Here’s Why Your Beard Is Red

Beards have increasingly gained popularity over the years, and the trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. But have you noticed guys with a red beard and wondered why the beard is red though the hair is brown, blonde or black? We did and here are our findings.


Red Beard Mystery

red beard

There are beards to be found all over, from the big screens of Hollywood to professional athletes’ courts.

It’s no wonder there is so much hype around beards considering that there have been studies showing that there might be both survival and reproductive benefits to facial hair.

So, it comes as no surprise that men worldwide are growing out their beards to see if they can capitalize on some of these benefits for themselves.

While beards come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, you might have noticed that it is not particularly uncommon for men with brown hair to have a red beard. You, yourself, might be asking why is my beard red?

Interestingly enough, there is actually a scientific explanation for the case of the brown hair red beard.


What Determines Hair Color?

blonde hair with red beard

Most people understand the general concept that genetics ultimately determine what your hair color will be. But, to be more specific, the ratio of eumelanin to pheomelanin in the shaft of your hair is the determining factor.

To break it down more specifically:

  • Dark brown hair = high ratio of eumelanin to pheomelanin
  • Red hair = high ratio of pheomelanin to eumelanin
  • Blonde hair = fewer amounts of both pheomelanin and eumelanin

Erfocentrum is an organization that promotes genetic research in the Netherlands. Petra Haak-Bloem, a specialist from Erfocentrum, explained in detail to the online magazine Motherboard that not only do you inherit your hair color from your parents but also your grandparents and distant ancestors.

Getting further into it, Haak-Bloem explains that researchers have found over a decade ago that one specific gene, now known as MC1R, plays a crucial role in creating red hair. Parents who are both carriers of the MC1R gene will produce a child with red hair regardless of their hair color.

However, if just one parent passes down the MC1R gene, their child will find evidence of this in other places aside from their head, such as their red beard.


So, Why Is My Beard Red?

To summarize, if you find yourself with brown hair and a red beard, don’t be alarmed – this is very common. Despite dark hair seemingly being the dominant gene in your family, you can thank your distant ancestors for the MC1R gene that comes out in your beard.

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