Rihanna has been rocking bright scarlet hair and since Cheryl’s new barnet had its first outing, the red-and-purple-hair trend has taken off like a rocket.
“Red, red, red,” tweeted top colourist Lisa Shepherd last week. “Just finished my 16th Cheryl red of the day.”
“Colour-wise, it’s an autumn trend which has taken off since Cheryl took it on,” says Lisa.
“Dark, plummy red softens Cheryl’s features. She just needs to be careful not to overdo the fake tan or blusher otherwise it could end up being too clash-tastic. But to be honest Cheryl’s new colour is finally growing on me. I wasn’t overly keen at first as it looked so artificial.”
Derek Thompson of Gielly Green, where the clientele is rather more sedate and grown-up, pulls a slight face at the thought of hair in the red-purple spectrum. “It’s a hard colour to pull off,” he says, “unless you’re as pretty as Cheryl, or you work at Camden market.”
Technically, Mark Woolley of Electric Hair tells me, Cheryl’s colour is mahogany — it’s L’Oréal Paris Casting Creme Gloss in shade 550, yours for £5.99 in any high-street chemist. But he warns: “The cool tone to Cheryl’s hair colour will not suit everybody so it should be reserved for the daring, in which case the effect will be edgy and striking.”
New York-based celebrity colourist Marie Robinson, who was in London last week in her role as ambassador for Pantene’s new Pro-V colour-protect shampoo, says: “I don’t think there are any rules for who can wear red hair. If you have very fair skin then you have strawberry, copper, vibrant red and mahogany as options. Light and dark olive skin should choose more chestnut and darker auburns that don’t have copper or orange undertones as they make skin look greener.
“If you are prone to ruddiness and blushing, I would avoid all cool red shades and strawberry as they can make skin look pink or bring out redness.”
There are a few other no-nos if you’re tempted by an extrovert colour like this. “Never put dark colours straight over the top of blonde,” says Lee Stafford, “as this has a tendency to turn hair khaki. You have to introduce reds to the hair first to create warmth.” He also warns that unless you look after coloured hair properly, dark-purple hair will go dull and lifeless while lighter lilac will go brassy and straw-like.
Which means you’ll need special, colour-care shampoo. There are many; the latest include Mark Woolley’s first range of hair care products. The Electric Hair Care Colour Protect Shampoo and Conditioner (electric-hair.com) locks in colour, he tells me, and keeps it up 30 per cent more vibrant than high street brands.
The new Pantene products, which launch in a fortnight, promise to mimic hair’s natural water-proofing to seal in the colour molecules and make them last.