Did you know that only about 1-2% of the world’s population are natural redheads? What we don’t know is how many people ( I would imagine mostly women) dye their hair red. I’ve been thinking about how many people I know who are real redheads and out of all the people I know, it’s not very many. There’s my friend Marylou in CT who has always been a redhead and has the accompanying fair skin. Then there’s my cousin Christine who looks like a redhead to me but not too red. I was told that my father was a redhead when he was a baby and his grandfather was a notable redhead with a red handlebar mustache. For a couple of years my friend Susan was a redhead (from the bottle) and I once saw a photo of my friend Helen who had this gorgeous red mane! How many redheads do you know?
Natural red hair is harder to dye than other shades
Headstrong as it is, ginger hair holds its pigment much firmer than any other hair colour. If redheads desired to dye their hair to any other colour (why would you?), it would only have a noticeable difference after bleaching the hair beforehand. Otherwise, the colour won’t take.
- Redheads have less hair on their headsIn terms of total number of strands, gingers have far fewer atop their red heads than any other colour.
On average, flame-haired beauties have 90,000 strands, compared to blondes with 110,000, and brunettes with 140,000.
They’re not exactly going bald though, as each strand of natural ginger hair is much thicker, so the appearance is often that redheads have more hair in general.
- Redheads don’t go greyStaying true to its stubborn stereotype, ginger hair retains its natural pigment a lot longer than other shades.
So there’s no need to panic about going grey – red hair simply fades with age through a glorious spectrum of faded copper to rosy-blonde colours, then to silvery-white.
- Red hair and blue eyes is the rarest combination in the worldThe majority of natural redheads have brown eyes, with others likely to have hazel or green shades.
But like red hair, blue eye colour is a recessive trait, meaning that both parents must carry the gene for a child to be blessed with it. This makes those with red hair and blue eyes the rarest minority in the world, with only 1% having both.
So, each one is about as rare as a four-leaf clover.
- They’re more sensitive to thermal painCountless studies have looked into the genetics behind redheads claiming that they are more or less sensitive to pain.
Research shows that redheads are more sensitive to hot and cold pain, with their bodies able to change temperature much quicker.
Also, in surgery, gingers might require approximately 20% more anaesthesia than other hair colours. The exact reason for this is unknown, but it is thought that a link to the mutated MC1R gene could be the culprit to its effectiveness.
- The Romans kept redheaded slaves at a higher priceThose with fiery-coloured hair were held in high esteem in Roman art and culture. Thought to be strong and determined, they were more expensive than other slaves, and prisoners would even have their hair dyed to be displayed as trophies.
- Russia means ‘Land of Reds’Translating to mean ‘Land of Reds’, Russia boasts a high density of gingers located in its Kazan region, at over 10% redheads, a similar density to Scotland and Ireland.
- 40% of Brits are ‘Secret Gingers‘Extensive research conducted by BritainsDNA has found that more than 40% of the population carry the mutated MC1R gene that’s responsible for red hair.
Both parents must carry the gene to be able to spawn a ginger baby, which lies at 25% if they’re not ginger themselves, but still carry the ‘secret gene’.
- Adolf Hitler reportedly banned ginger marriages…For fear of ‘deviant offspring’. Of course.
- Gingers generate their own Vitamin DHaving pale skin may mean that redheads burn more easily when exposed to UV rays, but their paleness can serve as an advantage.
Redheads can’t absorb sufficient Vitamin D due to low concentrations of eumelanin in their body.