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Hair colour trends, celebs and those bold, stylish friends have us seeing red these days. Whether they’re all natural or carefully transformed by hair colour specialists, red heads are having their shining moment. To keep red hair colour its brightest year-round, we chatted with Douglas Timleck, hair colour specialist at Hair on the Avenue in Toronto, for his expert hair care tips (safe to try on everyone from Anne of Green Gables to Florence Welch).
RED HAIR RULES
1. Go to the pros
If you’ve been considering making the switch from your natural blonde or brown hair to a full head of flaming red locks (Emma Stone and Debra Messing did it successfully, and you can too), book an appointment with a colour specialist at your salon. Depending on your starting shade—and if it’s natural or colour-treated—“it’s difficult to achieve the right colour balance with red hair,” says Timleck. More so than you may think: “Everyone thinks blondes require the most maintenance, when in all reality, it’s red heads.”
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2. Select your perfect shade
Are you going for a fiery Lana del Rey copper or a shiny golden-red shade à la Emma Stone? Start with your skin tone to find the perfect match. “Orange-copper to red-red shades are the most flattering,” offers Timleck, whereas eggplant purple is the hardest because it’s such an extreme look. Medium copper-reds are good transitional hues for brunettes, says Timleck. “They’re also good for fair and olive skin tones.” But avoid if skin has pink undertones to it—a cooler red would be a better option.
3. Lighten up!
“It’s all about light, bright reds,” says Timleck. Think tone-on-tone highlights to brighten up the overall hair colour. “Ombré is still huge, and really pretty on red heads.” Go for a bright base with shiny red locks on top and a golden-red shade underneath for a perfect take on this two-tone look.
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Tips on how to find the perfect red shade for your skin tone on the next page…
Since red hair colour tends to fade out quickly, adding a high-sheen gloss overtop is an easy way to freshen up locks. And wash hair less frequently to minimize fading. “Use a dry shampoo instead of washing hair everyday,” says Timleck. Use a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner specifically formulated for colour-treated hair to keep locks their brightest shade. Try René Furterer Okara Radiance Enhancing Shampoo and Conditioner. Just be sure to avoid using white towels on freshly dyed red hair, the dye can turn light linen (especially pillowcases) pink.
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5. Provide good sun protection
Red heads are prone to accelerated colour fading during summer months—sun, water, chlorine are all contributors—so protection is key. “Wear a hat if out on the beach all day,” says Timleck. And if you plan on diving into a pool, completely soak hair first to prevent chlorine from seeping into the cuticle, then wash hair immediately after. “Use Kérastase Mirco-Voile Protecteur—it’s like sunscreen for the hair.”
6. Refresh regularly
The more you play with spicy red shades, the likelier it is that the colour will fade out faster. In the winter months, you can get away with booking colour touchups at the salon every five or six weeks. Whereas during the summer, “because the sun is strong and red hair fades out fast, you should go every three weeks to freshen up your colour.”
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7. Play with your look
The thing about red hair is that there’s a shade for everyone—it just differs depending on personal style and individual details, like eye colour and skin tone. “I will look at how a person dresses and their skin colour to steer them into the right red,” says Timleck. And this season, all roads lead to Jessica Chastain’s fiery orange locks.
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