Sisters Adrienne and Stephanie Vendetti are redheads on a mission: to inspire flame-haired women everywhere to embrace their fabulously unique locks. The NYC-based duo’s blog, How to be a Redhead, struck an immediate chord when it was launched in 2011, and has since become a beloved resource and community for women with cinnamon-, auburn-, or strawberry blonde locks.
Why do redheads need their very own beauty site, you might wonder? Is it really that different from being, say, a blonde or brunette? We caught up with the inspiring, spunky sisters to find out why they’re so passionate about, in their words, “rocking it like a redhead,” and the particular haircare challenges they — and their readers — face.
You’re sisters and natural redheads. How has the way you feel about your hair changed over the years?
photo credit: Kari Devereaux
Stephanie: When I was younger, I hated my red hair. I dyed it bleach blonde for over seven years. One day in college, I looked in the mirror and thought, ‘What am I doing?!’ I immediately went back to red and have never looked back.
Adrienne: I’ve always loved my hair. It’s always defined me in a monumental way. Our grandmother, Rosemary, had red hair and she and I were born on the same day. So, I always had that connection from the start.
Redheads have a certain mystique, but until you two came along, nobody thought much about how their hair and beauty needs might be particularly unique. Why the site?
Stephanie: Many redheads struggle fitting in and embracing their uniqueness. That’s originally how HowtobeaRedhead.com began. We wanted a place for redheads to turn to where they could embrace their red hair — and truly love who they are. Now, we get blondes and brunettes writing in saying, “You make red hair so cool! How can I become a redhead?” We think it’s so awesome that we’ve turned the tables.
Adrienne: Red hair has so many unique properties. It’s the most unique hair color in the world, each strand of red hair is generally thicker than any other shade, and red hair doesn’t turn grey — it (sometimes) fades and turns white.
Of course, not all redheads have exactly the same hair needs. How would you each describe your own particular hair?
Stephanie: Mine is a mix of strawberry blonde and ginger. Adrienne and I both have curly hair – we get it from our father, who is Italian. Mine is very manageable. I usually wash it 2-3 times a week. You’ll catch me in a braid or top knot bun at least 4 days out of week!
Adrienne: Mine is a rich red and very long, to the bottom of my back. My hair is NOT manageable like Stephanie’s (laughs). I have to get it blown out at a salon to get it silky and smooth, or else I rock the ‘Merida from Disney’s Brave’ look.
The homepage of HowtobeaRedhead.com.
You've tested bajillions of products in the name of research. What are 3-5 hair products you are really, really into right now?
Adrienne: We love Aquis’ hair towel. It’s our favorite! We’re also really into Paul Mitchell’s Ultimate Color Repair Line, Unite Boosta Spray, Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil and Not Your Mother's Clean Freak Dry Shampoo.
We're (of course) very passionate about drying your hair as gently as possible. Is that something that you've found is particularly important for redheads?
Stephanie: 100%. Many redheads don’t know how to properly dry their hair. It’s very important to protect your hair, especially when it’s so unique!
Will you walk us through your everyday haircare routine? What are the tricks and tips you've discovered over the years that make your hair look your best?
Stephanie: I brush my hair right after my brushing my teeth. Depending on my mood, I’ll either wear it down or up in a high bun with a funky braid. I wash it 2-3 times a week. I’ll put a few drops of hair oil on my ends a few times a week in order to make sure they are being treated. And I’ll do a deep condition once a week; twice if I have product built-up from photoshoots. Top tip: Don’t apply heat to your red hair every day. Let it breathe! Embrace your natural texture.
Adrienne: I maybe brush my hair 1-2 times a week, if that. If I’m not at the salon getting my hair blown out, I will brush my hair before showering. It usually takes me 10 minutes to make sure all the knots are out, then I will shampoo once and condition twice. Then, I use my Aquis hair towel and sit with it (sometimes with a face mask) for 20-30 minutes. Then, I will apply a hair oil or EVOO to the ends and middle of my hair. I just let it air dry until my next blow dry. I only shampoo my hair 1-2 times a week — I sometimes go longer than a week. It really is the secret to having long, healthy hair if your hair has a dry texture like mine.
There are tons of examples of memorable redheads, historical and fictionalized. Do you have an all-time favorite icon?
Both: Grace Coddington! She’s an icon and we’ve looked up to her for years. She rocks her red hair with pure confidence.
What kinds of trends and beauty advice have you learned to ignore? In other words, what really doesn't work for redheads?
Stephanie: Redheads have to embrace their natural features. We, especially Adrienne, fought it for years. During prom, we had horrible experiences at the beauty counters. The makeup artists would apply the worst, uncomplimentary colors — as if we had olive and tanned skin. Adrienne used to apply sunless tanner to make her skin darker, and you know my story about going bleach blonde. At the end of the day, the one’s who love us most, love who we are naturally. And, we couldn’t be happier!