Why red hair is so on trend right now

No longer are redheads the butt of cruel jokes. In fact, red hair – be it natural or by the bottle – is highly sought after these days.

So with Kiss a Ginger Day around the corner, we delve into what makes redheads so special – and how to look after those gorgeous ginger locks.

Red hair is a genetic mutation

Like other blue eyes or dimples, red hair is linked to several genetic mutations associated with the MC1R gene.

When you inherit two copies of the mutated MC1R genes, you’re more likely to have red or blonde hair, freckles and fair skin.

The mutations also appear increase the risk of some health problems, including increased sun sensitivity, increased pain perception and some diseases.

Redheads are reportedly also more sensitive to temperatures that their non-ginger counterparts.

It’s not all bad news, with other studies suggesting red-haired women also respond better to painkillers and that redheads are less sensitive to stinging skin pain.

What’s unique about red hair?

Gingers tend to have thicker – but fewer – strands than other hair types and they tend to go white rather than grey with age.

Hormonal changes during pregnancy are also known to influence hair growth, but some redheads may see their hair colour darken.

Another perplexing phenomenon is when non-redheads have ginger beards. The crux of this is that everyone’s hair type is complex and determined by multiple genes, which can also result in pubic hair being a different colour to the hair on your head.

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How to look after red hair

Red hair comes in a shades from strawberry blonde to auburn and everything between, but a uniting trait its tendency to be thick, brittle and dry.

The beauty of thicker locks is that you don’t need to wash them as regularly and since ginger hair is naturally prone to dry hair, over-washing it is only going to further strip your mane of its natural oils.

To improve your hair’s health and reduce dryness, wash it once or twice a week at most.

Another way to combat dryness is to regularly use hydrating treatments, masks and oils in your hair as well as sleeping in protective hairstyles.

The upkeep for bottle reds is just as demanding, albeit for different reasons. Red pigments in hair colour is the hardest to maintain because it fades easy, which means you’ll want to avoid regular shampooing and sun exposure where possible.

Another option is washing your hair with specially formulated colour-friendly shampoo and conditioner as well as using a UV protectant on your locks when outdoors.

Regardless of whether your red locks are natural or faux, if you want more vibrancy, a quick-fix is using a demi-permanent tint, which will boost red pigments minus the long term colour damage.

So why are we kissing gingers?

January 12 will mark the 11th anniversary of the annual Kiss a Ginger Day, an awareness day created to tackle bullying of redheads.

Despite the name, you don’t have to make it your mission to kiss a ginger on January 12 – just show some love to any redheads you know.

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Written by Charlotte Brundrett.