Why Do I Have Red Hairs in My Black Hair? Genetics Explained

Medically reviewed by Dr. Bilal Khan M.B.B.S.
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated

Did you ever find yourself wondering, "why do I have red hairs in my black hair?" Spotting an unexpected red strand in a sea of black hair can be a curious sight indeed. This article aims to answer your question, shedding light on the genetic and environmental factors behind this fascinating phenomenon.

Why Do I Have Red Hairs In My Black Hair?

There are two main reasons for the appearance of red hairs in black hair:

  • Genetic Mutation: A gene known as MC1R is responsible for pigment production in hair cells. When this gene mutates, it may result in the production of red hair. This mutation can occur in anyone, regardless of their primary hair color.
  • Environmental Factors: Certain factors like exposure to the sun can cause black hair to lighten, taking on a red, copper, or even blonde hue. Natural oils produced by the scalp may also interact with the sun's ultraviolet radiation to alter hair color over time.

Understanding Hair Pigmentation

The color of your hair is determined by a pigment known as melanin, specifically two kinds of melanin - eumelanin and pheomelanin. Eumelanin generally gives hair a brown or black color, while pheomelanin results in yellow and red hues. If a black hair strand has more pheomelanin, it could exhibit a red color.

Managing Red Hairs In Black Hair

If you have red hairs sprouting amidst your black hair and want to manage them, here are a few options:

  • Let It Be: Since these red hairs are a natural occurrence due to genes or environmental factors, you could just embrace this unique trait.
  • Trim Regularly: Regular trims can help manage the appearance of these hairs.
  • Protect from Sun: Minimize your hair's exposure to the sun to prevent it from lightening.


The occurrence of red hairs in your black hair is a fascinating result of genetic mutation and environmental factors. Although it might be unexpected, it's a natural phenomenon that contributes to the diverse range of human hair colors. Whether you choose to embrace these red strands or manage them, understanding their origin can offer an intriguing insight into the complexity of our genetics.

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Dr. Bilal Khan M.B.B.S. graduated from the Jinnah Sindh University in Karachi. He'll take the official medical licensing program in the US (USMLE) in September 2023. Bilal has a passion for research and has extensively fact-check and medically review articles under his name to make sure you have the most accurate information.