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Grace Coddington
Photography Tim Walker

Grace Coddington on how she is maintaining her famous red hair in isolation

The creative director shares her quarantine DIY hair routine

Grace Coddington’s hair is nothing short of iconic. Long, red and self-described frizzy, it’s hair that is instantly recognisable. Up there with Anna Wintour’s famous bob or the late Karl Lagerfeld’s signature white ponytail in the fashion consciousness. But what you may not know is that the Vogue creative director is not a natural redhead and so, like many of us who haven’t had access to a professional hairstylist in months, her roots are currently receiving the DIY treatment.

Speaking to Vogue from Kent, where she is isolating with partner Didier Malige, Coddington shared that she first went her now signature shade of crimson in the 90s after photographer Steven Meisel encouraged her to make her hennaed-hair more distinctive. Meisel’s then boyfriend was responsible for the first dye job but shortly after Coddington started seeing Louis Licari at the recommendation of fashion editor Phyllis Posnick and he has been touching up her roots for the last 25 years.

Before quarantine, Coddington says, she was going to Licari every 10 days to keep the gray at bay. However, now having been in isolation for eight weeks, she has turned to a DIY solution suggested to her by none other than Lady Gaga’s stylist.

“What I do is, I touch it up with Colour Wow Root Cover Up. It's a little trick I learned when I was shooting with Lady Gaga,” Coddington revealed. “Her stylist said, ‘Oh, you should try this!’ because my roots were showing...The next day of the shoot, he came with Colour Wow in my red shade. He tried it on me. It was so good! It completely covered it up.”

A root-covering powder, Coddginton says it can get a little scratchy if not washed off but that it’s a great solution for moments like when she participated in an Instagram Live with British Vogue editor Edward Enninful.

As for whether she would ever consider dying it herself, Coddington says for the time being no. “I think I'd just really mess it up and it just wouldn't match, you know?” she says. “Red is really, really tricky because there's so many different reds, and even if the colour is custom done, how long you leave it on..... I mean, if it goes six months, yes maybe. (Laughs) I think three months I could manage, probably.”

And she says, despite thinking sometimes about allowing her hair to go grey, ultimately she is sticking with red. “It cheers you up. I mean, every time I go and get mine redone, it's like taking a big, deep breath somehow. You feel better. You feel more together.”