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Natural redheads have always been something of a rarity, but lately more and more women are seeing red.

But is it the right hair color for you? While there are no hard and fast rules -- and anyone thinking of making the change should first consult a professional -- here are some guidelines:

* Does your hair pick up red highlights naturally in the sun? If so, experts say it's the best indication that you can make a successful transition to red.

* Blonds: First consider a light red tone instead of plunging into the deeper shades. A very deep red can look harsh on a blond -- and very unnatural.

* Brunettes, on the other hand, usually have more options. Still, the experts say, they should try to stay within their color range. For example, a switch from medium brown to Lucille Ball red means additional upkeep as brown roots grow in after about a month.

* After the switch, stick to warm, earth-toned makeup, like shades of peach, rust and brown.

* Still hesitant about taking the plunge? Test the waters by changing the tone of your existing blond or brunet hair with a red semipermanent hybrid color. It can add a -- of paprika that lasts about six to eight weeks.

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