Hair and Beauty

For the love of Ginger | MY HAIR COLOUR SECRETS

I’ve been getting A LOT of questions about my hair colour lately so I thought I would create a blog post dedicated to answering some of them – with a few added tips as well!

Firstly, I would like to remind everyone that I am a fully trained hairdresser even though I haven’t been working in a salon this past year. So I am a bit snobby towards any non-professional products and do not recommend colouring your hair at home if you aren’t a professional.

I know, I know, all hairdressers say that. And while admittedly for some people it works just fine, especially with more natural colours and in cases when you are simply depositing colour and not lifting, most of the time, trying to do your own hair colour at home can end in disaster – and getting it fixed in a salon will always be far more expensive than if you’d just gone there in the first place.

So basically what I’m trying to say is that if you like my colour and you aren’t already something similar, then I would NOT recommend trying to replicate it yourself. Go see a professional as I promise there is so much more to the process than just slapping some colour on.

Also your hairdresser will probably not appreciate it (and end up hating me!) if you march in demanding my exact formula. Depending on your natural colour, the level of colour you have in your hair and the porosity of your hair will mean that things will have to be tweaked in order to get it perfect for you. And of course, every hair colour brand varies too!

Right, now that I’ve got my rant out of the way…

The most common question I get is what colour I use. As mentioned before, I use a professional brand and it’s actually one from The Netherlands called Keune. The salon I worked at in New Zealand switched to this colour brand in the year leading up to when I left and I’ll be honest, it took me probably 4-5 months of trialling different formulas until I finally found the perfect shade that I wanted.
After that, there was no way I was going through the stress of trying to switch to a different brand so I was very happy to find I was able to order Keune colour from a website called Barber Store in The Netherlands when I arrived in the UK.

Nicole Engelmann Photography | Dress by TopVintage

The exact formula that I do is 2/3 of 9.43 and 1/3 of 7.43. I use 30volume (9%) on my roots (I’m a natural level 6-7) and then mix the same formula but with semi developer for my ends. To be fair, I could probably get away with just using 20volume on my roots but I want to ensure it lifts light enough. I also buy the full Olaplex system from Sally’s which is only available if you are a professional and have a trade card. I add some of the Step One that into the mixture for the ends and do Step Two after rinsing the colour.

I do a full colour of roots and ends every 4-5 weeks depending on my schedule. If I’ve got a really busy month of photoshoots then sometimes around the 2-3 week mark I will do a quick touch up of my roots along the hairline and parting.

Because the shade of copper that I go for is quite a golden copper, it does tend to fade out a little bit and I don’t feel like it suits me as much when it gets too light and golden. So to keep it fresh and vibrant looking, I create a pastel orange conditioner and use that with every wash. I make sure whatever conditioner I buy is white in colour so that I can add a small drop of Keune Colour Craving in Sunset Copper into my hand and mix it together to create a pastel orange conditioner. I’m careful not to be too over-zealous with the copper as otherwise it gets too bright for my liking. I also ensure that I mix it really well so that there’s not any hidden globs of bright copper that will create a uneven patch.


After shampooing, I will squeeze out as much excess moisture (or sometimes even towel dry) before applying the conditioner to mainly the midlengths and ends, being reasonably generous and combing it though to make sure it’s evenly distributed. I will leave that in for a few minutes before rinsing out.

The Colour Cravings range are basically a coloured conditioner. There is a more pastel, peach shade but it’s far more cost effective to buy the high pigment version and dilute it with regular conditioner. This is what I recommend for keeping any kind of bright colour maintained – not just for copper.

Nicole Engelmann Photography | Dress by Zoe Vine

Buying Colour Cravings in the UK isn’t quite as easy as the colour funnily enough. I have had my bottle for 18 months and am only just getting to the end but I think when I do need to replace it, I will have to turn to eBay as I can’t seem to find many Europe or UK based online retailers.

In order to prevent my colour from fading too quickly, I avoid using heat when possible and if I do, I will always use a heat protector. I also don’t wash my hair particularly often- usually just once a week, sometimes twice.

Having healthy, soft hair has always been of the upmost importance to me, hence why it took me so long to pluck up the courage to strip out the black colour! When Olaplex came onto the scene a couple of years ago it was a real gamechanger and it allowed me to make the switch quicker and with less dire consequences than if I hadn’t used it.

However, since that process, my hair is still not back to the state it was when it was all lush and shiny and dark. It’s certainly improving but I am diligent about using good products and treatments. I could use getting a trim more regularly but since the hairdresser I trust here in the UK is 3 hours from me, it’s a little hard! (sometimes I’m naughty and trim it myself).

David Fisk Photography | Dress by Hell Bunny

I use salon quality shampoo and conditioner and always love to have a few different types to choose from and keep my hair ‘guessing’. Your hair can definitely get used to one particular product so it’s good to mix it up. Currently in my bathroom I have the Davines Oi Shampoo & Conditioner (light on the hair but makes it feel lovely!), Davines Melu Conditioner (lots of moisture and protein) and the Caviar Replenishing Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner.

I also use Paul Mitchell Shampoo Three for the first out of two shampoos when I wash my hair – this helps to fully remove all product build-up but be aware that it is a clarifying shampoo so if you have super bright hair, it could make it fade. I don’t notice it too much though on my hair.

I also try to do regular treatments- my hair gets a Olaplex treatment everytime I do my colour and I will also try to do another treatment in between. Overnight coconut oil is a great one and I also love the Keune Keratin Smoothing Treatment which can weigh the hair down a little for that first wash but it makes it feel incredible!

Another thing to remember in regards to my particular colour is that with most photos I post on social media, I’ve used a filter which usually alters the colour of my hair slightly. Sometimes it will make the colour seem brighter, sometimes a little duller and darker.

Even if I weren’t to use a filter, the colour still changes drastically in a picture depending on the light and sometimes even my hairstyle – I find for instance when my hair is smooth and straight, the colour looks much lighter and brighter.
So just bear that in mind <3

I hope this has answered some of your questions! Let me know if there’s anything I’ve missed out that you’d like to know.



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Categories: Hair and Beauty

13 replies »

  1. The fact that you were so real at the end of your post was wonderful! Thank you for showing us hair color changes based on lighting and filters. I know because I use a black blue dye and in certain lights you do see the blue, and I always put a filter on in order for the blue to come through.

  2. May I ask who makes the TopVintage Floral Dress you’re wearing in the first pic? I understand t may be discontinued, but maybe I can post an ISO on IG 🙂

  3. Thank you for posting this! I am a natural redhead and since my late twenties my colour has gone more brown auburn. I use JFR henna at home because I don’t know anything at all about traditional chemical colorants, lighteners, dyes, etc. I feel lucky that I found something easy and natural to use, because I don’t need to lift any colour– my copper red/strawberry blonde is deposited gentry w.the plant protein, but my cousin tried dying her brown hair blonde at home and ended up– you said it– at the salon for a 6 hour colour correct for her new orange pink accident hair. She ended up a honey blonde and $400 later, vowed NEVER to DIY again.

  4. Yeeeessss!!!! I too am a (fake) ginger-haired hairdresser, however I lean on the “orange” side (I’ll include my personal formula at the end). But your routine is EXACTLY like mine…. shampoo once or twice per week, colored conditioner each shampoo, Olaplex, little to no heat, and a love for soft and healthy. DAILY I get asked what I use on my hair, and I’m also a pro-only snob, so when I explain to people all of the upkeep, cold water, and babying I do for my color, and STILL color ever 4-8 shampoos (once a month or so), they almost don’t believe me… it’s assumed that there should be an easier, way. I want to scream, DONT YOU THINK ID BE HAPPIER IF THERE WAS, LOL?! Just one of those prices we pay for beauty, I guess! I’m not incredibly girly so this is one thing I do for me. I prefer to spend my pampering and beautifying time on my clients (and that time comes with pay so no arguments there!!).

    Anyhoo, thanks for the post and confirmation you don’t have some magic copper-plated bullet Iv been missing!!

    Natural: Cool level 8, fine texture, dense
    Retouch: Pravana 7CC + 20vol
    Refresh: Joico Fiery Coral (direct dye)
    Accent panel: Pulp riot Lava (direct)

    Can’t see a pic of me obviously, but I’ll post some on my Facebook tomorrow after my FIRST PINUP COMPETITION!!! Thanks for your inspiration to push myself into the pinup scene!

  5. I’ve been following you for years and you have my dream hair colour! I’ve never taken the plunge to go ginger though because my hair is very fine but there is LOTS of it and I feel it needs washing again by day 3 at the latest. I couldn’t imagine only washing once a week and so any colour I want to do would fade fast. I’ve grown out any dye I had left and am my natural dark brown colour now, the only thing stopping me is my super fine hair

  6. Keune is an amazing brand! I absolutely love their color, best I’ve ever tried, it doesn’t dry my hair out at all! You were actually my inspiration for finally dying my hair, after years of putting it off! ❤️ So thank you for always sharing all things hair-related with us!
    I’d also love to know which filter you’ve used in that picture, if you can remember it! 🙂

  7. This was very helpful! I have a bright red that is almost burgundy when fresh but fades so fast! Im going to get a bottle of Keune 😉 But I need help with a huge problem! I live in Las Vegas and I am in the Beatles Cirque show. They dye my hair red for the show ( wohooo free for me!) but I have to curl it 5 nights a week!! Ive tried sleeping in rollers, but when I get home at the end of the night the last thing I want to do is raise my arms over my head for 20 minuets. I do use a heat protectant spray but my hair doesn’t hold the curl and is so damaged! Do you have any tips to help? Thank you so much! I love reading you’re blog! -Gelsey

    • Sorry you mean the colour? No I don’t – black hair is the easiest thing to do… But if you’ve never done it before then make sure you think about it long and hard as its very difficult to get out x

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