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Ask a Hairstylist: The Best Hairstyles for Long, Thick, Red Hair

Think long, blended layers.
Hairstyles for long red hair

Q: Hello! My hair is a natural strawberry blonde. I love the colour, but it is getting too long and I have no idea what to do with it. I want to be able to look professional, but also be able to feel sexy and playful.

Hairstyles for long red hair

Brenna is looking for the best cut for her long, thick, red hair.

My hair is typically straight, but if I let it air-dry, it has curl. When I get my hair cut, I usually end up with layers, but I want something that looks better on me. 

In the past, I've had short layers, but I really felt that they were too short. I think they aged my face. I also hate how I look with short hair, and bangs have not been good either. Having the face shape I do makes things difficult. 

Hairstyles for long red hair

 Brenna usually gets her hair cut in layers.

I don't have much time to style my hair. My hair is very thick, and while I try to keep it thinned out with the layers, it makes styling a nightmare. 

I'd also love to be a more vibrant redhead, but my hair does not like to hold colour. I can rock it for the first few days, but it always ends up fading. 

Thank you so much for your advice! — Brenna

A: Brenna, thank you for sending in your request for a consultation. I love your hair as it is.

One thing that I would adjust with your cut is the layers. You are correct about the short pieces not working. The shorter layer looks like a chunk that is disjointed from the rest of your hair. A more balanced cut would be better.

This length and these layers would work beautifully for you.

Blake Lively Met Gala 2011

Blake Lively at the 2011 Met Gala.

Amy Adams Elle Women in Hollywood Awards 2016

Amy Adams at the 2016 Elle Women in Hollywood Awards.

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From The Skincare Edit Archives

Nicole Kidman SAG Awards 2016

Nicole Kidman at the 2016 SAG Awards.

As you can see, these layers have a lot more fluidity, and would still be long enough to put up.

Parting your hair deep on one side and tucking it behind one ear will give you a polished, sophisticated and professional look.

Amy Adams New York Film Critics Awards 2007

Amy Adams at the 2007 New York Film Critics Awards.

I know you said you that bangs have not worked well for you in the past, but if you were to try them again, this side-swept style would be best.

Jessica Chastain Independent Spirit Awards 2015

Jessica Chastain at the 2015 Independent Spirit Awards.

It would be flattering with your face shape, and easy to blend into the other layers as it grows out.

And should you ever want to go shorter, I would suggest this mid-length angled cut. Your hairstylist can create hidden internal layers to take out some of the weight.

Jessica Chastain The Huntsman Winter's War Los Angeles premiere 2016

Jessica Chastain at the 2016 Los Angeles premiere of 'The Huntsman: Winter's War.'

These deeper reds would look great on you as well. In response to the colour not lasting, here is the reason why.

Ammonia-based hair colour opens up the cuticle of the hair shaft and deposits the pigment. Red is the smallest hair colour pigment. After a couple of washes, the cuticle opens back up from shampooing with hot water—and the colour slides right out.

The best way to keep red in your hair is by using a non-ammonia product. I recommend the colour line from Chi. It does not have ammonia and leaves the cuticle intact, so the colour does not bleed when shampooed. This keeps the natural shine as well, because it does not restructure the hair.

A sulfate-free shampoo (such as Shu Uemura Color Lustre Brilliant Glaze Shampoo) will also help your colour to stay put.

Shu Uemura Color Lustre Brilliant Glaze Shampoo

Shu Uemura Color Lustre Brilliant Glaze Shampoo


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