Squid Game is undoubtedly one of the most successful Netflix series of all time, having reached 1.65 billion hours of viewing in just 28 days. If you’ve binged through it, it’s easy to see why the show reached such immense popularity.

There have been certain elements of the show that went viral, such as the red uniforms 0f the guards and the green tracksuits of the players, and the show has even inspired some amazing Squid Game nail sets.

Credit: Polygon

Another aspect of the series that was trending was the bright red hair that the main character, Seong Gi-Hun, played by actor Lee Jung-jae, sported after he won the game. In fact, “Squid Game red hair” was even one of Google’s top 10 trending hairstyle searches of 2021.

If you loved the striking hair colour and want to try it yourself, read on for the box dyes and salon recommendations we have for you. But before that, let’s explore the significance of red hair in the film. Beware, there will be spoilers ahead!

Significance of red hair

In the series, we follow Gi-Hun as he experiences a multitude of emotions, trying his best to survive each sadistic game and grieving over the friends he lost along the way.

After days of struggle, he wins the game and returns home only to find his elderly mother had passed in their home. Devastated, Gi-Hun fell into a deep spiral of depression and survivor’s guilt and did not touch any of his prize money.

Credit: Forbes

One day, after a year had passed, he receives a mysterious note from his friend, Oh Il-Nam, whom he had thought he had caused the death of in the games, Gi-Hun was enraged upon finding out that Il-Nam not only survived, but was the organiser of the sick games.

After getting some of his affairs in order, he colours his hair the iconic red and heads to the airport to visit his daughter. However, instead of getting on the plane, he decides to return back to the games.

The red hair might seem out of place and extremely sudden to some viewers, but it actually holds significant meaning. The writer-director of the film, Hwang Dong-hyuk, explains that the striking colour was to represent Gi-Hun’s “rage” and how he could “never return back to his old self”.

Gi-Hun’s motive for returning to the games was that he wanted to expose the people in charge of the sadistic games, and to hopefully put a stop to them.

“Squid Game red hair” inspiration

Still on the fence about trying out “Squid Game red hair”? Here are some celebrity looks to prove to you that going red is a decision you won’t regret.

1. Jung Ho Yeon

Credit: hoooooyeony on Instagram

Who better to start this list off than Jung Ho Yeon, the fellow co-star of Jung-jae in Squid Game? Ho Yeon, who plays the famous Kang Sae-byeok, sported some stunning red hair of her own several years ago and certainly rocked the look on and off the runway.

2. Ariana Grande

Credit: Pinterest

Known for her stunning vocals and amazing voice now, Ariana Grande was once a Nickelodeon star, and was the iconic Cat in the Nickelodeon show, Victorious, and later on, in the spin-off series Sam and Cat. Her bright red hair made her instantly recognisable as the loveable Cat, and also marked a transition phase in the singer’s life.

3. Rihanna

Credit: today.com

The icon herself, Rihanna has always been adventurous with her hairstyles and hair colours – and is certainly not afraid to switch it up. She first dyed her hair red back in 2011 and even sported bright red curls for Coachella in 2013. Since then, the singer has returned to red hair a few more times and seems to love it almost as much as we do.

4. Bebe Rexha

Credit: beberexha on Instagram

The singer is often seen with her signature platinum blonde hair, but just last year, she decided that she wanted to take a chance on something new. She surprised her fans by uploading an Instagram video of herself dyeing her own hair a vibrant red, and seemed to love the bright change of hair colour.

5. Nicki Minaj

Credit: Pinterest

A colourful character in life, it is no surprise that her outfits and hair colours are just as colourful as Nicki Minaj herself. She rocked the fire engine-red hair and looked stunning in an all-red ensemble.

6. Red Velvet Joy

Credit: soompi

Joy from the popular Korean girl group, Red Velvet, changed her style with her bright red hair to match the group’s comeback with their fun song Red Flavour. The brightly-coloured hair matched the cheerful theme of the song, and was certainly very memorable.

7. V from BTS

A member of one of the most popular Korean boy bands across the world, V of BTS can pull off almost any look. Looking like a model fresh from the catwalk, the idol pulled off the bright red hairdo and wowed fans with the look.

8. G-Dragon

An iconic personality in the K-pop scene, G-Dragon is a pioneer in the industry and isn’t afraid to try any new looks. He looked striking with the fiery locks and definitely rocked them.

DIY box dyes

If you’re looking to get the Squid Game red for your own hair, here are some DIY box dyes that you can use to get the look, but do note that these work best on lighter hair colours, so you may want to bleach your hair first. They can also be used on black or brown hair, but the end result will be darker than the iconic Squid Game red.

L’Oreal Paris Colorista Semi-Permanent Hair Color

Credit: Lazada

This was actually the same hair dye that Bebe Rexha used to dye her own hair when she went red, and it is a formula that will gradually fade the more you shampoo your hair. Semi-permanent hair colour is a great way to try out many different looks without spending a ton of money at the salon.

L’Oreal Paris Colorista Semi-Permanent Hair Color is available on ASOS for RM44.23 (US$10.50).

Arctic Fox Poison

Credit: Lazada

Arctic Fox is a well-known hair dye brand that is known not only for its vivid hair colours but also for its vegan-friendly and cruelty-free formula. Their formulas are free of harmful chemicals and this dye typically lasts for four to six weeks.

Arctic Fox Poison is available on Arctic Fox for RM46.30 (US$10.99).

Manic Panic

Credit: Amazon.sg

Another semi-permanent hair dye, Manic Panic is also known for its range of vivid colours, and lasts for four to six weeks as well. The Manic Panic Semi-Permanent Hair Color Cream gradually fades with each wash, and you can even mix their various shades of reds available for your own custom colour.

Manic Panic is available on Lazada for RM69.

Aprilskin Turn Up Colour Cream

Credit: Aprilskin

Known for its skincare, Aprilskin also has some stunning hair dye options. To achieve the Squid Game red, try their Red Pepper Turn Up Colour Cream. Their dye promises damage-free permanent hair dyes in an ultra-conditioning formula for easy application.

Aprilskin Turn Up Colour Cream is available on Aprilskin for RM33.71 (usual price RM48.16).

L’Oreal Paris Excellence Fashion Hair Colour

Credit: Watsons

If you’re looking for intense colour that still leaves your locks shining, try the L’Oreal Paris Excellence Fashion Hair Colour in the shade Spicy Red. This dye will help you to get fierce red hair without damaging your hair thanks to their triple-care formula.

L’Oreal Paris Excellence Fashion Hair Colour is available on Shopee for RM24.90. 

Recommended salons

If you prefer to get your hair professionally done, check out some of these salons to help you achieve the red hair of your dreams!

Hair Color Expert

Credit: Hair Color Expert Malaysia on Facebook

Hair Color Expert is an affordable hair salon located in KL, and offers stunning hair colouring sessions for both men and women at affordable prices. Be sure to book an appointment before heading down! Their colouring services range from RM48.90 for short hair to RM88.90 for long hair.

Sri Petaling
Address: 11, Jalan Radin Bagus 3, Sri Petaling, 57000 Wilayah Persekutuan, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: 10am – 8pm (Tue to Sun) | Closed on Mon

Setapak PV128
Address: First Floor Unit 1-8 , PV 128, Jalan Genting Kelang, 53300, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: 10am – 8pm (Tue to Sun) | Closed on Mon

76STYLE

Credit: 76_style on Instagram

76STYLE originated in Tokyo and has professional hairstylists that will give your hair the best care possible. This salon also offers stunning hair colouring options, and will help you to achieve the vibrant Squid Game red you’re searching for. Their colouring services start from RM208.

Lot10
Address: R2, Ground Floor, Annexe Block, Lot 10 Shopping Centre, 50 Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: 10am – 10pm (Mon to Sun)

Mont Kiara
Address: E-01-02, Plaza Mont Kiara, 2 Jalan Kiara, Mont Kiara, 50480 Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: 9.30am – 9pm (Mon to Thu) | 9.30am – 7pm (Fri to Sun)

HATTITUDE Salon

Credit: Hattitude SALON on Facebook

Known for the professionalism of their hairstylists, most who enter Hattitude salon become regulars of the salon as they fall in love with their new hairstyles. As an added bonus, their services are quite affordable as well! Their colouring services starts from RM50 for both males and females.

SS2
Address: 60 Jalan, Jalan SS 2/75, SS 2, 47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Opening hours: 11am – 8pm (Mon to Sun)

Sunway Geo Avenue
Address: E1-02-08, Sunway Geo Avenue Block E1, Jalan Lagoon Selatan, Bandar Sunway, 47500 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Opening hours: 11am – 8pm (Mon to Sun)

Kimarie Salon & Hair Spa

Credit: Kimarie Salons on Facebook

The name Kimarie might ring a bell for some Malaysians. With two academies and nine salons across the country, Kimarie is a very affordable option for those looking to give their hair a fresh coat of colour. Their hair colouring services start from RM128.

Address: 10 Jalan SS 2/66, 47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Opening hours: 10.30am – 8pm (Mon to Fri) | 10.30am – 7.30pm (Sat) | 10.30am – 7pm (Sun)

Flair Hair Salon CEO

Credit: Flair Hair Salon CEO on Facebook

Flair Hair salon CEO lets you get your hair dyed in a retro atmosphere, and has great reviews from customers that say that the hairstylists here are able to create any look that you want. Their hair colouring services are available from RM108.

Address: 31-1-3A, CEO Avenue, Lebuh Nipah 5, Bayan Lepas, 11950 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Opening hours: 11.30am – 8pm (Thu to Tue) | Closed on Wed

Check out other affordable hair salons to dye your hair the Squid Game red here!