Tuesday, February 7, 2012

How to get bright red hair: Goldwell Elumen

I get asked about my hair.. A LOT. I know when it's looking particularly bright because complete strangers stop to ask me "How do you get your hair like that!". Small children point and exclaim loudly too, usually to the extreme embarrassment of their parents.

So.. over the years I have tried many, many many red dyes.

Before I get into what were hits and misses for me - I should clarify that what I am am going for with my hair is a true blue-red, like the colour of a fire engine or a post office box. Not orange. Not pink. I don't like reds that fade to pink.. I much prefer a red that fades to orange.  Your choices might be different!

I trawled through old photos to show you what various dyes looked like for me.

  • L'Oréal Permanent Dye - don't know exactly what colours etc the stylist used for this but no matter where I went I never really seemed to get a lot of brightness. The colour lasted a long time but was more of a deep auburn than a true red.
  • Affinage Colour Bomb - long lasting for a semi permanent, and was a good red colour untill they changed the formula. Now the colour they sell as a red is a pink on me.. I was very very unhappy when they changed it!
  • Manic Panic Red Corvette (not pictured) not really easy to get your hands on here but is a good colour, also a bit prone to fading to pink though. 
  • Fudge - doesn't last long and fades to pink. It's cheap and readily available though so if you are willing to refresh it fortnightly you can keep colour going.
  • Directions Fire - great semi-permanent option, doesn't fade to pink, just gets lighter red, leaning towards orange as it fades.
  • L'Oreal Permanent Dye
    Affinage Colour Bomb
    Directions Fire
    Fudge Red Corvette
  • Goldwell Ellumen - a permanent colour that is really bright. 

The clear winner for me is Goldwell Ellumen. This is the best red I have used in decades of trying everything.  It's a really bright red, it does not fade to pink, and it lasts FOREVER. This is NOT a dye you should use if you like to change your hair colour later.. for many people it won't even bleach out. If you are committed to a particular shade though this stuff is brilliant.

Goldwell Ellumen


  1. Which shade do you use; where do you buy it; and how light/dark is the hair you're dyeing?

  2. I use the RR@all which is the bright red.. I order it from ebay, UK sellers have it for about $20 a bottle (which will last me 2 or 3 applications at least, it seems)..

    My hair has a lot of greys in it and is a light auburn these days.. I bleach the roots every six months or so and put this over the top.

    It is a three step process, and it's usually strongly recommended that you get it done by a professional.. if you're game to take a risk though, you can do it at home, I have done it successfully :)

    there's a "prepare" treatment, and then the dye, and then a "lock" treatment..

  3. Hi!

    So I'm considering helping my boyfriend (who has rather light brown hair) dye his hair with this. He doesn't mind if it's semi-permanent, though. Is this product something I could use without the prepare or lock product steps?

    My understanding is the prepare step is "designed for damaged bleached hair." (See, this: http://www.amazon.com/Goldwell-Elumen-Prepare-Color-Pre-Treatment/dp/B0038AU82O) And that the lock is mostly to make it permanent.

    If he's not dyed his hair before, and it's fairly light, do you think he could get away with just using the dye itself?

    Also, how long would you suggest keeping it on? We won't have a dryer to put him under or anything.

    Thank you!