The Pro Guide To Make Red Highlights Work On EVERY Color


Article by Refinery29

We're down to bleach our hair to oblivion, or try coffee-colored balayage, but red hair — strawberry blonde, rusty copper, blazing auburn, and the like — has long been considered a color category reserved for the 2% of the population born with it.


But as it turns out, those warm, red shades we're currently craving are totally achievable on every hair color. The trick is knowing what to ask for at the salon.

"Red-tinged highlights add dimension and tonality to the hair," explains colorist Stephanie Brown. "No matter your natural shade, it looks gorgeouswhen you infuse, or lift up, those red undertones." Plus, vibrant orange-red color works to instantly brighten up many skin tones, which is perfect for minimalists who feel too groggy to dab on highlighter in the morning.

Ahead, we've compiled your guide to going red, inspired by some of the best red looks we've seen on your favorite celebs. Plus, we've sussed out the best advice from the pros on how to take your hair — be it jet black or mousy brown — to a vivacious red that will have people asking, "Is that your natural color?"


If you have auburn hair

Jessica Chastian's soft red color is a bit lighter and more orange in tone compared to Fisher's. "When highlighting red hair you want to keep the orangey tones in the color," hair pro and resident redhead herself, Kristin Ess tells us. "A natural balayage technique will always look more natural than a foil highlight — plus the grow-out process is very low-maintenance."


If you have black or dark brown hair

"Hair lifts in stages, meaning warm highlights can show orange, yellow, or bright white," Holguin explains. "To achieve a red tint on black hair, your colorist should use a blend of yellow and pale yellow color." This will give the color an auburn-y richness without it looking fake or brassy, like Jourdan Dunn shows off here.


If you have medium or
light brown hair

If we didn't know any better, we'd bet money that Riley Keough was a natural redhead. But the purposefully grown-out brunette roots (and her current color) tip us off that the wash of copper color over shiny loose waves actually came courtesy of a stellar dye job. To pull it off, ask your colorist to add a rich red highlight, which will take your color from mousy brown to vibrant and multidimensional. Oh, and bring this photo of Riley.


If you have blonde

The key to taking blonde to sandy gold— a la Blake Lively — is to lift and highlight the copper undertones. Brownexplains that the approach can be subtle. "You only need to lift hair a little bit, because dirty blonde may already have those red tones, they just need a boost," she says. A few cinnamon lowlights help, too.


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