Sunday, December 05, 2010

4 non-blondes. Quite a few people have told me recently that my hair is 'strawberry blonde'. I find this weird, because I consider my hair colour at the moment to be 'red', whereas my real hair colour is closer to what I understand strawberry blonde to be.

Here I am this afternoon, looking like Chopper Read:

And here is my 'real' hair:

Clearly these pics have been chosen purely because of the hair. The second one actually depicts me attempting to demonstrate 'emo hair' on a humid summer night.

I am quite happy with my hair colour right now. Regular readers of this blog will recall the lurid pinkish shade I achieved back in May with LiveColour Red Embers.

Worst of all, it was very badly applied, as this outtake from my jmag photo shoot reveals.

So I threw myself upon the mercy of Stanley, my hairdresser – or, rather, his colourist – back in August. I requested the illusion of being a real ranga, which I've topped up with Aztec Copper when my roots were starting to show. The colour I most recently requested was 'summery real ranga', which is slightly lighter. Perhaps this is the source of the 'strawberry blonde' comparisons.

My dictionary defines strawberry blonde as "a light reddish-blonde colour". Apparently it's also known as "Venetian blonde". I think of it as the colour that you sometimes see on redheads when they get bored of being redheads and want to go blonde (although apparently Cynthia Nixon is a fake ranga like me).

(As an aside, the glassy, posed quality of that Nicole Kidman pic inescapably reminds me of those glamour pics you sometimes see of pedigree cats.)

Perhaps people's idea of hair colour has been confused by the hair-colouring industry. When you look at the names of the packet dye colours, I am surprised by how dark a colour they will refer to as 'blonde'. For instance, this is "Golden Copper Blonde":

Whereas I would call it "pale red". I think it looks more natural, because in my obsessive, participant-observer field study of rangas, I've noticed that not many people with naturally red hair have a bright carroty colour or a coppery auburn, much less the fire-engine colour that is also thought of as 'red'. Rather, they have amber or pale copper-coloured hair.

For instance, check out these two pictures of Ann-Margret. On the left, I'd definitely say she's strawberry blonde. In the pic on the right, she looks much more like a redhead.

I have taken the liberty of drafting a Celebrity Ranga Swatch Chart. Click on it to see it in its full-size glory. Note that I've included the celebrity's eye so that you see how different eye colours, eyebrow colours and skin colours work with the red hair.

Of course, there is no one definitive colour swatch for people's hair. It will show up different colours if they tinker with the colour, have washed it or put products in it, or are in different lights that bring out different tones in their hair. But some things I'd like to point out are Lily Cole's relatively yellow skin tone and Amy Adams's relatively peachy one, and the almost rose-gold tones in Deborah Ann Woll's hair, compared to the more auburn tones in Lauren Ambrose's.

I still think Christina Hendricks has the hair colour I'm after, but I really do admire Rupert Grint's hair. No wonder he grew it.

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