Red hair highlights are very flattering on dark hair. They have the capacity to add a certain amount of vibrancy to dark hair, which might not be possible with other hair colours. Even a couple of red-toned highlighted sections are capable of transforming the appearance of your hair, without having to go global with the colour. Red highlights are also versatile in their options - ranging from vibrant crimson hues to much more muted and deep wine reds, there is a perfect red shade and style for everyone.

So, if you have decided to take the red route and are looking for the most suitable shade, here are some fabulous options to choose from...


1. Cherry Coke highlights

Cherry Coke highlights

Image courtesy: @hairbyamybee

When it comes to fruity red highlights, you can go from strawberry red to even tomato red, with a touch of plum added to deepen the colour. Our trendy pick, however, goes to this cherry shade, the glossy finish being the highlight of the hue! A mane that looks like a tall, chilled glass of cherry Coke, you will certainly get the most out of this hair transformation.


2. Fall red highlights

Fall red highlights

Image courtesy: @bellasalon_ms

A seasonal fave, especially now that we are in the early throes of the winter months, this chic shade will do wonders for natural brown hair. With barely any lift required, this autumnal shade will perfectly complement the gentle, seasonal flush in your skin, and your fall wardrobe as well.


3. Dreamy magenta

Dreamy magenta

Image courtesy: @firstimpressionheritagesalon

If you are a fan of burgundy hair colour, chances are, you will love magenta highlights as well. The balance between blue and red in this shade is lovely and it makes for a rich pigment to add to your tresses. Based on how dramatic you want the transformation to be, you can opt for sections of chunky highlights or slivers of babylights spread casually all over.


4. Wine-toned balayage

Wine-toned balayage

Image courtesy: @sonderhairstudio

Wine-toned hair highlights are perfect for a balayage or ombré dye job. The deep tone can add depth to your dark hair and looks stunning on complexions with a cool undertone. Wine-toned highlights are warmer than the magenta we saw above, or even the traditional mahogany, and as such, can be a good pick to jazz up virgin dark hair.


5. Fiery finish

Fiery finish

Image courtesy: @hairbysarahwilson

If you are a fan of taking pictures of sunsets, this one is right up your alley. A fiery finish with gold undertones, this is a great choice for brown-haired girls looking for a statement hair transformation. The colour really shines through when placed under the sun, making it the perfect dye job to get before you head for a tropical vacay. We love how the colour melts into a blonder finish, keeping the option of getting rid of it just trim away.


6. Crimson and caramel

Crimson and caramel

Image courtesy:

If you do not wish to settle for just red highlights, we have a trendy option for you. Mix and match ribbon highlights of red with caramel, blended with your hair’s natural base colour. A dye job that feels like it is straight out of the 90s with the lighter shades yet has contemporary touches of the glossy reds - this one is sure to fetch many compliments from your BFFs.


7. Sansa’s red

Sansa’s red

Image courtesy: @societysalon

True Game of Thrones fans will attest to this, while Daenarys’ platinum blonde tresses demanded all the attention of the beauty community, minimalists crushed over Sansa’s gingery tresses more. It is subtle yet bold, makes deeper complexions come alive and is so cool to pair with all of your sexy party LBDs.


8. Vibrant frames

Vibrant frames

Image courtesy: @ariamartelle

If you do not wish to commit to all-over highlights, this new trend will come in handy. What began as the ‘Rogue Blonde’ look, the idea is to just dye a small front section of your hair so that the coloured bits frame your face. This style can be adapted to sport vibrant and bright highlights, which otherwise can be tricky to pull off as a global colour.


9. A touch of orange

A touch of orange

Image courtesy: @wundamutha

Possibly the most high maintenance colour on this list, red highlights with orange undertones are certainly tricky to pull off. Firstly, they turn the brightness way up and secondly, they need constant touch-ups to avoid looking brassy and metallic. While you can fly solo with this shade, pairing it with other quirky colours can balance out the loudness of the whole look. Make sure you consider all of these aspects before getting this colour as it can be a challenge to grow it out as well.


10. Rustic goodness

Rustic goodness

Image courtesy: @beautyloungegreen

One aspect of red highlights that we refrained to talk about till now is the fun peek-a-boo moment it can create with naturally curly hair. This rustic red colour job is absolutely stunning, adds so much character to the hair and is just the right amount of dramatic to not be too distracting. We can only imagine how pretty this hair will look tied up in a voluminous bun!


11. Classic auburn

Classic auburn

Image courtesy: @heatherspradlinhair

The most natural-looking colour of this lot, auburn highlights adds a slight lift to hair with a brown base colour. It is right in the middle of the red and brown spectrum, which makes it compatible with commitment-phobic hair colouring needs. Auburn can also be customised to have a honey-toned glossy finish, so if you need a colour job that is heavy on the shine, this is the one to go for.


FAQs about red highlights

FAQs about red highlights

1) Should I get foil or balayage red hair highlights?

A. The choice of hair highlighting technique depends largely on how you want the final look to be. Foils should be used for a big colour shift, making them perfect for super dark hair that needs to be lightened (four or more levels). Whereas, if you are going for sweeping, casual chunks of colour that blend into your hair, getting a balayage will be the better option.

2) How can I reverse red hair highlights that have turned brassy?

A. Red highlights that have turned brassy can easily be toned down by touching up with the opposite colour, like green. Similarly, purple or blue toning shampoo can tone down and neutralize the brassiness as well.

3) Do I need bleach treatment on dark hair to get red highlights?

A. Fortunately, dark hair already has natural red undertones, which means when you strip it, it already has the warmth required underneath to play host to red shades. This means bleach isn’t always necessary while getting red highlights. However, your stylist might use a bleach treatment if you have previously colour treated hair.

4) How often do I need to touch up red hair highlights?

A. When it comes to hair colour touch-ups, the rule of thumb for all-over global colour is three to four weeks and highlights are six to eight weeks. With red highlights specifically, you have to take into account the contrast that has developed between the highlights and your natural colour. Based on this, you can decide how much touching up is required since dark hair is generally quite accepting of red highlights.

5) Can red highlights cover grey hair?

A. Yes, red highlights can cover up grey hair. Just make sure to pick an undertone that blends well with silver strands to create a natural finish. Highlighting grey hair with a red hue specifically can make your mane look more youthful and add the illusion of thickness to it.

Main images courtesy: @fkatwigs, @ariamartelle