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Shades of red hair color

Red hair can be one of the most captivating hair colors, but there's more to it than meets the eye. An absolute multitude of shades of red hair color are available, which allow you to fully individualize your red hair to your own unique style and personality.

The different shades of red

Red hair can be anything from a subtle tone to a bright and vibrant color. It can also range from having a copper or true red hue to a mahogany or even violet caste. All of these factors lead to a versatility that is unmatched with any other hair color. The shades of red hair color include:
  • Ginger
  • Copper
  • Auburn
  • Intense red
  • Mahogany
  • Violet-red
  • Fashion shades

Warm and cool tones

Red hair can also be categorized in whether the color is a warm or cool red. Whilst all red hair is warm compared to the usual cool tones like ash and pearl, some red colors are more on the 'cool side'.

These colors, like mahogany and violet-reds are rich in blue or violet tone. This gives a violet tinge to the shade that can help it look more compatible on you if you have a cooler skin tone and can't usually wear red hair without it clashing with your complexion.

Other shades of red hair color, like auburn and copper shades,have a warmer tone and suit those with a warm complexion. These shades are also the most natural looking red hair colors.

Matching red hair and features

Warm features suit warm hair colors, whilst cool features are best accompanied by a cool hair color. All shades of red hair are warm in general, but some colors are able to be matched to a cooler complexion without clashing.

If you don't know whether your complexion is cool or warm, you can tell this easily yourself by looking at your skin. If it's cool toned it will look neutral to pinkish. The appearance of your veins will look more blue if you glance at your wrist.

A warm skin tone, on the other hand, will look more golden or peachy. When you look at the veins in your wrist, they will look more greenish because of the way the blue color mixes with the golden tones in your skin.

Ginger hair

Ginger hair is a combination of gold and red tones. These shades work very well when matched with a warm skin tone and hazel or warm brown eyes. If you have a cooler skin tone or don't look best with a golden hair color, it's best to give this color a miss however.


Copper hair

Copper hair is also a combination of gold and red tones, but in this case there is generally a greater concentration of red tone. It is the way that this red tone mixes with the golden tones that creates a copper result.

Like ginger tones, these shades will look best on you if you have a warm complexion and brown eyes. Bright fashion shades of copper can also sometimes suit those with a cooler complexion as well, creating an interesting contrast.

Auburn hair

Auburn hair can be copper or more of a true red, but the main distinction between an auburn color and other red shades is that the actual red tone is more subtle. These hair colors look brown with a red tint and are a more natural shade if you want a red color that doesn't look outlandish or too vibrant.

As these shades are still based on copper and red tones, they will still be best suited to a warm complexion and eyes. They are easy to maintain, and fading isn't so much of a problem as the color isn't bright and intense to begin with.

Intense red hair

Intense red hair is a vibrant true red. This color can look anything from a 'stop sign red' to a dark crimson shade depending on the level of the dye (How dark it is). All these shades share a vibrant red tone though and don't look brown like the more natural tones of red do.

Like with other warmer reds, these shades will suit those with a warm complexion, though they can also look nice on cooler complexions too. They require much more maintenance than subtle red colors as the bright red tone fades easily, requiring toning and occasional retouching to keep it looking its best.

Mahogany hair

Mahogany hair is similar to intense red colors, albeit with a secondary violet tone which creates a result that is slightly purple. This violet tone allows it to be more suited to those with a cool complexion and eye color. If you want to try red hair and have cool features, mahogany hair is generally a good first choice.

Violet-red hair

Violet-red hair contains a violet tone like mahogany hair does. These shades of red hair color are much more intensely violet than a mahogany shade though. In this case, the violet tone is more dominant and the tonal result is cooler.

If you have a cool complexion and cool toned eye color, this is one of the different red colors you can try with less worry about how it will suit your features. If you have green eyes, the violet tone can look rather striking and interesting against your eye color, whilst pinkish tones in your skin directly complement the violet tone in your hair.

Fashion shades

Fashion shades vary between dye brands, but one thing they have in common is that they are always vibrant. Some of the most interesting fashion shades are blondes in terms of level, and this can be anything from a pastel red or pink color to a bright mahogany blonde.

Pastel red colors can be difficult to achieve and finicky to maintain, but they look absolutely beautiful when done properly. The same rules apply here that if you have warm features you will look best with a warm-toned pastel red, and vice versa. Pastels will also suit you best if you have a light to pale complexion matching how light the color is.

Other fashion shades, like mahogany blonde or bright violet-reds at the level 7 - 8 range aren't as difficult to achieve, but still require significant maintenance. Overall, only choose a fashion shade if you're prepared to refresh the color regularly and prevent the significant fading that occurs with bright shades like this.

Need help choosing between the different shades of red hair color, or wondering whether a particular shade would suit you? Leave a comment for colour matching and tailored advice...

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