There’s an unwarranted stigma associated with ginger hair but you may find you’re having the last laugh if you grow a beard for the first time and discover you’ve sprouted a crop of orange strands.
Why is my beard ginger?
We’ve previously spoken about the difference between beard hair and head hair but it can still be baffling when the curtains don’t match the (face) carpet. To get to the nitty gritty of why this happens and to understand why men have ginger beards, we need to dig deeper - literally – by looking into our DNA. Cue science boffin Petra Bloem from Erfocentrum, a Dutch organisation that promotes genetics, to give us the answers.
Apparently it all begins with the MC1R-gene. What gives your hair its colour is a particular gene coding called “incomplete dominant hereditary traits”, which translates as multiple gene codings being responsible for the colour. Still following? Okay, so you might have heard of melanin, the pigment that gives your skin, hair and eyes their colour, and that breaks down into two components: eumelanin, the black pigment, and pheomelanin, a red pigment.
MC1R’s job is to make a protein that converts the red pigment into the black pigment. If you inherit a mutated version of the MC1R gene from each of your parents, less red pigments are successfully converted to black pigment so you’ll be a redhead with pale skin. However if you only inherit one of these mutated genes, red hair can pop out in unexpected places, typically your androgenic hair which includes your beard. Britain's DNA report that 40% of us carry the mutated MC1R gene so there’s a fair chance our descendants will have fiery hair even if we don’t.
Will it ever be cool to be ginger?
Gingers only make up 2% of the world’s population – so be proud that you’re not like everyone else and embrace it. Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy are amongst a host of celebrities who rock their contrasting facial hair and there’s even a marvellous Tumblr dedicated to flaming chins.
Image credit: Total Shape
How can I take care of my ginger beard?
Take care of your newly loved hair with a good beard comb or brush to distribute your natural oils throughout the shaft to moisturise and condition, and finish off with our trusty beard oil to really get that colour gleaming.
What clothes can I wear with a ginger beard?
Once you’ve grown your beard out loud and proud, it’s time to get yourself some suitable garms to compliment the ginger. We’d recommend avoiding red but blue is a failsafe option to bring out those warm tones, and obviously you can never go wrong with monochrome. Despite what you may think, you can work certain shades of green but stick to a muted palette unless you want to look like you’ve got lost on your way to Lapland. The Idle Man have some great tips on styling out all beard colours, so definitely give that a read to get your wardrobe on track for summer.
Who can I share ginger beard tips with?If you’re still not convinced, check out Ginger Parrot’s calendar of international redhead events for you to get involved in – if that doesn’t give you FOMO we don’t know what will.
We’d love to see your finest ginger face furniture – show us your wares by tagging us with @brightonbeardco and we could feature you on our Twitter or Instagram pages.