Conditioner for red hair

[EDIT: Superdrug now have an even better colour-depositing conditioner for red hair: read about it here!]

As regular readers may recall, ever since John Freida’s ‘Radiant Red’ Color Glaze was discontinued (pah!), I’ve been on what feels like a never-ending hunt for a colour-depositing conditioner for redheads.

Now, these aren’t easy to find, even if you’re blonde or brunette (although if you are, you’ll have a very slightly easier time of it). The makers of hair products, however, as I’ve noted before, generally like to pretend redheads just don’t exist at all, so it’s been a fruitless search. I thought it was over when I discovered Wella Lifetex Color Reflex Mask last year, but then… it was discontinued, too.

(Aside: I’m really starting to think it must be me: as soon as I find a product I love, it’s almost instantly discontinued. Hmmmmm.)

The loss of both of these products was a huge blow to me, because, for those of us who want to enhance our colour without resorting to chemical dyes (or even henna, which can be time-consuming and unpredictable), these conditioners are perfect: you use them in the shower, they don’t add a huge amount of time to your daily routine, and while they won’t cover greys or radically change your colour, they will give it a vibrant, more intense shade: or so I found, anyway.

I’d more or less given-up on finding a replacement for these two products, though. Anything I DID find seemed to be expensive, and not available in the UK, so other than a cursory glance at the shelves any time I happened to be in Boots or Superdrug, hoping against hope that the John Freida Color Glaze would have magically re-appeared, I’d almost forgotten about it. Then, a couple of weekends ago, I was in Superdrug, and I came across their Colour Effects Conditioning Colour.

This, as you can see from the image, bills itself as a “wash-in, wash-out” conditioning colour. It comes in a small bottle, containing just enough for three applications, and is just 99p: score! It works in much the same was as the other products I’ve mentioned here: you apply it to wet hair, as you would any other conditioner, leave it to soak in for around five minutes, then rinse it out. The resulting colour effect isn’t permanent: it will last for around 2 -3 washes, but as the product is cheap, and can be used in the shower as part of your normal routine, it’s easy enough to keep it going by just using it every few days. It’s NOT a dye: it won’t cover greys and it won’t change your colour by more than a shade or so, but it will revitalise dull hair, deepen your existing colour, and generally leave your hair looking a little more vibrant.

Well, so far, so good. There were about three different colour options available in the store: a blonde, a black (I think: I’m working from memory here because the product isn’t available online) and this “Warm Copper Gold”, which was the one I chose, because it looked more or less the same as my natural colour.

It actually took me a couple of days to get round to trying this, because, to be completely honest, I didn’t have very high hopes of it, purely because the colour described itself as “copper” rather than “red”. When I did, however, I was instantly converted: and instantly terrified that Superdrug would surely discontinue it at any second. I used the conditioner in the shower, and the first surprise came with the consistency of it: while this looks and feels exactly like any other conditioner (albeit a coppery brown one), it lathers up like a shampoo, which I wasn’t expecting. This does make it easy to distribute it evenly throughout the hair, though, so I left it for the recommended five minutes then rinsed until the water ran clear and headed off to dry my hair.

As soon as I removed my towel turban, I could see a difference in the colour: my hair was much more vibrant, and looked much “redder” to me, although in a natural kind of way: it’s basically my natural colour, just a little deeper. (Although I can see a big difference, no one else noticed!) Because I hadn’t actually been expecting to see any kind of difference, and my colour tends to look different every time I photograph it anyway, I didn’t bother to take a “before” shot, but here’s what it looked like after one application:

Long red hair(It’s not actually a different colour on the bottom, by the way, it’s just the way it came out in the photo!)

There’s only one downside to this that I’ve found: it’s not great as a conditioner. While the other colour-depositing conditioners I’ve tried have left my hair very soft and shiny as well as subtly changing the colour, after using this, I didn’t really feel like I’d conditioned my hair at all, and the second time I used it, I used some of my regular conditioner afterwards, just to stop my hair from tangling up horribly. So while I love the colour effect, it’s definitely not a replacement for a regular conditioner: or not for me, anyway.

You can buy this online here.

[EDITED TO ADD:  For weeks now, I’ve been inundated with emails from people telling me that ‘Warm Copper Gold’ has been discontinued… which has really confused me, as, the whole time I’ve been getting these messages, I’ve been happily buying it from the Superdrug website, as I always have. At the time of writing (Feb 2017), Warm Copper Gold IS still listed on the Superdrug website (you can find it here): it’s currently showing as out of stock, but there’s a ‘notify when back in stock’ button, which suggests to me that it will make a return at some point. I don’t know this for sure, obviously (The people who keep messaging me about this seem to assume I have access to some kind of inside information, and I wish I did, but sadly, no, I just check the Superdrug website, same as anyone else!), so if it doesn’t. I’ve also used ‘Rich Red‘, which is a darker red, but which still works for me, as long as I don’t leave it on for too long.  (About 2-3 minutes will do it, but everyone’s hair is different, so please don’t assume that just because that works for me, it will for you, too!) I haven’t used any of the other colours, and I don’t know how any of them will work on different hair colours/types, so if you have any other questions, my best advice is to direct them to Superdrug themselves, who I’m sure will be happy to advise!

  1. This is good to know, thank you! Since I’ve been colouring my hair red, I’ve been looking for ways to prolong the lifespan of the dye, and this might be a nice topup for it – and cheap, too! 🙂

    1. I’ve just been in to my local Superdrug and bought some, but the price has jumped to £1.39! Or maybe it’s just that they can get away with charging more in Leamington!

  2. I hate it that there are so few products available for redheads! Have you tried henna yet? It’s an natural product and it really boosts the colour 🙂

  3. I have been using this product for a wee while, I use it in with my shampoo so it gradually boosts my colour. I’ve never actually used it on its own but might actually give it a try after seeing the results on your hair.xx

  4. This looks brilliant! Will definitely give this a go 🙂 Have you ever tried Wella shaders and toners? I use the red one sometimes to give my hair a bit of a boost. It’s a slighty more vibrant and unnatural red than this, but I quite like the effect.

    1. Where are you seeing this on their website? As I said in the post, I actually emailed their PR department and they assured me it hasn’t been discontinued, and that there are no plans to do so so fingers crossed that’s true!

  5. Brilliant idea! Is it safe for pregnant women use? When I see your post I was encourage the n to color my hair. I really wanted it bad. I want to look different and simply puts life to my aura. I was thinking that putting some color would add a little bit of life and cover up my misery and depression that I feel now.

  6. Have you tried Riveting reds from sallys beauty supply? It is a red color depositing shampoo not a conditioner though. I havnt tried it but I want to and was wondering if youve tried or heard of it. not sure if you have a sallys where you live but you can get it online i’m sure.

  7. I’m going to give this a try. My hair is terrible at holding colour, especially red, so I’m hoping this will give my colour a bit of a boost without having to dye my hair every couple of weeks!

  8. Ok, so now Im sure you’re aware its discontinued. I have had the same problem as you over the years, every time I find a decent tint for my red hair, its discontned. have you found an alternative for this, as I certainly haven’t?

    1. I’m so annoyed this has been discontinued! I suggest everyone email superdrug to complain, I definitely have! Apparently they have a similar product, but it’s stronger, lasts 6 to 8 washes and requires gloves to use so is more like a dye which I’m not keen on.

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