As the only redhead in my family, and one of only two redheads in my class when I was growing up, I felt like an outsider at times. My hair was made fun of and I frequently wished to look another way. As an adult, however, I truly appreciate my coloring and I have met many other redheads who have helped me see we are an extra special group. This page lists some of the best resources for redhead I’ve found in my efforts to make the most of my red hair. If you’re a redhead, I welcome hearing from you and learning about your favorite resources, too. I also have a Pinterest Board with images of Redheads too.
If you’re looking for amazing shampoo that plays up your natural color and balances your pH (so that you need less conditioner or add-on products), you should try ShiKai’s Henna Gold Highlighting Shampoo. In additional to ordering online, you can often find it at local health food stores (ShiKai website helps you find a store in your area). Before finding this shampoo, I frequently changed shampoos, looking for something to make my hair soft and shiny. No more searching! I’ve been using it for a decade and I’ll use this shampoo until they stop making it. I sure hope that’s no time soon.
Sometimes I also use ShiKai’s Henna Gold Highlighting Conditioner. Most of the time I don’t need it though and just use the shampoo.
How does it work? From the ShiKai website, “This shampoo reflect light like cellophane. A clear and highly reflective coating on each hair shaft reveals hidden colors and brings out shimmering highlights. This coating doesn’t change color in any way and works equally well on all hair, whether natural or treated. This product also adds soft body, texture and manageability. This special henna is soluble in water and washes out easily. No build-up to dull or dry hair.”
I used to use their Henna Gold formula specifically for redheads, but when they discontinued that I started using this and I’m just as happy with it. They have also created Shikai Color Reflect Warm Shampoo specifically for color-treated hair that also give an extra color boost to fading natural red hair. While it does a beautiful job enhancing the color, I needed to use a conditioner with it so I’ve gone back to using the Henna Gold highlighting formula instead. [By the way, my husband tried the Color Reflect shampoo for platinum hair and loved it. Took out every bit of yellowing and left his hair far less wiry-feeling than other shampoos he's used. One day, though, he tried the highlighting shampoo that I use and found it also worked very well. ]
The ShaKai shampoo you recommended is seriously the most amazing shampoo in the world! I’ve tried so many over the years, but they’ve all made my hair a big frizzy mess. This is the first time I don’t even need conditioner to keep it soft! – Jackson
More often than using a conditioner, I use a curling creme because I have thick wavy/curly red hair. There are three I really like. My current favorite is Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie. It smells of organic coconut and hibiscus, and it feels great. Biolage Curl Defining Elixir (or its knock-off Bioterra Curl Creme) is very good and very light. And although it’s easy to put on too much of Miss Jessie’s Quick Curl, it smells incredible and does a terrific job. Most often I use one of these when I’m traveling because another city’s humidity and weather will make my hair look very different.
Just for Redheads offers makeup, hair care products, and tips specifically for redheads. The packaging doesn’t wow me, but I’ve been happy with the quality of the products and the range of colors. I’m also wild about their blusher in a color that makes it look like I’ve gotten some sun even on the deepest winter days. They carry red and light brown mascara perfect for very pale lashes. They also offer a hair scrunchy that looks like hair (OK, that sounds creepy, but it’s great for wrapping around a ponytail or a bun) that is exactly the color of my hair. I use “Strawberry Blonde” but they offer four different shades.
Bobbi Brown offers makeup with a yellow undertone (listed as “pale yellow” or “sand”), instead of pink or brown, that I can wear without looking like I’m wearing a mask. It takes a little getting used to but I wouldn’t go back to the beige tones.
Although it has nothing to do with my red hair, the most prized ingredient in my cosmetic bag is Triple C Salve from Soothing Herbals. It was created for my son when he was a baby, because I didn’t want to put a lavender-based ointment on diaper rash. Now it’s a staple of their product line for many uses. It comes in both a jar and stick (which I carry in my purse) and serves to quickly take off mascara, stop itchy bug bites, clear up blemishes or dry patches of skin, and as a lip and cuticle balm. Very impressive for one product… and it smells great! In the past I used Rosebud Salve or Res-Q Salve, both which I still really like, but not as much as Triple C. Tip: What worked for my son’s diaper rash, also works for… I’m just going to say it… the aftermath of runny poop. It’s very gentle, very relieving, and has an immediate effect on delicate skin.
Like many redheads, I have sensitive skin. Most moisturizers cause me to break out in a rash or look puffy. The best product I’ve found for keeping the skin on my face looking and feeling great is an organic cold-pressed oil called Sateen from Frequency Foods. I use it each night. In addition to helping my skin, it smells incredible. They’ve recently started selling a bath bar that does the same thing for the body called Wonder Bar, which feels wonderful.
Because of my sensitive and somewhat dry skin, I also love Lemony Flutter from Lush. Billed as a cuticle creme, I use it as a hand and foot creme. The smell is wonderful and it comes in a terrific little container that travels well.
From The Redhead Encyclopedia.
All humans are natural redheads. It’s the presence or absence of a protein that determines the color. People with black hair have a lot of it, brown somewhat less, blondes a lot less.
The highest percentage of natural redheads in the world is in Scotland (13%), followed closely by Ireland with 10%. In the US, about 2% of the population are natural redheads.
The country name of Russia means “land of reds” in honor of a redheaded Viking by the name of Rurik.
Adults have about 120,000 hairs on their head; redheads have fewer, blondes have more, brunettes have the most..
Redheadedness is, genetically speaking, a recessive trait. It may appear after several generations of darker hair.
Redheads don’t turn grey. Red hair turns sandy, then white. (My friend Sandra refers to this middle color as “Buff.”)
Red hair (also known as ginger hair) occurs on approximately 1–2% of the human population. It occurs more frequently (2–6%) in people of northern or western European ancestry, and less frequently in other populations. Red hair appears in people with two copies of a recessive gene on chromosome 16 which causes a mutation in the MC1R protein.
Red hair varies from a deep burgundy through burnt orange to bright copper. It is characterized by high levels of the reddish pigment pheomelanin and relatively low levels of the dark pigment eumelanin. The term redhead (originally redd hede) has been in use since at least 1510. It is associated with fair skin color, lighter eye colors (gray, blue, green, and hazel), freckles, and sensitivity to ultraviolet light.
Cultural reactions have varied from ridicule to admiration; many common stereotypes exist regarding redheads and they are often portrayed as fiery-tempered.
Thomas Jefferson - Bonnie Raitt - Mythbusters’ Adam Savage – Mark Twain – Robert Redford - Peppermint Patty - Rihanna – Conan O’Brian - Debby Ryan - Marcia Cross - Prince Harry of Wales – Kathy Griffin – William H. Macy Jr. – Sheamus - Carrot Top – Ron Howard - Bryce Dallas Howard - Shannon Hale - Willie Nelson - The Lorax – Bill Gates – Janet Evanovich – Jayma Mays – Kelly O’Donnell – Poppy Montgomery – Marilu Henner - The Weasley Family (including Rupert Grint, James and Oliver Phelps, and Bonnie Wright) – Julianne Moore - Margaret Thatcher – Alyson Hannigan – David Caruso - Ginger Rogers – Tom Robbins - Lucille Ball - John F. Kennedy – Andy Dalton – Rod Laver - Charlotte Rushton - Susan Sarandon – Marg Helgenberger – Melissa Gilbert - Howdy Doody - Winston Churchill – Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Catherine Tate – Calum Worthy - Alfred E. Newman - Spencer Tracy – Ginger B. Collins - Danny Kaye - Sarah Ferguson - Geri Halliwell - T’Pau’s Carol Decker - SONiA - Gina G - The Little Mermaid - Little Einstein’s Leo - Little Red - Boris Becker - Jim Courier - Stephanie Powers – Jeanette McDonald – Philip Seymour Hoffman - William Torchy Peden - Molly Ringwald - Elizabeth I - Wynonna Judd - Marian Ross - Mark McGwire - Donny Most - Reba McEntire - Andrew Jackson – Anne Meara - Tilda Swinton - Anne Margaret – Daphne – Tori Amos – Tom Watson – Beverly Sills – Chuck Norris – Axl Rose – Mick Hucknall - Angie Everhart – Vincent Van Gogh – Galileo – Max Martini – Madeline – Annie – Bette Midler – Isla Fisher – Stan Laurel – Lindsey Lohan – Jill St. John - William H. Macy - Nicole Kidman – Kate Mara – Wilma Flinstone – Sonny Jurgensen - Kate Walsh – Liz Claman - Bill Walton – James Cagney – Alyson Hannigan – Kirsten Dunst – Laura Prepon - Ewan McGregor - Swoosie Kurtz - Seth Green - Gillian Anderson - Rose McGowan - Eric Stoltz – Daniel and Henrik Sedin – Danny Bonaduce - Carol Burnett – Pippi Longstocking - Wendy Thomas - Raggedy Ann and Andy – Tia Leone – Kathryn Hepburn - Lauren Holly - Mark Martin – Shaun White – Amanda Righetti – Frances Fisher.
Redhead Actors & Actresses – Listal.com
The Ginger Survival Guide. Tim Collins (Michael O’Mara Books, September 2006). A humorous look at all-things-redhead related. The Ginger Ninja, as the author describes himself, also points out some interesting things I hadn’t heard elsewhere. For instance, “Some scientists predict that with the current pace of globalization and migration, the ginger gene could die out within the next hundred years.”
Little Redheads Across America. Nicole Giladi. This is a fun, colorful book filled to the brim with gorgeous photos of redheaded children all across the country. The book is arranged by states, and the redheaded children’s photos are on the pages of the state they live in. Fun facts about redheads are on each page, too. A great book for redheads of all ages, as well as parents & grandparents of little ones. My 11-year-old redheaded son thought it was just okay, but my grandparents thought it was very interesting. I’m sure girls of all ages would like it and younger boys would, too.
The Roots of Desire: The Myth, Meaning, and Sexual Power of Red Hair. Marion Roach. A redhead herself, NPR commentator Roach has an odd chip on her shoulder about it, relating all sorts of travails and opinions connected to red hair that the average non-redhead may never have guessed existed. To get to the bottom of our perceptions and experience of red hair, she explores the ancient legends of Lilith and Set, the traditions that depict both Judas and Mary Magdalene as redheads, and an Eve in London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral that has blond hair before the Fall and red hair after it. She visits “witch camp” in Vermont, a high-end hair salon in Manhattan, and Emily Dickinson’s house, where a carefully preserved lock of the poet’s red hair transforms Roach’s image of her. Along the way, Roach makes some poignant points about what it means to belong to the redheaded minority in Western society.
The Redhead Encyclopedia. Stephen Douglas (Redheads International, 1996). Over ten years of research finding information that defines the redhead culture without really identifying it. More redhead facts than you could ever need and possible want. I realize this book is now out of print and copies are hard to come by (and very expensive) so if I discover any new source, I’ll list it here. Drop me a note if you know where to get more copies.
Redheads. Ewe Dietz. (Edition Stemmle, 2000) Never before has the distinctiveness and the appeal of redheads been presented with such warmth, wit, and skill as in the compelling large-format portraits by this redheaded photographer. According to the photographer, “My hair color played an important role in my search for selfsubconsciously at least, for there’s a lot one tends to suppress or ignore. I used to hate my red hair. It was perplexing, made me feel insecure. And then I started to like it. Blonde hair? Straight hair? No thanks! I’m just the way I am. Red hair is a state of mind. Full of contradictions, maybe, but good.” 115 full-size color images.
The Redhead Handbook: A Fun and Comprehensive Guide to Red Hair and More. Cort Cass, editor and Vanessa Garcia, illustrator (Blue Mountain Arts, 2003) Full of fun redhead trivia and history.
Redhead Book: A Book for and about Redheads. Allen P. Sacharov, Nancy Barry (Illustrator). Paperback, 1985. Very hard to find, but worth getting if you can find it.
The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes to School. Laurie Halse. Zoe Fleefenbacher has one blue eye and one green eye and bright red hair that goes on . . . forever. Her hair has always been unruly, but now she is in first grade and according to her teacher, Ms. Trisk, “first grade has rules.” It takes countless barrettes and scrunchies to finally hold Zoe’s hair. But when it can help with an uncooperative science lesson, will Ms. Trisk let Zoe’s hair free? Acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson and vibrant illustrator Ard Hoyt style a hair-raising story that is sure to be a ‘do!
Little Red. by Sarah “The Duchess of York” Ferguson, Sam Williams (Illustrator). Paperback, Sept 2003. Also, Little Red’s Summer Adventure and Little Red’s Christmas Story. A sweet series of children’s books about a little girl with red hair.
Redheads. Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Uwe Ditz, Photographer (Edition Stemmle, 2000) The author writes, “My hair color played an important role in my search for self, subconsciously at least, for there’s a lot one tends to suppress or ignore. I used to hate my red hair. It was perplexing, made me feel insecure. And then I started to like it. Blonde hair? Straight hair? No thanks! I’m just the way I am.” This book is also now out of print and copies are hard to come by (and very expensive) so if I discover any new source, I’ll list it here. Drop me a note if you know where to get more copies.
Redheads. Joel Meyerowitz (Rizzoli, 1991). Reprinted as a paperback, this is a volume of photographs of redheads.
Redhead: Fabulous Makeovers for Ultimate Beauty. Linda McCrerey (McMillian, 1996). Offers redheads advice on makeup, skin care, and wardrobe selection, shows makeovers for five women of various ages, and discusses hair care and styling. A bit dated now.
Make Up for Redheads. Susi Rogol. Paperback, 1984. Dated, but a good reference book.
Sarah Ferguson: The Royal Redhead. David Banks. Silver Burdett Pr, 1987. Traces the life of Sarah Margaret Ferguson, detailing her childhood, how she met and fell in love with Prince Andrew, the royal wedding and her changing life as the Duchess of York.
Did you know a Sherlock Holmes mystery was written entirely about crowds of redheads, called The Redheaded League by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle?
Books not about redheads, specifically, but that I found to be fabulous to teach me about how to handle my hair.
Hair: A Book of Braiding and Styles by Anne Akers Johnson (Klutz, 1995) Spiral bound. A beautifully illustrated instruction manual for creating cool hairstyles. While the book is especially suited for people with long hair, it also offers some good suggestions for people with shorter hair looking for inspiration to grow their hair out. Not specifically for redheads but features them prominently.
Curly Girl by Lorraine Massey with Deborah Chiel (Workman, 2001) showed me how to make my usually wavy red hair more curly than wavy. It offers simple techniques that I would never have thought of on my own. This book is not specifically for redheads but would be helpful for any red head with curly or wavy hair.
“The World’s Largest Sperm Bank Is Turning Down Redheads.” Time Magazine Special Edition. The Telegraph reports that the rejection is simply a matter of supply and demand: sperm from redheads is rarely requested from those who are buying the, er, product. “There are too many redheads in relation to demand,” said Ole Schou, the director of the bank, told a Danish newspaper. “I do not think you choose a redhead, unless the partner — for example, the sterile male — has red hair, or because the lone woman has a preference for redheads. And that’s perhaps not so many, especially in the latter case.”
“Is Andy Dalton’s red hair a red flag for pro-future?” ESPN 2. Red hair. TCU quarterback/soon-to-be NFL draft pick Andy Dalton has it, and it reportedly got one coach to thinking. “Has there ever been a red-headed quarterback in the NFL who’s really done well?” the coach asked, according to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King. “It sounds idiotic, but is there any way that could be a factor?” Second question first: No. “There is nothing whatsoever in our work that would suggest that redheads cannot be star athletes, nor is there anything in the literature,” said Daniel Sessler, professor and chair of the Department of Outcomes Research at the Cleveland Clinic. Sessler would know. He and colleagues conducted a 2009 study that showed that redheads, in general, are less responsive to local anesthetics and therefore more sensitive to (and fearful of) dental pain. But, Sessler said, this doesn’t stretch to sports.
“Can we wash away redhead bigotry, please?” The Independent. Of course, gingerism is nothing new. It probably dates back to the anti-Irish sentiment of the 19th century or before, when the Irish were regarded as ethnically inferior. But, even though we now know this not to be true, there’s no sign of gingerism dying out. The internet is awash with jokes such as “What’s the difference between a terrorist and a redhead?” “You can negotiate with a terrorist.” And that’s at the tame end.
“Redheads fight beauty bias.“ Sydney Morning Herald. An ad for a TV dating show has been banned for suggesting that redheads are unattractive, Britain’s advertising watchdog said on Wednesday. Virgin Media’s newspaper advert for the program Dating in the Dark included the text: “How do you spot a ginger in the dark?” Virgin said the premise of the show was to challenge people’s perception of attractiveness and to encourage decisions based on personality as well as looks.
“It’s a pain being ginger.” BBC News Health. People with red hair are more susceptible to pain, according to doctors. Research carried out in the United States suggests that redheads need 20% more anesthesia than people with other hair color. Doctors believe genes that are responsible for red hair also have a role in managing pain. They said the findings could have important implications for patients who are undergoing surgery. Dr Edwin Liem, of the University of Louisville in Kentucky, studied the effects of an inhaled anesthetic called desflurane on women between the ages of 19 and 40. In a nutshell, redheads are likely to experience more pain.
“Some Neandertals Were Pale Redheads, DNA Suggests.” National Geographic News. Some Neandertals may have had red hair and pale skin, just as some modern humans do, according to a new genetic study. The traits were likely more common in European Neandertals (often spelled Neanderthals), just as they are often seen in modern humans of European descent.
“Gingers extinct in 100 years, say scientists.” Courier Mail. Redheads are becoming rarer and could be extinct in 100 years, according to genetic scientists. National Geographic magazine reports that less than two per cent of the world’s population has natural red hair, created by a mutation in northern Europe thousands of years ago. Global intermingling, which broadens the availability of possible partners, has reduced the chances of redheads meeting and producing little redheads of their own….
“Virgin redhead ad KO’d by UK Advertising Standards Authority” Digital Journal. How hard up for copy could anyone be to use redheads as a target for negative stereotype imagery? What, there’s no other type of human schematic to use? What about brain dead copywriters, and the people who pay them to produce slop? The dismal tale of adversely anti-auburn anomalous adjectival anachronisms began with Virgin’s cryptic “How do you spot an auburn in the dark?” ad, which apparently passes for wit somewhere in the UK. Another delight was “Santa loves all kids. Even ginger ones.” That one was courtesy of major retailer Tesco, whose sales people have presumably been keeping a lot of ginger ale company recently, in the noble tradition of British executives.
“Duke Chemists Find Possible Reason Why Redheads Have More Skin Cancer.” Duke University.Red-haired, fair skinned people have a higher instance of skin cancer than black-haired individuals,” Simon said. “And the melanin pigment in the skin of red haired people differs chemically from the melanin in the skin of those with black hair. So researchers have tried to compare the red with the black pigments, but have not succeeded in comparing the isolated human pigments until now.
“Red heads suffer more Pain.” New Scientist. In people with red hair, the cells that produce skin and hair pigment have a dysfunctional melanocortin 1 receptor. Liem says this dysfunction triggers the release of more of the hormone that stimulates these cells, but this hormone also stimulates a brain receptor related to pain sensitivity. Liem is hopeful that the research will lead to improved patient care. Anaesthetists must be very careful when choosing how much anesthetic to give a patient before an operation. Too little and the patient could wake up, too much and they could suffer cardiac complications.
“Increased Sensitivity to Thermal Pain and Reduced Subcutaneous Lidocaine Efficacy in Redheads.” NIH Author Manuscript. Anesthetic requirement in redheads is exaggerated, suggesting that redheads may be especially sensitive to pain. We therefore tested the hypotheses that women with natural red hair are more sensitive to pain, and that redheads are resistant to topical and subcutaneous lidocaine.
The Realm of Redheads is was once a large community on the internet and now it’s a t-shirt shop with shirts that have saying like these: “It’s a redhead thing… you wouldn’t understand.” “I am strong. I am invincible. I am redhead.” “Redheads Rule!” “Warning! Attitude matches the hair!” “Redhead Goddess” “Hey, Einstein! Carrot tops are GREEN!” … and many others. Very cute stuff.
Raising Redheads is a family-friendly site with helpful information, with parenting tips and advice, funny photos and stories, some laughs and encouragement, a place to brag, and even a listing of redhead events.
Redhedd.com is a social network devoted to cheerleading a beautiful noble rarified and dying breed. Red headed or even just bearded? Enemy of the sun? “Freckleface” when you were a wee’n? Spend more on suncreen than you do on shampoo? Or maybe you’re one of the “others” but just can’t seem to squelch your undying affection for the copper-topped. This might be the site for you.
Redheads & Freckles describes itself as “the original family oriented (G Rated) web site dedicated to all of us with Red Hair with Freckles, and all our admirers.”
Enhance your beauty by dressing in clothes that best complement your coloring. Build a wardrobe around colors that celebrate your features and make getting ready in the morning fun and simple.
And if you have aspirations of being a redhead:
Switch From Brunet to Red Hair
Man, you ain’t lived
Till you’ve had your tires rotatedd
By a red-headed woman.
Once in his life, every man is entitled
to fall madly in love with a
Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And eat men like air.
Of course, part of the problem with redheads
is that there aren’t enough of them.
They make up just two percent of the
population. So they’re pretty extraordinary.
Redheads are too numerous to be ignored,
too rare to be accepted.
Grant McCracken, from his book
Big Hair: A Journey Into the Transformation of Self
[Photo credit: Photosession at the park, #10, Nico Kempe via Flickr]