Hair Care

By Meredith Clinton Bell

Fiery-hued locks are back in a big way. Trending on the red carpet and silver screen, redheaded celebrities from the likes of Jessica Chastain to Emma Stone and Christina Hendricks to Amy Adams, and even the latest Disney princess, Merida, of Brave, have wowed Hollywood and made it cool to be red again.

For some inside info and professional tips, I chatted with Irish-born stylist and salon owner, Alice McCarney, of Alice Hair, who has lived and breathed hair care since she first started back in Ireland. “I’m wired for hair…it’s in my DNA,” she said. Despite coming to the U.S. more than 20 years ago, her Irish heritage continually influences her style choices and it plays a big part at her salon.

Celebrating 12 years this March since her Upper East Side hair haunt opened its doors, she admits with a laugh, “Some of my longest relationships are with my clients.” With 90 percent of her staff also hailing from the Emerald Isle, she has more than a little experience treating, creating and styling red hair — both natural and professionally enhanced.

“Redheads are back in fashion,” said McCarney. “It used to be just older, chic women, but now everyone — all ages — is doing red.” With at least 30 percent more people asking for red, at Alice Hair they’ve already done more redheads this year than all of last year combined.

Tips for Natural Redheads
Red hair, the rarest of them all, is something special. McCarney urges natural redheads to stay true to their roots and honor the color they were born with. “Red hair is either super straight or super curly,” so determining how to care for it depends on length, thickness and texture — not color.

Tips for Dying Your Hair Red
Picking the right shade is a big decision. Are you looking for a more natural red or a bolder, brighter red? “We’ll match it to your skin tone, but it’s a personal preference,” said McCarney. “It’s an ownership decision.” Keys for making the color last include going three or four days between washes and buying the products your stylist recommends. “One wash can wash the joy and happiness out of your hair. It’s a big deal!” she warned.

When it comes down to it, “If you want to be red, you’ve got to show up for it,” advised McCarney. And one way to do that is with the right makeup (hint, red lipstick!). You’re going to stand out in a crowd; you might as well make a statement and embrace it. So, if you’ve been thinking of going red, here’s a question — why not? It’s the year of the redhead, after all.

Alice Hair
1324 2nd Avenue, NYC

Originally published March 2013
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