Red hair, brown eyes. All natural. Almost.

When I was in Edinburgh recently, I did enjoy a little of the Film Festival that was going on from June 20th to July 1st. This is a more low profile, Sundance-y like event that makes for a few celebrities and parties but is really more about the public and the movies. The Closing Night Gala featured the premiere of the new Pixar animated picture Brave, which tells a story that fittingly unfolds in the Scottish Highlands.

The heroine is a red haired girl, a choice rather clear for anyone who has spent any time in Scotland, a country that probably shares with Ireland the highest proportions of red haired population in the world. I say probably because I´m lazy and I´m not going to look it up, but I mean, they have a lot of natural flames in there.

I, a brunette with chestnut hair and eyes and extremely fair skin, have always dreamed to have been a natural red. An impossible dream, since I was already born, as told before, with a different hair color. I grew up nurturing an adoration for the Old Hollywood red divas (which were not natural — but who dares to claim to understand the female soul), particularly the one and only Gilda Rita Hayworth, red hair, brown eyes:

Red hair, dark red lips. So daring and yet, so beautiful. What I find so amazing about this natural tone of red is that it is both quirky and profoundly glamorous — it can be worked in both ways (sometimes simultaneously) with amazing results.

Coming back from Edinburgh, inspired by all those red boys, girls, man and women all around me, I decided it was the time for the change, and I would not formulate any more postponing excuses such as waiting for the gray to cover my head or, less dramatically, for the hair to grow longer; I´d just do it.  So, without warning anyone, I went to a beauty salon and said, “I want to be as red as this lady here”, the lady in question being Christina Hendricks. Can you do it?

He did it. And after he did it, I freaked out for a few days, until I finally relaxed and accepted I was, at last, as red as I always wanted to be, and it looked amazing. But there are tricks for such a dramatic change from dark to natural flame hair to look amazing, which I will share with you now.Brow Set in Boy Girl by MAC Cosmetics

eyebrows – If you´re a natural blonde, your eyebrows will probably work really well with the copperish, natural red hair tone. If you are a brunette, THEY WILL NOT. Taking care of the contrast is probably one of the most important things to do if you don´t want your very expensive look (no, it´s not low cost to maintain a dyed red hair gorgeous) to become cheap due to the terrible contrast. Two tips: dye your eyebrows too (some argue this may be damaging and eventually cause them to fall — do your research and reach your own conclusions, and DON´T. DO. IT. YOURSELF); buy this AMAZING PRODUCT by MAC Cosmetics, in the Girl Boy hue and wear it. Every. Single. Day.

Eyebrows will turn you into a new woman just as much as the hair did. It´s a whole new level of redness, and it makes the whole difference when it comes to the elegance of your whole new look.

make up – your new best friend. If you are a blonde, again, your skin´s undertones will probably work perfectly with your new flame hair. If you are a brunette, it´s not going to be so easy. The new red frame around your porcelain face will make you realize your perfectly fair skin is actually blue. Yeah, sorry. Blue. The unfortunate fact is, we are not all white in the same way, and the fairer the hair, the warmer the undertones of the skin — notice the rosy shades in which the natural blond haired people come. So be prepared to overcome this problem with some light, very light, extremely light bronzing powder. You should form a soft halo around your face, blending into your natural skin color, sort of softening the contrast between your new red roots and the contours of your face, and then add depth to your temples, under your cheek bones and finally, your chin.

If you have hazel eyes, try contrasting with a thin line of purple eyeliner and shadows in gold tones to make them pop when out to party. I find copper eyeliners also good for those same purposes, and it´s also more discrete for work (maybe). Keep your eyelashes dark. Dark eyelashes are a good thing for everyone.

maintenance – spend money on maintenance and take good care of your hair. Your flame top will soon turn into pumpkin — just like Cinderella´s carriage, except it will be your hair, not your vehicle, who will turn into a orange hued thing — if you don´t touch it up on (about) a monthly basis. Plus, if your roots are dark, all the glamour will be GONE if they become the first thing people notice about your hair. Can you imagine Gilda with visible dark roots? Also, don´t let the sun go down on you: wear hats when out to the beach and don´t do it very often. Finally, wear some good shampoos and conditioners for colored hair — that´s particularly vital when it comes to red hair. I´m going for the Color Extend line by Redken. No complaints so far; in fact, only compliments.

christina hendricks – look up to Christina on Mad Men (the incredibly beautiful character Joan Harris) for some work wardrobe inspiration. Classic cuts, solid purples, greens, pinks and blues, fitted dresses and pencil skirts, chignons, corals and the eventual red on your lips and perfectly polished nails. Don´t look up to Christina on the red carpet — it might not work just as well.

Feel powerful and thankful you can look this good without running the risk of being burnt on a stake — natural reds were common suspects of witchcraft during the Holy Inquisition. Not anymore, though. Not anymore.


2 Comments to “Red hair, brown eyes. All natural. Almost.”

  1. You wrote: “natural reds were common suspects of witchcraft during the Holy Inquisition.” Well, I would dearly love to see the source for this affirmation. Yes, I do doubt it just a little. But if it’s true, I would like some evidence. Any chance? Such as, where did you hear this? Who from?

    • Hello, Robert. Not really, I have no evidence or respectable source; it’s really a very commonly repeated idea (say in movies or books — enough to be on Wikipedia, with a few references) that I’ve, well, repeated without having bothered to extensively research my facts.

      I’m curious, what’s your interest? Research?

      Thank you for your support!

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