"Red is having its moment right now," says colorist Christopher Pierce of the Andy Lecompte Salon in Los Angeles. Find out who wears it best, plus get tips on how to find (and maintain) your perfect shade.
Skin tone is one of the most important factors to consider when going red, says Pierce. "Nicole [Kidman]'s skin is the fairest of the fair, and this strawberry blonde shade has just enough red to work with the pink undertones in her skin," he says. This barely red hue tends to look prettiest on women with naturally medium to dark blonde hair.
Going red isn't always about creating a stark contrast between hair color and skin. "The more olive tones you have in your skin, the deeper into the red spectrum you can go," Pierce says. A hint of brown mixed in with copper warms Marcia Cross's look right up—without the addition of highlights: "The biggest mistake any redhead can make is overhighlighting," he says. "You do all of that work to get gorgeous color, but highlights just subtract what you put in. Even color should be the goal."
Speaking of fading, reds tend to lose their luster faster than other colors. And when your red is as bold as Karen Elson's, you want to keep it looking fresh for as long as possible. "Over-shampooing is the number one culprit for fading," Pierce says. His solution? Shampoo hair three times a week at most, but rinse and condition, especially the ends, daily.
Christina Hendricks puts a vibrant, youthful spin on red, perfectly complementing her aqua eyes. "The lighter your eyes are, the brighter you can go," Pierce says. But no matter what shade of red you're going for, you always want it to be dynamic. Ask your stylist to place color on all sections—the roots, midshaft, and ends—for the same period of time to prevent fading. "If they're spending 40 minutes on the roots, they should spend 40 minutes everywhere else," he says. Putting the color in correctly is key to lasting color.
"Very rarely do you see green eyes with coppery hair shades in nature," Pierce says. For women with green and brown eyes, the darker side of red is more flattering. Julianne Moore's subtle approach is versatile: "She has rosy, fair skin, but those with olive undertones and naturally brown hair can pull this off beautifully, too," he says.
Ellie Kemper's chestnut-y take is a safe introduction to red. "It's darker around the face and more copper towards the ends, so it's gentle against her fair skin," Pierce says. Another secret to making red work: "Whether it's through makeup or tinted brows, eyebrows sync it all together," he says. If you have brown eyes, lightening the brows a shade or two will soften a look, while those with lighter eyes and hair can go a shade darker.
There's nothing natural about Florence Welch's dramatic red hair, but what's the point of color if you can't have fun with it (especially if you're a rock star)? She nails this supersaturated shade—likely created with permanent color—without venturing into cartoon territory. One caveat: These permanent shades will only take on those with naturally light hair. "People are attracted to bright things," he says. "And this is absolutely a magnet."
Red can be just as hot when it's cool: A drop of violet brings depth and richness to Ashley Greene's woodsy red shade. (It's easiest for natural brunettes with dark eyes to ace.) When you've gone red—no matter which shade—expect to see your colorist every six weeks to maintain the intensity. To stretch your color to eight weeks, drop by your salon for a glossing treatment in between to rejuvenate your hair, Pierce says.