I went from brunette to red in one session

Here's how the 2-hour transformation went

BEAUTYcrew Beauty Editor / May 19 2021

I have a confession to make – I'm a little bit obsessed with red hair.

Despite the fact that every redhead I've ever known has experienced at least some form of bullying because of their flame-headed locks, I've always been of the opinion that the warm tones are a superior shade when it comes to hair.

So, naturally, you can imagine how excited I was seeing celeb after celeb ditch their natural hue for the scarlet shade, turning my personal obsession into a full-blown hair trend. 

Like some Little Mermaid fever dream, redheads have been popping up everywhere in my life and honestly, I wanted in.

Lucky for me, whiz kids of colour Franck Provost offered to colour my hair and I took it as a sign to finally jump head first into the Ariel-red trend for myself.

The lovely Kelly at the Franck Provost CBD salon here in Sydney guided me through the transition from colour consultation to the final look – in just two hours.

Here's what happened when I went red in just one session

So, first things first, Kelly had to figure out just how red I could actually go. As a natural brunette I was no stranger to conversations with my colourist about having realistic expectations about just how vibrant I would be able to get any kind of temporary hair colour. 

Kelly advised that because I had previously lightened the front sections of my hair, these would naturally take and hold the colour a bit better than the rest of my hair. And because I had been colouring my money piece strands with a copper-coloured conditioner, she also assured me that it would actually serve as a great base for the red pigment in the hair dye.

We also discussed that if I wanted a true, vibrant red all-over, that I would need to lighten the remainder of my brunette base before adding a red dye. In the end we settled on keeping the rest of my hair relatively natural (to eliminate any lightening), aiming for a deep shade of red to really let those brighter face-framing strands shine through, as well as adding dimension to the look.

The dyeing process

After our colour consultation, Kelly mixed together the hair dye she'd be using on my strands and got to work sectioning my hair off. Starting from the top of my head, she coated each section with red hair dye, ensuring saturation. Once she'd completed my whole head, she massaged the colour into my hair, really working the pigment into each strand for even colour pay-off. 

She then piled my hair into a twist on top of my head, secured it with a clip and set a timer for 30 minutes as the dye developed.

Once Kelly's egg timer went off, we moved over to the basin, where she rinsed the colour out and shampooed my new strawberry strands with the Kérastase Reflection Bain Chromatique Shampoo, before following up with a customised Kerastase serum and the Kérastase Reflection Masque Chromatique Epais.

Kelly and I both decided that a wavy blowout was the best idea to finish, so that we could really see the shine and let my new hair colour sing. So she did just that. Using a small rounded brush and a hair dryer, Kelly created ringlet style curls, allowing them to cool completely before she brushed out my hair to reveal a glorious soft-wave finish, which she accentuated with a few drops of hair oil and a soft-hold hairspray so we could really see that lustre and bounce.

Pro tips for red hair maintenance

As you can imagine, having red hair requires a bit of maintenance after your expert colouring sesh. Kelly's tips for keeping that colour looking kosher? Introduce a colour-safe shampoo and mask into your routine.

And when your colour is starting to fade in-between salon visits, consider using a conditioner with red or copper pigments – just be mindful of the base tone of the colour your hairdresser gave you originally. IAKA if you started with a warm-toned red, stick to products that throw the same way. Same goes for blue-based reds – keep things cool-toned when it comes to topping up your colour at home.

Speaking of at-home colour – this is not the sort of hair transformation you're going to want to conquer on your lonesome. That means ditch any ideas you had about grabbing a box dye from Woolies; according to Kelly these have a tendency to blow out the hair shaft, lightening and damaging hair in the process. The more you know aye.

Briar Clark got her start in the media industry in 2017, as an intern for Marie Claire and InStyle. Since then, her keen interest in fashion and beauty has landed her gigs as a Digital Content Producer and Beauty Editor with titles like Girlfriend, Refinery29, BEAUTYcrew and beautyheaven. She loves the way seemingly innocuous topics like skin care and style have the ability to put a smile on people’s faces or make them think about themselves a little differently. A big believer in self love and experimentation, Briar has made a point of becoming the Australian beauty industry’s unofficial guinea pig for unusual treatments and daring hair trends. When she’s not testing out the latest beauty launches, Briar is big on broadening her horizons, mostly in the form of food but she’s also partial to travelling to new destinations both near and far (and of course, allocating an extra bag to bring their best beauty offerings home with her).