5 Tips For Going Red Without Damaging Your Hair
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While the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday is a great excuse to try a new beauty treatment, it’s also a new decade and women are looking to scratch their itch to give their strands a new hue.

And what better color to try than red for the day of love? It’s also a color that looks outstanding on melanin-rich skin. But coloring one’s hair is a chemical process that, although we often do on our own, we don’t always nail on the first try. Or the fifth.

Color specialist Michél McKrieth has seen and done her fair share of hair color processes. Her journey started under the tutelage of top celebrity colorist Rita Hazan, and she has worked with clients such as Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, Solange Knowles, and more.

She even traveled to Paris to do the color for Beyoncé while she was filming the “Apeshit” video. Needless to say, she has her receipts.

When she isn’t taking clients at Mia Wagner Salon in Midtown Manhattan, she’s customizing wig colors for Helena Wigs NYC. McKrieth found some time in her busy schedule to give ESSENCE some tips on how we can go red for Valentine’s Day without causing unnecessary damage to our hair.

Tip 1: Go to a color professional specifically. The top mistake people make is going to an inexperienced colorist according to McKrieth.

“Research a potential hairstylist/colorist thoroughly. If you see someone with color you love (and if they have the same or a similar texture as you even better) ask them who does their hair!”

Tip 2: Don’t treat all hair the same when coloring. Coloring relaxed hair can be different from coloring natural hair.

“The biggest concern with coloring relaxed hair is that it is already chemically treated. You want to make sure the integrity of the hair is strong enough to undergo chemical services whether relaxed or natural. Semi and demi-permanent colors don’t create a big change like highlights and permanent color. However, you can make your hair darker or enhance the tone of your current or natural color.”

Tina Campbell with natural red hair
(Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Tip 3: Know if you’re a candidate for coloring. Not everyone is but it’s simple.

“Anyone who has or had an allergic reaction to it hair coloring is not a candidate.”

Tip 4: Understand what (red) you’re getting yourself into. Different reds will have a different effect on your tresses depending on whether you’re lifting or adding color.

“To keep it simple, if the red you are trying to achieve is lighter than your hair there is a possibility you will or may experience chemical damage or breakage. If you are going darker than your natural or current color, then the chances of damage are low to minimal. Reds have a tendency to fade or wash out rather quickly. Going red is high maintenance so make sure you’re all in before you commit!”

Tip 5: Be prepared for the maintenance. Anytime you put chemicals on your hair it will have a drying effect. You need to care for your hair appropriately for each process it undergoes.  

“Please have a hair care regimen in place to keep your strands moisturized and strong. I recommend monthly professional protein treatments and bi-weekly moisture treatments directly after chemical services.”

And if you feel like you must DIY color at home, McKrieth says: “I don’t recommend doing permanent color aty home. Opt for semi or demi-permanent colors only. Color is technical and involves precision. It’s hard to achieve that on your own unless you’re a professional.”

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