Life as a Redhead

Life as a Redhead

I’m one of those people who’s able to walk up to almost anyone, introduce myself, and have a conversation. Yes, even complete strangers. The older I get and more people I meet, I’ve decided to partially attribute this to my hair color. You probably think I’m crazy right now. No, I’m not trying to convince you that having red hair makes it easier to approach people, though the genes affect other random qualities (see below), but it has caused me to engage in more random conversations with strangers than the average person.

Growing up, I really didn’t like being a redhead. You’ve probably heard the oh-so-flattering stereotypes and misconceptions about “gingers.” I don’t necessarily remember being teased for having red hair, but I was sort of uncomfortable being the little girl that my mom could instantly pick out in a crowd. During middle school, I even had braces and glasses at the same time. Hello, Eliza Thornberry. Still, multiple people would approach me every day to tell me what they thought of my hair color or ask if it was natural. By the time I started high school, I was a pro at thanking those kind strangers and was also starting to believe their compliments.

Now, I can’t imagine having any other hair color because I think my nerdy, outgoing personality fits being a redhead so well. Being closely surrounded by millions of strangers every day in Manhattan, I talk to people more often than ever about my hair color. If I had a dollar for every time… No, but really. I find it very flattering and like to inform them that my mom calls it her “secret recipe.” I’ve never dyed my hair and am afraid that I’d never get my original color back if I did. I, oddly enough, have dark eyes, few freckles, and parents who can tan. These days, in a sea of beautiful and talented New Yorkers, I thank my lucky stars that I have at least one way to stand out.

Five facts that you probably didn’t know about redheads…

  • Only about 4% of the U.S. population carries the recessive gene that causes red hair and 2-6% are actually redheads.
  • Because we have thinner skin than people with other hair colors, we are more sensitive to pain. Still, we require about 20-30% more anesthesia than others.
  • Redheads often don’t go gray. Instead, our hair gradually fades to blonde or white. Aren’t I lucky?
  • Because redheads have thicker hair than others, they have fewer strands. Blondes have about 140,000 hairs, while redheads have about 90,000.
  • Red hair typically skips generations, which is true in my family. My grandpa had red hair while my children probably won’t.


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