I finally found my shade of red. People have asked me if I'm a natural redhead and it's really hard to explain: I'm kind of a red head. My stylist said she's never seen anything like it, but while most people's hair grows in darker then lightens at the tips, mine grown in a mousy light brown, and then turns dark auburn. My German morphs to my Irish, I guess. I have dabbled in shades of red all along the way since my teens. I have green eyes and fair skin, so while I can pull off the faux Irish tresses, it is a sensitive color--fades quickly and cannot be "dyed" over, as red pigments are the tiniest pigment will always shine through anything you try to mask it with. Also, I can be coppery and only truly natural red heads can wear that shade that spurred Gilbert of Green Gables to call Anne Shirley "Carrots." Anne desired that rich red-red shade, a lovely auburn. Being a bottle red is a risk and a commitment.
If you are going to use any hair dye, especially for an extended length of time, the gentler the better (ie: semi-permanent.) When I go all-the-way red, Cinnaberry by Natural Instincts has given decent results and is one of the least chemically offensive dyes. (Although in the 90's, that never-found-in-nature dark burgundy shade was popular--see senior pictures for example.) I have let my natural two-tone shade shine for a few years, but recently I've found that dark auburn calling my name again, and have been on the hunt for the perfect box of dye. After a brief mishap involving a promising shade in a "creme" base to be applied to dry hair, I went back to Cinnaberry but was not satisfied. My stylist suggested I branch out and look at permanent colors as well, but to apply it to damp hair, creating a more semi-permanence.