Exclusive: Christina Hendricks Goes Back to Blonde

Mad Men's famous (former) redhead gives us the full scoop.

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"At this point in my life [39], I think I've had every hair color there is. Growing up, I was light blonde, but my mother used Clairol to make me a redhead when I was 10 because I was dying to be Anne of Green Gables. When she finished, I felt this burst of energy, like, "Ah, I'm finally me!"—which is a pretty funny sentiment for a 10-year-old.

Since then, I've been brunette, purple, and even pink. During high school, I worked at a salon in Fairfax, Virginia, and I experimented a lot. But I always knew what colors would work for my skin tone; even when I had a bit of a Goth phase and went black, it was a deep chestnut, not an extreme blue-black.

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At 19, I moved to New York City to model, and my agency thought it would be nice for me to be a golden blonde, so I went back to that. Then, two years into my modeling career, I got a job in Italy to do a shoot for a Clairol hair color box, and they wanted me to go back to red. I was thrilled! I think it suits me, and people always think I'm a natural redhead anyway, so I kept that shade—and then I got the part of Joan on Mad Men.

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I know there are stereotypes about redheads' personalities, but I don't think anyone truly believes them anymore. Red can be quite romantic like the heroine in a historical fiction novel, or it can feel rock-and-roll, depending on the woman.

My hair color represents how I'm feeling at different times in my life, and now that Mad Men is ending, I thought it would be refreshing to go back to blonde. When I first looked in the mirror and saw the golden-honey color, I felt nostalgic. It was like I was looking at a version of me from 20 years ago, and it brought back that time period.

I just love experimenting. Half the shades I've tried came out of bonding weekends with my girlfriends, where we would do each other's hair. We were pretty fearless, and even if we didn't know exactly how the color would turn out, it was exciting to try it. My whole life, every woman I know has colored her hair, so it feels very natural for me to switch shades."

The Must-Haves

1. Clairol Nice 'n Easy, $8.49; drugstore.com.

"My shade is 8G Natural Medium Golden Blonde. I love the Colorseal conditioner that comes with it. I use it like a mask: load it on, wrap my hair up for five minutes, then rinse it out."

2. Tarina Tarantino Eye Dream Hyperliner in Cute Robot, $15; beauty.com.

"This eyeliner is really creamy and has a tiny bit of shimmer. I normally go for bronzes and browns, but with the blonde, I've been wearing more blues and grays."

3. Dolce & Gabbana Classic Cream Lipstick in Cosmopolitan, $33.50; sephora.com.

"When I'm a redhead, I often wear this light, poppy coral. Now I'm gravitating more toward pinks and roses."

This article appears in the April 2015 issue of Marie Claire on newsstands March 24.

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