Growing up, sisters Adrienne and Stephanie Vendetti say they were always searching for hair and makeup products that would suit their cinnamon tresses and alabaster complexions. But despite redheads making up 6 percent of the U.S. population, the women felt mostly ignored by mainstream beauty magazines and websites.
So, after years of toying around with the idea, they decided to start their own.
How To Be A Redhead is a beauty blog devoted entirely to the needs of those with cardinal locks. In three years, it has not only gotten the attention of redheaded celebrities such as Debra Messing, but a legion of more than 125,000 followers on social media who respond to its fiery editorial voice.
"If you talk to any redhead, they were all bullied as kids for their looks and then often, once they get older, they feel more empowered and want to really own their red hair," said Adrienne Vendetti Hodges, now 27 and married.
"So we just knew that this was what redheads needed because we wanted this as little kids."
All products recommended on the site undergo a 10-day vetting process during which one of the sisters or a colleague tests out its functionality.
"Because [redheads] have such sensitive skin, finding the right makeup and skincare products can be difficult," Hodges told ABC News. "We also get a lot of e-mails from readers asking about eyebrows and eyelashes. On redheads, they are typically coarser and blonder. So how do you enhance them and make them compliment your red hair?"
In some instances, when the right beauty product hasn't existed, the women have teamed up with a partner brand to create it. To wit, most drugstores and chain stores fail to offer bobby pins in a color spectrum that compliments redheads, favoring brunette and blonde shades instead. So How To Be A Redhead began selling proprietary packs of redhead pins in three hues, and it has since become the most popular product on the site.
While the sisters say the majority of their audience are females between the ages of 21 and 35, more mature readers have also reached out with age-related beauty queries.
"We get a lot of inquiries from older redhead women whose hair has faded but who do not want to dye it," said Hodges. "So we've been sharing a lot of information about color-depositing shampoos and conditioners for redheads of late."
But the most rewarding e-mails are sent from a younger demographic that feels encouraged by the site to embrace individual beauty.
"Giving out makeup and hair advice is great, but I think the most powerful thing is that young girls write in saying ‘If it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t even go to school' because bullying is so intense," said Hodges. "That’s really the power behind How To Be A Redhead. It's empowering other women."
To grow that sense of community in 2015, the sisters plan to host a series of live events in five cities across the United States as part of a "Rock It Like A Redhead" beauty tour that will feature how-tos, fashion shows, concerts and more. The first stop in Austin was announced on the site today, with future dates to come.
"Adrienne and I go to a lot of events, so we wanted to make sure that it is not tradeshow-y at all," said Vendetti, 25. "These are going to be really engaging makeup artists doing lots of demonstrations and other hands-on activities, so women will gain a lot in beauty knowledge and, hopefully, in confidence."