Before 2019, going red felt... off limits. Even though platinum requires a ton of bleach and rainbow is a multistep process, becoming a redhead always felt like the most extreme hair color transformation possible. Whether it's because people were too scared, too nervous, or just simply fixed on the color they already had, most of us never really considered dyeing our hair red — until now.
If there's one major color trend to look out for fall it's red. More than ever, salon clients are requesting shades of crimson, from subtle highlights to a red wine stain. Brian K. Hawthorne, colorist at DevaCurl Devachan Hair Salon, agrees that when the temperatures get colder, clients go warmer — literally. And these auburn and copper hues are daring, bright, and perfect for the autumnal season.
Convinced you should go red, too? Colleen Flaherty, colorist at Spoke & Weal salon in New York, says that this is something you need to do research for. Go through your Instagram, consult your colorist, and find photos with hair colors you're inspired by. Flaherty says that when she meets with a client who wants to dye their hair red, she asks them how long they've wanted to go red and what sparked the change. "I also give them real expectations on what their color can realistically turn out to be," Flaherty explains. "Red hair tends to fade quickly based on how much you wash and how much you heat style. I make sure they understand that and let them know they should come in for a gloss to refresh the tone in-between color appointments."
In other words, dyed red hair isn't exactly a low-maintenance or subtle choice for fall — but, boy, is it beautiful. Ready to find the perfect red for you? Ahead, Hawthorne and Flaherty map out the four biggest red color trends you can expect to see this year. Bonus: There are loads of IG images worth saving for your colorist.
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Natural blondes and redheads, this
is the low-lift color change for you. Hawthorne recommends this strawberry blonde shade to anyone searching for a slight change or added dimension. Not only is it easily achieved with a few painted highlights or a colored gloss
, but the upkeep is minimal in comparison to other red shades.
There's more variety to the strawberry blonde shade than you think. For blogger Amina Marie
, it's all about blush and orange tones, keeping her curls on the richer side of the color spectrum. "Before deciding on a realistic shade, I’d take into consideration the clients warm or cool undertones," Hawthorne explains. For instance, someone with fair, cool skin should opt for a strawberry blonde that is on the yellower side, while someone with darker skin should consider warmer rose golds.
Flaherty chose to keep model Kelly Mittendorf
on the cooler end of strawberry blonde with sunny, yellow undertones. Not only does it enhance the original blonde Mittendorf came from, but adds just enough coppery warmth for fall.
Although most people tend to visit the salon requesting a drastic hair change at the beginning of a new season, Flaherty says that, sometimes, a color change calls for incremental dye jobs. Just like going blonde, going red can be a process. If you're a constant hair color flip-flopper, consider a red gloss to neutralize worn-out tones or revitalize old highlights first before taking the plunge.
Hawthorne explains that not only does strawberry blonde look great on natural blondes, but it also requires less maintenance than other shades of red because it can usually be achieved with just a gloss. But you shouldn't sleep on your at-home routine just because you chose a blonder red versus a red velvet
(we'll get to that later). Hawthorne's routine includes Devacurl Decadence No Poo
. Not only does it replenish lost moisture after a coloring service, but it's also pH-balanced and sulfate-free to lock in the color and prevent fading.
If auburn hair is a darker ginger, then an "auburn sunset" dye job is a dark ginger with orange-y undertones. It's sunny, but cozy; cool, but rich. Think of it as the pumpkin spice shade you won't feel cliché for ordering.
Auburn is also a color easily achieved with a gloss for natural redheads looking for a season refresh. Actually, Hawthorne recommends that anyone with natural reddish tones in their hair request a gloss at their next hair appointment. "Glosses are typically demi-permanent," he explains. "It's a quick change and low maintenance.”
If you're a brunette looking to brighten up your look without having to touch bleach, this golden red is your best choice. Even better, it's easier than you think to go from a virgin brown to a redhead using permanent dye. “Natural brunettes have underlying red and orange pigments in their hair, which the colorist can play off of when taking the client red," Flaherty explains.
But if you're a natural blonde — or currently platinum — you might find trouble staying red. Virgin blondes lack the warmer pigments in their hair that people with dark brown hair have, so the colorist is essentially creating that warmth from scratch. As for platinum hair, Hawthorne says that because of constant bleaching, the hair is far less porous, which means it won't hold the red pigment quite as easily as someone who has not bleached their hair. In that case, expect to come in for multiple rounds of dyeing due to fast fading.
Though it's not the most natural-looking hair color out there, it is perhaps the most universally flattering red. However, there are some prep steps required before going velvet red, like a double-process to lighten before dyeing. Then, more often than not, a permanent dye is used to achieve this desired red.
Depending on the shade you're looking for and how well your hair holds pigment, you won't always have to pre-lighten hair before your colorist applies a permanent dye. However, it's important to remember that the darker the red the longer it'll probably last (although, the longevity is never guaranteed). "From my experience, darker reds last longer than lighter reds," says Hawthorne. "This is probably because of the heavy amount of color that's deposited into the hair."
To maintain a color like this, Hawthorne recommends washing with a sulfate-free shampoo while using cool water. Also, consider using an at-home gloss
or toning conditioner
in-between appointments to keep the color fresh.
Not only should your colorist consider your skin tone (Flaherty also looks at a client's eye color) to determine your perfect shade of red, but also your hair type. If you have super-curly hair, you want to cater your color to your coils, says Hawthorne. Curly hair reflects light differently than straighter textures, which means the shade your colorist lands on should reflect that to avoid the final result from looking dull or diffused.
With so many variations of the rich color, it's important to bring as many photo examples to your stylist as possible. Looking to be even more prepared? Book a consultation with a colorist before scheduling the appointment — that way you two can discuss the right color for you.
Flaherty says that out of all the red hair requests this season, she expects to see the most for copper — and Hawthorne agrees. Although copper hair could include a mix of red, yellow, and orange hues, it's this rusted brunette option we're most excited for.
If you're someone with naturally darker hair or want a refresh on a dull brunette dye job, this gets you the best of both of both worlds: red and brown.
It's also one of the red color trends that looks even better in the form of highlights. But whether you choose to go red via a balayage
service or not, Flaherty recommends using a color-preserving shampoo and conditioner. Her favorites: Aveda Madder Root Shampoo
. The formula helps enrich brunette and red hair colors while simultaneously cleansing the scalp without stripping it of your color.
Before you decide on getting highlights vs. all-over color, consider your cut. Do you have layers or an angled bob? Then, consider face-framing highlights that will lift and elevate the color you already have. Bonus: Opting for a partial paint job will have you spending less time in the salon chair and more time showing off your new look.