Blog: The Big Redhead Roundup


Have you heard? Boy Brow is going red today—and before you worry, it’s a long thought-out decision unrelated to any recent breakups or other major life shake ups. [Reader breathes deep sigh of relief for comedic effect.] Far from being spontaneous, Auburn is actually a long-overdue nod to the fact that those with the MCR1 gene mutation (or a particularly talented colorist) want—need!—brow makeup too. For proof, just look at The Top Shelf. Here, we’ve rounded up our best tips, tricks, and moody musings from all the redheads who’ve graced our hallowed webpages for the past 10 years. Whether strawberry or copper, ginger or burgundy, born this way or thinking about taking the plunge, here’s what you need to know.

On going red:

“So I’m naturally blond, but all of my cousins are redheads with freckles. My aunt is now a hairdresser for women going through chemo at one of the largest cancer treatment centers in America, so I asked her if she could mix up a hair dye that would match the color of my cousins’ hair. About 20 different bottles later, she figured it out. I’ve been this color red for six years—it’s called 7RO Marigold.” —Jess Green, Owner, VEN Agency

“I go to the salon to have my hair done, because I have a really great hairdresser who’s a natural redhead and she understands the vintage feel I’m going for. If you ever want to go red, you need a redhead hairdresser—it makes sense because they understand the pigments.” —Amy Hood, Actor

“Steven [Meisel] asked me if I wanted to dye my hair and I said OK! I went over to [my hairdresser] Ward’s and we got Manic Panic and chopped pieces of my hair off and went nuts. I didn’t mind, I was young. I was with the best people in the business.” —Karen Elson, Supermodel

“I remember the night before my first Louis Vuitton show, Nicolas [Ghesquière] coming up to me and saying, ‘We want to change your hair. We either want to go jet black or Karen Elson red. You can decide which one you want.’ I had mousy brown hair—clock the roots, girl. I was under the impression that the red hair would be a cute moment for the show and I would return to the brown hair, but it’s been two and half years since then and I’ve kept the hair. I feel like I was always ginger on the inside and I didn’t know—it suits me so well.” —Teddy Quinlivan, Model

“I used to always use Garnier Fructis 6R. But my friends were like ‘You can do better, Zoe.’ You have to listen to your friends! I think it made a huge difference when I got it professionally done. I did it right before Fashion Week last year, and I wore a red dress to one show and with the red hair it didn’t clash like it would have before—so, success.” —Zoe Silverman, Singer, ASTR

“One day I went in for a dirty blonde, but it ended up being Strawberry Shortcake. I had never wanted to be a redhead, I never thought I would ever have red hair, and I really like it! I feel like it complements my skin tone in a way that I didn’t anticipate.” —Kate Bowman, Model

“I’ve been playing with my hair color forever—since my teens and through my 20s with lots of henna. When I lived in Italy, there was this crazy thing that all of us would do, where everyone got this really strong chamomile extract and we’d pour it on our heads in the summer. By the end of the summer, our hair would be some form of orange.” —Temple Saint Clair, Jewelry Designer

Finding the right shades:

“When I went to boarding school [in England] at 13, I saw that all of the English girls wore lots of makeup. That’s when I discovered mascara. I had fair eyelashes, and I went from having this ‘piggy’ look on my face to suddenly having these thick, black, long lashes. Everyone was like, ‘You’ve just really matured; you look really great now.’ It was like, Oh my god. This is the power of makeup.” —Charlotte Tilbury, Makeup Artist

“I’ve had [my hair] red since eighth grade. Stylists have told me that I have red undertones in my face, and that’s why the red hair complements me. I think that makes sense—a scientific reason for why I like it.” —Ravyn Lenae, Musician

“When you change your hair, all of your color perception changes. You wear clothes you didn’t wear before the hairdresser—it’s interesting. Right when I was coloring my hair, I thought if I did red, I couldn’t wear any color makeup. What I wear the most, actually, is orange. Nars Heat Wave is amazing. I’ve been using a red lately by Giorgio Armani, it’s almost finished.” —Amélie Pichard, Accessories Designer

“If I’m going out at night, and I have to look nice and presentable, I will wear the Too Faced Sweet Peach palette. The eyeshadows are so pigmented, and there are such good colors. I wear White Peach, Luscious, Nectar, Bless Your Heart, and sometimes Bellini—I sort of mix them up. I’m going to be so upset when they stop making it.” —Jessica Joffe, Founder, Même Chose

“My skin can get pretty red, and I’ve noticed that some makeup products are too pale and too yellow—I stick to Marie Veronique’s tinted sunscreen and RMS Un Cover Up in 00 on spots. Then I put some W3ll People bronzer on and blend it around. I love that. If I want more pigment in my cheeks, I use Glossier Cloud Paint in Haze. I’ve found that blushes that have a little bit of blue or gray in them look best on me.” —Bonnie Wright, Director

“I find that [with red hair] I have to add more life back into my skin with blush. Formentera by Charlotte Tilbury is one of my favorites. And I also love Very Sweet from Tata Harper. Sensuous Rose from Estée Lauder is usually what I wear when I go out at night because it’s a powder and it stays put. I got it when I was looking for a new cream blush at Ulta, but the saleslady convinced me to try the powder blush instead. It’s so fucking good, it’s become my everything.” —Rio Viera-Newton, Beauty Writer

Keeping it fresh:

“To preserve the color, I barely wash it. They did give me a color-safe shampoo for red hair that’s actually red itself—recently, I treated myself to an apartment cleaning, because my place looks like a warzone, and the cleaning woman went into the bathroom, came out, and was like, ‘Is everything OK?’ And I looked in the shower and it was all red. I told her, ‘I want you to know, first and foremost, you’re safe.’ But yeah, it’s blood shampoo.” —Betty Gilpin, Actor

“I try to stay away from really pink tones. I dye my hair maybe four times a year, max, and it fades to a copper more than a gross pink color. I use this really cheap shampoo that I found, but it’s the best–it’s called Renpure Argan Oil Shampoo and I bought it on accident. I wash my hair with it twice a week to preserve the color.” —Kacy Hill, Singer

“To maintain the color in the between time, I actually put orange food coloring from the grocery store in my conditioner. [Laughs] I don’t know what made me think that would work, but it does, and it looks fine to me.” —Amy Hood, Actor

And how, love it or hate it, red hair makes a statement:

“Even though my hair is a big part of who I am and I could not imagine myself without it, it was really challenging when I was younger. There are a lot of clichés about redheads in the Black community, crazy stories about sorcery or curses… My family and I were always moving around and we’d always settle into small towns where I was ‘the odd one.’ Kids and sometimes even parents would pick on me. At 13, I went through a phase when I wanted to dye my hair and have it straight—thank God my mom always told me that I should be proud of who I am. When we moved to Paris a couple years later, there were a lot of mixed-race people and I started to get compliments about my ‘look.’” —Coralie Jouhier, Model

“I was actually blond about five years ago when I got my first record deal. But I was 17 or 18 at the time and I wanted to make a statement, so right before a show I knew my whole record label would be at, I dyed it red. I didn’t tell anyone about it—I wanted to be defiant. So the color in general symbolizes that to me. Like breaking the rules and going against the grain of what’s normal.” —Zoe Silverman, singer, ASTR

“My hair is natural—I’ve never dyed it. Never ever. As a girl, I begged my mom for highlights and to play with color, but no one would ever let me. Now, I realize everyone was right—I don’t want to do anything to it. Being a redhead is a weird thing.” —Julie Houts, designer

“Neither of my parents have red hair. Apparently my great-great-grandfather did, but who knows about that. So when I was born—I had orange hair already—my wristband fell off, and when they brought me back to my mom, she was like, ‘Uh, you brought me the wrong child.’ I used to hate it because it looked so different from everybody else’s.” —Kim Johnson, Community Manager, Glossier

“The color’s always been pretty red, actually, and I just added a bit to it since the late ‘70s. It’s Louis Licari [who colors my hair]. He’s been taking care of me since I came to America. I have to go every two weeks because I’ve got white hair now. Because hair really is so important—I’ve always thought it was the most important part of a photograph. Makes it or breaks it.” —Grace Coddington

Photos via ITG

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