It’s a new year, which means it’s the perfect time to try a new hair color. There are lots of fun hair trends to try in 2019. Those who aren’t quite ready to join the My Little Pony club of rainbow hair — or those who could do with a break — can try a rich red hair color.
The unmistakable fiery shade is gaining popularity on the runways and among celebrities. Kate Bosworth dyed her hair ginger, and Emma Stone is back to red after a bout as her natural blonde. Lola Kirke is now on team #redhair, and Anne Hathaway showed off a chic auburn look while filming The Last Thing He Wanted in Puerto Rico. The color is also ramping up in pop culture, with Amber Heard’s character, Mera, in Aquaman, Nicole Kidman as Celeste in Big Little Lies and Sophie Turner aka Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones. We cannot forget about the gorgeous natural gingers who are a constant source of hairspiration. Looking at you, Julianne Moore, Jessica Chastain, Madeline Brewer and, uh, Prince Harry.
Given that fewer than two percent of the world’s population is naturally ginger, most of us need to schedule a color appointment to achieve our red hair color ideas. Before booking it, there are some things to consider for the ultimate flattering look.
How to Choose a Flattering Red Hair Color
There are countless shades of red hair, so there’s something for all. With so many options, it’s important you and your colorist are dreaming of the same shade. Joico’s Brand Ambassador Larisa Love says to scour Pinterest and celebrity photos, then bring plenty of examples of your ideal look to the salon. And keep in mind that there are cool and warm reds. You should work with a hair colorist to find one that suits your complexion and eyes.
Shin An from Shin Salon in Santa Monica, CA says a general rule is that violet reds (e.g., burgundy and merlot) work well on olive and darker skin tones while orange-based reds (e.g., copper blond to deep copper) complement those with light, fair or pinkish skin.
An breaks down the best red colors for all skin types in further detail:
- Light Auburn: Think: Julia Roberts’ signature red hair color. It works for almost all skin tones and eye colors.
- Ginger Cinnamon: For example, Jessica Chastain or Malin Ackerman in Couples Retreat. It’s best for strawberry blondes and cooler and fair skin tones with pink and yellow undertones.
- Golden Copper: It’s suited to light-medium skin with gold or yellow undertones, like Blake Lively.
- Auburn: It’s a classic shade that looks great on fair to medium neutral skin tones. Auburn hair with soft warm toffee highlights is ideal for those who are naturally brunette and want to be convincing redheads.
- Metallic Red: Like Sophie Turner in Game of Thrones. A pink-based red is pretty with medium neutral skin tones.
- Orange Red: The metallic shade is perfect for warming up natural blondes. It works on fair skin with pink and yellow undertones (e.g., Isla Fisher, Emma Stone, Julianne Moore, Nicole Kidman), plus those with olive tones.
- Fire-Engine Red: The bright, more artificial scarlet shades look best on medium to deeper skin tones with yellow undertones. Be aware it can overpower fair skin. It’s also more high maintenance.
- Blue Red: It’s best for pink and yellow undertones and Asian complexions, according to An.
- Cherry-Coke Red: Suits darker, tan and olive undertones, e.g., Ariana Grande.
- Berry, Burgundy and Wine: Complements darker skin tones with golden undertones such as Rihanna and Blac Chyna.
No matter the shade, it’s essential to choose an experienced colorist to create the look. “Reds are very tricky because no redhead has one shade of red. It’s a mixture of red, copper, blond and brown,” says An. “To make a natural-looking redhead you have to formulate a balanced tone quality that has multifaceted tone and reflection.”
Preventing Color Fading
Unfortunately, the flaming shade is prone to fading. To keep color looking its best Antonio Prieto Salon Colorist Reni Karnoto says new gingers need a color-safe shampoo and conditioner. There are products specifically designed for red hair as well as masks with red tones to maintain vibrancy. We like the Joico Color Infuse Red Shampoo ($16.99) and the John Frieda Radiant Red Boosting Shampoo ($11.99). Pro tip: Bust out dry shampoo because minimizing washing will prolong color. Love suggests washing strands about twice per week in lukewarm to cold water.
Karnoto says faux redheads can get hair glossing treatments between color appointments to maintain the fire. Those who want to try an at-home approach can experiment with color-boosting formulas like the Joico Color Intensity Color Butter ($19.99) or the Bumble and bumble Bb.Color Gloss in Universal Red ($34).
Start seeing red with these 19 gorgeous ginger hair colors.