i'm a ginger, too! Sort of strawberry blond ~ it's the blond part that gets me in trouble, imho.
Other than a tiny bit of Summer Blonde, at the beginning of summer, i have never colored my hair. i did, however, try to get it "straightened," which consisted of getting it burnt to a crisp with a bad perm, which, everytime it got wet,
STUNK TO HIGH HEAVEN!
It wouldn't have been so bad, but within a week of having it done, a big skinny-dipping day was ~