Red Hair, I Care

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August 15, 2014

Maybe a little too much.

The trajectory of my hair color is about as interesting as a dissertation on the nutritional benefits of gorgonzola cheese which is to say that no one short of myself really cares, so I’ll make this brief: I was born with black hair. Then it turned dark brown. And then, some time around age 15, I began to notice it both reddening in the sun and graying in the left-side part.

No one at age 15 has time for red hair let alone grays.

So here’s what I did: started adding highlights.

Here’s what year this was: 2003.

If you’re with me, and can remember this critical time for both fashion and my scalp, you’ll see giant, thick blonde streaks that were equal parts de rigueur and de tacky. I thought they were cute and participated in the trend but somewhere, from the depths of my internal judgement clock, I knew better.

So when I finally grew up and stopped the streaks, my hair (Amelia we do not CARE) found its home in the same tint of red I intercepted when I was 15. I started to embrace it. I declared myself a redhead. I asked the DMV to make a change on my license but they threatened me with a new driver’s test. I told my dad I wanted to go fire-engine so he googled it for “inspo” and found an article about the correlation with red hair and abundant sexuality so texted me to suggest brown instead.

I did not give in.  The red stuck. It wasn’t me, but it was me. Each gray-covering session became less about the gray and more about what distinguishes copper from ginger, etc.

But why am I telling you all this? I don’t know. Maybe I feel like a cheater — I love the women who naturally have this color, who have never done a thing to their hair but can monochrome with the season’s ox blood simply by virtue of being alive. They’re so cool in that offbeat way that noses who adore the smell of nail polish are. I know mine isn’t completely real but it feels that way. It’s become me, and frankly speaking, I just wanted an excuse to celebrate it.

Also, I’m due for a dye job so help a sister out and upload your own favorite redheads in the comments, eh? My appointment’s on Monday at 5.

Slideshow compiled by Franny Keller and Krista Lewis

  • Quinn Halman

    I’ve always wished I could pull off some form of red hair but I know that the redhead in the net-a-porter ad next to this piece can’t even look at me because she knows how stupid I would look. If you can pull it off, which you 100% can, stick with. http://bollywood.celebden.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/insecure.gif

  • kate

    taylor tomasi hill!!! want to dye my hair red so bad. i’m just so so lazy.

    • kate

    • http://Medium.com/@hager_emma Emma Hager

      Oh yeah, hers is amazing.

    • katiedid13

      The minute I can afford the upkeep, this will be on my head.

    • Amelia Diamond

      If i did this color, i kiinddd of feel like i’d need to chop my hair shorter. thoughts?

      • Aubrey Green

        Yes, chop it! I was just thinking this about you – after I saw an instagram photo of you and two of your friends.

      • Aubrey Green

        p.s. not because it’s bad long, it’s beautiful.

      • http://rebekaann.blogspot.com Rebeka Osborne

        This red is GORGEOUS. I feel like you could totally rock it with long hair. But if you’re looking for a more drastic change, this cut is great too!

  • BonnieCS

    My grandmother was a natural redhead. My sister and I were not, however we both at some point dyed our hair red. One of the last things my grandmother said to us was…”You were always jealous of my red hair” Ha!

  • Ash

    Go red!

  • ChristenaR

    I went red years ago. Then I gave up on how much upkeep it required. I have been purple, pink, blue ends, green ends (hey, it was the 90’s). I failed as a blond. I embraced my dark hair. Recently, I quit my job, dyed my hair my ‘natural’ red, and started a non-profit. And now I have conversations regarding the merits of an Irish Setter’s do. Oh, I used to show up to my salon with an ‘Opium’ ad that had the BEST red! Whoever said blonds have more fun, was never a red head!

    • http://eau.tumblr.com/ Colleen Williams

      Just curious – was it the Sophie Dahl nudey Opium ad?

  • Rebecca

    Naturally red hair (I’m in the J Chastain realm), I tell ya, is a blessing and a curse. I love my color BUT it often serves as a open invitation for total strangers to approach me, talk to me about it, touch it, ask me if it’s natural, ask me if I’m Irish (nope). Maybe it’s a bit like a stranger touching the belly of a pregnant woman? If you do go red, please expect people to chat you up. Especially in the ladies’ room– I get that one a lot. Sometimes I’m gracious, but sometimes it’s like, ‘Yeah, uhh, thanks, you like my hair, but honestly, I’m just here to pee.’ Good luck!

    • Zoe

      Natural red head also here, and I couldn’t agree more – I find its women of the older persuasion that feel the need to tell you about their grand daughter with red hair etc. etc. I didn’t come across teasing until I went to an all girls secondary school and was referred to not by name, but ‘Ginger’ with an ing sound at the end instead of the name of a spice… it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

      • Amelia Diamond

        one of those things you appreciate when you’re older!

  • http://alcessa.wordpress.com/ alcessa

    To me, you look like a natural redhead :-) (dyed my hair reddish a few times but don’t think now it did anything for me. Many people may have a … a more real version of themselves sold in a box or a bag or on a shelf somewhere? Waiting to be applied/used? This was not the case with my reddish hair.)

    • Amelia Diamond

      it’s my irish geeeeeneeeez

      • http://alcessa.wordpress.com/ alcessa

        Gut for you :-) Now drink up and have another one :-)

        (my naughty genes might stem from Middle East or further, though there’s noone to admit it – might explain my gypsy looks no red hair dye can improve)

  • http://tongueburnt.blogspot.com/ Sarah Elise

    well the sexiest cartoon rabbit of all time has red hair, so…

    • gingergrrl

      my husband’s favorite character as a kid! and now he has a wife with red hair and green eyes! lol

  • http://Medium.com/@hager_emma Emma Hager

    One of my favorite redheads is Rita Hayworth! She wasn’t a natural redhead — Hollywood dyed her hair for reasons none other than its Anglo-obsession, and she was half Latino — but at the end of the day she totally rocked it.

    • http://Medium.com/@hager_emma Emma Hager

      Always envious of that late 1940s volume.

  • Common Sense ?

    I’m natural red but now I’m 71 so now its a light gray, beard has a hint of red. When I was young everyone asked where the red hair came from, I told them; “The milkman had red hair”.

  • mademoisielle

    I’m a natural redhead and I couldn’t be happier about not having to bother with colouring my hair – unless I turn grey of course. In that case I will go Vivienne Westwood-style! I love Jessica Chastain and Taylor Tomasi Hill for inspiration – although my hair never looks as bouncy or chic as theirs sadly.

    The most annoying part of being a redhead is the chitchat at the hair dressers: “you have such a beautiful hair colour, is it natural?? So many people come here to dye their hair this exact colour!” or people who want to touch it or even worse: the sexual remarks. Jeez.

    (btw my blog is mademoisielle.com if you want some inspiration for totally straight & volume-less red hair!)

    • Prenouveau

      I am a natural redhead and also get asked a lot if it is natural…or some people just assume and ask what brand/color dye I use.

      • Amelia Diamond

        you guys need to start wearing a shirt around that just says “it’s natural”

  • Cinamaron

    I used to dye my hair dark maroon-red because I can’t pull off copper-red. I’m naturally brunette with a bit of a red tint. But this article is making me want to dye my hair again! Red hair = best hair.

  • http://instagram.com/quincykk Quincy

    Summer before senior year of hs I dyed my hair from blonde to red. For a year and a half I had a folder of red hairspo (TTH, Florence Welch, Julianne Moore, Kate Walsh). I was OBSESSED. Then I finally found the balls and when I told my best friend the day before my appointment, she pretty much told me this was a stupid idea and I was a psycho. I did it anyway and I’m so glad. I love my redhair. I hate its upkeep and price tag, but I honestly think it’s worth it because it makes me stand out. The best compliment in the world is when people ask if it’s natural (now you know what to say to get on my really good side). This pic is from the last time I got it dyed. It usually starts out as a more purple shade and eventually fades more to copper.

    I want a pic on Monday!! Also I’m laughing at your deployment of “eh?” It makes me very happy cause I’m Canadian.

    • danamite

      ohhhh that’s a perfect red!

    • http://alcessa.wordpress.com/ alcessa

      Beautiful!

    • Amelia Diamond

      gorgeous!!!

      • http://instagram.com/quincykk Quincy

        Thanks guys!!! took a few tries to find the right shade

  • http://jax-and-jewels.blogspot.com/ Heidi

    I’m a natural strawberry blonde and I’ve never done a single thing to my hair because every single chick I’ve known as said, “you’ll never get that color back if you change it now!” That sucked to hear as a kid when you’re being called “carrot top” and one of five gingers in your family, but now my go to nicknames are “ginger” or “red” and my hair is a large part of my identify. I might dye it and go more auburn when I get a bit older and want to hide the shade changes (gingers skip gray and go straight to white!).

    Here’s the inspiration: http://www.ivillage.com/hair-inspiration-gallery-red-hair-color-shades/5-b-256024

    http://jax-and-jewels.blogspot.com

    • gingergrrrl

      if you decide to dye when you’re older, use henna! it stains the hair and looks beautiful and natural. From another natural redhead!

  • María Belén

    Now I really want to see a picture with black hair!

  • rdizzle

    A friend of mine went to her stylist, and asked that he dye her hair a “shade right between Brave and Little Mermaid.” He knew exactly what she meant, and her hair turned out awesome.

  • Li Fess

    Christina Hendricks isn’t a real redhead either but she damn rocks it!

  • maudvillers

    I love when it looks like sbdy’s hair is on fire, and I’m not speaking about Katniss E.
    (the Sea Of Shoes’s girl hair = to dye for)

  • Guest

    i really like the light orange side of red, especially Anniek Kortleve

  • Aubrey Green

    I love your hair Amelia! You look like a natural redhead – I say go for dying it more red though. Every time I’ve dyed my hair a darker brown/chestnut color, the only part that stays is the red – this piece makes me want to dye it red and maybe that’s a sign.
    I was born with black/dark brown hair, it turned red for the first year, then blonde, then gradually got dirtier and dirtier and is now medium brown, aka: blah.

  • http://www.dominiquecandido.com Dominique
  • Kirsten

    Ugh, red hair is so fantastic. I’m so jealous of all those who can pull it off, which by the way Amelia you totally do! And as a quick side note there is a possibility of giving birth to a redhead without a history of such in your family and not because of recessive traits and all that ish, but rather by eating copious amounts of carrots. I saw it on a tlc show about a woman addicted/obsessed with carrots, so this is completely legit. She ate around 350 lbs of carrots a year and as a result had a redheaded child, without having any history of redheads in her family or her husbands (yes even she could find a husband, but I’m still single). She claims the red hair is a direct correlation to the amount of carrots she ate. So for those of you who are really dedicated to having babies with red hair, start eating those carrots!

  • monkeyshines
  • Guest

    My hair is dark brown, but I did red for a couple of years, copying this Uma Thurman color and style. Seriously getting inspired to go back to the color.

  • Kristin

    Awww. I care. I’m dark brown (but also semi-reddish) and i have often thought about dying it, cept then i would have to move/start a new life so that i could try to pull it off as my natural hair color.
    I wish you had included yourself in the red-head slide show!

    • Amelia Diamond

      :)

  • Kate Barnett

    i’ve always wanted to go red but i’m afraid the hair gods will see any dying as a nose-snub to not yet going grey, and will in return shower me with silver strands. logical, right?

    • Amelia Diamond

      logical

  • Kandeel

    Ciara Baxendale has the coolest hair! I’m seeing a recurring theme here though…freckles, red hair, you secretly want to be a ginger (but then i think everyone does they’re the best)

    • Kandeel

      btw this is such a cool video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9BqrSAHbTc

      • Amelia Diamond

        yikes i’d be scared to do this

    • Amelia Diamond

      whoa she has the prettiest hair ever

    • Amelia Diamond

      hahah also yes i not so secretly want to be one!

  • http://friesannashake.blogspot.com Anna Lane

    facial hair optional. who’s to say! could be fun! whatever!

    • Amelia Diamond

      i love that guy! i only know him from anna karenina.

      • Nicky Odujirin

        Not Harry Potter??

        • Amelia Diamond

          OMG WHY DIDNT THAT EVEN CLICK

      • http://friesannashake.blogspot.com Anna Lane

        you gotz to watch about time

  • Andres Poiche
  • Nicole

    Karen Gillan!!!!

  • http://behindthemirrorbeauty.com/ Behind the Mirror

    I love this collection of photos.

  • Kelsey

    Jane Aldridge! I’ve always been jealous of how well she pulls of this shade.

    • Amelia Diamond

      same it’s because her skin is like, FLAWLESS.

  • Alexandra Puffer

    Once I read Jenny Lewis’s hair color described as a Pacific sunset. Then I tried sun in on my deep brown hair and got really sad. Being a pre-teen is rough.

    Warm regards,
    Alexandra
    http://www.littlewildheart.com

    • Amelia Diamond

      oooooo

  • mexicanmint
  • bradpeater757

    Weird that those shows

  • http://deluxshionist.com Deluxshionist

    the just fab, I want my hair either silver blonde or red… total gorjesss

    Herdiana Surachman
    DELUXSHONIST | INSTAGRAM | BLOGLOVIN | GOOGLE +

  • BethanyBeach

    I really wanted to dye my hair red when I was little (I was inspired by Jessica Rabbit) but I’ve never been one for high-upkeep hair. It would look great on you though!

    As a natural blonde I get many of the same questions as natural redheads about if I dye it, is it the reason why I’m so pale, etc

  • http://smithandbergen.tumblr.com/ Kate

    Natural redhead (well, light auburn) here as well! I’ve always loved my natural hair color but did once dye my hair fire engine red (accidentally). I was going for Julianne Moore but got more of a Ronald McDonald. Now, I won’t ever think of dyeing my hair again.

    Oh, and Amelia, you rock the red well! Making us proud, girl.

    • Amelia Diamond

      thanks girl!

  • katrina

    It is really bold and audacious to try such a hair color.

    http://www.robedumariee.fr/

  • bbrautkleid

    natural red hair looks nice

  • mel

    Does anyone know where the sunglasses in picture 13 are from? I’m obsessed!

  • jhony

    MIileyyCyruss is FFucckiing>http://bit.ly/1pcrlNh

  • SEXY

    MIileyyCyruss is FFucckiing>>>http://bit.ly/mileyfuckinig..

  • Mollyjanemcg

    Well, here is mine. It has always been more of a strawberry blond (that is, orange) than red, but my sis has a darker red.

  • Jana

    Loving this look from the COS lookbook so much. My hair is sort of the same color as Guinevere Van Seenus – boy, what a name – and I think strawberry blond is where it’s at!

  • http://life15juicy.wordpress.com/ Molly (life15juicy)
  • Laura Iglehart

    TEAM RED! (This was my Halloween costume…3 days ago!)

  • frenchfries

    I’d go for Jessica Chastain. But everything’s fine as long you’re not doing Miley or Vivienne (as much as I adore them but that’s not a look for anyone else…

  • Guest

    Nicole LaLiberte. I recently saw her in HBO’s “How to make it in America”. Pulling. It. Off.