Red Hair Color Ideas Inspired By Emma Stone, Kim Kardashian, Zendaya, & More
If the old idiom were true that blondes do actually have more fun, then how does one explain the unrelenting allure of being a redhead? Perhaps it's that copper-colored hair is now forever iconized by a few legendary Old Hollywood faces — Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Rita Hayworth — or that only about 2 percent of the population is born with it to begin with. If you happen to fall into the remaining 98 percent, it's highly likely that you've at least toyed with the idea of dyeing your hair red.
"In reality, natural redheads are a rare breed," says Nine Zero One stylist Anthony Holguin, who has worked his hair magic on the likes of Rumer Willis and Nina Dobrev. "I believe redheads will always be a staple in society, which will always be trending." Kim Kardashian's latest induction into the redhead club — with a dye job so cherry-like that fans initially assumed it was a wig — is proof of that sentiment.
But choosing the right red is where it gets complicated. "We’ve traditionally seen ashier, pale reds on lighter skin tones, bright reds on medium skin, and deeper reds and burgundies on darker skin tones," says Larry Sims, stylist to Gabrielle Union, Alicia Keys, and Danai Gurira. "I love seeing people that have created new narratives in choosing hair colors. We’re learning more and more that rules are made to be broken."
Some celebrity-driven red hair inspiration, ahead.
One of Kim Kardashian's most drastic hair changes to date came in June, when she debuted a red so rich it promptly sparked wig rumors. Kardashian's hairsylist, Chris Appleton, was quick to confirm on his own channel that the transformation was permanent.
"True, true red looks good on almost everyone when it’s a darker shade," says Kristin Ess, mastermind behind Lucy Hale's ever-changing tresses and a redhead herself. "I mean really rich. In my opinion, it’s more about the person wearing it and whether they can carry it. There’s definitely a vibe that comes along with true deep red hair."
Zendaya's switch-up from blonde mullet to long Ariel waves, which she later revealed was created and maintained with at-home red and orange Overtone, monopolized the internet for months after she debuted it last summer. The shade was a timeless, dark mahogany that let her natural hair color peek through.
"There have been a lot of inquiries about '90s-feeling red shades; blue-red, almost burgundy," Ess says. Old-school Neve Campbell and Claire Danes' near-purple hair in My So-Called Life come to mind. While Sarah Hyland admitted that her DIY dye job was intended to turn out pink, the actor nailed the resurging retro trend with this accidental red shade.
According to Ess, "orange-reds look amazing on those with pink undertones," which explains why Emma Stone seems like the most natural redhead of all. She's not, of course; the 31-year-old was born a blonde. But her now-signature burnt-orange hue continues to lure folks to the redhead side year after year.
Unicorn-pink hair was the unexpected breakout star of quarantine 2020 (Elle Fanning, Dua Lipa, Julianne Hough), but some people took the bold trend even further with metallic, hint-of-copper shades.