woman in blue jacket wearing gray knit cap

Why we suddenly see so many redheads?

woman in blue jacket wearing gray knit cap

“THE HAIR IS RED, but the soul is on fire,” was what Sydney Guilaroff, MGM’s hairdresser, said to Lucille ball after she joined the iconic movie studio in 1940s. Guilaroff gave her hair a fiery shade called “Tango Red” to resolve the soul-and-follicle conflict. Ball hated it. She wrote that it was “so startling” in her memoir. Ball, who was naturally brunette, had tried subtle ginger and bottle blonde earlier in her career. But, despite Guilaroff’s obsession for Tango Red, her search continued.

According to Irma Kusely, Ball’s “I Love Lucy” hairstylist, a wealthy acquaintance sent her a lifetime supply henna which she used to rinse her hair to achieve her desired coppery color. Kusely stated that this became Ball’s trademark and that the hairstylist kept the valuable treatment in a safe in her garage, presumably in case of a gang of henna thieves.

Numerous celebrities, including Hailey Bieber, Barbie Ferreira, and Serena Williams, have been sporting Lucy-ish locks in recent years. Women are turning to stylists for the same look. Jenna Perry from New York, a celebrity colorist, dyed Kendall Jenner’s hair red in February. This is a jump of 10% over 2021. Sarah Douglas, a high-profile Hollywood stylist, reports that 20% of her new clients are asking for copper-red. According to Perry, women of color who have been told that their hair colors will match their skin are more likely to request the shade because they “have been restricted in what hair colors they can use.” She said it’s easier to risk the outcome, now that there are more experts and better color systems.

Ms. Jenner’s red hair was a result of her jolted locks. Katie Castro, 27, also sent references to Katie Castro when she went red this month. Ms. Castro was a L.A. merchandising assistant, natural brunette and had been through two years of dreadful pandemics. “I needed to refresh my life. “I can’t retire to Paris so I dyed my hair red.” She sat for six hours in the chair, her shoulder-length hair being lightened, before the colorist applied the auburn dye gloss. She said, “I thought this would transform my life.” She admits that it hasn’t, but she is still hopeful. “I just wanted special feelings,” she said.

Kim Santantonio (an L.A.-based motion picture hairstylist) says red dye can often deliver. “It makes your sparkle,” she said. After testing many different colors against Ms. Kidman, she was certain she had it right. It might not have been exactly the same red as Lucille Ball’s, but it was close. It had to look great on Nicole.

It takes an understanding of your skin’s tone to find the perfect shade. Ms. Douglas said that if you have a warm skin tone, violet pigments, coppers, and reds with more depth are options. A toasty copper is best for fair skin. Ms. Perry stated that it took her years to perfect the color match and it is not the hardest part of setting clients on a fiery course. I always begin a consultation by saying, “This is very difficult and requires a lot at-home upkeep.” This includes the use of a color-depositing hair shampoo. She recommends that you visit the salon every six to eight weeks to get touch-ups, regardless of whether permanent dye is chosen (for extreme transformations), or gloss (applied to hair to give it a reddish tint).

Copper is difficult to manage, but that hasn’t stopped fans. Patricia Lea (78) is a natural redhead, but she has been a hard-core red dyer since her 50s when she started going gray. It warms her face. According to Ms. Lea, grayish-white hair makes her look “very pale and washed out” and she felt “half dead” after her retirement as a landscape designer. But her husband decided to leave home and start a new life.“I thought, forget about this. She wanted to be a redhead and go into the new world with the Atom Bomb. Her red hair had made her feel more energetic than she was before. Emily Lea, her 33-year-old daughter, is a Bozeman, Mont. filmmaker. Her brownish hair has hints of copper. She recently dyed it redder in preparation for her summer wedding. She said, “I feel more confident and more like me.”

Rarely does anyone have authentic red hair. Only 1% to 2% of the population naturally has it. This is why Ms. Santantonio finds Ball’s color so fascinating. She said that it set her apart because it was unusual. “It completes that big personality of hers.”

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