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Am I a Redhead if I have Bright, Fiery Orange Hair?


I try to steer away from self-congratulations, especially in regards my appearance. I live in a city full of 9s and 10s, wagging about in the yoga pants with all the cut slits in the right places to accentuate their flesh. I feel like a 6 on a good day, but Dammnnnn Lesley @hairlove_nyc f’ing brought the house down with this vibrant mix of yellows, oranges, and reds!

Color Courtesy of Lesley A Herrington @ Sam Brocato

Personally, I never thought I could be a redhead.

I’ve obviously done blues, silvers, purple, and pink. I’ve done various levels of blonde.

wavy fiery hair color

But when we were in Toronto week ago, while practicing yoga in the park at Dundas Square, I saw another Asian girl with the most beautiful fade of orange into yellow. You could tell she loved her hair, and instantly orange became an option.

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

The challenge was finding someone to tangle with my crazy roots, 6+ months grown out.

After many phases of bleach killing my dark, dark hair as I touched up roots, got highlights, etc, salons started to tell me, “No more.” So I gave my hair a good 9 months to recover, resulting in a more natural look that I was really starting to enjoy, with my dark, virgin hair framing my face, with blonde at the tips.

Happy, but 8 months of roots

I returned to my tried and true way of getting my hair cut and colored on the cheap (click the link below to read about how it works):

Salon Apprentice

Salon Apprentice, where you can get your hair colored for next to nothing (but please remember to generously tip!)

Passing around a photo of the hair color I’d like to achieve, I was rejected by many, many apprentices from salons all across the city, but Lesley Herrington @ Sam Brocato hair salon was up to the challenge!

Lesley has over 15 years of experience, but as part of Sam Brocato’s extensive training program, they make each new initiate to their salon (Lesley moved to NYC from Indianapolis a couple years ago) undergo a fine toothed training program before they give them floor days. Therefore, I was in the hands of someone with lots of experience and a wealth of knowledge, and I was only set to pay $20 for the hair product, as a part of her training program.

Lesley does AMAZING color over at Sam Brocato

Step 1: Lesley had to lift the color in my roots. She spent a couple hours (bless you Lesley!) placing near 100 foils on my head w/ the lightening bleach.

asian hair step 1 foil roots

Step 1: Foils to lighten my natural hair

What raw blonde looks like on a half-Asian

Resulting in a raw blonde, which I found was pretty in its uneveness. It’s kind of like the blonde that’s achieved when you’re a surfer that spends too much time in the sun, bleaching darker hair. It’s tempting to stop there because you have something new to look at, but…

Step 2: Apply color.

I make good face, no? (Russian accent)

Lesley applies three colors:

  1. Red around my roots, to give a shadow root, that would allow my hair to grow out with a soft color, rather than a week from now, BAM Orange jaggedly to black roots.
  2. Orange below the red
  3. Yellow below the orange.

You can see the yellow layer in the photo below, but unfortunately in washing the red from above bled into the yellow, but fortunately resulting in a BEAUTIFUL auburn with various layers of colors overlapping.

Sonic the Hedgehog hair, or more correctly, Knuckles (the red hedgehog that perpetually looked pissed) hair?

It’s colors how many colors are achieved in her layering. She would apply a color and then smudge it into the color above to achieve a gradient, rather than stark shift of colors between the red, orange, and yellow.

Want to get colored by Lesley? She’s still looking for hair models, but not for long, so take advantage of this AMAZING opportunity and email her @ lesleyherrington@gmail.com to set up an appointment. She will take great care of you, and she was so fun to talk to!!!

salon apprentice example

Thank you Lesley and Salon Apprentice!

I never thought I could pull off a look like this, and each time I look in the mirror, I’m a little shocked to see what is framing the sides of my face, but I love, love this color. Maybe more than any other I have had because it’s so unlike what I’m used to.

I hope I can maintain the style. 😉

It’s such an editorial look (Am I using “editorial right”? I haven’t watched Tim Gunn and Project Runway in a decade, but I think that’s what you call a look that is stark and hard to pull off w/ regular wear), that I’m excited that it will motivate me to think about what I am wearing with it.

One no longer needs accessories when one’s hair is on fire, but I’ll have fun trying to think of what items I can wear with this new look.

On fire!

I’m about to head to the gym for the day, and it will be a very different experience. Everyone there has these natural colors. Most people on the streets are rocking pastels. I’ll have to handle the stares for a while, but I know this color will become me.

I’m excited to have hair that warrants me blow drying and styling it. It will teach me self care and self love in a way that’s wholly new to someone used to air dry, ponytails, and baseball caps.

“Aw. Here it goes.” Kenan and Kel Style: