I Tried The Reddish Brown Hair Color Trend And I Will Never Go Back To Blonde


As many disgruntled women are wont to do, I fell victim to canned hair color in college, deciding on a whim (read: after a vat of homemade sangria) to dye my hair naturally light brown to coppery red. In the decade-plus that followed, I tried all sorts of shades for my 2B curls, dabbling with a camel blonde coat, beachy golden highlights and pale ash baby lights. Still, I felt the appeal of that cheeky scarlet color from my early 20s – if perhaps a little more flattering and nuanced. So I decided to visit my longtime colorist, Colleen Flaherty, armed with inspirational photos of the perfect red-brown hair color to shake up my look for the New Year.

First off, I’ll say changing colors drastically is a lot less intimidating when you have someone behind the chair who *really* knows you and your hair. I have been seeing Flaherty for over three years now and she always understands the mission with the nuance I require. Second, I felt uniquely qualified to go red again since my dad is actually a natural ginger and has strawberry blonde hair (which might explain why my blonde color is prone to reddish and brassy tones if I don’t use all sorts of purple shampoos and masks). So I was pretty confident that I could pull off the look – it was more about finding the exact shade that suited my skin tone.

My previous sandy blonde hair.Hannah Baxter

Sure, celebrities like Gigi Hadid and Ciara flirted with flamboyant red hair in the summer of 2021, but as a beauty editor, I know how hard it can be to maintain that kind of intense, shiny hue – the red, unfortunately, tends to fade the fastest. I’m also lazy with my hair, so I needed something a fortnightly color deposit mask could handle (I recommend the Christophe Robin Shade Variation Mask in Chic Copper). That’s why the red-brown section of the color wheel was so appealing – although I think I said a reddish-blondish-brownish color at one point…again, find a colorist who speaks your language.

Anyway! I went to Spoke & Weal’s Flatiron location, where Flaherty and I discussed the ombre and whether or not I wanted the color to be more of a fade balayage color or extend to my roots (j chose the latter). “The shade I used for you is close to your level of natural hair,” she told me a few weeks after my appointment. “I chose this because it would feel the most natural to you. I feel like the vibe we were going for was more of a strawberry blonde that looked like it could get out of your head.

Then it was on the leaves – so many leaves – before saturating my dark roots with an ammonia mixture to “expose the remaining natural pigment in your virgin hair, which at your specific natural level is orange-yellow,” Flaherty explains. . I usually never get any color all the way to my scalp, and the experience was a little *spicier* than I’m used to, but nothing crazy (like, say, a dual-process platinum ). “[My] The best advice is not to wash your hair one to two days before applying color to the scalp,” she says, which will help minimize any discomfort or burning.

The first look at my newly red hair.Hannah Baxter

After about 20 minutes it was time to rinse out and buff the color with the shampoo bowl, and I could already see how gorgeous it looked and… how natural it looked.

As she dried and styled my new muted copper hair, my hazel eyes suddenly looked greener, my skin tone looked brighter and sunnier, and my light brown eyebrows (which I hadn’t dyed in over two months) complemented the new color perfectly. “I also chose a more orange-yellow shade to complement your eye color and skin tone,” adds Flaherty.

Freshly dyed and styled.Hannah Baxter

I always like to let the cool color settle in a bit after the appointment, but after three days I washed my hair with a color-safe shampoo and conditioner and styled it as usual. and the color still looked incredibly natural. It’s weird when you choose a shade that looks 100% like your natural hair color (minus all the cool grays I collected in my thirties). And not for nothing, my partner, who I always knew had a thing for blondes, commented on my red hair no less than 10 times during the day – a welcome bonus.

She is red now.Hannah Baxter

So, is this the most drastic hair transformation I’ve ever done? Not necessarily – in the right light, it almost looks like my signature sandy blonde. But he is the kind of subtle change that makes your whole beauty look fresh and exciting again. I feel like the shiniest version of myself (insert copper penny joke here) even on days when I can only muster a swipe of tinted lip balm and not much more . Maybe my 21-year-old self wasn’t so out of place when she picked up that box of red hair dye after all — she just blazed the trail that took her 30-year-old to finally achieve the color of red hair of her dreams.


Comments are closed.