I'm almost waiting for Kendall Jenner to go back to her natural-brown hair color. When she first went red, back in February, I thought it was a wig (and I'm not ruling that out). But I'm surprised that heading into April, her hair's still copper —and still looks good. So good, in fact, that it's possible redheaded Jenner has influenced (either consciously or subliminally) other people to try red. Sydney Sweeney is recently a rosy shade of strawberry blonde, as is her Euphoria costar Barbie Ferreira, her's more of a Kendall-adjacent shade of auburn.
I'm a natural redhead, and interestingly, so is Jenner's hair colorist, Jenna Perry, who's expertly skilled at manufacturing the shade and making it look real. Born into red hair, trauma-bonded gingers, Perry and I both have a complicated relationship with the shade. We're also both familiar with the fact that of all the colors of hair dye, red is the most challenging to maintain. Still, I'm curious, within the colorist's experience, why do people want red hair? Moreover, how do they feel once they have it?
The color of our hair such a key role in identity formation, especially for us redheads who we make up roughly 2% of the world population. "It wasn’t easy being a redhead growing up," Perry admits, which is something we relate on. "Redheads got picked on a lot." Ironically, Perry's clients, beyond Jenner includes whisper-of-red heads Maude Apatow and Zoey Deutch, go red by choice with the goal of look different from the other 98% of the world — something Perry and I once loathed. "They want something exciting," Perry explains, adding that it's a confidence thing. "They want to stand out in a crowd, because a redhead is typically the only redhead in the room."
A trend in red hair color isn't novel, but it is picking up steam recently. Perry says red was actually happening last year and the influence is just now trickling down. "Now that a lot of A-list celebrities are going red, it's making headlines [and] becoming more popular in the mainstream," she explains. Generally, she adds, warmer hair tones — think yellows and golds and reds — are more accepted than they were five to ten years ago, back when the trend was towards cool, platinum blondes.
"With any trend, people are relating towards red right now and the people who are wearing it," adds colorist and Matrix Brand Ambassador Rachel Bodt. She recently took Ferreira from black to a vibrant red and says it served as inspiration for many clients: "People are saying, 'I [can] relate, I have similar coloring.' Seeing so many redheads right now, people can visualize it." According to Bolt, there's a red tone for everyone. For example, Ferreria's red influenced TikTok creator CurvyQueenSheen to take her own brown hair red, though a different, more golden copper. If you have natural hair, you can go red without bleach, just consult your colorist on the right shade for your hair texture and complexion. They key is dimension.
It doesn't have to be a major change, either. Bolt suggests starting with a red gloss treatment, which is essentially like a shine treatment that tints your hair red. "It's no commitment, like trying it on," Bolt explains. "Though what's good about it is also bad about it: It will fade really quick, so if you change your mind you're fine to go back to your natural color, but if you like it, you have to do something more permanent."
If you're on the fence, there's no time like the future. See if you still want red when the trend kicks a little lower. What Bolt recommends is trying a wig. "That's the best way to see if it's going to look good on you and see how it makes you feel," she says. But in her experience, most people love being a redhead. Perry agrees: "One of my favorite clients said she had never got hit on so much in her life."