For our June issue, I chatted with celebrity colorist Rona O’Connor about her client Blake Lively’s brunette hue in Green Lantern (out June 17). When I saw Lively’s amazing new red locks at the Time 100 gala just a couple of weeks later, I immediately got in touch with O’Connor again to get the scoop on how she achieved the beautiful shade. “I can’t believe how positive the response has been,” O’Connor told me. “People were blown away that Blake went red, and Blake was so excited about the new look that she actually lifted me up in the air when I was finished!”
To achieve the color, which Lively chose for an upcoming movie role, O’Connor worked closely with the actress to get just the right shade to complement her skintone and avoid damaging the hair. After she and Lively looked through examples and tested swatches against the Gossip Girl star’s forehead, O’Connor began to do test strands—”When you’re doing red, you want to make sure it’s stunning, so there’s no winging it”—until she discovered the perfect shade. O’Connor was inspired by the season’s “it” color for fashion, honeysuckle, and wanted to bring out the blush in Lively’s skin. To preserve the integrity of Lively’s hair, O’Connor used only deposit colors and avoided overpigmenting the hair because of the plan to go back to blonde in a few months. “It’s a red that’s still in the blonde family,” she explained. “It’s a unique shade because of the rosy undertones.”
To create the shade, O’Connor first adjusted the base with a level 9 wash over the whole head to give it a golden copper hue. She then added depth with cool and warm reds. “The lightest shade is a soft
golden apricot, the mid-shade is a fiery copper with some rose, and the grounding color is between a level 7 and level 8 true copper,” O’Connor revealed. “I love to layer my colors.” She finished with a gloss that was mostly clear with a drop of light golden copper to make the color reflective.
For the Met Gala a week after the Time 100 bash, O’Connor added a few more highlights. “I wanted to bring back a little bit of lightness,” she said. “I gave her hair a little extra sparkle for the ball!”