SZA debuts new red hair: “I was putting too much importance on being cute and preserving my look”


sza red copper hair
SZA’s about to drop that fire!

As we wait on our heels for the release of SZA’s fourth album, “A” due to be released in 2015, the “Babylon” songstress sits down with Vogue to debut her new copper red-blonde tresses.  This is a big change from the artist who is known for her freckles and big hair.  But change is good!  When a woman drastically changes her hair it means she’s in a space of reinvention and she’s no longer worried about how others may feel.

I’ve been letting go of old thinking, feeling ready to learn and take on new things. It’s the most free I’ve ever been on a project.

I love how she talks about how she colored her hair herself before calling the professional for help.  Something we all do or have done!  But she was also aware of her hair texture and went with a volume 20 developer which when used correctly is fairly safe but called for help because it wasn’t bright enough.  As with any color change she’s taking her makeup into account and already using less bronzer & blush and also went a couple shades lighter with her eyebrows.  Now this is how you rock new hair color!

“I was putting too much importance on being cute and preserving [my look]. But if you can’t become the things that inspire you . . . ” she said, letting the second half of the sentence hang in the air, as if to say, “then what’s the point?”

Though SZA knew her self-described “extremely dry and extremely coarse” hair was easily damaged—a potent at-home bleach job caused a section of her hair to fall out in high school—she decided to take the plunge anyway. Using two box dyes and a 20 volume developer, she set to work on Saturday, thinking, “If I go bald, I will [turn] it into something else,” she says. “It’s a journey. You have to be ready to fail.” At first she did—after hours of saturating her hair in dyes, the color was still too dark. “I didn’t want to be afraid to kick it up a notch,” she said, so, the next day, to correct it, she mixed an ice blonde bleach with Nexxus Moisturizing shampoo, leaving the mixture on for fifteen minutes. Of the bright orange results, she says with a laugh, “It was horrific.”

At this point, it was time to seek professional help. “I called my homegirl, who called her homegirl who does Chaka Khan’s hair, and she was like ‘What have you done?’” she recalls. “But she said my hair wouldn’t break off if I pumped it up another level.” A hairdresser in SZA’s hometown of Maplewood, New Jersey, pointed her toward gentle, professional-grade tubes of hair dye next. “I bought intense copper, copper blonde, and dark copper blonde, mixing them together with a 30 volume developer. It came out exactly right.” She immediately locked in the color with a deep conditioning treatment at a nearby salon.

Just two days into her new color, SZA is already noticing a change in her complexion and mood. “I don’t have to put on bronzer or blush because [my hair] just warmed everything up.” She lightened her eyebrows by a few shades to complement her new monochromatic look, one that she finds is best suited to clean skin, a liquid cat eye, and a dab of rosebud salve on the lips. As for taking the risk, she says, “There are so many ways to project beauty. I’m in a new place, and this is [an expression of that]. I feel electrified.”

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