Fired up

From this sea­son’s run­ways to the celebrity cir­cuit, red­heads are red hot. By Cleo Glyde.

VOGUE Australia - - BEAUTY -

Red has al­ways been the big­gest, bad­dest, bold­est hue in the hair colour spec­trum. Of course, no-one has ever dyed their hair flame-red to blend in. As a life­long ‘vol­un­teer’, I know. I have al­ways wanted to be a mem­ber of Club Red­head – I have coloured my hair but­ter­scotch since my teens, when my blonde-streaked brown just didn’t seem to match how I felt inside. When I busted out of the ’burbs as a teen and headed to Paris on study leave – ac­ci­den­tally drop­ping out of Ade­laide Law School – it was time to leave my brown pig­tails be­hind.

With my fair skin and Ir­ish mother, I looked the part and felt like an honorary mem­ber who should go the whole way. As soon as I be­came a card-car­ry­ing red­head, I had a li­cence to be cheeky and defiant. In a way, my per­son­al­ity and hair started a sym­bi­otic re­la­tion­ship: this vi­brant new colour al­lowed me to ex­press a re­bel­lious streak. And in turn, ev­ery­one’s pro­jec­tions and ex­pec­ta­tions egged me on to be even more over-the-top. ‘That crazy red­head’ be­came an in­ex­tri­ca­ble part of my early mod­el­ling ca­reer and iden­tity (I once used the name ‘cy­clonecleo’ for my email ad­dress).

Back­stage this sea­son, flame-coloured tresses did more than just ‘pop’ visu­ally: they be­came beauty’s next big thing. Af­ter last year’s holo­graphic lips and jewel-stud­ded eyes, this sea­son’s un­mis­tak­able mood shift was fiery locks – not just the uni­form ginger or auburn we as­so­ciate with nat­u­ral red­heads, but ex­cit­ing, elec­tric, know­ingly ar­ti­fi­cial rock-star red.

On the Miu Miu run­way, Aus­tralian model Lily Nova’s nat­u­ral ginger was turbo-charged into shock­ing manga neon by Bri­tish colourist Josh Wood, us­ing Red­ken pro colour. Korean model EZ’s buzz cut was un­ex­pect­edly rust-coloured, to­tally reimag­in­ing its an­drog­y­nous edge. At Gucci, Lina Hoss strut­ted a burnt-or­ange crop, jut­ting sky-high with un­mis­tak­ably glam Bowie-es­que flair – Bri­tish stylist Paul Han­lon says the look was a nod to 70s and 80s un­der­ground Chelsea punk.

Ma­jor style-state­ment red has been echoed by celebrities in all their glit­tery glory. Pop star Rita Ora ditched plat­inum to sport flu­o­res­cent red and dark roots with her usual street in­sou­ciance. Amer­i­can rap­per Justina Valen­tine has made vi­brant, ul­tra-faux red part of her wild-child brand­ing. Even ac­tress Blake Lively’s straw­berry bronde, as pretty as a sparkling bellini, brings a boho edge to her glo­ri­ously tum­bling, Ra­pun­zel-wor­thy locks, up­dat­ing her more main­stream cheer­leader aes­thetic.

Red stole the shows as colourists like Wood pro­nounced that the hue has re­placed last year’s Mad Max- in­flected plat­inum trend. Clearly, red’s mes­meris­ing vis­ual power is help­ing women em­body and ex­press our era’s rad­i­cal fe­male fear­less­ness.

“Bold, bright reds are it right now,” con­firms colour ex­pert and Gold­well am­bas­sador Neil Bar­ton, who has noted their rise across the UK and at his busy Ed­in­burgh sa­lon, Neil Bar­ton Hair­dress­ing. “Re­quests for bright fire and cherry red are ris­ing.” His favourite red-car­pet red­head is Emma Stone (a nat­u­ral blonde). “Her

muted, cop­pery red has a gor­geous shine and looks stun­ning with her skin tone and cur­rent lob. I also love how ac­tress Eleanor Tom­lin­son’s fiery red re­ally shows off her bright blue eyes.”

Bar­ton sees the cur­rent reign of cop­pery reds as per­fect for Aus­tralian women, es­pe­cially com­ing into sum­mer. “They add warmth to the com­plex­ion and look great with a tan.” Bar­ton is also a fan of the rose gold trend: “The mix of warm red and cool pink is flat­ter­ing, be­cause it works across all skin tones. This gor­geous metal­lic is all over In­sta­gram at the mo­ment.”

Red’s graphic bold­ness suits so­cial me­dia, whose main cur­rency is max­i­mum vis­ual im­pact. It’s the per­fect ex­per­i­men­tal show­case for hair­styl­ists like LA-based Elena Pala­cios, whose fiery ‘Hot Chee­tos’ om­bre cre­ation blends red, or­ange and yel­low. On In­sta­gram #red­hair has more than 13 mil­lion posts alone, a cor­nu­copia of style and colour, from nat­u­ral freck­les and ringlets to cy­ber-bright waves rem­i­nis­cent of car­toon char­ac­ter Ariel in The Lit­tle Mer­maid.

My Syd­ney-based colourist, Ge­orge Gi­avis, cur­rently tints my hair ginger for sum­mer and a deeper, more red-set­ter hue for win­ter, some­times adding a bright straw­berry wash on the ends. “There is some­thing about the cur­rent mood of women fight­ing back and red­heads that just goes to­gether,” says Gi­avis. “And ex­pertly coloured red is a luxe colour that can make hair look lus­trous and healthy, es­pe­cially if you use or­ganic colour like I do.” Gi­avis also thinks that women should em­brace the clash fac­tor of red with bold sum­mer colours: “Ev­ery­one no­tices the red­head in the room. There’s an old say­ing: blondes have more fun, but red­heads do the dam­age.”

Flam­ing tresses have al­ways been the most emo­tion­ally charged hue, con­jur­ing the tem­pes­tu­ous qual­i­ties that we as­so­ciate with a hot-tem­pered Celtic colleen: fiery, un­tame­able wild­ness. This in­ten­sity is ex­em­pli­fied by glo­ri­ous Maureen O’Hara’s por­trayal of a flame-haired shep­herdess in the Tech­ni­color clas­sic The Quiet Man, from 1952. Like a buck­ing wild horse, Mary Kate is the ul­ti­mate prize for some­one man enough to tame her. En­ter the mes­merised John Wayne.

“Maureen O’Hara played the re­turned im­mi­grant’s fan­tasy of a feisty Celtic woman,” says cul­tural com­men­ta­tor Dr Ruth Bar­ton in the 2008 Ir­ish doc­u­men­tary Rua, which is Gaelic for red. See­ing this iconic char­ac­ter hold her own (“It will be more than words you’ll be get­ting if you come an­other step closer”) is elec­tri­fy­ing, and erot­i­cally charged. “That re­sis­tance is some­how more full of prom­ise,” says Bar­ton. “Her fiery, pas­sion­ate na­ture is what is as­so­ci­ated with a red­headed woman to this day.”

Of course, true red­heads can at­test that any­thing un­usual can be­come a light­ning rod for bul­lies (a col­league of mine was taunted with “Fanta pants” all through her Queens­land child­hood). Red at­tracts at­ten­tion, help­ing make the ep­i­thet ‘ginger’ one of the last ac­cept­able forms of mi­nor­ity taunt­ing in a school­yard.

But it is the hue’s very rar­ity that also makes red a hit among the fashion com­mu­nity. Art di­rec­tors, pho­tog­ra­phers and de­sign­ers love its vi­brancy and clashi­ness. In­de­pen­dent art and de­sign mag­a­zine MC1R, named af­ter the gene that de­ter­mines hair colour, is de­voted en­tirely to red hair’s ‘spe­cial­ness’. Red­heads are rep­re­sented even more on the run­way and in ed­i­to­ri­als than in their nat­u­ral habi­tat Scot­land and Ire­land, the land of fair-skinned Celts, where gen­uine, flame-coloured hair is con­cen­trated. The Scots have the world’s high­est pro­por­tion of red­heads, at 13 per cent, fol­lowed by 10 per cent of the Ir­ish pop­u­la­tion. True ge­netic red­heads are a tiny two per cent of the global pop­u­la­tion (most red­heads have brown or hazel eyes, mak­ing red hair and blue eyes the rarest of all hair and eye colour com­bi­na­tions).

When a red­head is born that way her tresses re­veal her blood­line; when a woman chooses the colour of fire, her hair tells the world that she is truly ready for its gaze. With the global hair color mar­ket pro­jected to reach US$29 bil­lion by 2019, red colour sales al­ready out­strip ev­ery other hue, oc­ca­sion­ally reach­ing fever pitch, such as this sea­son. Clearly women who find their nat­u­ral colour too blah are more than ready to fake it – and that’s the real deal.


• There is a shade to suit ev­ery­body. Auburn and cop­per are great for bright­en­ing light eyes and suit medium skin tones. Women with darker skin should opt for deeper cherry red, while lighter skin tones suit rose gold or straw­berry blonde.

• Pre­vent colour fade – red hair looks its best when bright and vi­brant. Gold­well Kerasilk Sham­poo, Con­di­tioner and Treat­ment pre­serve colour bril­liantly.

• Don’t over-wash, as this can strip colour and nat­u­ral oils.

• Avoid heat tools, as they speed up fad­ing. Or at least use heat-pro­tec­tion spray and colour-pro­tec­tion styling prod­ucts.

• Get cut­ting-edge colour. The lat­est trend is a mor­ph­ing tech­nique with the Gold­well Reds range, us­ing dif­fer­ent pig­ments within a red, ap­ply­ing red violet or even yel­low violet on the outer layer of the hair for a stun­ning 3D ef­fect.

• Match colours with cuts. I love cop­per shades on long hair. Bright, bold reds work best with shorter cuts and geo­met­ric styles such as bobs.

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