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By: The Beauty Experts at L'Oréal Paris
Let's face it: There's just something special about red hair. Would Mad Men's Christina Hendricks have been so sultry, so downright va-va-voom, as a brunette? And what of Julianne Moore if her hair were blond? You've seen it on television characters like Awkward's Tamara Kaplan and real-deal celebs like Bryce Dallas Howard -- red hair communicates passion and fire, with a little streak of wild. If you've thought about going red but don't know where to start, you're in luck. We've mapped out a super-simple plan:
1. Get Inspired
Scour the web looking for shades that most inspire you, and start a Pinterest board. If you're a Pinterest newbie, check out some of our favorite pinners: Cheetah is the New Black, A House in The Hills and Beauty Bets. Once you've got your bank of images, look for a common theme. Are you attracted to statement looks -- reds that are fiery and bold? Or are you drawn to the born-with-it shade of a girl next door? There's an exciting wealth of reds out there, but finding the right one for you means doing a little beauty homework.
2. Assess Your Skin Tone
To determine which ruby shades you can and can't pull off, a good rule of thumb is to choose a red with the same undertones as your skin. For instance, girls with pink undertones (generally fair-skinned gals) can go lighter -- think coppery reds -- but the level of blue color in, say, a chestnut hue could make them look too pale. Ladies with medium, olive skin tones can carry more pigmented hues (think rich, reddish-browns like auburn and burgundy). And if you have a darker skin tone, you'll look showstopping with fiery cherry-red strands.
3. Answer Three Easy Questions
Has your hair been color-treated previously? Because it's always easier to make your hair richer and darker than lighter -- especially if you already have color in your hair.
What's your natural hair color? This is extra-important for at-home hair color application. It's easy to know just how far you can push your strands when you have a realistic starting point. And knowing your natural color makes those pictures on the side of each box the ultimate color guide.
Do you have lots of gray strands, just a few or none at all? If you've only got a couple of stray grays or haven't spotted a single one, you should certainly consider testing out a rich, bold red (like the L'Oréal Paris Féria shade Barbara Palvin is rocking in the image above!). If your goal is to cover or hide your grays, you'll want to stick to a box that boasts full coverage. Gray hairs absorb the most color and will make the tone of any dye even more intense, or loud.
Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and choose your hue!