If your hair is medium red, you can apply brown 4 or light brown 5

In this case, the brown tones will be more noticeable than in the previous case.

Of course, you can also choose black 1 or dark brown 3. However, I don’t recommend you get lighter colors on the scale.

If you ever want to go lighter brown or blonde later on, you’ll have to undergo many more bleaching sessions.


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Brown 4 is a universal color. It looks perfect on any skin type and is easy to maintain. Alternatively,   light brown 5 is ideal to cover red hair changing levels drastically.  


If you apply chestnut 4 or light brown 5, you’ll need just two or three applications to completely cover your red hair.


Do you want to cover your red hair with any of these options as a true PRO?

  Choose brown 4 or light brown 5 with .7 or .1 undertones.  


The numbers after the period indicate the undertones that neutralize unwanted reddish tones which may appear after a few washes.

For example:

  •   You can put 4.7 or 5.7 dyes to your red hair.   The undertones neutralize the reddishness because green is the opposite of red on the color wheel.
  •   Alternatively, you can apply 4.1 or 5.1 dyes to your red hair.   They contain ashy undertones. Ash contains blue pigments, which also neutralize red that may remain in your hair.

If you use any of these options, you’ll need fewer touch up to cover your red hair with another color.


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If your hair is light red, you can apply any color from black to light brown 5

someone applies brown dye with a brush to red hair
Lucky for you! The lighter reds, 7.66, 8.66, and 9.66 offer you the chance to opt for any brown dye to cover them.

You can choose:

  • Black 1
  • Dark brown 3
  • Brown 4
  • Light brown 5

What’s more,   if your red is extremely soft you can apply a dark blonde 6.


In that case, I don’t recommend you apply black 1, dark brown 3, or brown 4 to your light red hair either.

Remember the color scale where black is 1 and extra light blonde is 10.

If you apply very dark colors, and then want to go blonde, you’ll have to go through several bleaching sessions to move up to higher numbers on the scale.


Do you want me to share another professional secret to cover your red hair with another color?

The secret has a name, and it’s a toner. So, you can apply a green toner to cover your red hair. But keep two things in mind:

  • Green toner is an option only if your hair is light red.
  • Go to a salon. Because the toner is applied with a 20-volume developer. A professional can evaluate both the level and the state of your red hair.


The toner is a professional coloring tool, so I recommend that you go to a salon.

It’s used to neutralize unwanted colors after bleaching or the application of a dye that is too strident.

As I told you before, green neutralizes red on the famous color wheel.

If you apply the green toner directly to your hair, it’ll neutralize the red leaving your hair at the same level as your base:

  •   If your hair is red 7.66,   it’ll be blonde 7 after toner.
  •   If your hair is red 8.66,   it’ll be light blonde 8after toner.
  •  And if your hair is red 9.66,   it’ll be very light blonde 9 after toning[/su_list]



Once you choose your brown hair color to cover your red hair, you can start using green toning shampoo twice a week, for three to five minutes according to the brand you choose.

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