So first of all a bit about me. My name is Leigh, for most of you I've been a regular face in the salon since your first appointment. For those of you who have never been to the salon before, I've been a stylist at Sophie Graham Hair since the birth of the salon. I qualified as a hairstylist in 2016, so in the hair world I'm still a baby! I am in LOVE with my job, and my passion for the industry grows everyday. This is, however my first go at writing so hopefully you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.
A lot of you will already have been made aware I have a strong love for red hair. I've posted about it, I've shouted it out in the salon plenty of times, I've ooh’ed and ahhh’ed over your beautiful ginger locks at your appointments. Well lets dive in a little deeper. After a lot of extensive ‘hair geeking’ I'm here with the facts, myths and all the ginger questions we have all been wanting answered.
You may have heard that ‘gingers are going extinct’? It has been in the papers before, it has been discussed world wide. Well my ginger friends don’t panic! This is in fact a myth. Although it is becoming more and more rare red hair can skip a generation so it will be carried around and spread through the generations for a long time yet. With only 1 to 2% of the worlds population possessing red hair it is already the rarest hair colour of them all. The percentage of people around the world with red hair and blue eyes is even fewer with only around 0.17 percent of people having this hair and eye colour combo. So if that's you remember you are literally one of a kind. The largest percentage of red heads are actually found right here in sunny Scotland, which, if you are one of our fellow Scottish gingers you don’t actually need as much sunshine as those with dark or blonde hair. Yes your skin is more prone to sunburn but your body actually makes more of its own vitamin D which is ideal since it’s a rare occasion for us to see the sun here anyway.
So where does it come from? Red hair comes from a mutation in the gene called MC1R (or most commonly known as the ginger gene). For a person to be born with red hair both of their parents must pass on the ‘ginger gene’. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean both of your parents will have red hair, they only need to carry one copy of the gene to pass on to you but they must have 2 copy’s of the gene to have red hair themselves. So if both your parents have red hair they both possess 2 copy’s of the ginger gene, that’s a relationship of 4 ginger genes! So chances are you more than likely have red hair too. However, if they both have dark or blonde hair but each of them carry 1 of this version of MC1R gene then you have a 25% chance of inheriting the red head gene.
So for the gents out there who have dark or blonde hair but your beard comes in with those red highlights, have you been wondering why? I definitely have been. Now remember to be a red head you must have 2 copy’s of this variation of MC1R, however through the generations those of us with one copy have found a way to make it known in the form of red highlights or other bodily hair. Basically, your ginger beard highlights come from your family's genes somewhere down the line.
With so many reasons to be thankful for your red hair here is one of my favourites – RED HAIR WILL NOT TURN GREY. So you can stop checking the mirror for them now. Red hair actually holds on to its natural pigment a lot longer than other hair colours meaning your bound to look more youthful for longer. However, this then means it is a lot harder for us to colour your hair compared to your natural brunette friends. Your ginger locks also have the ability to repigment all by themselves when we finally do get your hair to lighten! Now if that's not pretty impressive I don't know what is! When your hair actually starts to lose its pigment it will first go through stages of golden blonde before turning that beautiful white that everyone wishes they had. You will sleep better tonight knowing you never have to go through the dreaded grey stage. If that wasn’t enough to make you love your red hair here is reason number 2 – despite red heads having fewer strands of hair than those with other colours of hair, red hair is in fact a lot thicker per strand giving the elusion of more hair. You get to enjoy that ‘Salon Volume’ without our help.
This next one is non hair related and you may have never heard of it. You may however read it and be thinking 'Yes that's so true'. You can let me know about this one. So ... People with red hair tend to have a different pain tolerance to non red heads. Do you find your overly sensitive to temperatures? You find it uncomfortable when it's too warm and you find yourself freezing when no one else is? Have you ever went to the dentist and its taken a good while for anaesthetic to kick in or you've still felt pain during your dental treatments? You can thank your ginger genes for that one. Apparently as a red head anaesthetic is less effective on you, meaning it can take up to 20% more than anyone else before it will have the full effect for you. I wonder if it works the same for alcohol? The opposite is actually applied for pain killers, you actually have a higher pain tolerance and don't rely on as much painkillers as your body already produces some of its very own pain relief! Pretty amazing.
So to wrap us up for today, if your a red head, embrace it, love it and be proud of your rare, unique and amazing genes. The future of the ginger gene is in your hands.