According to the National Institutes of Health, only two percent of the world’s population is born with red hair. And with this fiery hue being one of this year’s hottest hair color trends, it seems those of us that fall in the remaining 98 percent are out of luck. Or are we? Just like its blond and brown counterparts, red is actually a super versatile shade. Its intensity ranges from soft, strawberry blond, to rich auburn, making it a perfect fit for basically any and all colorings.
Are you doubting our hair theory? The MDC Team was also a bit skeptical about the versatility of this trend and decided to put the color to the test. One of our brave editors (yours truly) decided to take the plunge and transform her untouched brown hair to a ravishing red. To make sure my locks were in the best of hands, we enlisted the help of Amber Maynard, red hair expert (and proud red head!) and master stylist for the über-chic Nine Zero One Salon in Hollywood. If you’re not familiar with Maynard’s work, it’s possible you’ve seen her coloring masterpieces on celebs like Demi Lovato, Hilary Duff and Helen Hunt (so cool, right?). Check out how I fared on my journey from brunette to redhead, and get Maynard’s pro tips on how to pick the perfect shade of red for your coloring!
Shades of Red
When it comes to going red, Maynard recommends staying true to your roots. “I think people should choose a shade closest to their natural hair color,” she explains.
Blond: “Natural blondes look best in strawberry blond or light copper,” says Maynard. If your complexion is fair to light, a lighter cinnamon red is a nice complement to your skin tone.
Light to medium brown: “Go for a copper or auburn red,” suggests the stylist. Since my mousy brown hair fell into this category, Maynard settled on a coppery auburn shade. The shade worked as it would be a more natural shift from my hair color and would also complement my olive skin tone nicely.
Dark brown/black: “Naturally dark-haired ladies look best in rich, deep auburns,” says Maynard. “I’m not a personal fan of purple-y reds as I believe they’re more intended for a statement look.” Darker reds with brown undertones also work great with darker complexions and will look more seamless and natural.
I Found the Red Hair Color of My Dreams. Now What?
“Upkeep is key when rocking the red locks,” says Maynard. First and foremost, switch out your regular shampoo and conditioner duo for color-safe options. “I’m a big fan of the L’Oréal Professionel INOAColor Care Protective Shampoo and Conditioner line,” she says. “The formulas are sulfate-free so they protect your hair while leaving it feeling soft and healthy.” A leave-in hair protectant is also good to have handy to help protect your red from the elements. Try a spray like Matrix Biolage Shine Shake.
The biggest concern when going red had nothing to do with my mane: What the heck was I supposed to do with my eyebrows? Any beauty-loving girl knows brows are the glue that holds together the hair/face dynamic. Brows should look natural and complement the red hair, which can be a bit tricky. Take Maynard’s sage advice and stick to a neutral shade. “I recommend staying in the warm brown family,” says Maynard. “If your brows are the same color as your hair they will wash you out! If you’re in the light red family soften the brow a bit and use a dark blond or light brown eye pencil. If you’re in the more vibrant red or deeper auburn family, I suggest softening them with a bit of color to bring out warmth and use a medium reddish brown to fill them in.” Need a little help in the brow department? Try Maybelline Eye Studio Brow Precise in Soft Brown or Auburn to give your brows a little redhead-friendly color.
Last but not least, let’s talk touch ups, Maynard recommends refreshing your hair color every six weeks or so. However, if you’re more than 25 percent gray, you should touch up more frequently (every four weeks or so). Make sure you consult with your stylist about how often you should be coloring your hair. When in doubt, ask the expert!
Would you ever go red? Tell us your red-hair dreams in the comments below!
Photos: Erin Laine