Because we can’t all be the Weasleys…
Growing up a redhead can be hard–growing up the only redhead in your family can be even more difficult. As the only redhead of seven kids (and the middle child, to boot!), here are four tips for surviving and growing to love your lovely locks as your house’s “resident redhead”:
#1 Know where it comes from
First and foremost, people are going to ask: “Where did your hair come from?” So, do some research and know your stuff.
To have red hair, both of your parents must be carriers of the MC1R gene. Therefore, you probably have a redheaded relative–be it an uncle, aunt, grandparent, etc. I’ve been blessed with redheaded aunts on one side of the family, and a great-grandmother with flaming locks on the other. Getting to know the members of your family with whom you share this particular trait gives a greater appreciation of your hair. They have a plethora of stories and can share their own unique experiences and advice.
If none of your living relatives have red hair, get to know them through others–listen to stories about their childhood and adult lives. How did being a redhead affect them? Much of what I know about my great-grandmother came after she passed away, and the stories of her vibrant spirit inspire me and make me proud to have inherited such a unique and beautiful trait from such an amazing woman. By learning where we come from, we’re better prepared for the future, and inspired by those with whom we are so deeply connected.
#2 Embrace the nicknames
We’re surrounded by blondes and/or brunettes, and because of this, we’ve gotten our fair share of nicknames to call attention to this–be it “Red”, “Ginger” or the like. These nicknames point out what makes us different, but they’re pointing out not a flaw, but something beautiful. We’re a rarity, and while some of our siblings may try to tease us by calling us ” The Ginge”, keep your crimson-crowned head high–in a few years they’ll suddenly be asking you for advice–“I’ve been thinking about dying my hair red… What shade should I go with?”
#3 Get your own makeup
Borrowing my mother’s foundation for a high school play was a nightmare. Most of my immediate family members are fair skinned–yet all of them are at least two shades darker than I, and when you have porcelain skin, even two shades can be pretty visible. If you don’t wear makeup on a regular basis, still invest in your own–especially foundation, mascara and redhead eyebrow gel. Hand-me-down makeup doesn’t work out quite as well as hand-me-down clothes.
#4 Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen
Being a lobster is no fun. Sunburns hurt enough already without people adding on their comments that “your skin matches your hair!” While it can be tempting to try to achieve that golden brown by lying in the sun–you may think “my sister tans by walking past a dead Christmas tree light bulb, why can’t I??“–keeping your skin healthy is more important. You may think being unable to tan is no fun, but what’s even less fun is skin cancer. Slather on the sunscreen or keep yourself adequately covered up. Healthy skin is always “in”–and on a redhead, it’s always gorgeous.
Rock it like a Redhead!
Photo Credit: Rhea Reidy, aged 7, at the Irish Redhead Convention, which celebrates red hair each year in the village of Crosshaven. Getty Images.