Trend Alert: The Redhead

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Published June 2, 2011

 

FLORENCE WELCH. PHOTO BY JACOB SUTTON

Red lips are always on trend, but how about the redhead? If your hair is naturally of a strawberry hue, then you’re in luck, because red is the hottest color of the season. From Rihanna’s fire-engine mane to Amy Adams’ more natural auburn, red is making heads turn. We asked colorist to the stars and Creative Colour Director of Couture Colour, Johnathan Gale (you’ll recognize his work from the infamous Lady Gaga Vanity Fair cover), to explain the recent resurgence of red. Here’s what he had to say.

SARAH HOWARD: When was the last time red was so popular?

JOHNATHAN GALE: Red was last popular in the late ’70s, early ’80s. Clairol made the best reds back then, and everyone used red henna from India. Black tulip, a burgundy highlight, was used on brunettes all the time. Reds came back due to people like Nicole Kidman, Amy Adams, and Julianne Moore.

Nicole is a prime example of being a perfect shade. As a blonde, which she wore a lot in advertisements, she looked generic, but as a redhead she looks outstanding and can wear any red shade. In Moulin Rouge, she’s a darker auburn and it’s amazing, and we now see her with a more strawberry blonde. HOWARD: Why is red making a comeback?

GALE: Today we are seeing more beautiful examples of glorious red, shiny hair on lots of models and actresses that are today’s “it” people. Red, more than other colors, picks up light and reflects shine, making it an attractive color for people wanting healthy, beautiful hair.

HOWARD: What is different about this red?

GALE: The difference with reds today is all the new technology that keeps hair vibrant and long lasting. The color doesn’t fade, and it keeps its luster.  Today, there are shampoos without sulphates or parabens that don’t strip hair or add additional damage. With good maintenance products now out, color has longevity and reds can keep their pop.

HOWARD: Can anyone be red?

GALE: No. Charlize Theron told me when her color had any warmth or gold she looked off; skin color like hers needs cool tones, like a baby blonde, butter ivory. Imagine Madonna red—no way, think again! Skin color needs to be considered before going red. If you have yellow in your skin, it’s going to clash with red.

HOWARD: Is red a spring/summer trend or will it carry into fall?

GALE: Color trends seem like a season fad, but when you have the right red, you own it. I made Connie Britton a strawberry blonde for Friday Night Lights, and when red is a match with your skin, it looks like it’s natural. If you can make red look natural, you can carry it in any season with any wear.

HOWARD: Celebrities that do red right…

GALE: Right now, Florence Welch, Olivia Wilde and Isla Fisher all look amazing. Lots of people go blonde, and it is sort of accepted as a good color that most seem to pull off. Everyone seems to have highlights and go lighter, but red is outstanding and bold. I’m a fan.

SARAH HOWARD IS THE EDITOR OF BEAUTY BANTER.