Dye Hair Pillar Box Red

Pillar box red hair
Photo: Shutterstock
Q: I was just wondering: If I were to dye my hair pillar box red, could I dye over it if I didn't like the end result? Friends tell me that you can't dye over red. And also, what shade of red would you recommend?
A: Well, first of all, your friends are wrong. Virtually any color can be dyed over, provided you choose the right color to apply over the existing color. Where people generally get into problems is in trying to cover very dark shades. For example, if you dyed your hair black, you would be unable to change the color unless you first lighten, or decolorize, the hair.
You don't state what your current (or natural) hair color is, so I'm assuming it is at least a medium shade (around level 5). I've discussed hair color levels before several times, but here are the basics of color levels in a nutshell: All hair colors are rated by their lightness level on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the darkest possible shade (deep dark brown or black), and 10 being the lightest (palest blondes).
In order for your hair to turn out the color you want, the color you are trying to achieve should be the same level or darker than your current (or natural) shade. Otherwise, you need to lighten the hair first before coloring.
As for selecting the right shade of red, that is mostly a matter of preference. You do need to consider whether or not red hair would suit you. If you have very pale skin, you may find that red hair will cause you to appear washed out. Also, red hair can emphasize blemishes and skin discoloration if any are present.
You've stated that you want to try pillar box red as a color. I make it a point here not to endorse any product brands. Therefore, the best suggestion I can offer is that you visit your local beauty supply store and look at the swatches for the various hair color brands they carry. Doing this will also help you determine your own hair's lightness level. Select a hair color that is as close as you can find to the "pillar box red" you desire and compare the lightness level listed for it with your own hair's lightness level.
If the levels are the same, or the red color is darker, you get the color and developer and you're good to go. You can also choose from the hair color kits available at your local supermarket or drug store, but the beauty supply store will have a wider variety of brands and colors to choose from.
There are also hair colors available at the beauty supply store for bold and trendy colors. Many of these come in shades that are not naturally occurring, such as purples, pinks, bright reds, yellow, green, blue, etc. However, most of these colors work best on pre-lightened or naturally very blonde hair. So you may have to use a bleaching kit before using these products if that is what you choose to do.
See also:
Tips for redheads
Hair color and skin tone
Cool and warm hair colors
Hair colors and our color palette