How to enhance natural red hair

How to Enhance Natural Red Hair

Want to know how to enhance natural red hair? Same, bestie. Oh no, wait: you want ME to tell YOU how to do it? Well, OK, that’s a little bit more complicated, because although I’ve tried what feels like a vast quantity of red-enhancing products over the years, I’ve yet to find one that’s perfect. A few years ago, I’d have had absolutely no hesitation in recommending Superdrug Colour Effects Conditioner in Rich Red or Warm Copper Gold, which was hands down the cheapest AND best product for enhancing red hair. Unfortunately, however, Superdrug recently changed the formula of this product, and I’m sad to report that it’s nowhere near as good as it used to be – in fact, it does’t really do much for my hair at all these days. This makes me sad. So:

How to enhance natural red hair?

Good question.

Like many natural redheads, my ginger hair started off a bright, vibrant ginger, which has gradually faded over the years to the point I’m at now, where it’s more of a strawberry blonde. This also makes me sad: not because there’s anything wrong with strawberry blonde hair, but simply because I loved my vibrant red. Despite the teasing (and occasional bullying) a lot of redheads get, I’ve never wanted to dye my red hair: I’ve always loved being a redhead, and I’m not ready to give it up yet. (And probably not ever, to be honest.)

Because the options for redheads are so limited, however, I feel like I’m basically on a never-ending search for products to enhance my natural colour, without changing it completely.

natural red hair in the sun
How to enhance natural ginger hair

Superdrug Colour Effects Conditioner

These days I mostly use henna to enhance my ginger hair: which works, but which is messy, time-consuming, and very permanent (other than on me, apparently, but that’s a whole other subject…). It’s a Whole Thing, in other words, and, I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have something quick, easy, and which can ideally be used in the shower. Fortunately, however, there are a tonne of red-enhancing products available, including shampoos, conditioners, hair masks, and styling products. Each product type serves a different purpose, and not all are created equal, which is why my hair is currently the most expensive thing I own, thanks to all the money I’ve spent on products to enhance it. I’m talking here about things like:

Related: Lush Caca Rouge Henna review

* Shampoos and conditioners formulated for red hair, which are designed to enhance and maintain the colour’s vibrancy. They often contain ingredients like henna, beetroot, or red raspberry extract, which help to intensify the red tones in the hair.

* Hair masks are another great option for enhancing red hair. They provide deep conditioning to the hair, leaving it soft, shiny, and full of life.

* Styling products like hair sprays, gels, and mousses can also enhance red hair. They help to hold the hair in place while adding volume and shine. However, it’s essential to choose a product that won’t weigh down the hair or make it look greasy.

Best Products to Enhance Auburn Hair

As someone who has experimented with various products to enhance my own red locks, I’ve compiled a list of the best products I’ve used myself, plus a few from my wish list. From shampoos to hair masks, these products will help you achieve the vibrant and healthy-looking red hair you desire. So without further ado, here are the top products to enhance red hair.

John Frieda Radiant Red Red Boosting Shampoo


This shampoo is formulated with Vitamin E and pomegranate extract to help preserve and enhance the vibrancy of red hair. With anti-fade technology, this shampoo can help protect your colour and boost softness and shine. It’s safe for all shades of natural and colour-treated red hair and can be used every time you shampoo.

Joico Color Infuse Redhead Shampoo


This is a shampoo and conditioner duo (You can buy them separately, obviously, but they’ll be more effective if used together), and, like the many other colour depositing products I’ve used over the years, they work by depositing small amounts of colour each time you wash your hair with them.So, it’s super-simple, really: just use them as you’d use any regular shampoo or conditioner, make sure you leave them on for at least three minutes (This goes for the shampoo as well as conditioner), then rinse and style as normal.

The product is a deep burgundy shade when it comes out of the tube (And, yes, it WILL stain, so make sure you rinse thoroughly, and I’d also avoid using your best white towels with this, just in case…), but the colour it deposits is much more subtle than that, you’ll be glad to know.

I did actually notice a difference from the very first wash with this, but, as you’d expect from products of this nature, it’s the kind of difference you really have to be looking for: so, it’ll boost your colour (And help stop it fading, in the case of dyed hair…) but it won’t – or shouldn’t – radically change it.

Unlike some of the other colour-depositing products I’ve tried, I actually rate this as a shampoo/conditioner, too: as well as making my natural ginger look a little brighter, it also leaves it feeling softer and smoother than usual, so it gets a thumbs-up for that reason, too.


How to enhance natural red hair


Madison Reed Color Reviving Gloss Barolo – Red


This is a gel formula that doesn’t require any mixing, and one of the biggest advantages is that it’s ammonia-free and free of other harsh ingredients, making it a great choice for anyone with sensitive skin or allergies. Plus, it’s cruelty-free, too. It lasts for 6-8 shampoos, which would actually be pretty good going on my hair, which is very resistant to dye: and, of course, if it works, it’s not exactly a big deal to have to use it once a week, is it?


colour enhancing conditioner for red hair

Zotos Quantum Riveting Reds Color Replenishing Shampoo For Red Hair


I noticed a difference after my first application of this: my hair was brighter, redder and just a slightly more intense version of its natural colour. What I would say about this, though – and actually ALL products in this genre that I’ve tried – is that the difference is subtle enough that you shouldn’t be surprised if you’re the only one who notices. I’ve never had anyone ask if if changed my hair colour after using something like this for instance, because I just don’t think that one shade of red looks much different to another to the casual observer. People would obviously notice if I went from red to blonde or black, say, but a more intense version of my usual colour? Nah: it might look different to ME, but to anyone else, it’s no biggie.

Read my full review

Wella Color Fresh Mask


This literally turned my hair orange the first time I used it, but, er, try not to be too put off by that, because when you use it RIGHT (i.e. actually follow the instructions and don’t just decide to freestyle it), it’s actually a really great color.

Scottish lifestyle blogger Amber McNaught

How to enhance natural red hair: Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best natural products to enhance natural red hair?

There are several natural products that can enhance red hair, including henna, chamomile tea, and beetroot juice. Henna is a great option if you want to add a reddish tint to your hair, while chamomile tea and beetroot juice can help brighten and enhance your natural red hair colour.

How can I prevent natural red hair from turning brown?

To prevent natural red hair from turning brown, it’s important to avoid exposing your hair to too much sunlight and heat. You can also use a shampoo and conditioner specifically designed for red hair, which can help maintain your hair’s natural colour.

Which shampoo is best to enhance natural red hair?

There are several shampoos that are specifically designed for maintaining natural ginger hair, including Aveda Madder Root Shampoo, John Frieda Radiant Red Boosting Shampoo, and Pureology Reviving Red Shampoo.

What are the benefits of using henna to enhance natural red hair?

Henna is a natural dye that can be used to enhance red hair and add a reddish tint to other hair colours. It’s a great alternative to chemical dyes, as it’s gentle on the hair and scalp. Henna can also help strengthen and condition hair, leaving it looking shiny and healthy.

How can I make my red hair brighter?

To make your red hair brighter, you can try using a clarifying shampoo to remove any buildup and enhance your hair’s natural shine. You can also try rinsing your hair with apple cider vinegar, which can help remove product buildup and leave your hair looking brighter.

What causes red hair to become dull and how can I fix it?

Red hair can become dull due to a variety of factors, including overexposure to the sun, heat styling, and using the wrong hair products. To fix dull red hair, try using a clarifying shampoo to remove any buildup, and use a hair mask or deep conditioner to nourish and hydrate your hair. You can also try using a hair oil or serum to add shine and protect your hair from further damage.

red polka dot skirt from ASOSredhead in a green dresslong red hair

natural red hairnatural red hair

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  • This is really interesting, Amber! I’m not a natural redhead but I have been colouring my hair red for the last year or so now so I’m very interested in ways to give the colour longevity. I find the same thing about the John Frieda shampoo, I can never see any noticeable difference after using it – although I have been recently having not been able to get the Boots Botanics one. I love that Superdrug stuff too, and when I go into the store I stock up on it! I must try the Henna gloss, too.

    September 21, 2012
    • Ashley


      Hey Amber,

      My hair is naturally a deep red and I have seen posts on reddit about color glaze. I really want to enhance my hair color by making it a deeper red without dying it. When you use the glaze is it noticeable and does it look fake? Or does it just enhance the reds in your hair. I don’t want to have different color roots if I use a glaze, will this happen?

      Thanks, Ashley

      June 18, 2015
  • My hair isn’t nearly as red-red as yours. It was when I was little. Of course, then I hated it and wanted to be blond like my brother and sister. As I’ve gotten older it’s gotten sandier which bums me out.

    I used the John Freida glaze even though it made my hair tangly and I recently found a shampoo, conditioner and glaze by the chain Ulta (we get alimited Boots products through Target and we don’t have Superdrug) and I’ve been soooo happy with the results. The combination of the three has reddened up the blond around my face without looking like I did it with an orange magic marker.

    I’ve had more success with semi-permanant dyes but I can’t actually do them on myself. My hair is really thick and it take two boxes worth so I really need a friends help. I usually end up doing it once a summer and most people don’t comment on the difference. (Last time the girls I was baby-stting for were very excited that my hair was suddenly “Weasley red” when I explained to them that my hair had always been red they scoffed.)

    I haven’t tried henna but I do occasionally go and look at the Just For Red Heads site and think about it.

    It’s amazing how being a redhead becomes such a major part of one’s identity, isn’t it?

    September 21, 2012
  • Sarah


    Hi, love this article. My hair is ‘sort of red’ which I have been enhancing to a nice coppery gold shade with either the Superdrug wash in wash out in warm copper gold or the Everything for Redheads colour depositing shampoo in Copper. I used to use L’Oreals casting in Butterscotch which was perfect……….until they discontinued it!!!
    I am really interested in the henna glaze idea though,as I was looking for something a little more permanent. Can you tell me which Henna you used – there seem to be so many in so many shades out there.

    September 21, 2012
  • Lindsey


    Hearing that Hey, Dollface! is making a comeback has made my Friday. Thanks Amber!!!

    September 21, 2012
      • Liz in Paris


        I’m also delighted that Dollface is coming back! I was a bit mystified as to why there’d been no updates since March yet the site was still up. Looking forward to it!

        September 22, 2012
  • Way back I used to dye my hair to give it more of a reddish color, but now that I am older and wiser, I want to stay away from the chemical dyes! I use henna in my hair from time to time but it is such a pain! I have an unopened container that I have been waiting for the right time to use, and I think I will now after the henna gloss suggestion. Makes it sound so much easier!!!

    September 21, 2012
  • Hair’s a funny thing. When mine’s short like now it’s super duper dark, but if I grow it it’s a dark aurbrun, then I always try to bring the red out more with shampoos etc. At the moment I’m embracing the super duper dark though. You have the most beautiful hair I think, I wish it was mine.

    September 21, 2012
  • Personally, I think your natural hair color is fine. Why mess with perfection?

    September 21, 2012
  • Vix


    Hi Amber, your blog makes me chortle tea through my nose on a regular basis so thanks for that! I dye my hair red (I think you’re SO lucky to be that natural red, I COVET!) and have done for years but since ‘THEY’ stopped doing my favourite semi-perm dye I’ve found I’ve had to resort to permanent and as a result not do it so often, so inbetween times I use the superdrug radiant red ‘conditioner’ as a shampoo-sometimes leave it on for hours. It definitely prolongs the depth of colour big time. Just a thought

    September 21, 2012
  • Elizabeth


    hey, it might be just me but neither Forever Amber or Shoeperwoman are loading at all.

    September 21, 2012
  • Moni


    For those who live in or near Germany:
    The drugstore chain Rossmann carries this product:
    I’m brunette myself, so I haven’t tried this one yet, but I Amber has gotten a few bottles and should be able to tell if it’s good. 🙂
    They also have these shampoos for brown and blond hair, and I’ve used the brown version for a while. It was okay, but I didn’t really like the scent. I have now started to use the “Balea Professional Braun Shampoo” from dm (a different drugstore), which I highly recommend. Unfortunately that one only comes for brunettes and blondes…

    September 21, 2012
  • ClodyQ


    Thats brilliant news,
    Bring on the new hey, dollface.:)
    I also love that superdrug colour,have a little stockpile just incase……I also suffer from the discontinuation fear, they have sadly discontinued the alabaster shades in bobbi brown….such a shame.

    September 22, 2012
  • Me too 🙁

    September 23, 2012
  • Kets


    Hi Amber,

    I am an Indian and like most Indians prefer Henna to give copper tones (which look brilliant on most dark hair) to my hair. You can buy pure henna for very cheap in almost any Asian grocery store (these are scattered at various places in and around London).

    Hope this helps.. 🙂

    ps: Love your blog and style of writing.. am a fan!

    September 24, 2012
  • Oh I so feel your pain with discontinuing products you love :/ It always seems to happen. I ran out of my body art quality henna stockpile about two months ago, and found that no India shop (we don’t have any ethnic markets here) carries it. I went to a whole mess of herbal/natural pharmacies and couldn’t find any body art quality henna anywhere. I finally found it in a health-store, paid for it through my nose, had to argue with the staff who tried to give me something they swore was henna but was in fact a whole mess of things except henna to find of pure henna. Now my roots are showing and I’m dreading the search for new henna again -.-
    I agree that the application of henna can be a pain, especially since I prefer to let mine set in for 6-8 hours, but I found it’s quite worth it. I now need to trim my split ends twice a year instead of the usual every other month and it doesn’t seem to wash out as much as any other product/dye I used.
    I do, however, occasionally miss having an unnatural and shocking red/fuchsia hair colour, but I keep reminding myself how much my hair grew in the past year or so I’ve been using it.

    September 25, 2012
  • Rose


    Hi Amber

    I have red hair too which goes lighter in summer but I kind of like it- I consider it natural highlights

    I used to buy the boots cheap shampoo for redheads which smelt gorgeous but I threw it out in the end as my hair did change colour when I used it and became more orange.

    Have you any idea nowadays of your real hair colour?

    I tried the John Frieda range, didn’t really like them much either, still have 2 half opened bottles.

    September 26, 2012
  • Jasmine


    I love your post! I absolutely love the boots botanics red range and thought I was going mad going to every boots looking for it, glad I am not alone. I actually phoned boots and they confirmed the line has been discontinued! Such a shame, maybe we should start a petition to have it re-stocked. But you are so right all the red hair care products eventually get discontinued, I was using the leave in spray conditioner by Quantum Reds a few years ago until that too went. One product I have found that is good is the Davines Alchemic Conditioner for red hair – it’s a little expensive but if you use it as a mask once a week it lasts a while!

    September 29, 2012
  • The best colour depositing effect I’ve ever had was (and continues to be) a home made one – cheap thick conditioner and a little bit of bright red vegetable colour, like Directions or Manic Panic. My hair is much more pillarbox red than yours, but still, might work out well!

    September 30, 2012
  • Gemma


    Do you know the name/colour of the ‘Pure Henna’ you used on your hair?

    October 5, 2012
  • Lindsay


    Hi Amber, I’ve recently run out of my stock of Boots Botanics Red shampoo and conditioner and am a little devastated, I can feel my hair getting more and more orange with every moment. Have you found an alternative that you recommend?

    October 22, 2012
  • Hi Amber, I just wanted to say thanks for recommending the superdrug wash in was out conditioner, when I first read about it I thought it will never work, when I was in my teens I hated my red hair so was forever trying to get it blonde with the wash in wash out stuff unsurprisingly, it never took to my hair, but now I accept and actually quite like my red hair, I bought extensions but the hairdresser could never colour match them to my exact colour so today I bought the superdrug stuff and attempted to add red highlights to the brownish extensions, well it came out perfect, an exact match infant so I’m super happy!

    November 21, 2012
  • Hi Amber

    I was cheated by the hair gods and robbed of the red hair that should have been mine. My brother got it! I was wondering if you could recommend a styling product for him everything he uses on his, curly, hair makes the colour look really dull and a bit lank. Any suggestions gratefully received!

    April 2, 2013
  • Paula Vianna


    Hi Amber!

    I’m from brazil and, right now, my hair is very ginger.
    Naturally i’m a very dark golden blond but I’ve been to hell and back to turn it orangy-red-natural-looking so I learned a few things: I use permanent dye, it’s from alfaparf and it gets the job done, but my hair has a very strong golden shade to it, that even with the constant colouring (I do my roots every 2 weeks) it keeps shining through like it or not (it also helps that I live in rio de janeiro and it’s a tropical country and the sun is constantly at overheating mode).

    So since I decided not to ruin my hair by using the permanent dye on all of it, I just do the roots and keep the rest of it by what they call here a ‘colour wash’ or ‘shine wash’, meaning: you take a little of the permanent dye, adds a little bit of 10% developer and lots of cream, i use the cheapest tresemme hair mask, keep it in your hair for about half an hour and done.

    We also have a colour-depositing hair mask called C. Kamura Banho de Brilho in Conhaque, it’s a very rich, very reddish orange, it’s such a gorgeous colour! But it doesn’t last very long.

    this is my hair color:

    August 18, 2013
  • JoW


    Reading this with much interest and I’m definitely going to give these lovely little pots a try (if Superdrug still do them) as I’d like to intensify my natural red hair sometimes too. On a side note, it often seems to me that it’s more socially acceptable to have dyed red hair than natural red hair…

    May 4, 2014
  • Tara


    Hi Amber! Any suggestions on a product comparable to the Superdrug conditioner that can be purchased in the US? Doesn’t look like they ship international =(

    June 17, 2014
  • Amber


    hey my names also Amberi used to be ginger but now ive turned graduly blond but am using cramberrie juice to bring back my ginger

    November 17, 2015
  • Molly


    Do you know if the color effects conditioner is available to purchase in the united states?

    February 13, 2016
  • maz


    Can you use superdrug colour effects true chestnut on highlighted hair ??

    May 24, 2016
  • Helen


    Hi Amber, Superdrug has discontinued warm copper gold 🙁 Do you think rich red is that much different in colour? I think my hair is quite similar to yours – maybe a little darker – and warm copper was perfect! I’m a bit worried about it looked unnatural with a pure red?

    January 19, 2017
  • Melina


    Ah, on reading the part about your hair looking like it’s on fire in the sun, I was just going to post to say that anyone who wants their hair to do that should try henna! 🙂 And then a bit later in the post, there it was, the henna gloss 🙂 I can’t recommend it enough for anyone who wants either to enhance their red hair, like you, or doesn’t have but wishes to have red hair permanently! And I mean permanently, you grow it out, no other way to get rid of it, basically, unlike so-called “permanent dyes”, this one really is permanent. Of course, a gloss or otherwise very diluted henna mix will not be so dramatic, and may fade a bit. I love red hair (though not my natural colour) and used to henna for years, so do know a fair bit about it 😉

    June 1, 2017
  • Melina


    And just to add, one completely natural way to enhance red hair I’ve heard of is rooibos tea – it’s supposed to give a reddish tint if used as a rinse, or leave in. 🙂

    June 1, 2017
  • Rose


    I tried the colour effects but my scalp feels weird after use so I’m not sure if I should risk it again. Nice highlights though- I have natural red hair but mine also changes in different seasons.
    Have you tried the Aveda Redhead Madder Root Shampoo? Costs an arm and a leg though so I haven’t yet. Also the redhead website has a henna depositing shampoo I want to try- Have you tried this? Your hair is absolutely gorgeous .


    January 17, 2018
  • Ashley


    I bought the superdrug colour conditioner and your review is spot on. Not a great conditioner but it gives red colour a lift as if it had been lightly died. Thanks for these tips!

    July 21, 2019
  • Heidi Ilingsworth


    This is exactly what ive been looking for – thank you! My auburn hair does the same chameleon colour change in the light but I want the extra red boost back… I’ll be rushing to Superdrug straight after lockdown 🙂

    P.s. I always get the pale comments & spent years keeping my legs covered in summer. Now at 39, I don’t care and a lot of people who make those silly comments can’t believe my age so I delight in telling them my secret… factor 30 and above 😀

    April 25, 2020
  • Rose


    Please could we have a products for redhair update!

    I see terrible reviews on superdrug website for their redhair conditioner now as apparently the formula has been changed and wonder what you rate that is currently available. I saw some products on amazon but scared to try!

    September 10, 2022
      • kiki


        to Amber an all other redheads
        I am the only redhead in my family, so I didn’t really know that red hair needs special treatment. I used to have copper hair, but over the years it got darker and darker, almost brown. is there any chance that to
        get back to my red hair with the right products (without dying them)? or is it too late if the colour faded?

        October 25, 2023