Redheads are not known for their ability to blend in. But come the autumn they might find it harder than usual to stand out as Titian tresses become the new look to, ahem, dye for.
Scarlett Johansson, Lindsay Lohan, Cheryl Cole and Peaches Geldof are among a host of celebrities fanning the flames of what hairdressers and beauty editors predict will be the hottest look as temperatures fall. All have coloured their hair various shades of copper in recent weeks, sparking a rush on red hair dye in the high street.
Red hair is already hot on fashion catwalks with models from Lily Cole to Coco Rocha turning heads with their fiery locks. The actress and fashion designer Chloë Sevigny chose only redheaded models for a limited edition hardback called Red, to promote her latest line for the New York boutique Opening Ceremony.
And from next month, the copper-haired creative director of US Vogue, Grace Coddington, will star in a film lifting the lid on life behind the scenes at the fashion bible, while Amy Adams will hit UK cinema screens alongside Meryl Streep in Julie and Julia, ensuring redheads stay in the spotlight.
Other redheads in the limelight include Nicola Roberts, of Girls Aloud, Florence Welch, lead singer of Florence and the Machine, and La Roux, the electro-pop star. Even Nicole Kidman, who has for years shunned her natural red hair colour in favour of life as a bottle blonde, has recently opted for a more strawberry-like hue.
Lisa Oxenhan, beauty and style editor at Marie Claire, said: "Red hair will be a massive hit come Christmas. It's a really flattering colour. Anyone can go red."
She expects Cheryl Cole's decision to go red, broadcast to millions last night in The X Factor, to act as a catalyst for the hue. Superdrug has seen annual sales of red hair dye jump 20 per cent in the past seven days. A spokeswoman for the chain said that such a rate of growth was only likely to increase, adding: "It's amazing the effect that something like Cheryl Cole dyeing her hair will have."
Charlie Le Mindu, the go-to hairdresser for the east London in-crowd, said the number of people wanting to dye their tresses red was "going crazy". He added: "Red is the new blonde. It looks more natural, more sexy; more alive. People who used to bleach their hair are now going red instead because it's better for their hair. Plus it's easier to be ginger than blonde because it looks better on the skin."
Annabel Jones, beauty director at Grazia, said red hair chimed well with the current trend for "strong pops of colour". She added: "It's a very pretty red. Very feminine and very fun. People are cheering themselves up with it, giving themselves an edge and making them a bit cooler." She said another bonus to the trend for red hair was that it was recession-friendly. "People are using it as a substitute for the 'It' bag."
Red hair is also having a moment in the theatre. Gingers: The Musical, which is based on eight characters who meet at a secluded retreat for people with ginger hair, premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe earlier this month. And a new film, The Last of the Redheads, made by Heather Slepchik to celebrate her red locks, will be shown later this month at the Montreal Film Festival. Reports that redheads could die out because the gene that causes red locks is recessive spurred Slepchik to make her movie. It also prompted the photographer Julia Baum to document redheads for a photo exhibition, A Rare Breed, at a New York tailor, Moi-Même.
But perhaps the biggest celebration of Titian tresses will occur next month in the Netherlands, when 4,000 redheads are expected to turn up to the third annual Redhead Day in Breda, an event organised by the Dutch artist Bart Rouwenhorst. All natural redheads are welcome.