In what must be the most non-creepy example of synchronicity I've ever personally experienced, a mailroom employee delivered a package to me just as I was sitting down to write this very article, and inside was this book:
Now, if we're defining redheads as loosely as Elizabeth Graeber does in A Field Guide to Redheads — she includes adorable illustrations of Rita Hayworth (whose natural color was very dark brown), Emily Dickinson (a lock of her hair saved since 1853 reveals it was auburn) Jim Gaffigan (who I consider blonde), Lightning McQueen (who is a cartoon car), and many more real, fictional, human and non-human redheads — then I am now a redhead. But if we're sticking to a stricter definition of "redhead" — someone born with hair that naturally falls somewhere around hex code 9E2F00 (this is, of course, my own personal definition of what a "true" redhead is and not the dictionary's, which is the much more lenient "a person with reddish hair") — then I am not one.
As of Saturday, I have auburn hair. It's like if a redhead and brunette had a baby, except not, because genetics will typically result in the child of a redhead and a brunette being a brunette, so forget that analogy. What I'm saying is, auburn is neither here nor there — so much so that, although a relatively common hair color, it doesn't have a noun for the people who possess it. Have blonde hair? You're a blonde. Brown hair? You're a brunette. Red hair? Redhead.
Auburn hair? Uh... Auburnette? Auburnhead?
Sure, let's go with auburnhead.
Anyway, here's how I got here: I was sick of the color my hair had turned after going from green back to dark brown and growing out and getting all brassy for most of the length. (I don't assume you've been following my hair-color journey, but if you have, you've heard this all before.) I told awesomesauce Cutler colorist Pamella Gonzalez that I needed to be talked out of going platinum, and she did by telling me that I've got so much going on underneath that rushing straight to white-blonde would be a pretty terrible idea condition-wise, and that if I really want to try platinum at some point, I should either grow out virgin hair to a length I'm comfortable with (I didn't want to go short), or we can gradually lighten until we eventually (who knows when) get to platinum.
But I wanted a not-small change ASAP, so I decided to go for a warm, deep reddish color instead. (I can still lighten to platinum in the future, but for now, this felt like the right choice.) Pamella called the highlights she'd be mixing up a "peachy brick red" with a hollow, almost watercolor-esque feel. I liked the sound of that.
She started by teasing the ends and painting pieces with bleach, lightening some of my already-lighter areas to a blonder family so that the red she'd be putting on top of it won't look as brassy as it transitions (you know, fades) to different shades of red over time. She then painted some bleach all the way to the roots without teasing, so it would brighten me up around my head and face (which, last I checked, is part of my head). Pamella explained to me that this variation in how she applied the bleach helps make it look like it's already been highlighted several times, giving the color more depth.
After a wash with Purelogy Hydrate Shampoo and baby's first Olaplex treatment, Pamella applied the aforementioned "peachy brick" glaze (basically a semipermanent toner) with a bit of violet to "antique" it.
As soon as she started blowdrying my hair, I felt more "me." My hair leaned pretty auburn when I was a kid, and so many of my beauty icons have red or auburn hair that I just feel like a color like this is what's supposed to grow out of my head. I think I finally understand what Kara means when she says her soul is blonde.
So, in honor of realizing my "soul color," and inspired by The Field Guild to Redheads (even though I was already planning to create this roundup before I even knew that book existed), here are some of my all-time favorite auburnheads — my soulcolormates.
I'll leave you with a ridiculous true story.
Earlier today, I attempted to do a Google image search for "redhead" and inexplicably typed in "headhead," which doesn't give you the dreadful results you might imagine. The first couple images were of headcheese (ew), followed by a portrait of a 19th-century British mayor named George Head Head. I clicked through to his Wikipedia page to try to get a better understanding of his oddly repetitious name but got no explanation. I pondered aloud to my XO coworkers, "Why the last name Head and the middle name head? Why two Heads?!"
And without missing a beat, new xoJane deputy editor Jamie replied, "Because two heads are better than one."
- What's your hair's "soul color"?
- Who's your favorite auburnhead?
- Do you consider people with auburn hair to be redheads?
- What's the next color you're planning on going?