There is a Shade of Red for Every Woman

The single most common question that I get asked is…how do you get your hair so vibrant red? The answer usually surprises most when I respond that I do it myself and I don’t need to bleach it first. Most assume I must have blonde or light brown hair which couldn’t be anything further from the truth. It all boils down to finding the right products that work with your hair and establishing a healthy maintenance regime to keep it vibrant between colourings. First and foremost, I am NOT a hairdresser nor have ANY professional training on the matter; this is simply how I managed to find affordable alternatives to visiting the salon every 6-8 weeks due to financial limitations.

IMG_4194This is not the first time I am writing about my hair regime, but I wanted to provide an update on the products I currently use along with some tried & tested red hair upkeep tips. The original article is a great beginner’s guide on what you need to start dying your hair at home, read it here:

IMG_3799Now that you’ve read that, let’s discuss what colour mixture I found to be the most vibrant yet without having to pre-lighten first even if you have medium to dark brown hair like me. After all this time, I still love the L’Oreal HiColor red collection available at Sally’s and find it doesn’t leave my hair dry or damaged. Instead of mixing the HiColor red hot with the HiColor Red HiLights, I now use two boxes of the pure HiColor Red HiLights. Yes, this is meant to be for highlights only but it works great for all over colour if you are seeking a WOW vibrant red! This colour is not for the faint of heart…it is a really fiery red. The mixture recommends a 20 cream developer; this is where you should consult with a professional on what your hair needs specifically as not everyone can handle the same intensity. I currently use a 30 developer on my roots (to lighten) and 10 developer on my ends, as the colour just needs to be re-deposited…not lightened like the root. I leave this on for 45 minutes, although the instructions say 30 minutes. Again, I can’t emphasize enough to start off by following the product guidelines before causing any damage to your hair. I’ve been dying mine for several years now and I took my time before making any changes to the recommended process.

uXDMR2JL4ugpo7hRd2DAQAnyone that has had red hair will know, it fades the quickest out of all colours and goes down the drain every you wash your hair. The trick is, STOP WASHING YOUR HAIR!!! Yes, you heard me right…wash your hair as little as possible, once or twice a week tops! Believe it or not, I used to be that person who washed their hair daily and could not go a day without as it would get super oily. The thing is, the more you wash your hair, the more oils your scalp produces. Crazy right? When you do wash your hair, try to find a quality colour conserve shampoo with no sulfate like the Redken Color Extend Magnetics Sulfate-Free Hair Color Shampoo. This is what I use, it does take a double lather to remove the oily build up after a weeks’ time. I omit using any conditioner as I find it makes my hair get greasy that much quicker.

206678_357797_colorextend_magnetics_family_gl_2013After the first couple of washes (ie: weeks) from colouring, I always notice my ends start to fade first since they are the most processed. This is where I use the Revlon Professional Nutri Color Creme 600 Fire Red as filler in-between dying. Let me say, this product is not the cheapest but is worth every penny! This cream works as a stain and conditions as well. The longer you leave it on in the shower, the better it takes. Note, since this is a highly pigmented stain…you must wear gloves. It will mark any surface so be careful when applying. The Revlon Colour Ball is what carries me through until the next colour and keeps it looking vibrant week after week. But be sure to wash all the filler out before your next application otherwise the dyes won’t adhere nearly as well.

nutricolorcrem600_500x500These are the best care products that I found to be most beneficial in maintaining a vibrant red hair. I have tried many along the way and all the others have failed in comparison. There are surely many more great ones available and I’m always open to trying something different…what have you found to work best for colour treated red hair?

Lottabody Setting Lotion by Miss Charlotte Cake

OK! This is my first setting lotion review so bare with me because it certainly won’t be perfect.

I’ve tried so many different hair products including sprays, gels, pomades, leave in conditioners, heat styling and moisture lock products. I have only recently got into using setting lotions… in all honesty I just never really thought I needed them as my hair is so wavy naturally and holds curls really well. If I do a hot roller set I don’t even need to use hair spray… that’s how crazy and well my hair curls!

So naturally, when you start practising vintage hairstyling, you come across what’s called a ‘setting lotion’. This is a product which is usually added to the hair while its still wet and before you begin your styling. I have tried a few different brands and I have found what I believe is the best product for my hair in particular, so I thought I would share it with you.

First of all, I will start the obvious… this product is blue – and comes out clear so don’t let the colour freak you out.

Secondly the product is concentrated… you don’t want to use the product straight on your hair from the bottle (although I’ve read that some do!). If you’re trying this out for the first time it may be best to just follow the instructions on the back of the product which states the following:

On normal hair 2-3 parts water to 1 part Lottabody. On tinted hair and bleached hair 4-5 parts water to 1 part Lottabody.

10345806_10152103160755800_4776977741880737632_nI went and bought a cheap spray bottle from the 2 dollar shop because it makes it super quick and easy to spray onto your hair. The spray bottle I use is 300 ml, so I measured out 100 ml of Lottabody and 200 ml of water. Mix the product up and then you are set to go. By diluting the product you will not only get more bang for your buck, but you will also keep your hair manageable and soft without that straw-like, crispy feel (I’ve tried using it straight from the bottle and it made my hair crisp and hard which wasn’t at all sassy).

So now I’ll go through the process of what I do when I’m setting my hair, everyone does it differently and I find it really interesting to talk and read about the way others do their sets because I feel like I always learn something new!

I have naturally dark chocolate brown hair, which I’ve been dying blue-black for as long as I can remember. I like the intense inkiness and shine that blue-black gives. I also have extremely wavy hair which curls like a dream. I feel lucky now that my hair curls so well, but growing up and through my early teenage years I hated my hair because I always wanted to straighten it, even wanting to get it chemically straightened at one point. Now I embrace my naturally curly hair and pretty much keep it curled every day (it’s also much healthier without the constant straightening!)

When my hair has been freshly washed and conditioned (conditioner is super important and it helps the hair to ‘curl’) I towel dry it and run a tiny amount of leave-in smoother through. The product I’ve been using recently is this one PPS cuticle seal – it smells amazing, doesn’t leave a greasy feel or look and actually helps my hair to stay soft at the ends. I then start spraying my hair with Lottabody Setting Lotion – I brought this product from The Vanity Casehere in New Zealand but I know its sold all over the place online so just keep an eye on Ebay, or I’ve noticed a lot of online vintage stores which stock hair styling products usually sell Lottabody.

Once this is distributed (about 5-6 sprays on my mid-length hair), I give it a good comb through and then begin my pin curls, or rollers.

I then get under my hood dryer for approximately 30 minutes, grab a book or put a good ol’ fashioned film on (one of my favourites like Casablanca, Psycho or Creature from the Black Lagoon), turn up the heat and relax while your lovely curls develop!

I’ve got a range of photos from start to finish below, and I am not at all good with vintage style hair techniques or brushing out, it really is quite the art form so apologies in advance, I still have my training wheels on 🙂

10500581_10152103161940800_1965636644157770911_n-225x300 10363260_10152103161715800_6656933932542548738_n-225x300 10393962_10152103161775800_4380864665439131915_n-225x300 10346461_10152103161680800_5515417218374010196_n-225x300 10370882_10152103160815800_2144264089636247977_n-225x300 10464101_10152103161075800_981406661336086950_n-225x300 10460104_10152103161150800_4125711696824673369_n-225x300 10394041_10152103160585800_7341489808611435108_n-225x300This photo was taken 5 hours afterwards – curls are still holding!

Now in the photos, I have brushed my curls out vigorously so it’s less poodle and you can actually see the hair. A lot of people seem to think that this product makes hair flaky? I’m yet to have this issue but wanted a close up for you all to see.

I haven’t used any hairspray whatsoever, just so you can see how well the setting lotion holds curls in without the use of loads of spray. I think it does a pretty good job, but this was a test and I usually spray the heck out of my hair!


* Plenty of product, as it is diluted and a little goes a long way.

* No flakiness.

* No crusty, hard feeling once the product has set and the curls are easy to brush out.

* Reasonably priced at $25.00 for 236 ml

* Still keeps some shape without the use of hairspray

* Leaves hair looking extremely shiny

* Perfect for wet-setting

* If you need more hold – use less water and more Lottabody, its completely up to you and your hair type so the power to customise is quite handy


* Its blue – but don’t be frightened!

* The smell isn’t amazing directly from the bottle, however as you are supposed to dilute it the smell is non-existent once in your hair

* You need to buy an extra spray bottle to use it, unless you have one around home

Overall, I love this product and will continue to buy it! As always, everyone is different but if you are looking for a setting lotion and you are yet to try this one give it a whirl and see if it works for you.

I will also do another review for the same product and my favorite hair spray when it gets to Summer time – I want to see how this product works in humidity with our sticky, tropical summers in New Zealand.


A big thank you to Miss Charlotte Cake for sharing her experience with the Lottabody Setting Lotion. Please check out her blog at