alchemic

Why Redheads Are Having a Moment-And How to Get the Look

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Red hair is having a full-fledged fashion moment: the wave of Instagram girls who’ve gone Fifth Element, the six Louis Vuitton models whose scene-stealing lengths struck on the runway like tongues of fire. Tom Ford cherry-picked three Titian women for his upcoming film, Nocturnal Animals, confessing in a recent interview that he has “a thing for redheads”—all of which is to say that lush, russet lengths are the beauty phenomenon of the season.

“There’s such an idea behind them,” says Brooklyn colorist Chelsey Pickthorn. “When you see red, it’s kind of a showstopper.” What feels fresh, she explains, is the startling range of shades on the docket now—pale strawberry blonde, ruby, even magenta—which allow each person to take color-customization to the next level. Yet there’s a good reason why the famously fickle pigment is rare: It requires a precise hand to tone correctly and diligent at-home care to look its best. Or as Pickthorn puts it: “The hardest to get, the hardest to keep, and the hardest to get rid of.”

Red is less bothersome than a double process, but more effort than most singles (choosing a red with your natural undertones cuts down on the work; a shock of bleached cartoon orange is another story). Touch-ups can come less frequently—about every six to ten weeks, compared with four to six—and demand far less time in the salon chair. Still, Pickthorn recommends washing as little as possible, sticking to gentle color-safe shampoos, and rinsing with cool water to keep the cuticle closed. “Shine makes such a difference with reds,” Pickthorn adds. “You can see the depth.” A color conditioner like Davines Alchemic refreshes lackluster lengths with ease, while a slick of oil imparts an ethereal gloss that pops prettily against autumnal hues. It might not be easy, but there’s no better way to turn heads this fall.

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