How red became the powerful hair colour for women over 40
It was a picture of Julianne Moore, 61, and Emma Stone, 33, side-by-side at the Louis Vuitton show in Paris with the exact same tone of auburn hair that made a case for the most ageless, generation-less shade of all time.
While the beauty industry’s fixation of making blonde hair blonder and brunette hair glossier, there’s never been a greater time to embrace naturally red hair - or indeed, switching up your blonde or brunette hair for timeless red.
There’s been a growing demand for red hair colour in the salons, too. One of the UK’s leading salons, the Josh Wood salon in London, has noticed a steady rise in bold red hair colour transformations. “It really is the most flattering hair colour for most complexions,” says its principal colourist Billy Reddick, who recently brightened up the red tones of Game Of Thrones actress Sophie Turner.
“There has been a real resurgence in red hair colour, as it works across generations,” notes Reddick. “There’s something about the depth of colour that looks instantly modern and bold, and makes more of a statement than a classic blonde or brunette shade.” Indeed, if you are opting to make your existing red hair colour even bolder, Reddick suggests getting a sharper haircut to match.
If you’re naturally blonde, a strawberry red gloss on the hair is an approachable way to try the colour. Think Nicole Kidman in The Undoing. Natural brunettes in Reddick’s chair often request copper tones as a first stepping stone to going full red - or simply leave it at that for a more interesting take on a classic mid-tone brunette.
The only thing to note is if you are going for softer lowlights or highlights on your natural blonde or brunette hair, you need a softer and more feathery cut to match, he advises.
If you’ve been inspired to try red but don’t want the commitment of a salon appointment and the upkeep, there are many red glosses on the market that can be applied as deep conditioners which deposit colour in a matter of minutes at home. Josh Wood, who has his own box colour range available at Boots, maintains there’s ‘a red to suit everyone’.
When he launched his range of red hair at-home glosses in 2020, just after the first national lockdown, the products flew off the virtual shelves, which he put down to us becoming a nation looking for a change. They are popular with existing redheads, too: Karen Elson, a long-time client of Wood’s, takes a brightening red gloss with her wherever she travels.
If you’re thinking of trying red yourself, it all depends on your base colour, says Wood. He suggests warm cherry tones suit darker skin tones and helps to brighten existing red hair. Berry tones are a great option for mid to light brown hair, while coppery gold tones add warmth to the hair and are a great option for dark blondes. Whether you’re planning on going even bolder and brighter as a natural redhead or planning a change this year, red has never been more fashionable or more flattering across the generations. And we have the poster girls Julianne Moore and Emma Stone to thank for that.
At home red glosses
Glaze Super Colour Conditioning Gloss in Glace Cherry, £12.99, Superdrug (superdrug.com) Colour Gloss in Copper Gold, £19, Josh Wood Colour (joshwoodcolour.com) Moroccanoil Colour Depositing Mask in Bordeaux, £28.85, Look Fantastic (lookfantastic.com)