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Ask a Redhead: Did You Get Your Red Hair From Your Mama?

Your mom was right, people pay really good money to color their hair red. Happy Mother's Day to all!

Every week, we put out a call for your redhead questions. This gives you a chance to get advice or input from our team of redheads. From beauty and fashion to lifestyle, redheads are in a unique boat, and we want to help make this community a place where you can turn to for all your redhead needs.

In honor of Mother’s Day, we’re talking about all the beautiful qualities you got from your mama. Mothers come in many forms. Some gave birth to us. Some adopted us. Some found us in a time of need and invited us into their lives.  We received a question from Instagram saying, “I’m a redhead, any other redheads get asked for their hair color so someone could match at the salon?” Red hair is one of the only colors that makes strangers stop and say, “Wait! What hair color is that?” Many assume natural red hair is dyed because it’s so unique, so rare and so beautiful. Aside from complimentary questions from strangers, redheads do get as asked the craziest things — like if people can touch their hair or even cut a small piece off to take to their stylist for color matching.

We wanted to break down the two quotes many mom’s say to their redhead kids:

  1. “Your red hair is so special! It has been in the family for generations!”
  2. “People pay really good money to color their hair red!” 

Your DNA is special 

First, let’s talk DNA, and how you got your hair from your mama (and your dad). Red hair is caused by a genetic mutation in the MC1R gene. This mutation affects the production of melanin, resulting in red hair, fair skin, and freckles. Red hair is unique and distinctive, adding to the diversity of human genetics.

Did you also know both biological parents have to carry the redhead gene for a child to be born with red hair? Red hair is recessive which is often why it skips a generation. It doesn’t always skip a generation, but it’s very common. Because red hair is recessive, and both parents need the redhead gene, the chances of having a redhead baby are on the lower side, unless you have a redhead parent. 

For two non-redheads who carry the gene, the chance of having a red-haired baby is only 25%, while the chances for one redhead parent and one non-redhead (gene-carrying) parent is 50%. For two redheads, it’s almost a guarantee they will have a redhead baby! 

Your path to self-acceptance is right where it needs to be 

When you have a rare hair color, it’s common to want to dye your hair. Even more so if you don’t have redhead parents because it can feel like you don’t fit in with your family. Many natural redheads may choose to dye their hair another color for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s just for a change in appearance or to experiment with different looks. Other times, it could be because they feel self-conscious about their hair color, or they simply prefer a different aesthetic. It’s all about personal preference and individual style choices. Dyeing your red hair might seem like a good idea, but many redheads regret it, and can’t wait to find a way back to red. 

Your mom might have warned you about dyeing your hair when you were younger — some parents even forbid their redhead kids from changing the color of their hair. This is because red hair is rare and although redheads get plenty of flack for it, it’s still coveted. But, going through a period of dyeing your red hair is common and just part of many redhead journeys. If you want to get your red hair back, unfortunately, the only way to do it well is to let it grow out over time. If you notice your hair isn’t as vibrant anymore, you can enhance your red with a gloss, glaze, or color-depositing product. 

The message today is to embrace the gorgeous red hair your parents gave you, and thank your mom for passing on her redhead gene this Mother’s Day. If you’re a mom to redheads, help them embrace their hair young, so maybe their journey can be a little easier. And, if you’re stopped on the street by another stranger asking for your hair color, simply tell them it’s natural (or not) and you “got it from your mama!” 

Want your redhead question answered? Find us @howtobearedhead on Instagram and Facebook and look for the Ask a Redhead question box!

Rock it like a Redhead!