We’re seeing sexy, striking redheads everywhere—it’s quite possibly the most popular color in Hollywood! From diehard fans like Julianne Moore to new girls Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard and Jessica Chastain, red is the hue du jour. Thinking of adopting the fiery tone yourself? Whether you’re a first-timer or just switching up your hair color, selecting and maintaining the right red for you can seem daunting. We spoke with colorist to the stars and Redken Creative Consultant for Color, Tracey Cunningham (she recently took Lindsay Lohan back to her Parent Trap roots!) and Clairol Global Color Director Marie Robinson (who paints Emma Stone’s locks) for some expert tips on mastering the scarlet mane.
First thing’s first: Choose your hue. “The best advice I can give when it comes to hair color is to always, always, take in a picture,” urges Tracey. “No matter how articulate you are, your colorist will always have a different idea in their head. With an image, there’s no confusion around your vision—you can even discuss if it’s the right shade for you!” Different tones of red suit a myriad of skin tones, so it’s important to select a picture of someone with similar coloring “Paler skin tones can pull off almost any shades of red,” says Tracey. “Women with olive and yellow undertones tend to look better with golden and apricot hues, rather than a true red,” adds Marie. The best way to know which side of the spectrum to veer? Avoid a color that’s too similar to your skin tone. “For example, if your skin has yellow undertones, stay away from a strawberry blonde,” says Marie.
While red is certainly a statement maker, it’s also one of the hardest colors to maintain. “Red dye fades the fastest because it contains larger color molecules than other shades, and slips off the hair follicles more quickly,” explains Marie. Hair texture, health, and sun exposure also determine whether or not your shade will last. Porous hair will hold dye much better, and the healthier your hair is, the longer the hue will last. Luckily, you can preserve your hue with gloss treatments throughout the year. “A gloss is a lighter version of a dye,” clarifies Tracey. “It gives your color a little extra oomph, and it’s perfect to use once a month so your tone always looks its best.”