TELL ALL: MY JOURNEY AS AN UN-NATURAL REDHEAD
Would you believe me if I told you I used to be blonde? Blonde hair was the reality for college Taylor, A+ student and sorority President. It's hard to think back to a time when my hair was cut above my shoulders and littered with bleach blonde highlights. In retrospect, the lack of attachment to this time in my life is a reflection of my evolution. I'm not the same woman I was in 2011 -- and my hair reflects that.
The beauty of hair is that it continues to grow, and as a result, our hair styles evolve alongside us. Much like style, hair can be an outward reflection of personality, chapters of life, and/or our relationships with ourselves.
As I was finishing college, I stopped highlighting my hair, allowing it transition back to its natural color. I no longer felt connected to the platinum blonde, and it no longer was a reflection of me. After graduating early in December 2014, I moved home for 3 months, searching for jobs. The next step of my journey was landing a job as a Research Technician at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. My move to Baltimore was the start of a new a chapter. It commenced with new apartment, a naive 22-year old walking in to a hair appointment at Studio 7 Salon & Spa. She left with dark brown hair.
I continued to color my hair. A dark brown, then a dark brown with a hint of purple and red, and then I took a short break from coloring it. I remember sitting on the Johns Hopkins' JHMI-Peabody shuttle, before my next coloring appointment, listening to music. And I made a spontaneous decision: I want to be a redhead.
I walked into my appointment with Molly, and she made it happen. I remember feeling on top of the world. From that moment on, I was hooked. I felt like my hair color was the right fit for me: a lady with green eyes, fair complexion, freckles, and an unabashed sense of authenticity.
My first picture with red hair:
My one stipulation for going red was that I wanted the color to look natural. This can be a challenging feat because there are many artificial hair colors available to make you a "redhead". Molly and I have done a lot of back and forth to find the perfect balance of brown, orange, and red tones for a natural redhead fade after 3-4 washes. So while my color looks bold and bright when I leave the salon, it's the slightly faded color that really achieves my signature (un)natural redhead color. We have gotten the color down to a science because I consistently get asked if my color is natural -- mission accomplished!
Q: What is your natural hair color?
A: My natural hair color is a dirty blonde! Over the Spring/Summer, it gets a lot of natural highlights from the sun which helps to give my red color natural dimension. In Fall/Winter, we've added hand-painted lightened pieces to achieve dimension in months when there's less sun.
Q: Who does your hair? Where do you get your hair done?
A: Molly Mummert at Studio 7 Salon & Spa is my Hair-y God Mother! Not only does she have a great personality, but she is an amazing colorist and extremely knowledgable about what is best for my 1) hair health and 2) future hair color goals.
Q: How do you keep your hair healthy and shiny?
A: My hair is naturally straight, but I have a very dry scalp that traps products (dry shampoo, hairspray, etc). To keep up with buildup and prevent dandruff/buildup, I use a clarifying shampoo once a week. I was using this one from Paul Mitchell, but I've since switched to this Redken Detox clarifying shampoo, shown below. I also suggest Paul Mitchell Tea Tree shampoo. I don't use and conditioner.
In addition, I try to only wash my hair twice a week (once with clarifying shampoo, once with normal shampoo). I let my hair air dry after every wash because I detest hot air being blown into my face.
Q: Do you have any celebs/etc that you bring to your color as inspiration?
A: When I said I was listening to music before the coloring appointment where I dyed my hair red....it was Jess Glynne, to be exact.
Q: How often do you color your hair?
A: About every 9 weeks.
Q: Do you bleach your hair to get/maintain the color?
A: NOPE. I want to actively avoid bleach my hair. The key to my color is the way it fades. My hair color is a gloss that's demi-permanent instead of a permanent color. You can read more about the benefits here: https://www.redken.com/blog/haircolor/7-reasons-to-try-a-hair-gloss
The gloss sits on top of your hair, therefore, for me, it didn't require harsh bleach before coloring it my desired color. But it's worth noting my natural hair color was always lighter than the color I've dyed it. I can't speak to the process for others who have darker hair and are looking for brighter and/or go lighter red. This is why it's REALLY important to have a colorist who knows what they're doing transitioning from previous color to new color and maintenance of color.
Q: Any advice for someone looking to dye their hair red?
A: In my opinion, the key to transitioning to a (un)natural red head is an open mind and a skilled colorist! Quality is important, pay someone who knows what they are doing.
I hope you found this post insightful with answers to some common questions. If you have any more questions about my (un)natural redhead journey, I'm happy to answer. Leave a comment on this post or direct message me.
Wondering how to style looks to show off your new hair? Look to my previous looks for style inspiration, and follow me on Instagram to see my styled looks in real time!