40 Best Red Highlights in 2023 for Brown, Blonde & Black Hair

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Cindy Marcus
Cindy Marcus Hairstylist, Editor-in-Chief

When you hear “red highlights,” you might think of bright fire engine red! But just wait until you see the variations of red highlights below. They can be bold and bright, fiery copper, wine-colored like burgundy, or soft shades of strawberry blonde highlights. Your stylist can place highlights red all through your hair or strategically enhance your haircut and face shape. The options are endless!

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Edgy But Conservative Red hairstyle
Instagram @angiem_beauty

#1: Edgy Red Highlights on Dark Hair

Opt for a color that’s edgy but cautious. Contradictory, right? My favorite thing about this look is that its vibrant color gives you a bold and fearless feel, but it’s a little more conservative! Considering the ombre-style highlights don’t go directly to the root, this look is great because it lets you be expressive without going too crazy by going all-over red. To create red highlights on dark hair, the essential products needed are a lightener that is balayage-friendly, a red direct-dye or semi-permanent color of your choice, and your favorite bowls/brushes to paint with.

One thing I love most about red hair color is that there are so many ways to customize it. While some people might prefer a very warm-toned red hair color, others might benefit more from a red with a pink or purple tone. Shades like a red-violet or a red-brown are deeper in tone, making them great options if you want a hint of red in your hair but don’t want to go too crazy!

One great thing about these highlights in red hair is that they don’t come directly from the root. They are softer, more natural-looking, and easier to maintain. As time passes, a client’s color service could be as simple as toning the red again for a refresh when it fades rather than having the first touch up the highlights. That’s the beauty of balayage: it grows out effortlessly! This is the perfect look if you want to go a little crazy with your red hair color with highlights without committing to a root touch-up every few weeks.

Romantic Red Highlights for dark hair
Instagram @ongiga4__

#2: Romantic Red Highlights

Opt for a romantic red highlighted style. Try a seductive and edgy color choice for long hair. Ask your colorist for dimensional highlights and lowlights of dark brown or black with a bright red. You will do all-over highlighting first and then color melt or gloss a gorgeous vivid red. To keep up the red vibrancy at home, you should check out Celeb Luxury Viral Red Colorwash Shampoo.

Gorgeous Red Balayage Highlights for ladies with long wavy black hair
Instagram @ongiga4__

#3: Gorgeous Red Balayage Highlights

If you want a bright change, this gorgeous red balayage highlights may be the answer for you. The best way to achieve this vibrant shade will be to lighten the hair first, then do a Pravana vivid on top! Get the most out of your red hair. I recommend using a color-safe shampoo and conditioner to keep up with the vibrancy. You must also see your stylist every 6-8 weeks for an all-over color refresh. Try Davines Alchemic Conditioner Red.

#4: Sleek Straight Dark with Red Highlights

Red streaks in your hair work great on any hair color, especially a dark one, as it brings your hair to life with its vibrancy.

Long Waves with a Reddish-Copper Money Piece Highlights
Instagram @deeprootsatx

#5: Long Waves with a Reddish-Copper Money Piece

Long waves with a reddish-copper money piece will make a statement. It’s a hair color and style that will look great for everyone. It would be best to be cautious not to lighten all of the ends of your hair. For example, darker colors on top throughout your ends will make your hair look more natural. This makes for a better grow-out, too. Not to mention, this will add depth and dimension to your hair color.

Stunning red highlights on dark brown hair
Instagram @badgal.beautyy

#6: Stunning Red Highlights on Dark Brown Hair

The bold, striking rich red highlights on dark brown hair make your base stand out without effort and add dimension and movement to your hair, especially with those elegant curls at the ends. This medium-length cut will also be a great transition style if you’re going from long hair to short hair.

#7: Bright Red Highlights on Short Hair

Have fun under the sun with vibrant red highlights on short hair, painted on a layered stacked wavy bob that helps make your colors stand out amazingly! Hair painting for red hairstyles will help you bring out your inner fiery side!

#8: Sultry Red and Brown Highlights

Red and brown highlights are for you if you want to stand out and have fun with your hair. The color placement will grow out nicely and easily. Maintenance depends on your hair’s amount of grey and how bright you like the color.

#9: Gorgeous Red Highlights on Brown Hair

This chocolate cherry look was a color correction. It can be recreated on most red highlighted hair. I used a medium brown for the shadow root and glazed the rest, including the highlights, with a red violet. We decided on a textured A-line lob for versatility. I used Matrix Airy Builder Dry Texture foam for the blowout, then curled with a 1 1/4 inch wand and finished with Matrix Texture Builder. I love that this highlighted effect can be worn spicy or subtle. Use professional products at home to help extend the red tones of your highlights. Red highlights on brown hair fade fast, so this look must be reglazed every 4-6 weeks. A red shampoo may be used to maintain vibrancy between salon visits.

#10: Copper Red Highlights on Light Brown Hair

Opt for the chunking method because copper red highlights on light brown hair come out best when you have medium golden brown hair as the base. Chunky copper red highlights blend nicely with your natural hair color, yet it creates the perfect pop of color for spring and summer! You will have to use a color-safe shampoo to help keep the copper red hair vibrant, and even as it fades over time, it will still have a nice natural red tone.

Beautiful red highlights on curly brown hair
Instagram @samantha.emm

#11: Beautiful Red Highlights on Curly Hair

Check out this textured, tapered bob haircut, with lots of dimension from the red highlights that complement the versatility of the styling. You will love the texture and movement. This cut and style highlight colors that work with many hair types.  Red highlights are a great option for fair-skinned, olive skin tones and blue eyes, as they pull out some of those features’ warmth.

This look is great for long faces as the longest parts end around the jawline, creating a rounder look. This is also great for fine hair since the texture adds volume and bounce. To recreate this look, use a minimal product, either a light mousse or styling creme, and a salt spray to finish. This look is easy to maintain, so it’s great for the active, busy lifestyle while still feeling flirty and fun.

#12: Subtle Red Highlights on Dirty Blonde Hair

This is a long layered haircut with blonde and red highlights added to create dimension and brightness. This cut/style is great for all hair types. The light interior layers help to slim the look of the cut in thick or curly hair yet add movement within the haircut. The long layers still allow your hair to be pulled back, which is great if you have a more active lifestyle. However, if the hair is very fine/thin, a shorter or blunter cut may be a better option for you. If your hair is curly, achieve a smooth look by applying a smoothing serum (like Pureology’s Smooth Perfection smoothing serum) before blow-drying.

#13: Modern Auburn Red Highlights

This auburn red hair is simple. The cut is forgiving, can be worn in any style, and is long enough to be pulled back. You will fall in love with the red tones in your hair/highlights and how they come alive with your curls. If it’s the highlights you love, I recommend a sulfate-free, professional, color-safe shampoo. Red highlights tend to fade quickly, so we carry tinted, color-depositing shampoos by All Nutrient to keep your color fresh at home.

I always recommend a heat protectant when using heat tools, so if you love your curling iron or curling wand and want to recreate this style, start there. Spray your hair lightly with All Nutrient’s flat iron spray first (it works for curls, too!). After curling, break up your curls with your fingers while spraying with a medium-hold hairspray (I like Kenra’s #13) to create a more relaxed, tousled curl.

#14: Vibrant Short Brown Hair with Red Highlights

This is a balayage using reddish tones, where some of the foils have been taken up quite close to the roots. My favorite thing about this look is that it is strong yet softly blended. I love that the foils accentuate the inner part of the haircut to create texture. To maintain this look and keep your red hair streaks vibrant, I recommend using an at-home color refresher to protect against color fade. You may need to refresh more than others. It just depends on your hair and lifestyle.

Vivid Red Balayage hairstyle
Instagram @jldoeshair

#15: Vivid Red Highlights

Consider a vivid red balayage because of how nicely it grows out with your natural root. Ask your stylist to paint your hair with a Solaris lightener and 40 volume developer until at a level 8-9. Then, apply Pulp Riot Fireball from your roots to your ends. After rinsing, apply Finest Pigments Red for that shine! I recommend using a color-safe or color-depositing shampoo like Viral Extreme Red color wash to keep your red fresh!

Wearable Red Bob with Red Highlights hairstyle
Instagram @kfisha

#16: Wearable Bob with Red Highlights

Choose this color and cut combo if you want something fierce and daring but still wearable. My favorite thing about this look is the haircut and how it compliments the color and highlights. I also love that it can look fabulous straight or with a little curl. This look is best suited if you have fine to normal hair. This won’t look great if you don’t want to be in the salon often because it requires maintenance. Highlights in red shades typically fade quickly, so keeping your look fresh requires time, effort, and money.

Gorgeous Amber Tones hairstyle
Instagram @hairartbynaomi

#17: Gorgeous Amber Red Highlights

You will fall in love with these gorgeous amber tones. The best thing about this look is that there is so much dimension and depth to the strawberry red hair with blonde highlights. It’s even prettier up close than it is from far away. This look is great for light to medium skin tones. It works best if you have medium to dark brown hair (or if you’re someone who already has dark red hair). Use a permanent dark auburn color for your base color, so getting your roots touched up and toning your ends to the perfect maple syrup color is a once every six weeks maintenance.

#18: Reflective Red Highlights in Brown Hair

To keep your color as low maintenance as possible, ask your colorist to keep your base a reflective neutral version of your natural level. To maintain your beautiful shine and prevent fading, use Aveda Color Conserve shampoo and conditioner. To protect your hair from heat styling, add Aveda’s Pure Abundance  Style Prep and Phomollient for volume and shine, along with a few sprays of Aveda’s new Texture Tonic (my new favorite for every hair type).

With a neutral base tone, this low-maintenance color is perfect for grey coverage and minimizing the contrast in your new growth. This allows you to maintain a beautiful reflective dimension every 6 to 8 weeks for grey coverage at your base and twice a year for your mid-lengths to ends.

#19: Soft Copper-Red Highlights

I would describe this look and highlights as warm and inviting, adding a sexy twist to the traditional all-over color. The soft balayage copperlights are the best part. This look can be worn daily but also styled to make a statement. I recommend Joico Color Lover shampoo and conditioner for your bright reds. For styling, I recommend using a heat protectant before adding your curls with a flat iron and Paul Mitchell Smoothing Serum to finish. This red hair with highlights can be created for you with the balayage technique. However, I recommend this color of red if you want to make a statement or pop with your everyday style.

Trendy Mahogany Red Balayage hairstyle
Instagram @makenziejo92

#20: Trendy Mahogany Red Highlights

This is a great fall hair color, especially if you’re a woman over 40. It has a dark brown base with a blended mahogany red balayage. It combines the desire for warmer fall tones with the popular balayage technique! The shoulder-length hair complements the style with the soft waves! The best thing about it is the different tones within the red balayage. I recommend Aveda Madder Root shampoo and conditioner to help maintain your rich mahogany color. To create this look, I recommend products for texture and hold.

This hairstyle with highlights would be great for a variety of women. It’s great for the low-maintenance lady because balayage grows out gracefully. It’s great if you are looking for a change of color for fall because the mahogany is a nice, warm tone easily changeable by the next appointment. Fall hair colors like this mahogany are also great for women over 50.

#21: Soft Medium Brown Hair with Red Highlights

These highlights and hair color were created as a transition out of a summer balayage. We were going for multi-tonal red hair color with fall vibes. I used a color melt technique to give a ton of dimension, blending permanent root color through the mid-shaft with two demi-permanent glosses over the ends. My favorite thing about medium brown hair with red highlights is its versatility. Depending on the light, different colors will pop through your ends. The best part is that it can be maintained with a simple root touch-up and gloss.

To achieve this red hair color, I formulated using Kenra Reds and Kenra Metallics:

Roots melted through midshaft with permanent – 1 oz 6RR, 1 oz 6RC, 1/2 oz of 6N, 2 1/2 oz 20 volume

Two different Demi glosses melted over ends – 1 oz 8BrM, 2 oz 9 volume, and 1/2 oz 8C, 1/2 oz 7VM, 9 volume

To keep your color at its most vibrant, I recommend rinsing your hair with cooler water and shampooing with Kenra Color Charge. We used IGK’s Sunday Funday to style these textured beach waves created with a 1 1/2-inch iron.

#22: Amazing Violet and Copper Red Highlights

Try a red violet and copper balayage with highlights. I love this look because I love the richness of the tones. I love the dimension and depth it gives your hair to accentuate the texture of your cut. Balayage like this is great for low-maintenance women and the “every six weeks” girl. Using a shadow root color close to your natural color allows you to wear this color a little longer if you choose.

#23: Intense Violet Red Highlights

I love doing reds, especially violet red hair colors! For this look, I used an intense violet red at the base and a lighter, more intense red to add the pops along the part and around her face. My favorite thing about this color is that it has so many dimensions and, in different lighting, it looks so completely different. Adding some dimension adds movement and shift to your hair, keeping it from looking so flat.

I wouldn’t recommend red if you want something low maintenance or spend a lot of time outside in the sun or the water. Red requires a lot of maintenance and can fade quickly if not properly maintained. I recommend this color if you have medium to coarse texture hair and can get your hair color refreshed every six to eight weeks.

#24: Multi-Dimensional Red Highlights

This is a multi-dimensional red. I love how the different tones of the red hair colour highlights compliment the cut to create that perfectly tousled and lived-in look, yet it all still looks fresh and rich with added warmth. When applying warmth, I am always careful to notice warmth in my skin and eye tones. If your skin and eye tones are warm, I would not recommend this look to avoid being too warm.

I used Joico Lumishine to create this look. I used equal parts of 5nwb and 5nc on the base to mid-shaft. I weaved 6nc from the mid-shaft to the ends on the pre-lightened sections, leaving some pre-lightened areas out. I finished with a glaze at the bowl using Lumishine Demi Permanent liquid 7nwb. For maintenance, I recommend a sulfate-free shampoo to prevent fading.

Hottest Trendy Red Balayage hairstyle
Instagram @sarahzstylz

#25: Hottest Red Highlights in Dark Black Hair

This red balayage with loose waves is the hottest hair trend of today! What I love most about lived-in red highlights on black hair is that it enables you to have a fashionable hairstyle with low-maintenance upkeep. The shadowed root erases all harsh grow-out lines that you would have with traditional foil highlights.

To style, use a heat protector first, then a light hairspray and 1-inch curling iron. Lastly, gently brush out your curls with your fingers. Black hair with red highlights is ideal whether you have a fair skin tone, olive complexion, blue eyes, or brown eyes. If you’re looking for red hair coloring ideas for a hot new look, this red balayage is for you!

Cool Girl Red hairstyle
Instagram @joeyhair_nyc

#26: Cool Red Highlights in Braids

First, I recommend high-quality bleach (not hydrogen peroxide like in foiling or frosting) to get a consistent result. You don’t need to let your hair get too blonde because the toner will be red. For the toner, choose a very bright red line 6.66 and a red intensifier to get a very bright red on the balayage! To maintain this example of red highlights, you must return once a month to repeat the toner. I always recommend at-home treatments between appointments to keep your hair healthy.

#27: Fiery Bright Red Highlights

This is a bayalombre technique. The hair was pre-lightened months ago, allowing you to create different looks each visit. I love the color graduation from a warm brown to a fiery red. Sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners are a must when wearing bold colors! Daily shampooing is a no no. I recommend Redken Color Magnetics Shampoo and Conditioner and Pillow Proof dry shampoo. You can wear a bold color. If it makes you feel pretty, go for it! This fiery red is best on warmer skin tones and darker eyes. Try the cooler, more violet tones if you have fairer skin and lighter eyes.

#28: Golden Light Brown Hair With Strawberry Red Highlights

This look is vibrant and soft, featuring a high-luster copper base with accents of strawberry and gold. To create light brown hair with red highlights, I recommend using L’oreal Platinium Plus paste lightener with 20 volume, followed by a Dia Light gloss (acidic-based demi) in a sheer golden tone.

When highlighting red bases, it’s important not to “over lift” your highlights. You want to leave warmth to complement your base color. In general, coppery red and blonde highlights on brown hair looks best if you have warm ivory skin and also if you have freckles. Mahogany, maroon, and violet-based reds are a great alternative to copper if you have a cool skin tone.

#29: Autumn Red Highlights in Blonde Hair

This is an autumn melt. My favorite thing about these red highlights on blonde hair is how dimensional it is. Its many tones give it depth and make it look rich. I recommend a color-safe shampoo and conditioner. We used Kevin Murphy Angel Wash because it gives volume to your finer hair and adds moisture without weighing it down. Heat protection is also so important for blonde hair with red highlights. We used Kenra Blow Dry Spray because it protects hair from heat and adds incredible shine.

Dimensional Red Highlights
Instagram @nataliarok

#30: Dimensional Red Highlights

This is a dimensional red balayage done with a favorite hair product among colorists, Olaplex. This dimensional look is vibrant in the sun, but it stays classic and elegant at night. This hair color is perfect for warm skin or fair to golden-toned skin.

To maintain this look, use Fire Opal Cooper + Ruby Red color wash shampoo Gem Lites for 10 minutes and conditioner every two weeks. Also, you can create these soft waves with a 1 1/4-inch Hot Tools iron at 375 degrees after applying Moroccanoil Heat Protection. Finish with Moroccanoil Hairspray in the medium hold.

Yummy Dark Chocolate Cherry Melt
Instagram @stylingpretty

#31: Yummy Dark Chocolate Cherry Melt

Dark chocolate cherry melt gives black hair an incredible shine and a fun pop of color. It’s perfect for darker natural brunettes and can be lower maintenance if the shade resembles your natural base. Red tones like dark cherry may fade quickly, so use Lakme Teknia Ultra Red shampoo. When added to your at-home haircare regimen, the black with red highlights color will look brand new in between salon appointments.

#32: Stylish Red Highlights in Brunette Hair

This is a dimensional balayage. I love how blended the red hair highlights look and how the brown makes the red appear bright. To create this look, I used Syncro Lift from Paul Mitchell, Paul Mitchell the color level 3 for the brown and Paul Mitchell XG level 5 for the red, and a PM Shine to make the color last longer and give it that shiny look. To maintain this look, I recommend Awapuhi Ginger. It will protect your color from fading and add the protein your hair needs.

Dimensional Dark Plum Red hairstyle
Instagram @dezaraefortrue

#33: Dark Plum Red Highlights

This is a dimensional red. A darker plum red faded into a lighter vibrant red on the ends. My favorite thing about this color is how dimensional it is. I used certain partings and two different formulas for the look. You can’t beat the Aveda Shine! For styling, use Aveda Color Conserve Daily Hair Protect to protect against heat and add shine and moisture while making your color last. Also, use Aveda Confixor liquid gel to help hold your style. This look is perfect if you have a busy lifestyle and need something very low-maintenance. This type of red looks great, mostly with tan skin. Ask your stylist to add copper to the formula if you have more fair skin.

Effortless Red Violet Highlights hairstyle
Instagram @kameestyle

#34: Effortless Red Violet Highlights

The base has a dark red/brown hair color with red violet highlights. I love how the highlights create dimension and show off the texture of the haircut. Red violet hair color is perfect if you have a light to medium skin tone with pink undertones. I recommend having a stylist help you maintain your hair color. It will need to be refreshed every six to eight weeks. Subtle dark red highlights will work with any hair type and texture, but I love it best on naturally curly hair.

To style, start with Unite Smooth and Shine and apply it from your mid-shaft to your ends. Then, spray Unite Liquid Dust on your roots and use a large round brush to blow dry your hair. After completely drying your hair, use a 1-inch barrel curling iron to create beach waves. Spray each curl with Unite Texturiza and brush your hair. Finish with Unite Go 365 Hairspray.

#35: Delicious Chocolate Brown Hair with Red Highlights

This is a red balayage, aka brown hair with red highlights. It’s very dimensional, and its true colors will appear when your hair is waved. However, it does look great straight as well! Dark brown with red highlights is higher maintenance, so I wouldn’t recommend it if you don’t have the time to come into the hair salon every six to eight weeks to refresh your color. This brunette with red highlights is a great color for any hair type/thickness. All skin tones can wear these tones except if you have red cheeks or rosacea because it can bring out more redness in your skin.

#36: Sangria Red Highlights on Black Hair

This is a red sangria balayage! This deep-rooted red is the perfect color for fall. Everyone is jumping on the balayage trend, but adding a red tone is slightly different. I consider this a fashion color, meaning it will be more work to maintain. Plan on returning to the salon to refresh your red color with a glaze in about four to six weeks.

Hair color is an investment; you should use quality washing products to avoid washing the color down the drain! I love Framesi Color Lover shampoo and conditioner and Davines Alchemic Red shampoo and conditioner. Additionally, washing less often and with cool water will help your color last even longer.

Deep Red Balayage hairstyle
Instagram hairbyrachelmae

#37: Deep Magenta Red Highlights

This is a rich red balayage with a dimension in the darker base, and brightness pops. Balayage is an awesome technique because as your hair grows, you don’t get a hard line but more of a softer grow-out. Any skin tone can pull off red. I love that this color is vibrant and fun but needs to be more in-your-face fantasy. Whether you work in an office or an art gallery, you can rock this!

Dimensional Deep Red Balayage hairstyle
Instagram @hopehairlove

#38: Dimensional Deep Red Hair Balayage

This look is a dimensional red balayage with big, soft curls. These are organically handpainted highlights with a deep red from base to ends. The highlights set the base for the red, allowing it to be brighter in some spots and darker in others to create a dimensional, color-melting, eye-catching color! My favorite thing about this color is the balayage effect. It adds movement and pop to any color or style! To maintain the color, I recommend GemLites Colorwash in Ruby to keep that red vibrant between salon appointments. Also, I like any Aquage shampoo and conditioner because they are color-safe.

The beautiful thing about red hair color is its many different shades, making it beautiful on many skin tones! From peachy pale skin to warm darker shades, red can work for all of them. I would recommend orange-red, rich copper red, or dark auburn red shades for lighter skin. For deeper skin tones, try berry or wine shades of red. Red is a fun hair color, but to make a statement, you must keep up with the maintenance. Red isn’t a color I recommend if you are looking for salon appointments only once or twice a year. Red requires consistent salon visits to touch up or refresh your color!

#39: Autumn Chic

Dark brown hair with red highlights is a chic way of putting sass into your hairstyle. It has a pop of color but is still super professional and wearable! My favorite thing about this look is the dark natural color transitions into red.

To maintain this look, I recommend a color-safe shampoo, a deep conditioner to keep your ends strong, and maybe even a red-tinted shampoo or conditioner to keep your ends looking fresh! I recommend this style if you want a bold look that can still be worn casually. It’s best for darker skin tones so you don’t look too washed out.

Blended Red Caramel Balayage hairstyle
Instagram @shelbykay_91

#40: Blended Caramel and Red Highlights

This brown hair with red and blonde highlights makes a nice blended red caramel balayage. It’s a great way to add something different without fully committing to a new look. If you have an olive skin tone or a darker complexion, these warmer blends complement your features and add dimension to your naturally dark hair with red highlights without breaking your base. Do not wash your hair daily; cooler water is key with red hair color! Every woman is different, but this red highlights hair is great if you want to change it while keeping it blended and subtle.

Hair Colors Hair Highlights Red Hair