Hair Transformation: Going Red

FLARE's assistant copy editor finds a gentle way to make a bold hair change

Have you ever had hair envy? I did. I coveted Emma Stone’s pre-Spider-Man, flowing auburn locks. A natural brunette, I’ve always chosen the safe route of simple caramel and honey highlights in the summer, and richer warm tones in the winter. But as we all know, safe can be boring.

Growing up with a grandmother who had flaming red hair, she was always disappointed that none of her grandchildren inherited the “rouge gene.” I always secretly wished I had her rich colour, I just never had the guts to for it. But here comes the clincher: I actually have a sensitivity to hair dye and was nervous about having any chemicals sit on my delicate scalp long enough to achieve all-over colour. Nevertheless I was determined, and, taking my girl-crush on Stone to the next level, decided to take the plunge.

TIP: When making a big change, be sure to bring your colourist images to work from. (I printed off several images of Emma Stone and brought them with me to the salon.) This will help eliminate any confusion between you and your hair-care pro and help you clarify the results you’re looking for.

I ventured to Taz Hair Co. ( in Toronto where the lovely Susan Hayward was my colourist of choice. Hayward chose L’Oréal’s INOA to get the job done. INOA is a mild, ammonia-free dye, which is jam-packed with moisturizing oils to help nourish tresses and skin instead of drying them out—ideal for sensitive types. After my consultation, Hayward—a fiery redhead herself—began by coating my roots in conditioner to prevent the dye from touching my scalp and causing me any irritation. She then delicately painted the dye on top and ultimately finished the process with an all-over toner.

Don’t be afraid to talk to your hair-care professional about any concerns you have. It’s always better to speak up at the get-go and avoid problems (or allergic reactions) later. If an all-over dye job is off limits for you, heavy foils could be another option.

Making a dramatic colour change can be scary, but as Hayward notes, “Redheads have way more fun!” However, unlike Emma Stone, you probably don’t have a team of pros at the ready to style and maintain your hair every morning, so ensuring you get the perfect shade is crucial. Too red and you’ll have haunting memories of Ariel from The Little Mermaid every time you glance in the mirror. Too timid, and you’ll miss out on the punch you’re looking for. For me, the colour is slightly more saturated than plain auburn, while still avoiding Rihanna’s latest fire-engine red look. We’ll call it Black Forest Cherry. Perfect. Now I wonder what grandma will say…

TIP: Red is the most difficult colour to maintain, according to the pros. For helpful info on making your dye job go the extra mile, check out Wing Sze Tang’s “The Busy Girl’s Guide to Gorgeous Hair Colour” in the April issue of FLARE.