Colour Matching Home Dyed Mahogany Reds

When it comes to flat colours, reds are by far the most difficult, especially when achieved through home hair dye kits.  With our other flat colours such as platinum blonde, black, and dark brown, we have a wide array of colours to choose from on our colour ring, all of which are very similar to one another.  Unfortunately the same cannot be said of reds, and there are a few reasons why this is the case.

Home hair dye

xxlThese days, home hair dye kits are incredibly popular and a great way to save a bit of money if you are not looking to fork out a fortune at your local salon.  If you are dying your brown hair to a darker shade of brown, it is unlikely that you will encounter too many problems with home dye kits apart from the shade being slightly darker than you had hoped for. However if you are looking for a complete colour change the outcome can be slightly more unpredictable.

A colour which has proved very popular for home hair dye lovers is mahogany.  With images on the boxes that promise a gorgeous red wine hue, the outcome is often uneven, patchy, and the overall colour is somewhat brighter at the roots than it is at the tips of the hair.  This can prove to be a nightmare for hair extensionists with clients who have dyed their hair in this manner, as a colour match is difficult to achieve.  Fortunately, however, there are some solutions which will assist you with this type of client, making it possible to achieve the long locks they desire.  Lets take a look at the 2 main issues with this type of client, uneven colour and restricted choice.

Uneven colour

More often than not, when you come across a red headed client this is not likely to be their natural colour, but will have come from a box and been dyed at home.  This is absolutely fine and will suit most clients, however the majority will admit that the final colour was not similar to that of the box, and instead still reflects the original colour they started with.

This tends to result in a very dark mahogany that is vivid at the roots, but still resembles typically a dark brown at the tips.  In natural light the hair will appear fairly red on the surface, but up close will be very dark which can be deceiving.

Restricted choice

redThis then brings us onto our next limitation which is the restricted choice of colours available to mahogany clients.  With blonde and brunette clients there are many different colours to choose from on a standard colour ring, however with mahogany this is not the case, and often there are only 1 or 2 colours that would work that are often far more vivid than your clients colour.  99j and 530 are classic examples of mahogany colours that are available but often too bright

How to overcome this obstacle

When a client has used a home hair dye kit to achieve mahogany, it is most likely that they have taken inspiration from the likes of the familiar faces below, all who have achieved an even, vivid shade of red.


Unfortunately, most clients will fall short of this colour. Not through any fault of their own, but simply due to the fact that their original colour could not facilitate such a drastic change.  The closest colour they are likely to compare to on a colour chart is 99j as this is the darkest of mahogany’s, however even this is likely to be too bright as the client will have too much brown showing through.  With this in mind, let’s look at some solutions to help your client achieve the long hair they desire without having to revert back to brown.

hair-dying-1_300Lightening the clients hair

When faced with this situation there are two routes that you can advise your client to take to achieve the colour hair extensions they desire.  The first route is to advise your client to seek out a professional colourist, and take a sample of the colour they are looking to achieve.  You can leave your client a sample of 99J for example, so that she can take this to her hairdresser and have a colour correction performed.  Once she has reached her desired colour you will then be able to fit the hair extensions for her.

Potential problems

An issue you may come across with this solution is that the client may either be reluctant to continue dying her hair, or she will continue to attempt to do this herself at home.  Whilst this is a personal choice, it is unlikely that your client will be able to reach the shade of mahogany required to have the extensions fitted, and will either be left disappointed with the colour of their own hair, or frustrated that they have not been able to have the hair extensions fitted as quickly as they would like, and have forked out a fortune on hair dye.  This should only be suggested if the client is happy to visit a professional who can correct the colour without causing any damage to the natural hair.

Applying darker hair extensions

If your client is not willing to have a colour correction to achieve the shade of mahogany they require, an alternative route is to approach the colour issue from a different angle, by applying hair extensions that are the clients “pre-red” colour.  You will need to establish with your client the closest colour available on your colour ring to that of their hair before it was dyed red.  Typically this is likely to be colours #1b, #2 or #4.  The idea behind this would be for the client to have this colour hair extension fitted, and then apply the same box colour they have used on their own hair to colour the hair extensions.  Whilst it is not best practice to dye the hair extensions for quality reasons, from time to time this will be necessary if you have a client with this hair type, and is one of the most accurate and effective ways to match up your clients colour.

Potential problems

There are a couple of issues that need to be considered before taking this route.  Firstly, your client must be fully on board with the process and happy to have hair extensions fitted that do not initially match.  As long as the client is aware that the final result will not be achieved straight away, and that they will need to dye the hair extensions post fitting this should be ok, however we would advise that you add on to your consultation form that your client is aware the colour they are having fitted does not match their current colour, and that they are happy to dye the extensions at a later date.

Your client will also need to be aware that this type of fitting requires a fair amount of upkeep.  As they will be dying their hair extensions to match their hair, they may be required to keep this routine every 4-6 weeks as the colour will eventually fade.  Your client must be sure they are happy to commit to this up keep before the hair extensions are fitted.

A detailed consultation is key

For this type of client, your consultation will be a key part of the colour matching and fitting process.  Unlike any other colour your client will need to be completely on board with the upkeep and maintenance of this colour.  This is a high maintenance style, the most complex of all colours, and therefore if you client does not think she will be able to commit the time and finances to this colour it would be best to discuss reverting back to a lower maintenance colour such as brown.  You may find that you client prefers this idea and is more than willing to go back to brown for the sake of natural looking hair extensions.

Having said this however, using the techniques above your client will be able to achieve a gorgeous red hue which make for stunning hair extensions, and it is well worth the effort as Cheryl Cole, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato and Rhianna demonstrate above.