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Experts say these products can help keep your red hair vibrant and hydrated

Set your color up for success with these stylist-approved finds.
Vivian Le / TODAY
/ Source: TODAY

There's nothing quite like that feeling of walking out of the salon with freshly-colored locks and knowing you look fabulous. More often than not, however, that celebration is short-lived and it seems like the color begins to fade before you're ready to say goodbye, especially if you've gone red.

If you're tired of lackluster color and want to make your reds look ravishing for as long as possible, it all starts with curating the right wash-day routine. To help guide your search, Shop TODAY sought out the assistance of top hairstylists to uncover the best shampoos, conditioners and masks to prolong the life of your new 'do.

What makes red hair different from other dyed hair? | How do you keep red hair looking vibrant? | Best products for red hair, according to stylists | How we chose | Meet the experts

Shop TODAY Snapshot

Best products for red hair

What makes red hair different from other dyed hair?

According to Lorena M. Valdes, a colorist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, color retention and shine maintenance are the biggest concerns for redheads.

"Red hair can be tricky since the red molecules are larger than other color molecules," explains Jessica Page, founder of Blondies Co. salon in Utah. "Red fades because the color molecules don’t penetrate the cortex as well." The cortex is the middle layer of hair shaft that holds the bulk of your color, according to trichology-based hair brand Philip Kingsley.

"The color is the hardest to achieve and it tends to fade the most quickly," echoes celebrity hairstylist Jennifer Korab.

How do you keep red hair looking vibrant?

Lauren Baxter, a New York City-based hairstylist and bridal specialist, knows firsthand that being a redhead comes with a lot of maintenance, especially if your hair is color-treated. "I find that the color does fade quickly with washing and sun exposure," she says. "That is why it is very helpful to use a color-protecting shampoo or a color-enhancing shampoo and conditioner to extend the life of color between salon appointments."

Page acknowledges that color fading is inevitable but added that "the best remedy is to keep your hair hydrated and healthy."

Best products for red hair, according to stylists

Moroccanoil Mini Color-Depositing Mask

What we like
  • Leaves hair soft
  • Pleasant smell
Something to note
  • May stain hands

Color enhancing: Yes

Baxter loves this mini mask in copper for lighter reds and bordeaux for darker reds. "It's nourishing and conditioning for color-treated hair without the sulfates. It's a great way to condition while giving the hair a little boost of color!" she tells us.

SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Moisturizing Shampoo

What we like
  • Leaves hair soft
  • Nice scent
  • Moisturizing
Something to note
  • May leave residue

Color enhancing: No

If you’re not a big fan of color-depositing masks or conditioners, you should focus on maintaining the color by keeping it hydrated with a moisturizing formula like this shampoo.

“SheaMoisture is a well-rounded product that provides moisture and shine for anyone with curly red hair while using gentle cleansers to avoid buildup and fading,” Valdes says. According to the brand, this budget-friendly pick is made with fair trade shea butter, argan oil and sea kelp. It’s designed to lock in moisture and treat damaged locks.

Moroccanoil Hydrating Shampoo

What we like
  • Makes hair feel silky
  • Pleasant smell
Something to note
  • Pricey

Color enhancing: No

“This shampoo is a perfect blend of hydration, shine and body without weighing the hair down,” Valdes says. “It’s made for a variety of hair textures and types.”

She notes the hydrating product is perfect for keeping reds looking nice and rich. “The key ingredient is algae — which is used to help dryness — which will keep your red looking shiny,” she adds.

Redken Color Extend Magnetics Shampoo

What we like
  • Good for colored hair
  • Pleasant scent
Something to note
  • Pricey

Redken Color Extend Magnetics Conditioner

What we like
  • Helps extend color life
  • Leaves hair feeling soft
Something to note
  • Can make hair greasy or oily

Color enhancing: No

Korab enjoys this shampoo and conditioner duo to help fend off the color faux pas and said it can help keep color looking vibrant. Plus the products are sulfate-free, which helps further maintain color consistency.

Unite 7Seconds Shampoo

What we like
  • Makes hair shiny
  • Nice smell
Something to note
  • Pricey

Unite 7Seconds Conditioner

What we like
  • Leaves hair feeling soft
  • Great quality
Something to note
  • Expensive

Color enhancing: No

Page, a licensed hairstylist, educator and instructor, enjoys this shampoo and conditioner duo designed to add shine, soften strands and hydrate. "It provides weightless moisture and thermal and UV protection, which aids in fighting color fading," she says. "I recommend alternating washing the hair with a hydrating shampoo and conditioner and a color-depositing shampoo or conditioner."

Davines Alchemic Shampoo for Natural and Colored Hair

What we like
  • Leaves hair silky
  • Helps keep color bright
Something to note
  • May dry hair out

Color enhancing: Yes

"This is a great shampoo because it is color enhancing for red tones," Baxter says. The powerful formula is ideal for cool red and copper hues and also enhances shine. As an added bonus, the shampoo is formulated with vitamin B to help protect and hydrate strands, and it's free of silicones and parabens.

How we chose

The Shop TODAY team included a variety of hair products approved by hairstylists and colorists, and they offer a wide range of color-protective and hydrating benefits. Some are also formulated to help enhance red hair color with use.

Meet the experts

  • Lorena M. Valdes is a color specialist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, Illinois, where she began working in 2014.
  • Jessica Page is the owner of Blondies Co., a Utah-based hair salon. She specializes in blonde hair coloring and extensions.
  • Jennifer Korab is a hairstylist who's worked with celebrities in the past, and she's the owner of Renaissance Salon & Spa in Tinton Falls, New Jersey.
  • Lauren Baxter is a hairstylist and bridal hair specialist at Nunzio Saviano Salon in New York City.