Dressed for: A New Kind of Red

Already Pretty outfit featuring plaid shirt, red sweater, navy full skirt, red tights, burgundy boots

Sweater – thrifted – similar
Shirt – thrifted – similar
Skirt, Anthropologie Field Skirt (no longer available) – similar
Tights – Express (no longer available in this color) – similar
Boots – Sam Edelman Seraphina
Bracelets – self-made, thrifted, and courtesy Silver Speck
Earrings – gift – similar

I don’t usually feel the need to announce changes to my hair because they happen approximately every ten seconds. I get it trimmed frequently, cut often, and colored every couple of months, so it’s constantly in flux. However, I recently spent one full day as a copper redhead with blonde highlights (photo evidence over on Facebook), realized the color was amazing but clashed with my complexion, and went back to the salon in a panic for a brown wash over the red. There’s still a lot of lovely red in there, and the color changes a little bit each time I wash it, but it looks nothing like the original copper. I’m much happier with the revised color!

Have you ever tried a drastically different hair color and realized it didn’t suit you? How did you handle it?

(P.S. I will be on Channel 12 News tonight at 6 p.m. talking about my book, blog, and work at ARC’s Value Village. Twin Cities folks, tune in if you can!)


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22 Responses to “Dressed for: A New Kind of Red”

  1. Lauren

    Those kinds of panics are the worst! Sometimes you just have to try these things to see what works & what doesn’t. Unsolicited advice ahead… 🙂 but I actually think the blonde highlights are what kills the look, whereas the red/auburn portion of the look is good (in the photos, at least). So, if you’re open to trying red again another time, I think it would work without the blonde highlights. Different shades of auburn, maybe, or auburn with brown highlights.

  2. Mia

    I’ve done all sorts of hair colors in the last couple years, and some (dark pink-to-yellow sunset gradient) suited me better than others (sonic green with yellow stripes), but I don’t think I ever had a panic moment where I thought “I can’t go out like this” (unless we’re counting dye stains that wouldn’t come off my neck when I went dark blue!). I don’t think the copper looked terrible on you, but the auburn-y it is now with the wash over it is really nice!

  3. Bea

    oh yeah!! I had ORANGE hair once….so I begged to have it turned back to brown as quickly as possible. Again, when I had highlights that were “too” something…I had lowlights put in to gradually have it go back. If I go too light, my makeup is all wrong, the colors that look good on me at horrible. So I turn it back as quickly as possible!!

  4. Patti @ NotDeadYet Style

    I like both looks, Sal – but the darker does look more like “you”. And yes, I had to go really red once, and almost had a melt-down afterwards. It was so bad with my coloring!

  5. Viktoria

    Once in the 80´s, when I was young and stupid and tried everything, I chose a mahogany hue which made me look absolutely dying. And 1995 a very gifted hairdresser whom I gave free hands put blond highlights in, which wasn´t as catastrophic, but not very flattering either. My solution was to buy a bottle of medium brown, both times. I haven´t done anything to my colour since 1995, the natural dark blond/brownish colour I have is absolutely the most flattering on me anyway. At 46, I have maybe three white hairs that I can see, and if they multiply, they multiply.

  6. Stephanie D.

    I tried some blonde highlights in my dark brown hair and they ended up being so thick and chunky it looked like I was a blonde with brown highlights!! It looked terrible on me! i am no blonde that’s for sure. I waited 3 days and dyed it all back to my natural color. Luckily only a couple people witnessed this and we all had a good laugh (and no pictures were taken, whew!).

  7. Danielle

    I once found a box of hair dye that was called Starry Night. I bought it only because of the name. It was sort of Wonder Woman blue-black. It didn’t look terrible but I certainly looked more goth than I was hoping. The brown-red on you is lovely and looks very warm. Perfect for winter.

  8. Marsha Calhoun

    Yup. Thought I’d try out a beautiful deep mahogany instead of my usual ash brown, and forgot that my natural color wasn’t brown any more – the top half-inch of hair came out Schiaparelli pink (which is what mahogany does to while/grey hair), necessitating an immediate second visit to the drug store for my old color. Upside – my not-yet-fiancee asked discreetly if I had “tweaked” my hair (he dropped by while I was between dye sessions), and I decided that anyone that diplomatic was a keeper.

  9. CC

    Just wanted to let you know how much I am loving your pixie. It suits you so beautifully. 🙂 Perfection. 🙂

  10. Alex

    Tried drastically different hair colors? Have I ever! I started playing with color very young and played with every color under the sun. Puke green was not a flattering shade, although dark greens, reds, and purples were surprisingly nice. Blue was too much maintenance and faded to a particularly hard to pull off shade of turquoise.

    Five or so years ago I attempted to dye my hair a so-dark-it’s-almost-black-but-not-quite shade of brown and, naturally, it came out pitch black. Despite the unavoidable irony that I had spent years in high school trying fruitlessly to get black dye to stick to my hair for more than a few days, despite knowing that a fresh home dye job always fades/settles within a week, I burst into tears. Black was exactly what I didn’t want; I had done the gothy-punk look and was trying to incorporate more “mature” looks into my life, like so many early-20s women do. Inevitably, my stylist lifted the color for me and I remembered that, in the end, it is hair and it can always be changed (or at least covered!).

    I continue to play with color these days but I think the years of bleach and bright colors are behind me. I still miss the hot pink, though: http://ow.ly/gT4M9 (and http://ow.ly/gT4RD for fun).

  11. Sonja

    Maybe a bit off-topic, but I really like the outfit and think I have everything to recreate it. I think I’ll play copycat soon.
    Concerning your question: I’m seriously thinking about going purple. I did that once as a university student and it looked good, but I used a semi-permanent colour that lasted about three days in my really thick hair. This time I think I’ll have it professionally done.

  12. Anonymous

    I dyed mine “mid brown” and it came out a horrible, dull black (don’t use Schwarzkopf Live XXL if you have dry hair as those suckers are loaded with silicones and will not wash out, they just go dull!) so I spent an hour scrubbing my hair with Color B4 solution. It did come out but I am never dying my naturally reddy brown hair ever again!

  13. Laurie

    My biggest hair color mistake was back in the early 1990’s, when – in a fit because I was frustrated by how much my hair color would fade every single day – I dyed my hair “blue-black”. I have light skin and freckles, and at that time some actress was rocking the “black Irish” look, but it made my face look huge and pure white. I only have one photo of that look, but every single time I see it, I still wince. And 2 attempts with “color remover” followed by a light brown dye still barely removed any of the color, so it was a very traumatic time for me. Thankfully, my hair was very short at that time.

  14. Laurie

    p.s. Despite my light coloring and freckles and blue eyes, my very favorite hair color was “African Violet”, which started out a lovely dramatic deep aubergine color, and faded to a lovely deep auburn – the only color which never got brassy orange as it faded on me. Sadly, now I’m in the process of letting my gray grow in, so no more dye for me… until it’s pure white, then I’m going CRAZY! 😉

  15. Becky

    My husband has something called prosopagnosia – face blindness. He can’t recognize people by their faces, so he goes by hair, shoes, gait, gestures, etc. He *loves* people with tatoos and those he refers to as “biomorphically distinct” – having a visible disability or particularly uncommon body shape. He couldn’t pick his own parents, or me, out of a lineup.

    I haven’t wanted to get a tatoo, so for years I colored my hair a not particularly flattering but distinctive shade of auburn, so he could find me in crowds. I didn’t mind it because at the time I wasn’t particularly into fashion or beauty, and he really appreciated it. Just about the time I started to notice, via pictures, that the color really did not look good on me, another woman in our small town, of approximately my height, build, and skintone, started using the same haircolor. (It looks better on her!) He ran into us talking in a cafe one day, and had a bad moment when he could not tell which of these two women was his wife. It could have been awkward.

    Next haircolor session, I reverted to a more natural (on me) ash brown, and have never looked back. But it’s my job to find him now, in a crowd.

  16. D

    When I was 19, which was a long long time ago, I dyed my blonde hair burgundy — nearly black. At the request of a former teacher, I stopped in my old high school and as I walked down the hall, a kid popped out of a door, looked at me, and exclaimed, “Damn! That girl looks like she woke up from the dead!”

    Since then, I’ve tried a variety of shades, and settled on a mary-jane-watson-comic-book red. It suits me, and works, I think, with my fair skin. And anything more “normal” just makes me sad.

  17. Sonia

    I’ve had red-hair-envy all my life (I’m a natural mousey-blonde). Once dyed my hair fire engine red. And I LOVED it until I discovered that my current wardrobe just didn’t “go” with fire engine red hair. I’m now at a medium brown with a few coppery highlights, and I get lots of compliments. Some day, though? Strawberry blonde!

  18. Kate

    Not so much the different colour, as different body chemistry was my problem. I was eight months pregnant with my eldest, and I’d stopped colouring my hair because I was being All-Natural Earth-Mother Woman. But then my brother’s wedding came around, and I realised at the last minute that I was going to be in his wedding photos hugely pregnant AND with 8 months worth of prematurely grey regrowth. So I rushed down to my regular hairdresser, and got my usual colour (a chesnutty auburn), and pregnancy hormones apparently do REALLY odd things to your hair, because I looked like my hair was BLEEDING! Not knowing how any other colour would turn out, my stylist and I decided not to try and re-colour, so I spent the next 48 hours washing and re-washing my hair, hoping that would tone things down but by the day of the wedding I still looked like I was on fire. I can laugh about it now, but at the time I was pretty embarrassed.

  19. Angela

    I’m not sure I do dramatic things to my hair but last night ny stylist and I flipped a coin: heads blonde tails dark….blonde won. And I will keep for a few months and let him do something different again. I have really thick short hair so I don’t muck about with style but the colour