Digging a fork into a thick slice of red velvet cake — with cream cheese icing, thank you very much — is peak dessert joy. The sweet maroon treat is our go-to for birthday parties, holiday potlucks, and binge-watching Netflix (no, we don’t need a special occasion to dig in). But red velvet cake is also inspiring a new hair color trend that’s baking in the chairs of colorists. We’re calling it red velvet hair.
This modern take on auburn is rich and full of flavor — just like the cake. According to Colleen Flaherty, master colorist & educator at Spoke and Weal salon in New York City, red velvet cake is universal, but the hair color recipe isn’t one size fits all. The color and process will look different depending on your hair color and hair type. So, before you take the plunge, find out everything you need to know to make going red velvet a piece of cake.
Flaherty says that some pre-lightening is involved, so prepare to go blonde if you aren’t already. “For this look, my client was already pre-lightened to blond. So I colored her hair with a red-violet color, which filled her strands with pigment,” she tells Refinery29. She added even more dimension to the color by painting more dye on top of the red base. “Afterwards, I created the red velvet color by mixing red and violet until it transformed into a shade we agreed upon.”
For brunettes, the process is slightly different. Flaherty tells us that as long as your hair is virgin, you can likely achieve red velvet strands without any pre-lightening, depending the shade you are looking for.
Since there is no distinct recipe for red velvet hair, the best way to get the color you’re craving is to bring as much inspiration as possible to your colorist. “The first thing you want to do is consult with your colorist, that way you can discuss any questions you might have,” Flaherty says. “He or she will also be able to evaluate your hair, and give you the best treatment for your hair type. The color will look different on straight and curly hair, so consulting first is important.”
Your complexion can also play in a role in mixing the best
cake color batter. “People who have warmer undertones should use a red-violet hue to compliment their complexion,” says Flaherty. “People with cooler undertones could go either way, red-violet or violet-red.” (The latter has more purple tones, which can give a burgundy look.)
To keep your color fresh, prepare to cut back on washing. Red velvet hair color will need some additional maintenance. Adding color-safe products to your regimen will help keep your hair vibrant between appointments. Flaherty suggests using the Aveda Color Conserve range to maintain your bright tones and to make your cake-colored hair pop. You might also want to make an appointment for a gloss once your color begins to fade.
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