I Tried Dua Lipa’s Cherry Cola Hair Colour, Here’s What You Need To Know

It's the ultimate 'Hot-Girl-Summer' shade.

When it comes to hair, I’m one of the least experimental people you’ll ever meet. I know, I’m a beauty writer, I should be experimental. I’m far more adventurous with makeup (my beauty closet is filled with rainbow-hued eyeshadows – the brighter, the better). But hair … hair is my safe space. I dyed my hair for the first-time last year (yes, it has taken me 24 years to put colour in my hair, and even then it was a gentle light-brown balayage). I’ve never tried a bob, or curtain bangs – long layered hair is my comfort blanket.

You get the picture – I play it safe with hair. So why am I sitting here writing this with cherry cola coloured hair? It all started with singer Dua Lipa and her dramatic burgundy hued hair transformation (colourist Ben Gregory is reportedly behind her new mane). The internet went wild – suddenly it became the cool-girl colour. And I realised that life’s too short for boring hair (for the record, being brunette isn’t boring, but it was time for a change given I work in beauty).

Cherry-Cola Hair Inspiration 

Thanks to ’90s nostalgia, red hair tones like “mulled wine” and Rihanna’s 00s’ “fire-engine red” were due for a comeback. But as hairstylist and L’Oréal Professionnel ambassador Ash Croker (of The Salon by Ash Croker) makes clear, this cherry cola iteration of the red hair trend is nothing like the reds we’ve seen before.

It skews more on the purple side and is considered a “deep red with a burgundy hue. Its blue or violet undertone gives it a more luxe, moody finish,” Croker says. The ’90s red tones were “bright and fiery. They tended to have more of an orange undertone making it quite loud, and not as suitable for different skin tones,” she notes.

dua lipa red hair
Dua Lipa showcasing her Cherry Cola locks at the recent premiere of new film, Argylle. Instagram: @dualipa
dove cameron
Dove Cameron was also an early adapter of the Cherry Cola hair trend. Instagram: @dovecameron

Who suits the Cherry Cola hair trend?

Cherry cola hair is a multidimensional shade, created using a combination of colours to achieve the striking red and brown tone. The beauty of this is that the shade can be manipulated to work with your existing hair colour, not against it, and will suit a multitude of complexions.

“What makes this trend work so well is that it’s great for fair, porcelain skin tones, but can also complement those more olive and darker complexions,” explains Croker, who is a big fan of its versatility.

As for the longevity of the trend, Croker suspects it could be a mainstay for brunettes, as “it just complements the skin so well”, but is likely more of a hot-for-now trend for blondes.

Is Cherry Cola hair easy to achieve for brunettes?

This was my very first question in the salon chair. As dark hair is notoriously difficult (and laborious) to dye, I wanted to ensure the lightening process wouldn’t be too damaging on my locks.

I was in luck, as Croker advised that cherry cola is relatively easy and compatible with brunette hair. “Depending on how dark your hair is, this can be as simple as an all-over permanent colour.”

I’m naturally a dark brunette (read: almost black), but had had a light-brown balayage done a few months ago (as I mentioned above, this was the FIRST time I dyed my hair), so we opted to work with that existing balayage and continue lightening further up the hair shaft. Not only did this enhance the dual tone nature of the colour, but created a lived-in finish. Croker recommends the balayage approach for any brunettes looking to wear the trend longer term (and avoid the salon upkeep).

Beauty writer cherry cola hair trend
Marie Claire Beauty Writer Francesca Hartley, trials the Cherry Cola hair trend. Here’s her hair colour before, after one lightening and immediately after the final wash.

What to expect in the salon

Like any colour session, plan to be in the salon a good few hours. Also, always bring your reference pictures. Because of how versatile the shade is, you’ll want to present a few options. I took in photos of Dua’s hair for inspiration, as we share a similar complexion.

We then proceeded on lightening my locks. Because the colour pairs so well with dark hair, we kept my roots and alternating strands dark. The hair we did lighten didn’t require too much time bleaching, and still felt quite healthy afterwards. After lightening, the hairstylist hand painted on L’Oréal Professionnel’s new iNOA Carmilane dye.

The permanent colour collection is ammonia-free and specifically designed to achieve vibrant and intense red hues with colour durability. Croker explains, “Blue and violet tones are going to fade out first. I love that iNOA is created with this in mind and developed to prevent fading of those tones and prolong vibrancy.”

Something to note – the dye did get everywhere (and it stains!), so it’s best to wear something dark when having this treatment at the salon. Leave the white linen at home.

The Verdict

Honestly? I loved it. Lots of friends noticed, but some didn’t. I suspect if I was a blonde, the reaction would have been a little more extreme. Beyond the usual post-salon high, the burgundy shade has given me a boost of confidence (for me, confidence comes from great hair), and left me feeling much cooler than I typically would.

I’ve always wanted to dye my hair a statement-making hue (I grew up in the “King Kylie” era of social media, after all), but was always hyper-conscious that my dark facial features (brows and eyes) would be a little difficult to balance. The cherry cola shade is a similar density to my previous brunette locks, so it feels quite natural and isn’t a huge difference to my “visual weighting”.

That being said, it is still a dramatic difference − it feels really fun and exciting!

The cons? Much to my housemates’ dismay, the colour continues to bleed a fair amount after each wash. Before you panic, this is quite typical for red dye. After six or so washes, I was able to return to white towels. I also had to pack away any green outfits to avoid resembling a Christmas tree.

Would I do it all over again? As I said before, life’s too short for boring hair. And if it’s good enough for Dua, it’s good enough for me.

Marie Claire Beauty Writer Francesca Hartley, trials the Cherry Cola hair trend. Here’s the after shots: immediately in the salon and an obligatory post-salon selfie.

Invest in good quality, colour care products:

With luscious, healthy locks as the overarching goal, Croker suggests investing in your colour-care routine. Opt for “UV protected products like L’Oréal’s Metal Detox range to prevent colour fading” and add into your routine maintenance rituals such as “rinsing hair with fresh water after swimming and regular masking”.

L’Oreal Professionnel Metal Detox Shampoo, $55.95 at Adore Beauty

L’Oreal Professionnel Metal Detox Mask at Adore Beauty

Kérastase Chroma Absolu Mask for Coloured Hair, $76 at Kérastase

Oribe Power Drops – Colour Preservation Booster, $90 at Rogue Beauty

O&M Project Sukuroi Tube, $53.95 at Adore Beauty

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