How to Change Hair Color From Red to Brown

Go for a bold new look and become a brunette.

Photo: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

If you want to change your hair color from juicy red to luscious brown but don't want to pay hundreds of dollars in upkeep you are in luck. Changing your hair color from red to brown is easy to do at home in a couple of easy steps and costs just a few dollars. You'll be able to touch up your roots every six to eight weeks just as cheaply and easily.

Initial Change


Wash your hair thoroughly and deep condition it 24 hours before you plan to color your hair. Don't wash it again the day you color. Avoid using any hair products.


Choose a brown hair color. To cover up red tones opt for a neutral shade. This is usually identified by the letter "N" in the hair color number. Avoid ash tones, or hair color numbers with the letter "A," which could turn your hair green. Gold tones, or hair color numbers with the letter "G" will make your already warm hair brassy.


Prepare the area where you will color your hair. Put on an old tee shirt that you won't mind staining. Lay an old towel down on the floor. Open a window to allow the fumes from the hair color chemicals to escape.


Carefully rub a small amount of petroleum jelly along your hair line and on the tips of your ears, being careful not to get any on your hair. This will protect your skin from being stained by the dye.


Separate your hair into four sections, first straight down the middle of your head, then across from just behind your ears. Secure each section with a metal clip.


Put on the gloves included with your home hair color kit. Mix your hair color according to the directions included.


Apply hair color carefully, one section at a time. Starting at the roots and work toward the ends. Remove the clips as you go along. Make sure all of your red hair is covered. Leave the hair color on for the time stated in the kit's instructions.


Thoroughly rinse the dye from your hair using lukewarm water. This is most easily done in the shower, although a sink with a spray attachment works too. Don't shampoo your hair. Apply any conditioning treatment included in the box of color.


You can shampoo your hair 24 hours after your color. Use products especially formulated for color treated hair. To prevent too much of your natural red from shining through and extend the life of your new color, use products that deposit a light coating of brown coloring to strands.

Touching Up


Root touch-ups on permanent hair color need to be done every six to eight weeks. Buy the exact same shade you used the last time. If you want to switch colors you'll have to restart with your new color.


Prepare as you did for your initial coloring, but instead of applying color from roots to ends focus only on the roots. Save some color to apply to the ends later.


During the last five to 10 minutes left of the coloring time suggested in the instructions, apply the remaining dye to the middle section and ends of your hair. This will freshen and brighten your color.


Thoroughly rinse the dye from your hair using lukewarm water and apply any conditioning treatment included with your hair dye kit. Wait to shampoo for 24 hours.

Things You'll Need


1.Deep conditioning treatment

3.Old tee shirt and towel

5.Petroleum jelly

2.One to two boxes home hair color

4.Hair clips

6.Color depositing shampoo and conditioner for color treated hair


Tips & Tricks


Decide if you want a permanent or semipermanent hair color. Semipermanent dyes will last anywhere from eight to 20 washes. It washes out gradually, revealing more and more of your natural red tone. Permanent colors will remain until your hair grows out.

Use one box of color if your hair is shoulder length or shorter, two boxes if longer. If it is your first time using a specific brown color or brand, perform a strand test to make sure you like it.

Maintain your new brown hair color by only using shampoos and conditioners specially formulated for color-treated hair.

Do not wash your hair 24 hours prior to coloring as natural oils help protect your scalp. Do not leave color on longer than directed.


Related Videos


Add to this Article



Just for you

What type are you?

Choose your Hair Concerns
or Register
Daily Look


How would you like to register?

Register with Facebook
  • It's fast, easy and hassle-free
  • One-click log-in and commenting
Register with
  • Use your email to create your account