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17 Facts About Being A Redhead That Make Us Magical Unicorns

We're rare birds of paradise, so enjoy us while you can.

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3. Redheads smell different (and arguably better) than everyone else.

Tim Robberts / Getty Images

The first recorded evidence of this was from Dr. Augustin Galopin in his 1886 book, Le Parfum de la Femme. One of his theories was that every woman gave off a specific bouquet of scents based solely on hair color. When he tested this theory out on redheads, he was able to detect our own particular scent. For redheads or women with chestnut hair, Galopin observed their scent to be that of ambergris, an earthy and sensual scent.

And Dr. Galopin, as it turns out, wasn’t entirely wrong. Because scent is different when you have red hair, especially when you apply a scent to your skin. While perfume on a blond or brunette will smell the same, whatever scent you put on a red’s skin will smell different. To be clear this bizarre phenomenon is only true of redheads, and it’s the result of our unique biochemistry.


4. Redheads are technically mutants.

That’s right, gingers are actually, physically, and genetically different, thanks to one very important gene called MC1R.

In norms, the MC1R gene produces a protein called melanin that determines the pigmentation of your hair and skin. But in the late ‘90s, scientists discovered that for redheads there’s a mutation on the MC1R gene. Because of that mutated gene, MC1R doesn’t produce melanin in redheads, but instead produces a protein called pheomelanin. That protein is directly responsible for our hair color, and can often influence other things like fairer skin and freckles. Though red hair isn’t limited to Caucasian people — as there are gingers of color naturally occurring in places like Morocco, Papua New Guinea, and more.

Regardless of race, though, that MC1R gene probably also accounts for our superhuman strength and ability to shoot beams from our eyes*. (*Not scientifically proven.)

5. Redheads are also the groundhogs of the human world — we know when it's getting cold well before everyone else.


The deal is that when it comes to temperature, redheads feel the extremes of both cold and super warm temperatures more than anyone else. It was a 2005 study from the University of Louisville that led researchers to discover this hidden gift. And they hypothesize that the ginger gene, (good old MC1R), may be causing the temperature-detecting gene to become over-activated, making redheads more sensitive to the cold and heat. So if a redhead tells you they’re feeling a bit chilly, you better grab a blanket and hold on tight, because winter is coming.

6. We don't need as much sun to make Vitamin D as the norms, because we're vamp...evolved to produce more faster.


You may have heard a rumor that redheads are vampires because you rarely see us out in the sun. And while I’m not prepared to deny those allegations (hey, if we can live forever I’m not going to question it), it’s also important to point out that we frankly don’t need to be in the sun as much.

7. Around 1000 B.C. a people known as the Thracians worshipped gods with red hair and blue eyes.

Thomas Knights / Red Hot / Via

And if you’re wondering why they chose to worship reds (other than the obvious fact that we’re demigods), it’s because the Thracians themselves had a large population of gingers, so they worshipped the gods they most resembled.


8. At least 30% of the TV commercials that run during primetime feature a redhead prominently — which is weird, considering we're only 2% of the world's population.


This was discovered in a 2014 report by Upstream Analysis. During their research they even found that at one point, CBS showcased a ginger every 106 seconds. You get so much of the same on a regular basis, that to see something different makes us instantly memorable — which is probably just one of the reasons why advertisers are so keen to use us.

9. In the 1600s, Northern Europeans believed that Pixies were mischievous mythical creatures with red hair and green eyes (further proof that we're magical).

10. Being born with natural red hair is like winning the lottery — it's HARD AF.

We’re the goldilocks (so to speak) of the hair world. The genes and timing have to be just right in order to even stand a chance of producing one of us. At the very minimum, both parents have to be carriers of the mutated MC1R redhead gene. And by “carrier,” I mean that red hair is recessive, so even if you aren’t a red, you could be carrying that gene. Here’s how the math of making a baby red works: if one of the parents is a redhead and the other isn’t, but carries the redhead gene, there’s a fifty-fifty chance you’ll get a redhead child. If both parents are carriers, but don’t have red hair, you’ve got one in four odds, or a twenty five percent shot. If both parents are ginger, you’re looking at redhead city. But sadly, if even one parent doesn’t hold that lucky MC1R gene, there’s just no chance of seeing red.

11. Redhead women tolerate pain better than everyone else.

A 2003 study tested how women of various hair colors handle painkillers. The theory being that while all women experience pain in the same way, redheaded women have an added benefit when pain-killing drugs are introduced. And it turned out to be true — when redheaded women release our natural opiates, we’re able to do so without it interfering with the drugs we take. Meaning that we have the added boost of all those natural opiates, plus the pain killing drugs’ full potential. Redheaded women can tolerate up to 25% more pain than other hair colors as a result of this.


14. Redheads have a longggg history of being royalty — and we currently have the hotter prince.

Chris Jackson

There was King Henry II — he (and his tinge of ginge) ruled from 1154—1189, and right after Henry came his son, King Richard I, who earned his nickname “the Lion Heart” because he was an excellent strategist and fighter. Then there was Queen Elizabeth Woodville, who sat on the English throne from 1464 to 1483, and whose portraits often depict her with red hair. Immediately after Woodville came Elizabeth of York, who was the first Tudor queen in that family’s history, and sat on the throne alongside her husband, Henry VII, from 1486 until her death in 1503. The infamous King Henry VIII and his brother Arthur were both gingers, and Henry’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon, had dark auburn hair.

But maybe the most famous ginger ruler was Queen Elizabeth I, who took the throne and ruled from 1558—1603. And during the Elizabethan era red hair became pretty damn fashionable, as the nobility attempted to emulate their queen’s look through wigs and dye. Talk about a royal impact.

15. And speaking of rulers, ancient Egyptians used henna to dye their hair red to assert power, like badass Queen Cleopatra.

Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Because red can often be seen as powerful psychologically, certain Egyptian rulers chose to rule with red henna in their hair. And as Egyptologist Joann Fletcher details in her book Cleopatra the Great, there’s a fresco that was unearthed in Pompeii which is believed to depict Cleopatra with bright red hair. The truth about the Egyptians, though, is that they were real lovers of wigs and hair dye. And seeing as Cleopatra’s ancestry was Greek (though she was born in Egypt), the likelihood of her naturally having red hair isn’t high.

16. Red is the hardest color to fake...but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try!

Jason Merritt / Getty Images, Kevin Mazur / WireImage

We’re the easiest hair color to spot in a crowd, but we’re also the hardest color to get from a bottle. If you’ve ever dyed your hair then it’s no shocker to hear that the color will fade, as all colors do. But red hair dye tends to fade faster than the rest. Why is that? Well, red is a more intense hue, and the bolder the color the faster it fades. Also, as celebrity hair stylist Danny Moon told InStyle, the dye molecules found in red hair dye are larger than other hues. Which means when you try to dye someone’s hair red, those larger molecules can’t penetrate the hair as deeply as other colors.

17. And finally, we have an army of secret reds, because even if you aren't a redhead, odds are you might carry our ginger gene.

To give you an idea of just how many walk among us tagged with this lucky gene, it’s estimated that four in ten people carry it. And a project conducted by Britain’s DNA, a genetic testing company, found that in the UK alone there are 20 million ginger gene carriers — although only four percent of the UK population actually has red hair.

Did you like what you read? It all came from my book, The Big Redhead Book, and you can read more about us redheads when you buy it here.

It'll bring you one step closer to rare bird of paradise level.