My hair is definitely one of my more stand out features – especially when I actually take the time to style it nicely. Now although red hair runs in my family, it unfortunately skipped me so I don’t have the honour of being a natural redhead.
I get a lot of questions about my hair and so that I can answer them properly, I’ve written this post for people who want to know more about how I get this colour and look. In truth, the colour was a happy accident so don’t consider this a guide… it’s more a loose re-telling with some hints and tips.
My Origin-ger Story
Orange hair was never the plan.
It was 2011, summer was approaching, and I had decided I wanted my hair to be caramel brown. I’d been dying my own hair since I was about 13 from boxes and at this point it was dark brown. I knew my only option to remove the build up of dye was bleach, but I knew it was risky. I was broke and couldn’t afford to get it done properly at a salon. Even if I could have, I probably would have attempted it myself first because I like messing with my hair! So I knew better, but I bleached it anyway. I can already see you nodding your head knowingly… guess what happened next!
Of course I ended up with a patchy mess that was orange at the ends and bright white near the roots. No biggie – just a rite of passage for the at home hair-experimentalist – but now I was in a pickle. All things considered, my hair was still in reasonable condition but the ends weren’t light enough for my caramel brown to take. I didn’t want to put it through another round of bleach so my options were:
1. Give it all up and go right back to dark brown
2. Attempt to balance out the colour by applying an auburn shade over the top, then figure it all out later
Well, you can guess which one I went for – option 2!
The shade I chose was Clairol Nice N’ Easy in Natural Light Auburn which is still available!
Over the years, I opted for increasingly outlandish shades of orange and this is where I’m at now.
My Hair Dye
The shade I use is L’Oreal Paris Preference Infinia Paprika Power (P78). There’s no other way to describe it than ‘vibrant orange’! Sometimes I like to think it could pass for natural, but really I’m not fooling anyone.
I was using Mango Intense Copper (78), from the same range, for many years until L’Oreal cranked up the colour intensity with the release of Paprika Power.
Mango Intense Copper is a more natural hue of orange and people would often assume it was my natural shade. If you’re making your way up the orange scale, it’s worth using that one as a stepping stone.
The In Betweens
Red shades are notorious for fading quickly, so in between the ‘big’ dying sessions I sometimes give mine a helping hand with a semi-permanent dye to give it a colour infusion without causing any lasting damage. This is a recent addition to my routine, but being able to slap on a bit of extra colour in 20 minutes between dye jobs really brings my hair back to life when it’s lacking lustre.
I just apply Bleach London non-permanent dye in Tangerine Dream all over and leave it to develop for about 20 minutes.
Tresemme Reverse Sysem
My haircare routine changes a lot but at the moment, I wash with Tresemme’s ‘Reverse System’ – a pre-wash conditioner and then a shampoo. I’ve definitely see a volume boost when I use these without any of the stickiness you so often get with volumising products.
No matter how often I get my hair trimmed, I always seem to have wispy ends so I use John Frieda Nourishing Oil Elixir applied sparingly to the lengths after drying/styling. It keeps my hair soft, tangle free and smoothes over any flyaways. This stuff lasts forever. I can’t even remember when I bought it, but it was a long while ago!
If I know I’m going to be styling my hair, I use VO5 ‘Plump It Up’ Blow-dry Spray ahead of time. I spritz a little in to my wet hair and brush it through before blow-drying. It adds volume and gives enough hold to keep loose curls in all day. Too much of it makes my hair feel sticky but I’ve found that happy place where I get just enough hold and it still moves naturally.
Every 4-6 weeks, I treat myself to a round of Olaplex No.3. It’s the third step in a salon system designed for coloured hair but you don’t need to have used 1 & 2 to get a kick out of No. 3. It stands on its own to ‘repair the hair from within‘.
I apply it to damp, unwashed hair, cover with a shower cap for 1-2 hours, then wash my hair. It’s a pricey product but I’ll definitely be repurchasing. I can really tell the difference after a treatment – my hair feels revitalised and so much thicker. If you have coloured hair and feel like it could use a bit of extra energy, you should give it a try.
Most days I don’t bother styling my hair. It’s naturally somewhere between wavy and curly and most of the time, it dries frizz free and with a bit of movement in it. When I do style my hair, I always go for curls!
My favourite styling tools are the Babyliss Curling Wand and Tresemme Perfectly (un)Done wand. In the images from this post, I used the Tresemme wand. The Babyliss gives tighter curls but they hold a bit longer and can be brushed out to create lovely waves.