The right red hair for you: how to get Hollywood’s hottest trend

Drew Barrymore enlisted stylist Tracey Cunningham to take her from blond to redhead. Photo by Getty ImagesDrew Barrymore enlisted stylist Tracey Cunningham to take her from …

Most famous flame-haired beauties are actually not natural redheads. Lucille Ball, Christina Hendricks, Debra Messing, Sharon Osbourne, and Cynthia Nixon have all faked it for years while many stars have just recently caught scarlet fever-just ask at the now-appropriately named Scarlett Johansson. We caught up with celebrity stylist Tracey Cunningham, who recently transformed Drew Barrymore's signature blond locks to a golden red, for pointers on how anyone can become the perfect redhead and what to expect once you've taken the plunge.


Christina Hendricks dyes her hair red. Getty ImagesChristina Hendricks dyes her hair red. Getty Images

How to achieve a natural red

"Choose a color a real redhead would have," says Cunningham. "You can't pick out a weird purple blue red. That's not going to look natural because it's not real." She suggests bringing in a photo of a natural redhead you love to the salon. "I've done Julianne Moore's hair and she doesn't color her hair," she says. You could also bring in a picture of Isla Fisher or our childhood favorite, Molly Ringwald. "People loved her for her red hair. She wasn't the hottest chick around, but she was the cool, relatable girl next door."

Blake Lively goes strawberry blonde. Getty ImagesBlake Lively goes strawberry blonde. Getty Images
How to achieve a subtle red

Cunningham describes Blake Lively's new strawberry blond 'do as, "I wanna change my hair color and get a little attention, but I'm a little afraid of when I want to go back to blond." She's right, because the "Gossip Girl" star switched up her hair specifically for a movie role. "You definitely don't get the vibe that she's committed to the red look, so I think she's smart to take it easy with the color," says Cunningham. This is a great option for women looking for something less permanent, as it will wash out in a few months. Also perfect for blonds and ladies with fair skin.


Rihanna's red hair is attention-grabbing. Getty ImagesRihanna's red hair is attention-grabbing. Getty Images
How to achieve a not-so-natural red

It's a bold move, but you could go the deliberately fake route like Sharon Osbourne or Rihanna, who have both committed to a bold Crayola red. "The rock world and the movie star world are different," says Cunningham. "Rihanna is a pop star and Sharon Osbourne is an icon. I don't really think that some mother picking up her kids at the soccer line is going to look hot with this look. [Laughs] It sounds mean, but truthfully you have to have a really wild personality to pull it off." Point taken.


Deborah Ann Woll uses box color. Getty ImagesDeborah Ann Woll uses box color. Getty Images
DIY dye

You don't need to pay big bucks for fab red hair. "True Blood" star Deborah Ann Woll dyes hers with box color-L'Oreal Excellence Hair Color in Strawberry Blonde 9RB to be exact. "It's what I've been using for the past 10 years to dye my hair," she told MARKTbeauty. "Affordable and easy to use. Especially since my natural color is so light. Love the subtleness of the shade." Sales of red at-home hair dye is up 17 percent in the past decade. Cunningham says it's not impossible to achieve a great shade with drugstore color, and that semi-permanent dyes can be a good way to test the waters.


Sophia Loren makes an awesome redhead. Getty ImagesSophia Loren makes an awesome redhead. Getty Images
When you have dark hair or dark skin

Forget going strawberry blond and choose a darker red that's flattering. "It's easier to achieve and it's better to be closer to your natural root color anyways for maintenance," suggests Cunningham. You may be happy to know that red dye tends to last longer in darker hair, and fade faster in light hair. Cunningham also insists "women with any skin tone can go red." Sophia Loren's complexion looks fantastic with red hair, though admittedly that lady can do no wrong. If you have an olive complexion or like the sun, this shade is best for you.


Debra Messing has been a faux redhead for years. Getty ImagesDebra Messing has been a faux redhead for years. Getty ImagesMaintenance

"No matter how good your hairdresser is, you're going to need some touch-ups," says Cunningham. Red is the hardest color to get in and also the hardest to get out, so be confident in your decision before you dye. That said, dye will take to virgin hair much easier than hair that has been recently dyed with another color. Use a color extending shampoo and conditioner to prevent fading, and a hair oil or shine spray to make your new color pop. If you hate roots showing you may need touch-ups every few weeks, but those with lighter hair may need their whole head re-dyed after a few months.


Scarlett Johansson lives up to her name. Getty ImagesScarlett Johansson lives up to her name. Getty Images
What to expect as a new redhead

Red hair gives you personality and can even become your identity. Try and picture Christina Hendricks without red hair-you can't! And we still wish Lindsay Lohan would go back to her gorgeous natural red hair. "It's fun to watch how people change with their color," says Cunningham. "It really does all sort of come together. And just like a glass of wine is a confidence booster at a party, so is your new hair color. It starts the conversation, and people will tell you you look great." Look at how people have swooned over Scarlett Johansson's transformation! And the last great reason to go red: experimenting with new shades of makeup and colors in your wardrobe. Everything you have will now look new and exciting. That may be reason enough to try it.



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