While trying new hair colors is quite common for blondes and brunettes, folks with red hair tend to be a bit more hesitant about introducing color processing into their beauty routine. After all, with how coveted their natural color is, it’s often thought to be a shocking concept to want anything other than that hue.
But if you’ve been dying to experiment with your red hair color, yet can’t imagine kissing your natural mane goodbye, the good news is that you don’t have to — that’s where redhead highlights come into play. By incorporating a variety of different tones into your hair, you’ll be able to embrace a more dimensional hair color without having to do the unthinkable.
Adding highlights to any hair color will give the end look more depth. And when it comes to redheads, in specific, celebrity colorist and Matrix Brand Ambassador Rachel Bodt says that it boils down to low- and high-impact color goals. According to Bodt, low impact red hair is characterized by tone on tone color in a way that shows just enough dimension and texture in the most natural way possible, whereas high impact color is all about vibrant, bright hues.
Beyond thinking about how bold you want your red hair to look when all is said and done, celebrity colorist Rita Hazan says that it’s important to book an appointment with a colorist who specializes in natural redheads. “Natural red hair is more difficult to lift and color,” she explains. “Redheads don’t really need highlights — they are so beautiful on their own — but if you [want them], I like them to be very subtle and blend well with the base color.”
The best way to ensure seamless blending, according to Madison Reed colorist Shvonne Perkins, is to opt for foil highlights of balayage. “Any type or placement of highlights that works for blondes will work for [red hair] highlights,” she says. “However, while blondes are often fighting yellow and gold tones, redheads should absolutely be embracing these tones. If the base color is red, we really want to use soft gold and copper highlights to make the red look multi-tonal and soft.”
With that in mind, uncover nine highlight ideas to consider if you’re a redhead, ahead.