How to remove red highlights from your hair

Updated April 17, 2017

Red highlights are easy to apply to your hair but very hard to remove. With lighter natural shades, the red colour locks into the light pigments of each strand. The underlying red tones in darker natural colours are enhanced by the red pigments in the dye. If you are a victim of a red hair disaster, removing red highlights from any hair colour can be expensive and time consuming unless you act quickly.

Shampoo and condition your hair several times. If the red highlights were applied to your hair within the last 72 hours, the colour has not fully soaked into the hair strand and will fade with regular washing. After each wash, check the colour to decide if it needs to be rewashed.

Visit a salon. Professional colourists can strip the red highlights from your hair with a colour removal product or combine specific hair colours to cover the red highlights. Both of these options involve several steps to remove or cover the highlights and can be expensive.

Purchase a colour reversal kit. These kits, also known as colour removal kits, are available over the counter and will vary in cost and application instructions. Closely follow the product instructions for applying it to your hair.

Increase the red color's fading time. Hot oil treatments or heated vitamin E oils can fade the colour quicker. Other things that speed up the fading time are hot water, white vinegar rinses and shampoos designed for specific hair colours. If your natural colour is brown, using a shampoo specific for brunettes will deepen your natural colour.

Give the red highlights time. If none of the above suggestions are an option for you, make the most of your highlights. With time, all hair colours will fade and grow out.


When trying out a new hair colour, try a temporary colour first before permanently dying your hair.


Colour removal products can cause excessive damage to your hair. Always use gloves and old clothes whenever using chemicals such as hair dyes.

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About the Author

Melissa Lowery began her writing career in 1999 as a field reporter for the "Six Mile Post." Since 2000 Lowery has contributed to many different websites and print publications. She holds both a mastery makeup artistry and a cosmetology diploma, with more than six years experience in these fields.