Dawn French fans see red

Comic star goes colour crazy

As she calls time on her comedy partnership with Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French has turned her trademark bob a natural-looking red 

As they come to the end of their farewell tour aged 50, French and Saunders still look like they've got plenty of life left in them yet. But the duo are hanging up their boots as a working partnership, saying that comedy is a "young person's game".

Dawn has also taken the opportunity to publish her memoirs, Dear Fatty, and at the book launch wore her long bob – something of a trademark for her over the years, which she updates by changing the length or fringe – with its new titian colour.

It's an unusual shade as most celebs who go red either choose brighter, redder tones that emulate model Karen Elson's natural shade or darker, plummier tones, such as actresses Melinda Clarke and Debra Messing.

But maybe Dawn's going to be among the first to signal a trend in titian, a more natural red, as seen on the likes of Cynthia Nixon, Lily Cole and Julianne Moore.

If you're also thinking about ringing the changes with a new head of red, remember that colourists always recommend staying within two shades of your natural hair colour for the best-looking result.

That means brown hair will looks most natural, while with black hair you'll need to strip out the black pigment with peroxide before adding red pigment. With blonde hair, you might find the red comes up pinkier than you'd expect, much as red paint or dye does on white material.

Red is also the hardest colour to maintain – the pigment molecules are larger than other colours so have a tendency to 'drop out' of the cortex of the hair. It's therefore important to use specialist colour-maintaining haircare and to keep hair in good condition so the cuticle lies flat to keep the pigment in.

You'll have to condition regularly - and brush, dry and style hair downwards to keep the cuticle pointing down, too. It's also a good idea to seal hair with serums to keep each fibre smooth – and shiny, as red hair fades quicker than other colours.