When you’re visiting the haircare aisle looking for products, the choice can be overwhelming. Every minute detail of hair can be catered for. More volume? More moisture? Less grease? It’s endless.
But when it comes to products designed for red hair, the choice becomes somewhat limited. The mainstream beauty market is just that – mainstream, and mass market. As redheads, it can be frustrating when looking for specific haircare just for you. Sure, we’re less than 2% of the world’s population, but if you think about it, that is almost 150 million people with natural red hair on this planet. And then there are the honorary redheads too, what about them?
There are heaps of options for blonde, brunette or even bright blue hair, but red hair is largely overlooked in the shampoo and conditioner aisle.
That is likely down to mainstream haircare companies not taking the time to understand red hair. And in some cases, not realising that red hair actually needs different things to other hair types.
WHY IS RED HAIR DIFFERENT TO OTHER HAIR COLOURS?
Red hair is much more fragile than other hair types. Redheads also tend to have fewer strands on their heads, too. In terms of average number of strands, natural blondes have 110,000, brunettes have 140,000, while redheads only have 90,000 strands in total. These fewer strands are actually thicker though, so the appearance can sometimes be that redheads actually look like they have more hair than other colours.
So, when you think about the typical thickness and fragile traits of red hair, you’re clearly dealing with a colour and type of hair that needs special attention.
For example, this fragility and thickness often means that redheads’ hair can suffer from coarseness and frizz, which makes it harder for light to reflect off it, meaning that the colour can appear duller than it should. By finding a way to encourage smoothness of the follicle and strands, more light can then reflect, thus giving a brighter, more multi-tonal red hair shade.
What normally happens is people tend to combat frizz and coarseness by reaching for the hair straighteners to try to smooth their hair, but this damages your hair, making it drier too. And of course, being more fragile anyway leads to more breakage of strands when using heat styling.
Silicones are another element that many redheads turn to, particularly if they suffer from extensive frizz or dryness. And while these silicones may feel helpful to smoothing your strands, these are artificial and can lead to build-up on the strands, making the strands appear more lifeless over time. What also often happens is these silicone-loaded products are likely to also be using sulfates to cleanse the hair, which adds yet more dryness.
So while you may think that using these methods and products are helping to fight the frizz and coarseness battle, they could be doing more harm than good.
The answer? By moving to a more silicone-free and sulfate-free haircare routine, your red hair will slowly but surely rely less on these damaging, more artificial elements – you’ll be able to move away from the silicones and sulfates, and say goodbye to those burning hair straighteners, to a more natural, shiny way of haircare.
(And if these products contain some nifty henna to enhance your gingerness too, even better)