Five New York Redheads

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Julie Houts

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Jess Green

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Brianna Lance

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Kim Johnson

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Zoey Silverman

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Julie Houts

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Jess Green

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Brianna Lance

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Kim Johnson

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Zoey Silverman

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Hair colors, like everything else, are subject to trends. For a while, bleached was big. Then there were the candy colors—baby pink, baby blue…Red hair isn’t really a trend, though. It seems like people who are red-headed, by nature or by the wonders of hair dye, stay that way for a long time. It’s a personal thing, and one that tends to speak volumes before an actual word is ever spoken. But in the interest of talking out loud, five redheads stopped by the office to discuss—dye, maintenance, familial history. We'll let them take it from here:

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Julie Houts

Designer at J.Crew

'My hair is natural—I’ve never dyed it. Never ever. As a girl, I begged my mom for highlights and to play with color, but no one would ever let me. Now, I realize everyone was right—I don’t want to do anything to it. But I don't use any special products for it either, just the Kérastase Cristalliste line. Then I pretty much go as long as I can before washing it again and do the dry shampoo thing that everyone does. My natural texture is really curly ringlets. I sleep on it when it's wet and then use this weird curling iron technique to straighten it out into waves.

My eyebrows are the same color as my hair. I used to pencil in my eyebrows, but then I saw this awful photo of me where it was very obvious. So now I just brush them and that’s it.

When it comes to redhead muses for me, it's Brigitte Bardot. I know she’s not a redhead, but in some photos she looks like she is. Also Ann-Margret. Being a redhead is a weird thing. Have you ever seen that movie I Heart Huckabees? There’s a part where he’s like ‘How am I not myself?’ and he just keeps repeating it over and over again. I feel like that’s me—it's just myself.”

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*Jess Green

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Owner, VEN Agency

'So I'm naturally blond, but all of my cousins are redheads with freckles. When I moved to New York from Texas, I just felt like I looked like a really young Southern Belle, and I wasn't being taken very seriously. My grandmother started a college of cosmetology in Central Texas where both my aunt and uncle taught. My aunt is now a hairdresser for women going through chemo at one of the largest cancer treatment centers in America, so I asked her if she could mix up a hair dye that would match the color of my cousins' hair. About 20 different bottles later, she figured it out. I've been this color red for six years—it's called 7RO Marigold.”

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Brianna Lance

Creative Director, Designer

'My current color is not natural, but I am a natural redhead. I use a vegetable rinse to just make the color a little bit richer. I’m very lazy about it so I just do it every six months or something. It's at Whole Foods and you just look for the hippie green box—it literally looks like a box of green dye you’d buy at a renaissance fair. It won’t damage your hair at all. I just buy it and sort of rub it on my head and leave it in for 40 minutes and then rinse it out. Easy.”

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Kim Johnson

Advertising Coordinator, Into The Gloss

'My red hair is natural. I always consider dying it and being cool—everyone dyes their hair at some point I feel like—but I’ve never done that because my mom would kill me. When I was born, supposedly it was bright orange. And I was born with a lot of hair. At the hospital, my little ID band fell off and so when the nurses brought me to my mom, she was like, 'Oh, no, no, no that’s not mine.' Neither of my parents have red hair—I look exactly like them otherwise, though.

I think I stand out. My friends always tell me that whenever they try to tell someone about me, they’re like, 'You know, the one with the red hair.' It’s funny when I see other black girls with red hair because it’s always like 'Hey! We’re the same!' I tried to use this color-preserving treatment once, but I was like, I don’t know why I’m using this. It's not for natural hair so there wasn't much purpose. It’s interesting because I used to have a relaxer in my hair and I’ve started to grow it out since January. Each part of my hair is a different texture and going through a different level of transition. It's stressful! Right now, I’ve been trying all of these different things but I always come back to this Mizani Rose H2O Conditioning Hairdress. I use it at night when I braid my hair to keep the curl. And then Moroccanoil goes in daily—otherwise it gets really dry.”

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Zoe Silverman

Singer, ASTR

'This isn’t natural—it's enhanced. I say that it’s enhanced because there are shades of red already in my hair, and I’m just bringing them out. But my hair color without dye is probably mousy brown. Before I did this, I just did box dye—I used to always use Garnier Fructise 6R. But my friends were like ‘You can do better, Zoe.’ You have to listen to your friends! I think it made a huge difference when I got it professionally done. I did it right before Fashion Week last year, and I think it totally changed everything. I wore a red dress to one show and with the red hair it didn’t clash like it would have before—so, success.

I was actually blond about five years ago when I got my first record deal. But I was 17 or 18 at the time and I wanted to make a statement, so right before a show I knew my whole record label would be at, I dyed it red. I didn't tell anyone about it—I wanted to be defiant. So the color in general symbolizes that to me. Like breaking the rules and going against the grain of what’s normal.”

Photographed by Tom Newton.

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