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Photographer Has Been Capturing Redheads Around The World For 11 Years

Over a Decade of Redhead Personality Photos

For over a decade, photographer Keith Barraclough has been photographing redheads in a series called The Redhead Project. According to Barraclough’s website, it is “an ongoing series of studio personality portraits of natural-born redheads. Each photo shoot is a collaborative process between photographer and subject, resulting in portraits that tell redheads’ unique stories.”

Barraclough photographed our co-founders, Adrienne + Stephanie, in 2014! 

Barraclough began the project in 2013 after a chance encounter with a redhead at a corporate photoshoot he was working. Barraclough explains, “That same week I’d read a National Geographic article about the extinction of redheads in 100 years. I personally only knew one redhead at the time. I was intrigued.  Processing that redhead executive’s headshots from the corporate shoot, I was struck by his presence. I got to thinking, who is this person? What’s his personality and what makes him special aside from his red hair? And the idea for this collaborative project that tells redheads’ unique stories was born.”

Photoshoots for The Redhead Project currently take place in New York City, but Barraclough has also hosted photoshoots all over the US, as well as a virtual photoshoot option for redheads. The virtual shoot idea came about during COVID-19 when shoots for The Redhead Project had to be put on hold — now it’s a way for redheads all over the world to be a part of the project. On the redheadproject.net you can see photos of redheads of all ages, as well as interviews from redheads who have attended both in-person and virtual photoshoots with Barraclough. 

Barraclough isn’t the only photographer to take a special interest in redheads. Photographer Mark Elzey did an entire shoot on natural freckles, while photographer Brian Dowling has captured photos of redheads (including Madelaine Petsch) from around the world. Redheads are rare, and if there’s one thing photographers love it’s capturing rare beauty and unique features. It’s no surprise redheads are a common photographer interest. 

Rock it like a Redhead! 

RELATED POSTS

READ: Photographer Captures Photos of Redheads Around the World

READ: Photographer Captures the Beauty of Freckles in All Their Glory

Confidence

Why Redheads Are Photographed by Locals in Other Countries 

Have You Had This Experience?

It’s very common for redheads who travel abroad to be photographed, recorded or stared at by locals. Red hair is relatively rare globally, particularly in regions like Asia and Africa where it’s less common. Here are 3 reasons why redheads are popular in certain countries:

1. We’re simply rare and people want to take a photo 

People with red hair may attract attention simply because they stand out from the local population. In some cultures, features that deviate from the norm are seen as unusual or fascinating, leading to curiosity or admiration. Additionally, red hair has been historically associated with various myths, stereotypes, and cultural beliefs. For example, in some cultures, redheads are believed to possess unique characteristics or powers, or they may be associated with certain superstitions or legends. These cultural perceptions can contribute to the fascination or attention directed towards redheads in certain regions.

It’s essential to note that while some people may stare or photograph redheads out of genuine curiosity or admiration, others may do so without considering the individual’s feelings or privacy. As with any form of attention, it’s important to respect the person’s autonomy and boundaries.

A recent video by TikTok user Keeva McDonagh, shows this exact experience happening in South East Asia

@keevamcdonagh

A day in the life

♬ Funny – Gold-Tiger

2. Fair skin is admired in some countries

Another factor is that many redheads have fair skin. A study done by the World Health Organization revealed that 40% of women in countries such as China, Malaysia, the Philippines, and South Korea routinely use skin-whitening products to achieve a fair skin look that many redheads naturally have. The practice of skin lightening or bleaching is rooted in complex historical, social, and cultural factors. Some of the reasons why individuals in certain countries may bleach their skin to achieve a lighter complexion include:

1. Social status and beauty standards: In many cultures, lighter skin has been historically associated with higher social status and perceived beauty. Lighter-skinned individuals may be seen as more attractive or desirable, leading some people to lighten their skin in pursuit of these beauty ideals.

2. Media influence: Advertising and media representation often promote light skin as the standard of beauty, particularly in regions where European beauty standards have been historically dominant. Images of light-skinned individuals are commonly featured in fashion, entertainment, and advertising, contributing to the perception that lighter skin is more desirable.

3. Employment and marriage prospects: In some societies, having lighter skin may be seen as advantageous for employment opportunities or marriage prospects. Lighter-skinned individuals may be perceived as more educated, affluent, or socially desirable, leading some people to lighten their skin to improve their chances in these areas.

4. Internalized racism: In societies where colonialism or colorism has left lasting impacts, there may be deep-seated prejudices and biases against darker skin tones. Some individuals may internalize these negative attitudes and view lighter skin as superior or more socially acceptable, leading them to seek skin-lightening treatments.

5. Psychological factors: Skin-lightening practices may also be driven by psychological factors such as low self-esteem, body dysmorphia, or a desire to fit in with societal norms. Individuals may believe that achieving a lighter complexion will boost their confidence or social acceptance.

It’s important to recognize that skin lightening can have serious health consequences, including skin damage, pigmentation disorders, and even long-term health risks. Additionally, the perpetuation of skin-lightening practices perpetuates harmful beauty standards and reinforces systemic inequalities based on skin color. Efforts to promote self-acceptance, diversity, and inclusive beauty standards are essential in challenging these harmful norms and promoting positive body image for all skin tones.

3. They may think you’re a celeb

There’s also a third, maybe less common reason and that’s because you look like a redhead celebrity. Many people think all redheads all look alike, and if you’re in a country with very few redheads, someone might mistake you for a celeb and want to snap your picture. 

Has this ever happened to you?

Rock it like a Redhead? 

RELATED POSTS

READ: Photographer Captures Photos of Redheads Around the World

READ: 6 Tips for Better Smartphone Photography of Your Red Hair

Fashion

7 Two-Piece Swimsuits for Redhead Women

It's Bikini Season, Redheads!

Ready to hit the beach or pool? We sure are! Early spring is the perfect time to start shopping for some new swimwear. Some redheads like a one-piece while others prefer to wear a two-piece suit. No matter what type you prefer, just put on your swimsuit and rock it. Here are some of our favorite two-piece swimsuits for redhead women. Don’t forget your sunscreen: 

1. Tempt Me Women Two-Piece Scoop Neck Bikini

This adorable two-piece scoop neck bikini is perfect for those who like the basics. It comes in tons of awesome colors, and sizes XXS-22 Plus, making it a swimwear staple that you can mix and match with other tops and bottoms.

Tempt Me Women Two-Piece Scoop Neck Bikini: $33 

2. CUPSHE Two-Piece V-Neck, High-Waisted Bathing Suit

If you like the stomach coverage of a one-piece without the hassle, this is the swimsuit for you. It’s got high-waisted bottoms and a longer top with a plunging neckline. Available in sizes M-3XL and a ton of cute patterns. 

CUPSHE Two-Piece V-Neck, High-Waisted Bathing Suit: $40 

3. Hanna Nikole Ruffle Plus-Size Drawstring Swimsuit

Another more full-coverage bikini option is this ruched, off-the-shoulder moment. It provides coverage in the tummy and arms without feeling too covered up. Available in sizes 12 Plus – 24 Plus.

Hanna Nikole Ruffle Plus-Size Drawstring Swimsuit: $24 

4. Herseas High Neck High Waisted Two-Piece Swimsuit

This high neck, high-waisted bottom bikini is super cute and perfect for redheads who like a little more coverage in their two-piece top. Available in sizes XS-XL. 

Herseas High Neck High Waisted Two-Piece Swimsuit: $30 

5. Pink Queen High Waisted Cheeky Bikini Set

If you want to show off a little cheek, try this bikini. It’s got a high-waisted cheeky fit to the bottoms, and a simple yet sexy top. It also comes in a ton of stunning redhead-friendly colors and patterns and is available in sizes S-XXL.

Pink Queen High Waisted Cheeky Bikini Set: $33 

6. BMJL High Waisted Sporty Two Piece

This sport-style two-piece is perfect if you’re active in or around the water. It has a cheeky high cut and sports bra style top and comes in so many cute color block, solid, and print styles! Available in sizes XS-XXL.

 

BMJL High Waisted Sporty Two Piece: $38 

7. Kate Kasin Two Piece Tankini

This super cute ruffle-strapped tankini is the best of both worlds. It gives you the flexibility of a two-piece and the coverage of a one-piece. It comes in several stunning colors and sizes S-XL.

Kate Kasin Two Piece Tankini: $39 

Rock it like a Redhead! 

RELATED POSTS

READ: 4 Redhead-Friendly Swimsuit Styles for Any Body Type

READ: How To Prep Your Redhead Skin for Swimsuit Season

Hair + Beauty

Are Products Made for Red Hair a Necessary Buy? Here’s the Truth

The Answer Might Surprise You

It’s no secret that we’re a redhead beauty brand and we love our H2BAR beauty products. Redhead makeup is a passion of ours and that’s why we have a line of H2BAR redhead brow products, mascaras, and lipsticks (with more in the pipeline). In 2023, we launched the first product in our haircare line called Finally Glossy. It has since sold out 7X and one of the questions we get asked frequently is, “Are redhead hair products actually necessary”? And we’re here to give you the real honest-to-goodness truth. 

What are red hair specific products? 

When we talk about red hair products, there are three categories we like to consider: products that enhance red hair, products made for redheads with their needs and sensitivities in mind, and products that are simply made for red hair for fun. Let’s break down what that means. 

Category 1: Products that enhance red hair would be things like color-depositing shampoos and conditioners, redhead glosses, and other products that enhance or add vibrancy to red hair. These items are meant to be used by those with red hair to enhance it. 

Category 2: Products that are made with redheads in mind are items like Finally Glossy® — it isn’t color depositing but is one of the only (if not the only) shampoo to cater to redheads’ hair needs. It’s a special shampoo to help strengthen, shine, and add hydration to red hair. This clean formula is formulated with Vitamin B3, olive oil, coconut oil, and green tea.

Category 3: Products that are simply made for red hair would be things like redhead bobby pins and redhead hair ties. These items are meant to be used by redheads, but overall have no impact on the hair itself. 

Finally Glossy® Shine & Luminosity Shampoo for Redheads

Finally Glossy Shampoo: $27

What is necessary to purchase? 

Here’s the truth you’ve been waiting for: it depends on your needs.

Category 1: Color enhancing products for redheads are only necessary if you desire them. If you like the shade of your red hair, aren’t worried about fading and overall don’t want to change anything about your color or it’s vibrancy, then you don’t need those products. But, there are redheads who do — if your red hair is fading or you simply want a boost. 

Category 2: Of course, products that are made with redheads in mind aren’t necessary, but they are nice and might change your shower experience. Many of us are so used to things not being made for redheads that we forget what it’s like for a product to check all of our boxes. Use Finally Glossy daily or whenever you want to add a natural radiance to your red hair. Use it together with your normal shampoo and conditioner. Or, use it by itself! It’s designed to work with normal haircare routines. It is suitable for frequent washes.

Redheads are the minority hair color, and for many of us we’ve simply never seen ourselves represented on store shelves, or in beauty magazines. For that reason, we believe all categories are important. We *need* redhead representation, but your purchase should always be based on your needs and desires. 

Rock it like a Redhead! 

RELATED POSTS

READ: The 7 Best Redhead-Approved Hair Products for Shine and Luster

READ: 5 Great Hair Products for Ginger Girls with Short Hair

Featured Post

What Causes Sensitive Skin and How Redheads Can Care for It

Everything You Need to Know!

You’ve probably heard, and even read here on HowtobeaRedhead.com that redheads have sensitive skin. We talk a lot about sensitive skin when it comes to makeup and skincare products, but what does it really mean to have sensitive skin, why do redheads in particular have sensitive skin and how can we treat it? Here’s everything you need to know:

What actually is sensitive skin? 

Sensitive skin isn’t necessarily just one skin condition or skin issue. It is an umbrella term that is used to describe a skin type that can be caused by a number of factors like eczema, rosacea, or contact dermatitis. Sensitive skin can also be in your genetics, thin skin, or a weakened skin barrier. People with sensitive skin are often more prone to irritation, redness, and breakouts caused by products, environmental factors, or skin conditions. 

Symptoms of sensitive skin may include redness, itching, burning, or stinging sensations. People with sensitive skin often need to choose gentle, fragrance-free products and avoid harsh chemicals or irritants to prevent reactions.

How does sensitive skin impact daily life? 

Those with sensitive skin often find certain skincare, makeup, and even household items irritating to the skin. These products often have harsh chemicals in them, and/or ingredients like alcohol and heavy fragrances. There are also some skincare products like retinol or certain acids that may be too strong for sensitive skin. This means you have to be careful when choosing your skincare, makeup and household items. Thankfully these days most things are marked, and you can look for sensitive skin safe, hypoallergenic and clean products. 

Sensitive skin can impact daily life in several ways:

1. Skincare routine: Individuals with sensitive skin may need to spend more time and effort researching and selecting suitable skincare products to avoid irritation. They may also need to be cautious about the ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products.

2. Daily discomfort: Sensations like itching, burning, or stinging can cause discomfort throughout the day, making it difficult to focus on tasks or enjoy activities.

3. Lifestyle adjustments: People with sensitive skin may need to make lifestyle adjustments, such as avoiding certain fabrics or environmental triggers, to prevent flare-ups.

4. Social interactions: Skin sensitivity can affect confidence and self-esteem, particularly if visible symptoms like redness or inflammation occur. This may impact social interactions and willingness to participate in certain activities.

5. Emotional well-being: Dealing with chronic skin sensitivity can be emotionally draining, leading to stress, anxiety, or frustration over the constant management and uncertainty of how their skin will react.

Overall, sensitive skin can significantly impact daily life, requiring careful attention and management to minimize discomfort and maintain skin health.

Why do redheads have sensitive skin? 

Yes, the MC1R gene (the gene mutation that gives us red hair) is believed to play a role in why redheads tend to have more sensitive skin compared to individuals with other hair colors. The MC1R gene, which produces a protein involved in determining hair and skin color, is responsible for the production of melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color and provides some protection against UV radiation.

Redheads typically have a variation or mutation in the MC1R gene that leads to the production of a different type of melanin called pheomelanin, which is less effective at protecting the skin from UV damage compared to the melanin produced in individuals with darker hair colors. This may result in fairer, more sensitive skin that is prone to sunburn and irritation. The gene also leads to redheads having thinner skin which is one of the many causes of sensitive skin. On top of having thinner skin, many redheads suffer from skin issues like eczema, rosacea and contact dermatitis, all of which lead to redhead being more likely to have sensitive skin. 

Additionally, individuals with red hair often have lighter skin and fewer melanocytes (cells that produce melanin) overall, contributing to increased sensitivity to environmental factors such as temperature changes, skincare products, and irritants. However, the exact mechanisms behind the sensitivity of redheads’ skin are still not fully understood and may involve other genetic and environmental factors as well.

There are a few rules to follow if you have sensitive skin: 

If you think you have sensitive skin, there are a few rules you should follow. These will help to reduce your risk of inflammation, breakouts and irritation. These tips are good for anyone, not just redheads, who are suffering from sensitive skin.

  • Look for sensitive skin safe products.
  • Avoid ingredients like alcohol, fragrance, sulfates, glycolic acid, lactic acid, and benzoyl peroxide.
  • Patch test new products before application.
  • Keep your routine simple, avoid unnecessary products.
  • Opt for products with soothing properties like aloe, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, chamomile, and licorice root. 

To go into more detail:

1. Choose gentle skincare products: Opt for skincare products labeled as hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and formulated for sensitive skin. Avoid harsh ingredients like alcohol, fragrances, and sulfates, which can trigger irritation.

2. Perform patch tests: Before using a new skincare product, perform a patch test on a small area of your skin to check for any adverse reactions or sensitivity.

3. Protect your skin from the sun: Redheads tend to have fairer skin that is more susceptible to sunburn and damage. Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 daily, even on cloudy days, and reapply every two hours when outdoors.

4. Cover up: Wear protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses to shield your skin and eyes from harmful UV rays, especially during peak sun hours.

5. Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated from the inside out, which can help maintain its barrier function and reduce sensitivity.

6. Avoid extreme temperatures: Exposure to hot or cold temperatures can exacerbate sensitive skin. Use lukewarm water when washing your face or showering, and avoid prolonged exposure to extreme weather conditions.

7. Be cautious with exfoliation: Limit the frequency of exfoliation to prevent over-exfoliation, which can strip the skin of its natural oils and exacerbate sensitivity.

How redheads can care for their sensitive skin: 

Redheads with sensitive skin should follow a gentle skincare routine tailored to their specific needs. Here are some tips for caring for sensitive skin:

1. Choose gentle cleansers: Opt for mild, fragrance-free cleansers that are formulated for sensitive skin. Avoid harsh ingredients like alcohol and sulfates, which can strip the skin of its natural oils and exacerbate sensitivity.

2. Moisturize regularly: Use a gentle, hydrating moisturizer to help soothe and protect your skin. Look for products with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and glycerin, which help to lock in moisture and strengthen the skin barrier.

3. Avoid harsh ingredients: Steer clear of skincare products that contain potential irritants such as fragrances, dyes, alcohol, and certain preservatives. These ingredients can trigger inflammation and worsen sensitivity.

4. Protect from the sun: Redheads are often more prone to sunburn and skin damage due to their fair skin and lack of melanin. Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 every day, and reapply every two hours when outdoors. Additionally, seek shade, wear protective clothing, and use hats and sunglasses to shield your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

5. Perform patch tests: Before trying out new skincare products, perform patch tests on a small area of your skin to check for any adverse reactions or sensitivity. This can help you identify potential triggers and avoid unnecessary irritation.

6. Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated from the inside out. Proper hydration helps maintain the skin’s natural moisture balance and can reduce the likelihood of irritation and flare-ups.

7. Be gentle with exfoliation: Limit the frequency of exfoliation to avoid aggravating sensitive skin. Choose gentle exfoliants with smooth, round particles and avoid abrasive scrubs that can cause micro-tears in the skin.

8. Manage stress: Stress can exacerbate skin sensitivity and trigger flare-ups. Practice stress-reducing activities such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises to help keep stress levels in check.

9. **Consult a dermatologist: If you’re struggling to manage your sensitive skin, consider seeking advice from a dermatologist. They can provide personalized recommendations and treatment options to help alleviate your symptoms and improve the health of your skin.

By following these tips and being mindful of your skin’s needs, you can effectively care for your sensitive redhead skin and minimize irritation and discomfort.

Rock it like a Redhead! 

RELATED POSTS

READ: 5 Redhead Makeup Tips If You Have Sensitive Eyes

READ: 12 Hydrating Products for Sensitive Skin and Red Hair

Hair + Beauty

6 Spring Makeup Looks Redheads Should Try This Season

Makeup Looks for Real Redheads

Spring has sprung and we’re feeling inspired to try out some new redhead makeup looks. We love a simple, glowy look for spring that highlights our freckles and skin tone. Looking for some makeup inspo for your spring look? We’ve gathered up some redheads from TikTok who are showing their spring looks, and we love it: 

1. Peachy Pink Tones

This gorgeous peachy pink look enhances all the redhead features while still feeling very light and natural. We love warm peachy pink tones on the lips and eyes for spring, because it really makes your hair and eye color pop.

@akutilova

mám nově tvarenku od nudestix a je to bomba guys!!💞🌼 #beautytok #beautytips #makeuptutorial #springmakeup #peachmakup #blush #glowymakeup #glowyskin

♬ summer walker x bk hell n back – BK

2. Natural Glow in 5-Minutes

An easy 5-minute glowy look with natural brows and a little bit of shimmer is our fav! Add a little white liner to make the eyes appear larger and brighter. 

@jennafeinn

Offically approaching wearing sunscreen in my hair everyday season !! #grwm #makeuproutine #everydaymakeup #5minutemakeup #beachmakeup #redheadmakeup #redhair

♬ Fire for You (Sped Up) – Cannons

3. Pink + Brown

Another pink look we love is this pink + brown combo. It’s very flattering, brightens the face, and is a great way to add a little pop of color for springtime. 

@kylei.ann

pink & brown done 💘🤎 nude next #makeupforredheads #makeuptips

♬ Doses & Mimosas (to all the b a h that hate me the most) – Cherub

4. Glowy “No Makeup” Look

We are loving this ultra glowy “no makeup” look with a pop of pink on the lips. Simple, light makeup is a great way to look polished but still natural. 

@megbarnes23

natural glowy looks are my favvvv #saiebeauty #saiestarglow #sliptintconcealer #glowymakeup #redheadmakeup #makeupforredhair #CapCut

♬ original sound – meg barnes

5. Soft Brown Glam

For more of a full coverage look we love this soft brown glam. Light brown shades are super complimentary on redheads and strawberry blondes!

@little_red_ann

Just a little makeup tutorial #makeup #makeupartist #redhead #ginger #softglam #softglammakeup #redheadmakeup #palemakeup #gingermakeup #makeuptutorial #makeuptransformation #makeuptransition #fentybeauty

♬ Oblivion – Grimes

6. Enhancing your Redhead Features

Makeup is great for enhancing your natural features, and this makeup look does exactly that while warming up the face and adding defining the lips and brows. 

@vanessaproko

Replying to @Lenora my makeup tutorial! i have an rbf when i do my makeup lol. also disclaimer i may not do my makeup “right” but this is just what works for me! products: 1. glow recipe watermelon dew drops 2. elf power grip primer 3. nyx micro brow pencil, true auburn 4. benefit brow gel, 3.5 5. dr jart tiger grass color correcting treatment 6. elf hydrating camo concealer, fair rose 7. neutrogena hydrating setting spray 8. nyx HD finishing powder 9. elf halo glow setting powder 10. avon true color blush, tropical peach 11. maybelline falsies lash lift waterproof mascara, very black 12. maybelline tattoo studio smokey gel pencil, smokey gray 13. l’oréal telescopic mascara, black 14. nyx highlighter, confetti glow 15. benefit benetint 16. nyx lip pencil, nude pink 17. nyx butter gloss, crème brûlée

♬ original sound – amari🎧

Rock it like a Redhead! 

RELATED POSTS

READ: 8 Foundations We Love For Redheads This Spring

READ: 7 Must-Try Lip Stains and Tints for Redheads This Spring

Featured Post

6 Short to Medium Hairstyle Ideas for Redheads 60+ 

Looking for Inspiration for Your Next Salon Visit?

You might notice women over a certain age often have short or shorter hair. There are a number of theories as to why this might be the case, including increased confidence with age, easier maintenance, and trending style for their age demographic. But, if there is a big factor that impacts hairstyles over 60, it is the quality of the hair. As we age, our hair can become brittle, frizzy, and thin. Sometimes, cutting it short helps it look healthier and fuller since it’s mostly new growth. No matter why mature women opt for shorter haircuts, we think everyone should rock their style with confidence. Here are some ideas if you want to go short: 

Short and piecey

Shorter haircuts that come close to the neck at the back and are a little longer on top are quite popular with women over 60. You can add a little edge and style with some piecey bangs and texturing to make the hair appear fuller. This style is very easy to maintain and takes little work to style. 

Wavy and wispy

If you have wavy, curly, or textured hair, or like to style your hair curly, this look might suit you. A cut that falls around the base of the neck can be very flattering. This cut is a little longer and gives you a little more to work with. This style can be worn with or without bangs.

Sleek bob

A sleek bob is sophisticated at any age. Worn with or without bangs, this bob has few layers and more of a blunt cut. They are often most flattering when they are cut somewhere around chin length. This style also looks good with their a side part of a middle part. 

Textured/layered bob

If you like a little more texture and movement in your hair, a textured or layered bob might suit you. Adding layers gives more volume to the hair and gives you more to work with when styling. This look is very cute with bangs, or without.

Lob (Long Bob)

There’s no age limit on a lob and it’s the perfect transition hairstyle if you’ve always had long hair but want to try something a little shorter. Lobs look great with some layering and bangs if you like. Like long hair, lobs can be styled straight, wavy or curly and are one of the most flattering haircuts.

Curls

If your red curls are still bouncy and full, embrace them! Styling curly hair can be cumbersome, but a good curly cut will make it easier. If you don’t have curly hair and want it, you can always opt for a perm. Curls are great for adding volume and movement to your hair. 

Rock it like a Redhead! 

RELATED POSTS

READ: 5 Trendy Short Hairstyles for Redheads

READ: 7 Easy and Cute Hairstyles for Redheads With Curly Hair

Confidence

Ask a Redhead: All About Ginger Genetics

Find out why we're so special

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 for all your redhead needs.

This week we had a few questions regarding the “redhead gene”, and how redheads differ genetically from those without red hair. So let’s break it down:

What is the redhead or “ginger” gene?

The “redhead gene” refers to a genetic variant called MC1R (melanocortin 1 receptor) that is associated with red hair, fair skin, and freckles. This gene is involved in determining pigmentation in hair and skin by influencing the production of melanin. Variations in the MC1R gene can result in different hair colors, with the recessive alleles often leading to red hair.

Chromosome 16 is one of the 23 pairs of chromosomes in humans. It contains around 900 to 1,200 genes and represents approximately 2.9% of the total DNA in cells. The MC1R gene, which stands for melanocortin 1 receptor gene, is located on chromosome 16. Variations in this gene can influence pigmentation traits such as hair color, skin color, and susceptibility to sunburn.

The MC1R gene plays a role in determining the pigmentation of hair, skin, and eye color. The chemical pigmentation is called melanin. There are two types of melanin, eumelanin which creates darker pigments like black and brown, and pheomelanin which creates lighter pigments like red and yellow. Redheads usually have high levels of pheomelanin and low levels of eumelanin, which is why redheads often have fair skin and light eyes. 

Common traits redheads share

Aside from just red hair, there are also some other common traits that redheads may have in common. Even though redheads can come from any part of the world and any ethnic background, it’s far more common for redheads to have fair skin. It’s also quite common for redheads to have freckles, which is another trait controlled by the MC1R gene. 

Redheads often have thick hair, due to the fact that they have thicker hair strands than blondes or brunettes, regardless of having fewer individual strands of hair on their heads. The MC1R gene may also be the reason many redheads have curly/wavy hair. Redheads have a higher likelihood of being left-handed than blondes or brunettes and are also more likely to have sensitive skin. 

Genetic advantages + disadvantages of having red hair

Natural red hair, often associated with variations in the MC1R gene, can come with both advantages and disadvantages. Some advantages are that redheads produce the same amount of vitamin D in a shorter amount of time than others can. This is beneficial because vitamin D deficiency can be linked to diabetes and arthritis. Additionally, studies suggest that redheads have a higher threshold for pain than other hair colors. Some of the disadvantages redheads face because of their genes are an increased risk of skin cancer, as well as an increased risk of Parkinsons and endometriosis for female redheads. Redheads may also need more anesthesia than other hair colors. Let’s take a look at these plus more: 

Advantages:

1. Sunlight Absorption: Red hair and fair skin allow for more efficient absorption of sunlight, aiding in the production of vitamin D, particularly in regions with lower sunlight exposure.
2. Vitamin D Synthesis: Despite the increased risk of sunburn, fair-skinned individuals with red hair may synthesize vitamin D more efficiently due to their ability to absorb sunlight.
3. Novelty and Attractiveness: In some cultures, red hair is considered unique and attractive, potentially providing social advantages.
4. Potential Health Benefits: Some studies suggest that redheads may have a higher pain tolerance and may respond differently to anesthesia, potentially offering advantages in certain medical situations.

Disadvantages:

1. Sun Sensitivity: Fair skin and red hair are more susceptible to sunburn and skin damage from UV radiation, increasing the risk of skin cancer.
2. Vitamin D Deficiency: In regions with limited sunlight, individuals with fair skin and red hair may be more prone to vitamin D deficiency.
3. Social Stigma: Red hair has historically been associated with stereotypes and discrimination in some cultures, leading to social challenges for individuals with red hair.
4. Increased Risk of Skin Cancer: The combination of fair skin and red hair increases the risk of developing skin cancer, particularly melanoma, due to decreased protection from UV radiation.

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! 

RELATED POSTS

READ: Ask a Redhead: Feeling Pressured To Tan And How To Embrace Your Skin

READ: Ask a Redhead: The Complicated Feelings Around Not Having Redhead Kids

 

Featured Post

6 Clean & Affordable Sunscreens Redheads Can Wear Under Their Makeup

Find the Perfect SPF for You!

Redheads are at a much higher risk for skin cancer and this is why sunscreen is always the most important part of our skincare routine. This means it’s important to find a sunscreen that works for both your skin and your wallet. We often get asked which affordable sunscreens we like, which clean sunscreens we like, and which sunscreens work well under makeup. Today we’re tackling the trifecta — sunscreen that fits all 3 of those important categories. Here are our top picks:

1. Innisfree Daily UV Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 36 ($18)

This sunscreen won the 2023 Allure Best of Beauty Award for a reason. It’s made by Korean skincare brand Innisfree and is packed with amazing ingredients like green tea and sunflower seed oil. Not only is it good for your skin, it has an SPF of 36 and doesn’t leave any white cast. Its smooth finish is perfect for wearing alone or under makeup.

Innisfree Daily UV Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 36: $18 

2. Cetaphil Sheer 100% Mineral Liquid Sunscreen for Face With Zinc Oxide Broad Spectrum SPF 50 ($12)

We love Cetaphil for redheads. It’s sensitive skin-safe and super affordable. This broad-spectrum sunscreen is sheer without compromising your skin protection. The SPF 50 leaves your skin highly protected, and the matte finish is meant to be worn under makeup.

Cetaphil Sheer 100% Mineral Liquid Sunscreen: $12 

3. Blue Lizard SENSITIVE FACE Mineral Sunscreen with Zinc Oxide and Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid, SPF 30+ ($20)

A brand we love for our faces and bodies is Blue Lizard. This sensitive skin formula face SPF is perfect for wearing under makeup. Ingredients like hyaluronic acid, green tea, and caffeine help to nourish skin all day long. 

Blue Lizard SENSITIVE FACE Mineral Sunscreen: $20 

4. Vanicream Facial Moisturizer with SPF 30 ($15)

If you’re looking for an SPF that’s ultra hydrating and moisturizing while also protecting your skin, you have to try Vanicream. Its SPF 30 mineral sunscreen is perfect for sensitive skin and wears wonderfully under makeup. 

Vanicream Facial Moisturizer: $15 

5. TULA Daily Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Gel SPF 30 ($38)

This gel sunscreen is a little pricier than some of our other picks, but if you’ve got the room in your budget it’s worth it. The gel-like finish is perfect under makeup, and it’s reef-safe. It’s packed with probiotics, pineapple, papaya, and wild butterfly ginger.

TULA Daily Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Gel: $38 

6. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Tinted Sunscreen SPF 50 ($38)

Another option that’s a little higher priced but oh so worth it is this tinted SPF from La Roche-Posay. If you want light coverage + max sun protection, this SPF 50 is perfect. You won’t even need a foundation, saving you time and money.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Tinted Sunscreen: $38 

How to apply your new sunscreen under your makeup:

If you’re wondering how to apply sunscreen under your makeup, here are some tips:

1. Start with a clean face.

2. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30, allowing it to fully absorb into your skin.

3. Apply a primer if desired to create a smooth base for makeup.

4. Use a lightweight, oil-free foundation or tinted moisturizer to avoid heavy layers.

5. Dab concealer only where needed to cover imperfections.

6. Finish with a translucent setting powder to help set your makeup and reduce shine.

7. Throughout the day, consider using a setting spray with SPF to reapply protection without disturbing your makeup.

For optimal application of sunscreen under makeup, start by thoroughly cleansing your face and applying your regular skincare products. Dispense a nickel-sized amount of sunscreen and evenly distribute it across your face and neck using a gentle patting motion, ensuring complete coverage. Allow the sunscreen to fully absorb into your skin before applying makeup to prevent pilling or streaking. Blend the sunscreen well around the hairline, jawline, and ears to avoid any noticeable lines. Throughout the day, remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours, especially if you’re exposed to sunlight for an extended period. Consider using makeup products with built-in SPF for added protection. By following these steps, you can effectively protect your skin from harmful UV rays while maintaining a flawless makeup look.

Rock it like a Redhead! 

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Hair + Beauty

How Redheads Can Quickly Heal a Sunburn This Summer

Bye Bye, Sunburn!

You had a great day out in the sun and you come inside to feel burning, tingling, and extra heat coming from your skin — all to realize you have a sunburn. As vigilant as redheads try to be about applying sunscreen, wearing protective clothes, and keeping out of the sun, sunburns happen. So, now what do you do? Getting rid of a sunburn takes time, but there are a few things you can do to speed up the process and make it a little less red, and a little less painful. 

1. Take a pain reliever

Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever like Ibuprofen, Advil, or Tylenol can help reduce swelling, inflammation, and pain caused by your sunburn. You can even try applying a gel as a topical pain reliever directly onto your burnt skin. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with sunburn.*

2. Take a cool shower

Cooling down the temperature of your skin will help to soothe your sunburn. Take a cool shower or apply a cool compress to your sunburn. Don’t stay in the shower too long, about 10 minutes should do. You can do this several times a day to keep cooling down the skin. 

3. Hydrate

Keeping you and your skin hydrated is key. After your cool shower, apply a hydrating lotion to your body. One with cooling ingredients like aloe is even better. You also need to drink some extra water to keep your body hydrated from the inside. 

4. Use ointments

Topical sunburn ointments work wonders on healing a burn fast. Aloe vera is a great natural option and can be cooled in the fridge for relief. You can also use a burn cream to help heal the skin. Make sure to reapply often and wear loose clothing to avoid transfer. 

5. Eat your fruits & veggies 

Eating foods, like leafy greens and carrots, that are high in beta-carotene can help to reduce inflammation from sunburns. Oranges give you a boost of Vitamin D which which can also help with inflammation, and pomegranates can help to heal your sunburn from within. 

Here are 6 more ways to quickly heal a sunburn:

1. Use cool compresses: Apply cool, damp compresses to the affected area to help alleviate pain and reduce swelling.

2. Use moisturizers: Apply moisturizing lotions or creams to help keep your skin hydrated and prevent peeling.

3. Avoid further sun exposure: Protect your skin from further damage by staying out of the sun until your sunburn heals completely.

4. Wear loose, breathable clothing: Opt for loose-fitting, breathable clothing to prevent further irritation to the sunburned area.

5. Use sunburn relief products: Over-the-counter sunburn relief products containing ingredients like lidocaine or menthol can provide temporary relief from pain and discomfort.

6. Seek medical attention if needed: If your sunburn is severe or accompanied by symptoms like fever, chills, or blistering, seek medical attention promptly.

*Always consult a doctor before taking any medications.

Rock it like a Redhead! 

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Fashion

7 One-Piece Swimsuits for Redhead Women

Get Spring and Summer Ready!

It’s almost swimsuit season redheads, and that means it’s time to add a few new pieces to your collection. We love the sun, sand, and surf just as much as the next redhead, and we know how much having a good swimsuit can elevate your spring and summer experience. Here are a few of our favorite one-piece swimsuits for redhead women — and make sure to always pair with sunscreen: 

1. Aleumdr Ribbed One Piece

This adjustable ribbed one-piece is a must-have. Available in sizes S-XXL, it has flattering ruching and straps you can adjust or remove to get your perfect fit. The color selection is super ‘Redhead-friendly’ too!

Aleumdr Ribbed One Piece: $26 

2. American Trends One Piece Swimsuit

Everyone needs a simple one-piece in their collection, and this one is perfect. It sits comfortably on the shoulders and has a low cutback to keep it looking stylish. We love the color selection and it comes in sizes S-XXL.

American Trends One Piece Swimsuit: $24 

3. CUPSHE Wrap Color Block Tie Side Bathing Suit

Add a pop of color to your style with this adorable wrapped suit with color blocking. This swimsuit has been super popular the last few years, for good reason! And it comes in sizes XXS-XXL.

CUPSHE Wrap Color Block Tie Side Bathing Suit: $35 

4. Aleumdr High Cut One Piece Swimsuit

Another adorable ribbed option is this one. It has an open crisscross back and a flattering v-neck. The ruched and ribbed material gives you the perfect shape. Available in sizes S-XXL

Aleumdr High Cut One Piece Swimsuit: $28 

5. CUPSHE One Piece Swimsuit with V Neck Mesh

Want to show off a little more skin, without wearing a 2 piece? This mesh-paneled suit is the perfect way to do it! The color and prints are super redhead-friendly and it comes in sizes M-3X!

CUPSHE One Piece Swimsuit with V Neck Mesh: $40 

6. CUPSHE One Piece V Neck

Another adorable v-neck option is this one. It comes in sizes XS-XXL and has built-in tummy control. Back gives good coverage and there’s an awesome color range to choose from.

CUPSHE One Piece V Neck: $34 

7. Tempt Me One Piece High Neck Swimsuit

This ultra-flattering high-neck swimsuit is perfect if you have a larger chest or want a little more coverage. The mesh panel keeps it from being too modest and there are tons of colors to choose from! Available in sizes XXS – 26 Plus.

Tempt Me One Piece High Neck Swimsuit: $34 

Rock it like a Redhead! 

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Confidence

What Being Part of the H2BAR Community is All About

The How to be a Redhead community is such a special one and it wouldn’t be what it is without you!

When sisters Adrienne and Stephanie created How to be a Redhead (known as “H2BAR”) back in 2011, it was to build the community they wished they had growing up. Being a redhead can feel lonely, especially if you don’t have a redhead’s parents or good redhead representation in your life. Over a decade ago, we didn’t see redheads on social media and in the news the way we do now — Adrienne and Stephanie decided it was time to change that. 

Now the How to be a Redhead community is 300,000+ strong across Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook. The community has grown from the “Rock it like. Redhead events” of the mid-2010s to, a national holiday (National Love Your Red Hair Day), viral TikTok videos, and redhead representation on ABC’s “Shark Tank” earlier this year.

Being part of the How to be a Redhead community is something special. It’s a place to feel empowered, seen, and understood. It’s a place for redheads to feel like they belong and share their unique experiences. How to be a Redhead offers redhead advice, all the latest redhead news, beauty items made for redheads by redheads and so much more. 

The How to be a Redhead community was made for natural redheads, but it also extends much further. Redheads ‘by choice’ can find content and connection in the How to be a Redhead community, parents of redhead children can find ways to help their little redheads grow and thrive, and even some non-redheads who share redhead traits like freckles, fair skin and light brows have found comfort in this community. 

The best part is we’re continuing to grow — here are some things to look forward to in 2024:

  • New products launching in summer, fall and winter
  • New brand ambassador program rolling out soon (summer 2024)

The How to be a Redhead community is such a special one and it wouldn’t be what it is without you! So, thank you! 

Take a look throughout the years and celebrate 200K Instagram followers with us:

Rock it like a Redhead! 

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