Red hair’s fiery appeal has taken on moodier guise in recent months: meet cherry cola hair. This red is dimensional, fun, and infinitely customizable—and it’s resurgence is due, in part, to Dua Lipa’s moody, of-the-moment hue.
“Interestingly, when I started to piece together this idea of a custom color for Dua, 'cherry cola' wasn’t a phrase that I had in mind—the words in my mind were 'dark,' 'bright,' 'blood,' 'grape,' and 'wine,'” says celebrity hairstylist Ben Gregory, who counted Susie Cave and Jessica Rabbit as inspirations for Lipa’s tailored shade. Once the color hit social media, it quickly became known as cherry cola, the name evoking depth and syrpuy sweetness. Regardless of moniker, Gregory notes that the defining traits are depth and vibrancy. “I liked the idea of creating a color that would read differently depending how it was styled,” he adds, a succinct summary of the trend’s far-reaching appeal. “A deep, dark, sultry red, fully blown out for a vampy red carpet look evocative of the 1990s supers, or styled in a way that feels more relevant to youth culture of today.”
Ben Gregory is the celebrity hairstylist responsible for Dua Lipas new hair color.
Aura Friedman is a celebrity hairstylist to stars like Natasha Lyonne and Selma Blair.
Sharon Dorram is a celebrity hair colorist to stars like Miley Cyrus and Lisa Rinna.
Celebrity hairstylist Aura Friedman (a proven champion of the red trend) agrees. “I think this look is more fun and playful, and it ranges and variations of levels and brightness,” she says. And she’s right: cherry cola hair has taken on a life of its own, with past and present variations volleying between dark and sultry to berry-sweet and flashy. Be sure to head to the stylist with a vision (and photos) of what cherry cola means to you and to inquire as to the best shade to suit your skin tone.
Aftercare matters, too. “Go to a hairstylist that you trust and invest in the aftercare that they recommend for maximum longevity,” says Gregory. Friedman relies on the K18 hair line (particularly the well-loved leave-in) for the most enduringly saturated reds. “The red color molecule is the biggest of the color molecules, which means you lose it faster,” she explains, further emphasizing the importance of post-salon routines. “K18 helps fill any holes and seal the cuticle and lowers the pH level, which helps lock in the color.” Because once you go red, your want of all things bold is bound to increase.
Here, 11 cherry cola hair moments to inspire your own subversively sweet look.
Though cherry cola hair may have existed before Lipa adopted it, the pop star helped to catapult the trend. “Dua’s visibility and trend-setting credentials unquestionably propelled the color into the spotlight,” says Gregory. Celebrity hair colorist Sharon Dorram agrees and notes the color’s fringe benefits. “It gives a radiant glow to her fair skin.”
“I love this color because to wear it one should be confident,” says Dorram. Dove Cameron is proof positive of this sentiment. The pop star loves some vampy glamour, and her deep cherry cola color lends well to dramatic looks and playful styling.
Those who prefer their reds on the brighter side would do well to look to Teyana Taylor’s high-shine pixie. The actor’s red is a far cry from the quiet russets and gingers that dominated 2023, but not quite cola. Instead, the hue calls cherries to mind—and combined with the cut, it’s an aptly tart-meets-sweet.
Megan Fox has been getting experimental with her beauty as of late, with a vibrant red chop inching into cherry cola territory through the growth of her own brunette roots. As noted by Gregory, the color plays well with youthful, somewhat whimsical styling—in Fox’s case, a trio of butterfly adornments.
Cherry Cola Curls
Rihanna went cherry cola more than a decade ago, her cloud of tight curls serving as an ideal vehicle for the shade. As demonstrated by Lipa and her air-dried waves, there’s about the meeting of organic texture and a wholly inorganic shade feels so right.
A brush with a rubied cherry cola saw Zendaya embracing a Jessica Rabbit-inspired era, all deep parts and luxurious blow outs. “It stands out and is anything but boring,” says Dorram of the shade, recommending the using products sans sulfates, parabens, and synthetic fragrances or color to maximize saturation and shine.
Fans of cowboy copper and its rust red variants will appreciate Lana Del Rey’s gingered take on cherry cola hair color. The dimensional tone skews more natural than some iterations of the hue and plays well with the pop star’s sleek and layered lengths.
Keke Palmer’s winter warming comes courtesy of a deep mahogany, the choice easily played up with an all-crimson ensemble. A deep part and polished finish ensure that all focus falls on the on-trend shade.
Halle Bailey’s subtle take on cherry cola appears nearly entirely brunette at first glance. Upon a closer look, the color’s plummy red is readily evident, playing well with rows and ringlets alike.
Trading her trademark baby blonde for a vamp, rubied cherry may have been an unexpected choice for Gigi Hadid, but it paid off in some seriously striking moments. Her outsized updo—worn for the 2021 Met Gala—was elegant and fun, all while affording her complexion an extra wash of luster.
“[Billie Eilish favors] an extreme, electric, and popping bright version of cherry cola hair,” says Doram. “The color gives her peaches and cream-toned skin an extra glow.” Eilish’s reverse ombré—unnaturally red roots giving way to onyx lengths—is appropriately idiosyncratic, a unique addition to the red-haired menu.
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