They’re fiery and dangerous, or they’re clownish and weak. They’re total geeks in public, but they’re wild in the bedroom. They don’t have souls, so they’ll steal yours. The list of myths and stereotypes about redheads go on and on, showing just how stigmatized people with this unique phenotype really are.
But all of the joking about the red-headed step-child aside, it turns out that our ginger sisters and brothers really do have a special set of attributes that their blonde and brunette counterparts don’t. While some of them are a bit predictable, other aspects really are quite fascinating — even advantageous at times!
So what’s so special about our redheaded friends? What is it that makes their hair so crimson and their skin so pale? What mysteries are contained within their fair, carrot-topped bodies? Let’s go ahead and set the record straight, here are 10 facts about redheads that everyone needs to know.
1. RED HAIR IS A BEAUTIFUL GENETIC MUTATION
Both parents must be carriers of the mutated MC1R gene to be able to produce redhead offspring, of which there is a 25% chance if they don’t have red hair themselves.
2. LESS THAN 2% OF THE WORLD’S POPULATION HAVE RED HAIR
That’s approximately 140 million people. Scotland boasts the highest percentage of natural redheads, with 13% (40% might carry the gene there) while Ireland comes in second with 10%.
3. RED HAIR CAN OCCUR IN ANY ETHNICITY
It occurs more frequently (2-6%) in people of northern or western European ancestry, and less frequently in other populations.
4. LUCKY REDHEAD WOMEN HAVE MORE SEX
That’s according to a study by a German sex researcher who found that women with red hair had sex more often. A similar English study found that redhead gals had sex an average of three times a week, while our blonde and brunette counterparts have it twice a week. Shame the fellas weren’t questioned, too.
5. IT’S A BALLACHE TO DYE RED HAIR
Because it holds its pigment tighter than any other hair colour, red strands need to have their pigment stripped before being dyed by bleaching which, of course, damages the hair. Stay red!
6. RED HAIR IS THICKER THAN OTHER COLOURS
Each strand of red hair is generally thicker than other shades which compensates for the fact that redheads have less hair. Apparently they have – on average – 90,000 strands while blondes have 110,000, and brunettes have 140,000.
7. REDHEADS ARE MORE LIKELY TO DEVELOP SKIN CANCER
Because of their commonly fair skin and sensitivity to ultraviolet light, redheads are more likely to develop skin cancer. The International Journal of Cancer reported in 2010 that natural redheads are approximately two and a half times as likely to develop the dangerous cancer as people with other hair hues.
8. BLUE EYED REDHEADS ARE SUPER RARE
Blue eyes and red hair forms the rarest combo on earth. Most (natural) redheads will have brown eyes, followed by hazel or green shades.
9. REDHEADS CAN CHANGE TEMPERATURE QUICKER
This is because – according to research – redheads are more sensitive to hot and cold pain. Nothing to do with their mythical fiery temperament!
10. REDHEADS DON’T GO GREY
Red hair will never turn grey; it simply fades to white via rose gold when the time comes.