Rona O’Connor is a celebrity red hair colorist who has worked with Hollywood’s most famous redheads: Debra Messing, Blake Lively, Bella Thorne, Joanna Garcia, Laura Prepon, Melissa Gilbert, Rachel Boston and Jayma Mayes.
In a recent H2BAR interview, O’Connor shared why she thinks red hair is so special:
“The color red is bold and makes a statement; whether it is about fashion, looking fierce or just for fun. The color red isn’t shy and everything about it is uplifting. Red hair can suit several skin tones if the right shade is chosen.”
Adrienne and Stephanie were so excited to speak with Rona on Episode 18 of the How to be a Redhead podcast.
1. One of Rona’s redhead clients is Debra Messing — completing 100+ dyes on Debra. Debra’s iconic red hair has been seen on 221 episodes (1998-present) of Will and Grace, and here are some cliff notes on how she achieves Debra’s shade:
With a ‘reflective red’ in mind, she plays with multiple tones — cool and warm tones. The base color is a ruby copper with three shades running through it, then it goes from copper to gold. She weaves in shades of golden apricot, ruby copper, copper. Rona then finishes off with a gloss (she does this to all redhead clients), adding in yellow and gold. She loves “prissoms of color”.
2. Top piece of advice for those listening looking to enhance their natural red hair at home. Many redheads go brown or blonde and want to “up” their natural vibrancy.
At home tip: She calls this “browning out” and recommends getting a gloss with a little red pigment in it. It fades off very naturally and she loves the “amazing moose” from Goldwell in 8K (especially if your shade is like Jessica Chastain).
How to use: Pump moose on wet hair and leave it on for 8-10 minutes then wash out. “It enhances very subtly and easy.”
Gloss tip: Rona doesn’t recommend glosses with ruby undertones for natural redheads because it can lead a pink residue. Always look for a true copper for mid/light range.
3. How about those who need to cover up any white / gray hairs? What about those with about 30/40% white/gray? Is there a particular product they can purchase at the drugstore to avoid breaking the bank at a hair salon?
As soon as you start seeing 20% gray, Rona suggests visiting a professional to get red lights on crown (10 foils) to match natural hair. “You’re cutting your grays down and can brighten your hair at the same time. You’ll be good for a few months.”
4. Let’s talk now about maintaining the color! What are your top tips to avoid fading and preserving the color for as long as possible?
A. Maintenance: Debra stresses maintenance is really “key” for redheads, both natural and ‘by choice’. She recommends anti-fade shampoos because they really prevent the hair from fading.
B. Hydration: Conditioning and moisturizing the hair is important 1-2 times a week because it will keep it healthier and will allow color to last longer.
C. Don’t go in chlorine!
D. Get a filter for your shower.
E. Leave in conditioners: These are her favorite thing to recommend because they will protect hair from the elements and keep it hydrated. She loves Goldwell’s leave in conditioner because it’s weightless and silky.
5. What’s the one beauty product/brand you could not live without?
Rona loves Aquaphor. “It’s dermatologist recommended and doesn’t flare up my skin.” She uses it on her hands, lips and on all of her clients.