It doesn't matter where in the world you go; odds are you will come across someone with red hair. While it's a rare trait, it stands out in such a way that you notice it anywhere. This might be one of the reasons there are so many different beliefs out there concerning red hair, such as what actually causes it and some of the characteristics associated with it. But many of those "facts" are nothing more than myths - and you're about to find that the truth is even more surprising!
Redheads Are More Sensitive to Temperature Changes
By the end of this article, you might just think redheads have superpowers. This fact has to do with their ability to detect changes in temperature a bit better than others. According to a study that was done in 2005 by a pretty reputable university, redheads might have a gene that allows them to detect changes in temperature before others. According to The Guardian, the same gene that causes red hair is thought to "over-activate" the gene that detects temperature changes.
So, the next time you want to know if summer is going to come early or not, ditch the groundhog and just ask a redhead what they think is going to happen.
They Actually Can Handle More Pain Than Others
This urban legend definitely doesn't sound like something you'd expect to be true, but it turns out that the science actually backs up what people say about redheads and pain tolerance. People with red hair actually have a higher pain tolerance on average than others. At least, that's what the studies have shown over the years. These studies looked at pain associated with stabbing, shocks, and sharp pains to determine whether redheads could handle more.
While their overall pain tolerance is higher than others, some redheads are more sensitive than average to specific pains. So, because of these cases, doctors and researchers suggest that redheads are sometimes given more painkillers or sedatives than others to alleviate what pain they do have.
Redheads Have A History Of Being Thought Of As Funnier
We're not sure if this one is backed by science or not, but it's certainly backed by history. Traditionally, redheads have been thought of as being funnier as most of the first circus clowns in the U.S. would wear red wigs. This was partly due to the fact that red hair was becoming more popular and more common in the U.S., as the country was seeing a huge influx of immigrants from Ireland.
That said, there's also a long history of clowns wearing red hair that stretches back for hundreds of years in Europe, so the wigs weren't necessarily anything brand new.
Red Hair Allows Some To Create Their Own Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential, and most of us get it from hanging out in the sun. However, because there are a lot of redheads in northern European countries (we're looking at you, Ireland) that don't get as much sun as others, their bodies have become better at synthesizing what vitamin D they do get. This has all kinds of health benefits, including a lower risk of diseases such as diabetes and arthritis.
This also means that they essentially produce their own vitamin D since they can't absorb as much as others who may have more melanin. However, they still need to stand out in the sun for short periods of time.
It Turns Out That Producers Have A Thing For Redheads
Here's another weird fact about redheads. Despite having one of the rarest hair colors, they're disproportionality represented when it comes to commercials. A 2014 study found that around 30% of commercials contained a redhead, which is a surprisingly large number considering how few redheads there actually are out there. For reference, only about 2% of the population in the U.S. actually has red hair, which is a pretty large discrepancy.
It also turns out that CBS has a record for including the most redheads in their commercials. The reason for the over-representation isn't exactly known, but it certainly is interesting.
Redheads May Be More Sexually Active Than Others
So, full disclaimer here, this was only tested by one researcher, which showed that, on average, redheads were more sexually active than others of different hair colors. However, the German researcher conducted multiple studies, and they all showed the same thing. The researcher found that when she averaged everything out, redheads had intercourse about once more per week than the average person. Although, there probably needs to be more research to determine exactly why.
Interestingly enough, the studies didn't find the same for redheaded men, who didn't report any higher amounts of sexual activity than other men of different hair colors.
Redheads Can Be From Anywhere
When most people think of redheads, they usually think of places like Ireland or Scotland. However, redheads can be from anywhere, including Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. There just happens to be more redheads in northern European countries for some reason. Another surprising country with a large share of redheads happens to be Morocco. This is due to a couple of different reasons, including the Berber population in North Africa.
If you're curious, then we suggest doing a couple of Google searches to look up redheads in other parts of the world, as it makes for a super interesting and beautiful look.
They're Only Around 2% Of The U. S. Population
You might've never actually thought about it before, but how rare is it actually to have red hair? It turns out that if you're talking about the U.S., it's extremely rare. Only about 2% of the population in the U.S. has red hair, and that estimate is probably a bit on the high end. Of course, this number varies by country. In places like Ireland, that number is closer to 10%.
The country with the highest percentage of redheads is probably a little unsurprising. It turns out to be Scotland, with about 13% of the population having red hair.
Redheads Take A Lot Longer To Go Gray
If you're someone who's ever wished they could keep their hair from going gray, then this fact is for you. Redheads take a lot longer to go gray than other hair colors. Usually, red hair just loses some of its luster as a person ages. Their hair fades until it becomes copper and then a blonde color, then it slowly turns gray, if it turns a different color at all.
Unfortunately, this doesn't really help if you have a hair color other than red, as most people out there do, but it's cool to know if you do happen to have red hair.
Red Hair Comes In Many Different Shades
This one probably goes without saying, but there are many different shades of red hair out there. Some are bright red, while others are darker in color. There are also many different levels of vibrancy that can affect how red hair looks. In general, there are about six or seven different general hues of red hair, although, again, the shades within these hues can vary from person to person.
The hues vary from a bright strawberry red to a more cinnamon brown, but all of them can be considered red hair. Someone's hair shade is determined by different amounts of special kinds of melanin.
There's A Holiday For Redheads
It can feel as if there's pretty much a holiday for everything these days, so it makes sense that there would be a holiday for those with red hair. Ginger hair is officially celebrated around the world on November 5 every year, and it's meant to evoke pride among those with red hair. It's also meant as a way for those with red hair to celebrate their unique trait or traits.
There's also World Redhead Day, which is celebrated on May 26 of every year. The two are very similar, but one is celebrated more so in the U.S. and the U.K., while the other is more international.
Redheads Have Less Hair Than Other Hair Types
This is probably one you don't really think about when you see someone with red hair. In most cases, you can't really tell, but people with red hair usually have less hair on their heads than people with brown or blonde hair. On average, redheads have about 90,000 strands of hair on their heads, while the numbers for others are thousands of strands more. For example, brunettes usually have around 140,000 strands of hair.
The reason you usually can't tell is that red hair is actually thicker, so it looks like they have the same amount of hair even though their strand count is on the lower end.
You Might Have To Say Bye To Redheads Soon
Here's a little fact that is kind of sad to think about if it's true. Some scientists think that red hair is slowly disappearing and that it will be entirely gone by 2060, which would be a shame. Luckily, there are just as many, if not more, scientists who say that this theory is very unlikely. They argue that red hair can stay dormant for generations before showing up again.
They also say that as long as people with red hair keep having kids, then there's nothing to worry about. As stated in another fact on this list, the gene for red hair is found pretty much everywhere, so it's very unlikely that all of those people are going to fail to reproduce.
Northwest European Surnames Are Sometimes Derived From Red Hair
Next up is a fun fact about red hair that you probably didn't know. It turns out that some common surnames for people from the British Isles are directly related to red hair. For example, last names like Flannery were used for families who had a lot of redheads with red eyebrows. The last name Flynn has also been linked to bright red hair, meaning members of the family probably had bright red hair back in the day.
Then there's the name Reid, which means "red-haired person" in old English. There are also other variations of the name that can be found in Scandinavian countries.
Those With Red Hair Have A Higher Risk Of Parkinson's
While having red hair can mean a lower risk of some diseases, it also means a higher risk of others. For example, some studies have found that people with red hair may have a higher risk of developing Parkinson's disease, skin cancers, and rare brain disorders. Some of these studies have shown that the gene responsible for red hair also limits the amount of dopamine in the brain, which influences someone's risk of Parkinson's.
That said, other studies have shown that there is no increased risk for Parkinson's among redheads, so more research is needed to find out if there is a link there or not.
Redheads Need More Anesthesia Than Most Others
There's another fact on this list that has to do with redheads and their ability to tolerate more pain than the average person. This also means that they need higher dosages of painkillers and sedatives. Doctors are also usually advised to give them around 20% more anesthesia than they would normally administer to the average patient. That's a pretty large percentage bump, especially for something as strong as anesthesia.
That said, the science behind just how much extra pain medication is needed and exactly why it is still being conducted so it's not universally accepted yet, though it is gaining popularity.
Sometimes, Dark Hair Turns Red
Weren't born a redhead but always wanted to have red hair? Well, it turns out that it still might be possible if you have dark hair. There's a rare condition that results from a lack of protein and can turn hair red. The condition, called Kwashiorkor, is sometimes found in places where people lack protein in their diets. However, it can also cause things like rashes and edema in people who have it.
It was first discovered in 1932 in children after their hair started turning red, and although having red hair is pretty cool, it's probably safe to say that you shouldn't try to get Kwashiorkor in order to turn your hair red.
First Redhead Was A Prince, Or So The Legend Goes
Okay, so this one isn't exactly a fact. It's actually the complete opposite, but we thought it'd still be pretty cool to include it here. So, there's a legend out there that says the first redhead was actually a prince that went by the name of Idon of Mu. Supposedly, the prince visited the lost city of Atlantis, and after seeing the red sky, his hair turned a bright, fiery red.
That said, the legend seems to be pretty newer, and we couldn't find any reference to anything that was older than a couple of decades. Mu is another medieval name for Atlantis, but it's probably safe to say this one is 100% legend.
People Used To Think Red Hair Was Caused By Periods
Sometimes, it's really funny to think about the things people used to actually believe. For example, people used to think that children who came out with red hair were actually conceived during a period. It might sound ludicrous now, but the thought was that the blood was bad for a man's genitals, and the result was a child who was born with red hair. Of course, we know better today.
But it's still kind of funny, if a little bit sad, for all of the children who were born with red hair back in the day and probably had to go through a bit of teasing.
Redheads Have Always Played A Large Role In History
Despite red hair being rare, there have been plenty of famous redheads throughout history. For example, many think that Cleopatra, Napolean Bonaparte, and Thomas Jefferson, among many, many others, had red hair. There's actually a quite substantial list of notable redheads online if you're interested in other famous redheads, but they all point to redheads playing an outsized role in history. That's not even mentioning some of the more famous contemporary redheads out there, such as Ed Sheeran and Conan O'Brien.
According to The Columbia Metropolitan, around 18% of past U.S. presidents have red hair, which is a very disproportionate amount when considering only around 2% of the population has red hair.
Red Hair And Blue Eyes Are A Rare Combination
When some people think of people with red hair, they, for some reason, automatically think of people with blue eyes, but that's rarely the case. Both red hair and blue eyes are relatively uncommon, so it makes sense that a combination of the two would be pretty hard to find. It turns out that there are actually studies out there that've looked at this before, and they put the combination of red hair and blue eyes at occurring in just 0.17% of the population.
For someone to be born with both red hair and blue eyes, both of their parents would have to carry the genes for both red hair and blue eyes.
A List Of The Most Talented Redheads In Hollywood
Okay, so the following list isn't exactly a fact, but we did think it would be fun to make a list of some of the most talented and famous redheads in Hollywood. And since those with red hair seem to be common in Hollywood, it wasn't all that difficult to find people to fill out this list. There are a ton of talented redheads in show business despite red hair being rare.
Just like with commercials, there seems to be a disproportionate amount of redheads in Hollywood when compared with the general population, and here are some of our picks for the most renowned.
Isla Fisher is an Australian actress who was first introduced to the world through 2002's Scooby Doo, where she played another famous redhead in the gang's Daphne. However, since then, she's starred in a couple of different roles, and she's also married to renowned comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, which isn't too surprising considering she's no stranger to starring in comedies and has a pretty good sense of humor herself.
Perhaps not very surprisingly, Fisher's parents are actually both Scottish. Scotland has the largest population of redheads in the world, and both of her parents carried the gene for red hair.
Here's another redhead who's probably appeared in one of your favorite shows or movies. Like many now-famous actors, Brittany Snow started off by acting in a soap opera called Guiding Light. However, she's since appeared in multiple films and shows, including Pitch Perfect and John Tucker Must Die. More recently, she's shifted her attention to activism, supporting anti-bullying movements. She's the co-founder of the Love is Louder anti-bullying organization.
She's also produced and directed a couple of different films and still works on Hollywood projects. According to her Instagram, she's also recently coauthored a book called September Letters.
Amy Adams is probably one of the most famous redheads in Hollywood, and for a couple of good reasons. For one, she's incredibly talented and has grabbed multiple Oscar nominations for movies like American Hustle, The Fighter, The Master, and a couple of others. However, those are just some of the iconic movies she's starred in, and the list goes on and on. In fact, at this point, she's kind of famous for deserving but not clinching an Oscar.
However, it's really only a matter of time before she wins the prestigious award and more, considering her acting chops in big movies and charm in front of the camera.
Rachel McAdams is one of those actresses who starred in an iconic role before taking a break and then bursting back onto everyone's radar with her role on Spotlight. She's won multiple awards, and her career seems like it's only getting started. She's also starred in other iconic films, such as Wedding Crashers, The Notebook, Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Strange, Midnight in Paris, and Mean Girls, among many, many others.
And despite her hair usually appearing blonde or brunette in most of her films, there was a time when she rocked red hair, a look that she sported in her early days in Hollywood.
Although she's not quite a household name, like some of the others on this list, Debra Messing did star in one of the most iconic shows of all time, Will and Grace. She's also played in a couple of pretty big movies, including Along Came Polly and 2017's Dirty Dancing. She's also made multiple cameos in different shows since her time on Will and Grace, and she continues to be a presence in Hollywood.
More recently, she's been outspoken on her political views and has thrown her support behind the recent writer's strike in Hollywood, calling for fairer compensation for writers and creatives.
No list of famous redheads would be complete without mentioning Emma Stone. Although she isn't a natural redhead, she's rocked red hair for as long as we can remember, and she's basically a part of the redhead hall of fame by now. She's starred in Superbad, which was incredibly funny, and if you haven't seen it, you should, La La Land, and Easy A. Basically, she's been on a roll as of late.
Stone has also won an Oscar for best actress, which should tell you all you need to know about her accomplishments and her very successful career in acting.
Judy Greer is one of those actresses that you probably recognize from a show or movie you've seen, but you can't quite place your finger on the name of the show. At least, that was the basis for the actress and author's 2014 book I Don't Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star. It's a pretty apt title, and while we haven't read the book, we're sure it's great if it's coming from Greer.
She's starred in plenty of notable roles over the years, including stints in Arrested Development, Archer, and Two and A Half Men. Not to mention, she played in the original Jurassic Park.
Jayma Mayes got her start on the short-lived Friends spin-off Joey. And while the show didn't really last that long, Mays has certainly stuck around Hollywood and managed to land all kinds of iconic roles. She's played in Glee, The Smurfs, Red Eye, House, and Epic Movie. The actress often touts her red hair as something that makes her different and unique, even writing on her Instagram that "I definitely know that I'm quirky. I know that I'm different. Red hair definitely made me different growing up."
She's also lent her support to a couple of different advocacy projects over the years, including participating in the ice bucket challenge to raise awareness for ALS.
Heather Graham is another actress who might not be a household name, but it's always a pleasure to see her starring in a random movie. She got her start in 1998's License To Drive, but one of her most memorable recent roles might've just been her appearance in The Hangover. That said, she's appeared in Scream, Drugstore Cowboy, and Austin Powers, so she's definitely had some iconic appearances over the years.
She still occasionally appears in films, although she has stated that she hopes to work more on the production side of things in the future and work as a director.
Alyson Hannigan is one of the most iconic actresses from the late 1990s and early 2000s. However, she actually began acting when she was extremely young, at around four years old. Still, by far, one of her most iconic performances was in American Pie. However, depending on how old you are, she might be better known from the hit show How I Met Your Mother. Either way, Hannigan has had a pretty illustrious career.
Oh, and we almost forgot about her other iconic role in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Again, she's starred in some of our favorite shows and movies of all time.
Maitland Ward might look familiar to you if you remember watching Boy Meets World when you were growing up. The actress played the roommate of Jack and Eric. Ward is a bit older now, but her acting career is still going strong, albeit in a slightly different, more adult genre. She's now an adult performer, and she's been very vocal about advocating against body shaming against women over the years.
"With so much body shaming towards women and criticism over sexy shots," she's said, "I think women should be able to express themselves however they want, and the haters should go take a cold shower."
Bonnie Wright played a member of what was probably one of the most famous redheaded families of all time. The Weasley family was a fictional family in the Harry Potter series, and Wright played the younger sister of Ron, Ginny Weasley. Her acting career has been a bit quiet since then, but she's starred in a lot of independent films, with around 23 credits to her name on IMDB.
She's also directed a couple of different films since her debut in Harry Potter. This past year, she got married in California, photos of which circulated over the internet.
Sarah Snook may not be as famous as some of the other redheads on this list, but you can be sure that she's only going to get more popular the longer she stays in Hollywood. Snook has played in a couple of different shows and also had some larger roles in movies, such as Steve Jobs. However, she's probably best known for her time playing Shiv Roy in Succession.
With her stellar performances in pretty much everything she's played in, you'll probably be seeing more of her in the future, either on television or in more films.
Although she mostly rocks black hair now, Laura Prepon was everyone's favorite redhead when she played Donna in That '70s Show. Perhaps unsurprisingly, to some, she actually modeled when she was younger. After That '70s Show, she played in Orange Is The New Black, and more recently, she appeared in That '90s Show. Prepon is still wildly popular, as her 11 million followers on Instagram can attest to.
She's also married to another pretty famous redhead, Ben Foster, and the two even have a redheaded child. So, it's probably safe to say that red hair isn't going anywhere anytime soon, as alluded to in another post on this list.
If you know much about Hollywood, then you probably know that it's not uncommon for some of your favorite actors to be related to others in the same business. That's also true of redhead Kate Mara, whose sister Rooney Mara is also a highly acclaimed actor. Kate has starred in some pretty iconic movies, including The Martian, We Are Marshall, and Shooter. She's also starred in a couple of popular T.V. shows.
In addition, her relatives include the founders of the Giants and the Steelers, so it's not uncommon for her to occasionally get asked a question about the NFL while she's on the red carpet.
Deborah Ann Woll
Fans of the vampire show True Blood are probably pretty familiar with Deborah Ann Woll. The actress was a mainstay on the show, but she's also played in a couple of different superhero-related shows throughout her career, including Daredevil, The Punisher, and The Defenders. All of her roles make perfect sense when you consider that she's also a dungeon master for an ongoing podcast and stream of Dungeons and Dragons.
She also voiced a character in God of War Ragnorak, a critically acclaimed game that was released in 2022. In short, she seems like a pretty awesome person to be around.
Julianne Moore is a Hollywood veteran who's appeared in a couple of hit movies over the years, including The Big Lebowski, Jurassic Park, and Boogie Nights. She's also racked up awards over the years, including an Academy Award for best actress. Lately, she's mostly divided her time between independent movies. However, she has plenty to keep her busy, including a pretty successful career as an author and children's book writer.
Her first children's book was about a girl who wished to get rid of her freckles before coming to accept and even cherish them, which sounds like the perfect plot for a children's book about a redhead.
Full disclaimer, Christina Hendricks isn't a natural redhead. She's actually blonde, but she's being included in this list because she changed her hair color a while back, and she's had red hair ever since. Basically, she's an honorary redhead, and we're sure that the community is glad to have her since she was once named by Esquire as the sexiest woman alive. She said that her hair color choice was because she was a fan of Anne of Green Gables.
Like the others on this list, she's also a very successful actress, with credits in Mad Men, Drive, Bad Santa, Toy Story 4, and Good Girls, among many others.
Tilda Swinton might just be one of the most successful redheads ever to grace screens. She's won a lot of accolades over the years for her work in both Hollywood blockbusters and independent movies. She's starred in Doctor Strange, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, Isle of Dogs, The Royal Tenebaums, and Caravaggio. Suffice it to say, Swinton has had the kind of career that most in Hollywood only dream about.
She's also rarely dyed her vibrant red hair, usually rocking it in whatever movie she plays in. Although, she has on occasion shaved her head for roles, such as for Doctor Strange.
You're probably pretty familiar with Sophie Turner from Game of Thrones. She played the iconic Sansa Stark, and her red hair was tied to a couple of plot points in the show. It turns out that she's not naturally a redhead, although she also had red hair when she played Jean Gray in one of the X-Men movies. In truth, Turner is actually a blonde, but the red hair is cemented as a part of her look now.
Lately, she's been popping up in more and more films, so it looks like her trajectory is on the rise. We're sure we'll see her in plenty of more projects in the future.
Jessica Chastain hasn't been around quite as long as a lot of other famous redheads on this list, but she's still made a splash. Chastain got an Oscar nod for her work in Zero Dark Thirty in 2012. But she's actually played in a lot of other big-name films since then, including one of our personal favorites Interstellar, although she's also played in The Help, Lawless, and The Martian.
She was nominated for an award for most of these films and even won an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for The Eyes of Tammy Faye.