What will happen if I put brown hair dye over red?

woman with dyed red hair thinks about dyeing it

  • I don’t recommend applying brown hair dye over red. The brown won’t cover the red. Therefore, your hair will turn reddish brown. You’ll have to use green shampoo and conditioner to neutralize the red and keep your hair brown.
  • The red will always end up appearing after a few washes.
  • So if you want to remove red dye from your hair, use a color remover or see a professional for a color sweep.
  • And if you want to neutralize red, go to the salon and apply a green toner.


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I hope my answer is in time to avoid disaster.

 If your hair is dyed red and you got tired of the color or of maintaining it, don’t apply brown hair dye. The results are unpredictable, and you could ruin your hair color. 

colorist applies dye in salon on red hair

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I recommend you go to a professional salon to do a color sweep to remove the red from your hair. I’ll tell you about the details later.

Red is a persistent color. So when you try to cover it with another color like brown, sooner or later, it always appears.

Also, if you apply a brown dye on red hair, what you’re doing, in reality, is adding more red pigments to your hair. All browns, from the lightest to the darkest, contain red pigments.


So if you apply brown dye over red, your hair will likely turn reddish brown. Or it may go a dark red with brown undertones. In other words, it’s neither home-brew nor lemonade, as we say where I come from.

With this scenario, you only have two options. And I’ll tell you about them below.


Eliminate the red before applying a brown hair dye

red dye color sweep in living room

 The best thing to do here is to go to a salon to have a colorist do a color sweep. 


A color sweep is a bleach you apply to remove a specific color, such as red. In other words, the colorist doesn’t expect the bleach mixture to remove all the color from your hair.

After applying the bleach mixture, your stylist will massage your hair until the red is gone, working evenly and steadily.

Once the professional has removed the red from your hair, they will apply the brown hair dye of your choice.


 If you don’t have the time or money to go to a salon, you can use a color remover . These come in kits.

Color B4 color remover to remove red tint


Inside the kit, you’ll find two numbered containers. Pour the contents of container 1 into container 2, the applicator container. Shake container 2 from side to side, then apply the mixture to your hair.

Work quickly because the remover loses its strength after a while. Once you’ve covered all your hair, put a shower cap over it. Leave the remover on for 20 minutes.

Some remover brands recommend applying heat with a hair dryer or using a thermal cap.

After the time is up, wash your hair with shampoo and conditioner. Rinse with warm water, letting the water run through for at least five minutes. Dry your hair and check its color.


If you can still see traces of red, you can use the color remover again.  But if you notice your hair is now dry or brittle or your scalp is irritated, don’t use the color remover again.  Wait two weeks and repeat the application.

Once you remove the red from your hair, you can apply the brown dye.


As a professional colorist, I recommend you go to a salon to do a color sweep. The color remover could leave your hair orange if you don’t use it correctly or have little coloring experience.


Apply a green toner to neutralize the red and turn your hair brown

green toner to neutralize red hair

 This should also be done in a salon. Green toner is for professional use. 


All colors can be neutralized with their opposite color, leaving the hair the universal color, i.e., brown.

So the colorist will use a green toner to neutralize the red. Then they can either apply a brown dye. Or they may ask you to return after three or four weeks to touch up your color to prevent the red from reappearing.

If you use toner, keep your hair free of red with green toning shampoo. Use it once a week.


Finally, what if you’ve used brown dye on red hair and it’s turned reddish brown? Use green shampoo to neutralize the red.

Wash your hair, then leave the green shampoo in for five minutes. Rinse with cold water. You can use green shampoo once a week to prevent the red tones from appearing.



It’s not a good idea to put brown hair dye over red, and all you will get is reddish brown or red with brown undertones.

Therefore, if you want brown hair, you should do a color sweep in the salon or use a color remover.

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