How to experiment with this season’s hottest hair color trend: red hair


Photo credit: Michael Stillwell

For years, anytime a celebrity drastically changes their hairstyle, it usually means two things: either she’s got a bob or she’s gone blonde. But this year, we’ve seen a subtle shift away from that. Not only are some fashionistas ditching their highlights in favor of their natural tones, but there’s also a simmering trend of going red. Kendall Jenner did, and then perhaps less drastically, Sydney Sweeney went strawberry blonde.

In the past, red hair was extremely difficult to achieve, and you only really saw it as a coloring option for people who chose to make it a permanent signature style. But those days? They left. There’s a new way to do red now, starting with tone and ending with upkeep. We spoke to colorist and hair color correction artist Angela Hazelton about the new trend: how to get it, how to keep it, and why you should consider red hair as your next beauty experiment.

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We’re seeing the red hair trend more and more – what makes today’s tones and shades of red different from what we’ve seen in the past?

In the past, the general perception of red hair was that it looked unnatural. It was associated with fire engine red, aubergine or orange. But honestly, with reds, strawberry blondes, and warm brunettes, the options are endless. I believe there is a shade of red for everyone.

Reds and strawberries are brighter and reflect light, unlike ash hair. They also enhance the golden undertones of the complexion. For my tried and tested blonde clients, who don’t want to fully commit to red hair, I suggest apricot or strawberry lip glosses. It’s an easy way to change color without fully committing to red hair. Likewise, with my brunette clientele, I buff hair to enhance red tones and even add red or copper highlights. Again, these glosses are semi-permanent and wash out gradually, so they offer the chance to try out a new shade without irreversibly changing hair color.

It seems strawberry blonde or red hair is now the way to really change up the look these days, as opposed to going blonder or browner. Why do you think we see this?

People are in the mood for a big change! They want something bold that grabs attention, sexy and feminine. Everyone has spent the last two years wearing sweats and not blowing their hair out, so we’re ready to bring some glamor and edginess back into our lives.

When it comes to maintenance, what does red hair take? from the truest, most pigmented reds to the sweetest strawberries?

Red hair tends to need more maintenance than blonde or brunette hair. All hair colors oxidize and fade over time, but this is most apparent with red hair. With red hair, there is a constant pursuit to regain the shine and vibrancy it once had when freshly colored. The best way to maintain red hair color is to buff the hair between color appointments. If you have the time and don’t mind stopping by the salon, a gloss (or toner) will restore the red color and add shine to the hair.

You can start to see the color fade between 4 and 6 weeks, depending on how often you wash your hair and how much sun you expose it to, which usually means it’s time to come for a gloss. For clients who can’t make it to the salon between appointments, I recommend buying either a tinted shampoo or a conditioner. Colored shampoos and conditioners act like a gloss and redeposit the color on the hair. However, I don’t recommend using them with every wash as it will build up too much color.

A no-no when considering dyeing your hair?

Before any major color change, I always suggest having a detailed consultation with your colorist before your appointment. It is best to understand the expected upkeep, the effect the treatment will have on your hair in order to achieve your hair color goal, and whether your ideal color is even achievable beforehand.

How will we see red moving through the trend cycle? Does this come together with the move towards warmer brunettes with subtle dimension?

Red hair is much easier to maintain in fall and winter. Less sun exposure means less fading, so I see the red hair trend improving over the fall and winter months.

Some clients who have thought about making their hair dark may start the process of going strawberry or red before fully committing to brunette. The seasonal change is something we all look forward to and I envision a lot of hot, rich and shiny brunettes in the future.

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