| February 6, 2014

Thinking about getting a bold makeover, but blonde is just too bland and brunette is boring? Consider heating thing ups with a fiery red.

PHOTOS: You Mean, They're Not Really Redheads?

Fortunately, transforming yourself into a gorgeous redhead doesn’t require the luck of the Irish. And while Hollywood screen sirens like Rita Hayworth and Maureen O'Hara looked super sultry with vibrant tresses, many Hollywood stars, including Amy Adams and Christina Hendricks, are firing up the red carpet with their head-turning looks.

“Red is now popular more than ever because it provides a WOW factor to your look,” explains celebrity stylist Pasquale Caselle of IT&LY Hairfashion. “Red is a bold, confident, and statement-making. Red is empowering as it stands out in a crowd. It is also sophisticated and sultry.”

READ: Bye Bye Blonde: Why Brunette Is In

“I love a good red head!” says Kitty Grellar, color director for Ted Gibson Beauty in New York City. “It takes a seemingly strong personality to rock it, but I tend to think red already brings out the strong person in us. I have seen more than one client come in as a demure brunette and walk out standing tall as a beautiful redhead. Their stance and confidence changes.”

While choosing this red-hot look can be an instant confidence-booster, it also comes with major challenges. From potentially damaging treatments to frequent upkeep, going red is not an easy task–but if done correctly, it can create stunning results.

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Thinking about trying this red hot look? Read on for the major dos and don’ts you should know before becoming a redhead:

Always Take Note of Your Skin

Just like with any hair color, it’s important to take note of your skin tone to determine which shade will enhance your features. “Fair skin tones look best with golden, strawberry, and coppery shades,” says Caselle. “Wines, burgundies, and eggplant shades will result in a washed out look. Medium-skin tones look great in medium copper or auburn as violet reds will make you look jaundiced. And darker or olive skin tones should stick with caramel-auburn shades or a chili pepper brown. Going too light will also result in a washed out look.”

Grays Need Extra Care

“When coloring white or gray hair red, it is necessary to use a color that allows enough coverage,” warns celebrity stylist Ray Salazar of Beverly Hills-based Nelson J Salon. “Adding too much red pigment results in pink-colored hair. Make sure you go for a natural-looking hair color that happens to have a boost of red in it.

READ: Going Gray? Here's What To Do

Consider the Season

If you’re ready to take the plunge, you may want to consider getting this bold makeover during the fall/winter months to avoid excess upkeeps during the steamy months. Not only will you save money on managing your color, but it will also prevent your hair from being exposed to chemicals frequently. “Changing to red in the summer is tricky,” says Grellar. “Between the sun, beach, and pool times red comes out very fast. I usually advise my red heads to come in for roots every 6-8 weeks, but especially in the summer one should ask for a gloss every four weeks.”

Give Your Hair a Midas Touch

If you’re naturally a blonde and feeling hesitant about going to the dark side, you may want to consider a rich rose gold, a color that’s currently on-trend and warms up your lighter locks with a touch of red. Keep in mind that rose gold is one that only a colorist can perfect for your mane, so do not try this at home!

Drop the Bottle

If you’re a box dye kind of gal, now it’s the time to drop the bottle. Stylists agree that red is one of the trickiest colors to apply at home and attempting to doing so can potentially lead to a major color disaster, which will only result in you heading to the salon anyway. Save time, frustration, and money by splurging on a professional dye job instead. And when you do visit your stylist, it’s always important to bring plenty of photos to ensure you’re getting the exact color you want. “Before taking the plunge, go and try on some wigs to see what different tones look like on you,” suggest Caselle.  Selfies, anyone?

Prepare for Frequent Upkeep

“Red is a very high maintenance color because it fades and dulls out extremely fast if not taken care of correctly,” says Salazar. “Invest in the right shampoos and conditioners, as well as styling products, so that you can preserve the beautiful red hue.” Stylists suggest using a sulfate-free shampoo and a conditioner specifically for color-treated hair once a week to keep your color vibrant. 

Try a Gloss Instead

“If you aren’t sure (about going red), I advise a gloss instead,” says Grellar. “That way you’re dating the red color, but you don’t have to marry it. If the client then wants to make the change to permanent, I advise the client to keep the hair color for more than 6 months. I have found that red requires a lot of maintenance to get the color to stay put. And when a client decides to (suddenly) change it, then it can be damaging to get all the red out in one try.”

Additional Treatments May Be Required

If your hair is naturally dark, do note that going red is not as simple as getting your tresses dyed. Stylists say there’s a good chance your mane will need to be lightened before the red is applied to ensure you’re getting the exact color you want. “For clients with white hair, in particular, I always do a fill in first,” says Grellar. “Filling is a process that helps put pigment back to hair, which will support the red.” In addition, opting for a more fiery hue may require bleaching your mane first.

Have Blotchy Skin?

“Do not go red if your skin pigment is already reddish to begin with,” says Salazar. “It can make your face appear redder.” 

Pamper Your Mane

After the intense treatment it takes to become a gorgeous redhead, give your hair some much needed love with moisturizing products to keep your tresses soft and smooth. Stylists also recommend rinsing your hair with cold water to seal in the cuticle, making the color last longer. Don’t forget to use dark towels to prevent staining your whites while drying. Lastly, flaunt your new look! "In the end red is fun and will defiantly get a lot of attention," says Grellar. "If you’re ready to grab attention in 2014 red is the color for you."

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