Q: I am a black woman who has been trying to achieve a coca-cola red or burgundy color on my hair. I have been unsuccessful
in achieving that tone. Would a booster work? My hair's natural color is dark brown.
A: You have to remember that in order to achieve the brighter, more vibrant colors of red, you need to start with the appropriate
lightness levels to achieve that shade. For something akin to a Coca-Cola red, you will need to lighten the hair from its dark brown
base color. Otherwise, it is like trying to create a red paint color by adding red pigment to chocolate brown paint.
The color of our hair is created by the presence of pigments in the hair shaft. The hair itself is
translucent, allowing light to be refracted off of and through the hair to some extend. The more pigment in the hair, the darker the
color. Therefore, to go from a dark brown to a bright red, you need to remove some of the dark brown before you can achieve the vibrancy of the red color you want.
Consult your hair salon professional about doing some lightening of your natural color and applying
the red color toner you want. Otherwise, do your own research into some colors designed for African-American hair and look for those
kits that offer the color results you are looking for. Most home-use kits come with photos of “starting colors” and “ending colors”
to illustrate the color results for different starting hair color shades.
The burgundy color would likely be easier to achieve from your original starting color, as it
would require less lightening of the hair’s natural color.