I’ve had red hair on and off for years and years. In fact, if you were to accumulate the time I’ve not had red hair, between when I was around 15 and now, you’ll probably only total up a year or so. Of course its been varying shades, from subtle red tones over the top of my naturally dark hair, all the way through to the bright pillar-box red I have now. All of the differing shades I’ve loved, although my current colour is probably my favourite.
However, the is one thing I’ve consistently hated about my red hair, and that’s what an absolute pain it is to maintain. In fact, red is renowned as one of the most difficult colours to keep vibrant when it comes to hair. This is down to the pigments for the colour being larger, and unable to penetrate the hair as effectively as other colours may do. It’s for this same reason that red lipstick or other makeup tends to have a shorter lasting time that alternative shades of the same product.
Over the years I’ve tried various methods to try and keep the colour fresh for as long as possible. From reducing the number of washes, to using all kinds of different shampoos and conditioners – many of which don’t actually do what they say they will! One thing I haven’t tried however, is a top up shampoo, so when I spotted the Live Colour Refresh in Boots one day while wondering around the city, I of course snapped it straight up. To be fair, I’m kind of amazed I haven’t come across it before, clearly I don’t pay enough attention!
The idea behind this product is that you use it in place of shampoo. You buy the colour refresh to match the shade of dye you’ve used, and the formula is infused with pigments to match the colour. So it is essentially shampoo with hair dye in it. The price point is a little higher than a regular shampoo, but hey, if it works and saves you dying your hair as much, it’s worth the investment right? Right!
I chose the shade ‘Pilar box red’ which is one of the shades I currently use on my hair. In fact, to get my shade, I mix three different brands together – my hairdresser thinks I’m nuts, but also admits I have very healthy hair, so I guess that’s a win. I use ‘Live’ Pillar-box red, ‘Manic Panic’ Pillar-box red, with a dash of ‘Crazy Colour’.
Being the excitable sort, I couldn’t wait to try out my new purchase, so I gave it a go the very same day I brought it. From reading the instructions I knew gloves were recommended, and whilst I have loads medical grade gloves I use to colour my hair I decided not to bother.
When washing my hair the formula was indeed red, and very similar in tone to my regular dye, although I’m pleased to report it didn’t stain my hands at all. It didn’t lather up like a normal shampoo, which actually made it quite difficult to spread evenly throughout my hair, especially given the length of mine. As instructed, I left it on my hair for 5 minutes or so before washing out, and then continued with my usual routine.
Upon getting out of the shower and drying my hair, the first thing I noticed was that my hair was a lot more difficult to get a brush through than normal, especially at the roots. I must say though, whilst I wouldn’t say I had day one colour, the red did look a little better than before I’d washed my hair.
So in terms of whether the product works or not, the short answer is yes. It will provide a boost, or at the very least increase the time needed between colouring. However, I didn’t love how difficult the formula was to work with, nor how it made my hair feel afterwards. I’m not sure if mixing it with my usual shampoo would negate some of the problems I found with it, but then, it would probably heavily dilute the colour, so it’s a bit of a trade-off.
Do I think its worth the money? Perhaps not. Given that Manic Panic and Crazy colour as so gentle on hair, I feel I’d be as well off putting those on my hair after shampooing, or even create my own version, to provide a boost, as it’ll work out much cheaper. I’ll continue to use the rest of the bottle, but for me personally, it’s not something I’ll look to repurchase.
Do you have any tips for keeping colour looking fresh?