While this may be shocking to some, redheads don’t go gray. Instead, they transition from red to a rose-gold hue, and eventually, their hair turns white. This transition is considered standard for all gingers, but every person that possesses the MC1R gene has a different experience. According to Maeve Connaughton, a 20-year-old college student, “My mom’s hair went from red to brown, but she has a few grays. She gets her hair colored, so the grays aren’t really visible.” The progression of grays on one’s scalp comes down to a science; eumelanin and pheomelanin.
Both eumelanin and pheomelanin are made from melanocytes and possess pigment enzymes to produce the color of one’s hair. For gingers, there’s an abundance of pheomelanin present on their scalp, as a result of the MC1R gene. This pigment is responsible for creating the pink, yellow, and red hues that are present in one’s skin, lips, and hair. In fact, humans don’t actually go gray because their genetics stay the same throughout their lives. Our hair follicles lose their color completely causing our hair to appear white or gray; this progression is called achromotrichia. It’s possible for redheads to eventually go gray, but it is at a much slower pace compared to brunettes and blondes.
While the evolution of one’s hair color is different for everyone, gingers have the luxury of looking younger, longer (due to the fact that redheads hold pigments longer than any other hair color). Although brunettes and blondes will eventually go gray, it is a sure thing that gingers have the luxury of maintaining their luscious color into their old age. Ask your favorite ginger if they’re hiding a few grays under their luscious locks!