Sharon Osbourne on Going Platinum After 18 Years as a Redhead: 'It's Just So Freeing'

The Talk cohost opens up about shedding her iconic red hair for a new look

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sharon osbourne
Photo: CBS/Getty(2)

Sharon Osbourne is loving her new ‘do!

The cohost of CBS’s The Talk went from a vibrant shade of red to platinum in February, and when she and colorist Jack Martin debuted the look on Instagram, it was met with surprise – and an outpouring of support.

In this week’s issue of PEOPLE, Osbourne talks about hair journey and what inspired the major change.

“I was in my twenties when I first saw a gray hair. I actually thought it was somebody else's hair in my head,” Osbourne recalls. “I pulled it thinking it would come away in my hand, but it was stuck in my head.”

But as more grays came in, Osbourne started dyeing her hair.

Her now iconic color was a happy accident, she says. “I have naturally auburn-colored hair, and it just got redder and redder as the years went by.” However the wildly popular hue was a nuisance.

To maintain the vibrant shade, she’d have to have it colored every week. “Then it’d just bleed. On my collars. On my pillow cases. Everywhere. And when you’d wash and dry it, it’d be a different shade of red.”

Osbourne would even color her hair herself if she went on vacation for more than a week to keep up appearances.

Though there were times when Osbourne thought, “why am I doing all of this for hair?” she admits the color had become a part of her.

“It was like, this is who I am.”

But after years of constant coloring, the condition of her hair worsened, and Osbourne sought an alternative.

“I was really resenting being tied by a color of hair. But, when you dye your hair red, it’s really hard to get the color out,” Osbourne says.

She eventually found Martin, and after eight hours together, the transformation was made.

At first, no one was more surprised than Osbourne. “I would pass a mirror and be like, ‘Who is that? Oh, it’s me!’”

But now she’s warmed up to the cool hue – and the maintenance is much less of a pain, she says. “I use a toner on it to keep this color on the ends, which is quite easy.” She also uses Lanza Silver Brightening shampoo, as well as an “amazing” oil by Dr. Alkaitis.

Adds Osbourne, “I love the freedom it has given me. I've got nothing to prove. It's not like I'm trying to look younger. I’m just trying to look my best.”

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