Maintaining Color: Keep Your Red Red

Like award-winning movie lighting, the right hair hue can flatter your complexion, even with no makeup. Here, how to find and keep your perfect shade of red.

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Shimmering highlights and rich glosses are an easy way to tone down ruddiness or tune up your summer glow. "You can counteract whatever is unflattering in your skin tone with your hair color," explains New York City's Oscar Blandi Salon colorist Kyle White, who's responsible for Mariah Carey and Uma Thurman's head-turning highlights. "Just as you would avoid red sweaters if you have a lot of pink in your face, warm-toned hair will bring out a flush, while cool colors can minimize it. But if you have an ashy or olive complexion, cool shades will make you look more green. Warm, golden hues are more flattering."

Brown-based coppery reds are most flattering on a yellow-based complexion, but Beverly Hills' Lukaro Salon colorist Rona O'Connor warns against adding too much warmth. "A golden copper can make you look sallow," she says. And if your skin isn't particularly ruddy, O'Connor advises choosing a cool-toned red, which will give cheeks a pretty flush. A natural carrottop who's lost her luster? O'Connor suggests fixing this "dishwater red with a golden gloss. Even if your hair is a blue-red, the gold tones will make the color more vibrant." If you don't have time to go to the salon, a color-depositing shampoo can add instant shimmer.

Once you've got your perfect shade, maintain it with these golden rules of coloring:

1. Don't wash your hair for at least 24 (ideally 48) hours after coloring.

According to White, "The detergents in shampoo strip out color, and red is the largest hair-color molecule, so it slips out the fastest."

2. Use a color-enhancing shampoo.

Try: Henna Gold Color Enhancing Shampoo for Redheads by ShiKai, $9.50 or John Frieda Radiant Red Color Captivating Daily Shampoo with Light Enhancers, $6.59.

3. Avoid sun exposure.

Sun — and chlorine — can bleach out color and speed up fading.

4. Use dry shampoo.

"To slow down fading, cleanse with a dry shampoo in between blowouts," says White. Try: TRESemmé Fresh Start Dry Shampoo, $4.99.

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