Red hair is in. While your immediate thought may be of fire truck coloured tresses, newer, more modern shades are emerging such as copper, cherry, rose, and berry.
But don’t just take our word for it, as Kim Kardashian West recently debuted a glamorous new Nineties-inspired updo in a cherry red. Her celebrity hairdresser, Chris Appleton, even took to his Instagram to clear up rumours that it was a wig, while admiring the reality TV star’s new look.
Earlier this year pop star Dua Lipa also took the plunge and went scarlet on her fringe and top layers while keeping the underneath jet black, which added a gothic-chic feel.
The same red shade was also seen on the autumn/winter 2020 catwalks at Alexander McQueen where streaks of red were layered with glossy blonde tresses, while copper tones were found at Marques’Almeida and Simone Rocha.
It’s arguably an unusual colour to adopt in lockdown, especially as maintaining the colour can require a few important steps such as regular masking or semi-permanent top-ups.
With that said, debuting your new look as lockdown lifts is a great way to surprise friends, family and even a date. Mark the occasion by experimenting with something new.
If you’re considering it, or need tips on how to care for and maintain red tresses, Josh Wood, expert colourist and founder of haircare brand Josh Wood Colour, has unveiled how to make red hair work for you.
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Finding your shade
Wood explains what to consider before adding a red dye to your online basket: “Don’t just think about the shades of red but think about the tone, whether it’s cool or warm, to match your skin tone.
“Cherry red is great for darker skin tones and olive skin, as is a berry shade, as raspberry wine tones contrast with and complement golden tones in the skin,” he says.
“Rose with pink undertones is super flattering and suits those with paler skin,” he adds.
If you’re naturally a redhead and looking to adjust your colour, Wood recommends trying a copper-orange which will lift any natural highlights but can also add warmth to blondes for a more strawberry blonde look.
“Going red is the perfect way to experiment with colour and have fun or if you are a redhead to help keep colour vibrant,” explains the award-winning colourist.
If you’re not naturally red, using a semi-permanent colour is a low commitment option that allows you to try shades you might have steered clear from, as if you don’t like it, it will wash out within a few weeks, depending on how often you wash your hair.
For a hot red look, we love the Bleach London super cool colour I saw red (Bleach London, £6.50), which only needs to be applied and left for 30 minutes before washing out, and is perfect for very light blonde hair, whether bleached or natural.
It’ll last between two and 30 washes and the formula is vegan and cruelty-free too.
Josh Wood Colour has also recently launched a range of semi-permanent colour products that condition your hair simultaneously and wash out after six washes.
If you’re brunette, try the berry brunette gloss (Josh Wood Colour, £19) that will add rich berry tones to tresses and keep hair soft, glossy and healthy.
To apply, simply saturate clean, dry hair with it and leave for 20 minutes, before rinsing out.
If you want to emulate Kim’s new deeper cherry shade, try the L’Oreal casting creme gloss semi-permanent hair dye in 565 berry (Superdrug, £6.79), which is enriched with hazelnut protein that leaves hair feeling silky.
It’s ammonia-free too, so you won’t have to fight back watery eyes from the strong scent usually found in hair dye.
Accessories and aftercare
If you’re going for an all-over colour dye job, make sure you have the right equipment to hand, which will not only ensure a smoother process but a more even application too. There’s nothing worse than realising you’ve missed a whole chunk of hair and are left with a patchwork quilt dye job.
Bleach London’s eco-conut resuable tool kit (Bleach London, £4.50), is a useful set to invest in if you’re attempting to colour your own hair.
Containing a bowl made from 100 per cent natural reclaimed coconut shell and a long life tint brush, it’s ideal for mixing colours, bleach or toners and it’s easy to wash and keep clean.
“There is so much demand for red colour and care, as the vibrancy of red fades quickly whether it’s natural or coloured,” explains Wood, who recommends applying a hydrating treatment mask once or twice a week.
The Philip Kingsley elasticizer hair treatment (Feel Unique, £30.60) came top in our round-up of the best hair masks, which is as rich in heritage as it is in ingredients to keep hair healthy.
Created by Kingsley for Audrey Hepburn in 1974 to remedy the damage done by excessive styling tools used on film sets, it works as a pre-shampoo product to revitalise the hair. Apply this for a minimum of 20 minutes, or overnight, then wash out and shampoo and condition as normal.
Our reviewer said it left their hair “shinier, more supple and less lacklustre.”
If you want to extend the vibrancy of your colour in between hair dyes, try the Moroccanoil colour depositing mask in bordeaux (Feel Unique, £6.85).
It’s packaged in a pouch made from 50 per cent post-consumer recycled material and has a formulas rich in amino acids and apricot kernel oil which deep conditions and restores softness.
When it comes to shampoo, we love Redken’s nature and science colour extend shampoo (£12.01, Amazon). The sulphate-free formula uses natural ingredients to prevent fading and dullness. It’s vegan too.
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