By Alison McGill
Being a redhead is a state of mind, one I certainly know well as I am one. I inherited the ginger gene from my Scottish grandmother, and my red hair has always been a defining part of who I am. It’s believed a mere two percent of the world’s population are natural gingers (we have a new Royal one in our midst in Lilibet Diana Mountbatten Windsor, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s daughter), and we are a tribe know to be bold creatives who aren’t afraid to stand out.
You may have noticed a recent influx of red hair happening as the hue is a huge trend currently topping the hair colour charts. Gigi Hadid, Doja Cat, Sydney Sweeney and Lordes Leon have all gone red. Tones vary from crackling copper to strawberry blonde and rich auburn; it’s the sheer diversity of red shades that make this hair colour accessible to everyone. Master Stylist Liz Foster of Toronto’s Fifteen Twelve Salon says red is truly a shade for all.
“I believe anyone can go red, but there are some things to consider before taking the plunge,” Foster says. “With the help of your colourist you need to find the best red for your skin tone and also be honest with yourself about what level of maintenance your game for.”
Read on for Foster’s musings on red hair and how to keep that vibrant colour from washing down the shower drain.
Why is red, like blonde, a transformative hair colour?
“It’s a unique shade which I find impacts people on many levels,” says Foster. “Every time I turn a client red it’s astounding to me how their entire appearance changes. Red hair brings out the natural warmth in any skin tone, and it also brings out people’s eyes and draws out a spark of colour in them which you might not have noticed before.” Red hair can also have a noticeable impact on personalities—the colour has been known to turn introverts into attention-loving extroverts!
If you are thinking of going red, but nervous to go all in, how can you subtly embrace the trend?
“If you are not ready for a solid, tone-on-tone colour, one of my favourite alternatives is a full highlight service, which is then glossed with red,” explains Foster. “This gives the illusion of red hair without the maintenance and frequent root touch ups—your natural colour is still very much in the mix. The gloss will fade as your hair grows which means an easy, natural-looking grow out. Many of my clients start here, then build up to a more statement red.”
About maintaining red hair, how do you keep colour bright?
“Most importantly, immediately following your colour service wait at least 48 hours before washing your hair,” Foster says. “You need to allow time for the cuticle layer of hair to close and trap the colour molecule which allows for longer lasting hair colour. Using colour safe products will make a huge difference in the longevity of your red hair; also use a heat protection product if you blow dry or use hot tools. You want to ensure you hair is well hydrated to maintain colour luster and shine so I recommend masking once a week, and if you are in the sun use a UV protection product or wear a hat. Lastly you might want to check with your colourist about tinted conditioners which can give you a boost between appointments. Most colourists can custom mix a conditioner for you so just ask!”
Who are your favourite redheads of the moment?
“I love Jessica Chastain because she’s always slightly tweaking her red hair,” Foster says. “I am also a huge fan of Zendaya, and love when she rocks red hair—it looks incredible on her! I also love what I see happening on social media because we are drawing inspiration from each other instead of celebrities. Beauty influencers have become huge sources of style inspo when it comes to hair by creating content on their platforms where they share personal experiences. I think this makes trends more accessible to people which means they are not afraid to experiment with their look.”
RED HAIR COLOUR CARE ESSENTIALS
The Colour Safe Shampoo
Cleanse your hair with a sulphate-free shampoo to help conserve your colour. Look for a super-hydrating formula that will moisturize hair and boost shine—this will keep your red rocking!
Pureology Hydrate Shampoo, $39, chatters.ca
The Colour Boosting Mask
This is a great way to ramp up your colour between appointments as it deposits temporary colour into the cuticle; pigment will gradually wash awa. Pros recommend doing this treatment no more than once a week.
Moroccaoil Color Depositing Mask in Copper, $34, moroccanoil.com
The UV & Heat Protectant
Too much heat styling and too much sunshine will dull your red radiance. After cleansing and conditioning your hair, mist on a dual-protection spray that will shield hair from hot tool damage and UV rays.
Voir A Walk In The Sun Moisturizing Heat & UV Protecting Mist, $30, voir.com