The Rarest Natural Hair Colors in the World

Adorable young woman with wavy bright copper auburn hair wearing a black and white shirt.

Dyeing hair in virtually any color in existence is super popular right now. Though hair dye allows people to express themselves freely, it is nearly impossible to determine whether someone’s hair color is natural.

Red Hair

Cute white girl with darker hair trying a new pair of rose-colored glasses.

What is the rarest hair color in the world? Red is the rarest natural hair color in the world. Currently, only 1 to 2% of the entire population has naturally red hair.

The gene for red hair color is recessive, meaning a child will only be a redhead if he or she inherits two copies of the red hair gene (MC1R).

That means that both parents must be carriers. When the MC1R gene (expressing red hair) activates, it produces high levels of pheomelanin, which is responsible for imparting red pigment to the hair.

Redheads are located mostly in Western and Northern Europe, including Ireland and Scotland. Asian and African people can also inherit this trait, though Caucasian people are more likely to be redheads.

Being a redhead isn’t all cupcakes and rainbows, though – the excess pheomelanin results in a low pain tolerance. It also exposes people with red hair to higher chances of skin cancer and Parkinson’s disease.

Blonde Hair

White girl with natural blond hair which is one of the rarest natural hair colors in the world

Social media may have led you to believe that there are tons of natural blondes. But this isn’t the case because blonde hair is the 2nd rarest natural hair color. Only 3% of the total global population is blonde.

A child is born with blonde hair if there is a shortage of melanin (the pigment that’s responsible for providing color to our body and hair) in their hair follicles.

Natural blonde hair is relatively common in northern Europe. However, individuals with natural blonde hair can also be found in Asia and Africa.

Blondes are more prone to eye diseases than people with other hair colors. In addition, blondes are also at a higher risk of developing skin cancer due to their natural sensitivity to the sun.

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Strawberry Blonde Hair

A beautiful woman with dark brown hair wearing deep burgundy lipstick.

Having natural strawberry blonde hair is very uncommon, considering the fact that somewhere between 0.5% and 5% of the world’s total population has such a hair color.

This color is a mixture of red hair with a few strands of blonde hair here and there. This color mixture results in a beautiful coppery color that’s exceedingly rare.

Strawberry blonde hair is caused by a variation of the recessive gene MC1R. Therefore, both parents must carry this gene for the offspring to inherit a strawberry blonde natural hair color.

People from the north and west of Europe are more likely to have strawberry blonde hair than people native to other areas.

Gray Hair

Old African American lady with gray hair - one of many rare natural hair colors.

The next hair color on the list is gray. Only about 4% of people have naturally gray hair. Mainly, older people make up this percentage, as well as a few young people who have grown gray hair prematurely.

Older people usually have hair that ranges from silver to gray. It is a natural phenomenon that comes with aging, and every person goes through it. As greying hair is a natural process, it isn’t limited to a particular ethnicity or culture.

When we grow older, the pigment in our hair follicles starts to fade, and when new hair grows, it’s non-pigmented.

Brown Hair

A serious-looking brown-haired teen female with natural curls.

Our fifth rarest hair pick is brown. About 20% of the global population is born with brown hair. Isn’t it surprising that so few people have brown hair?

People of virtually every background sport varying shades of brown hair, ranging from light brown to brunette.

If there is a surplus of eumelanin in your cells, you are more likely to have brown hair. If you have a lower amount of eumelanin than the next person with brown hair, you’ll end up with a lighter shade of brown, like honey brown.

Many Americans and Europeans have brown hair, more commonly light brown. However, dark shades of brown are more common in Africa and Asia.

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The Most Common Hair Color – Darkest Brown/Black

African American female with jet black hair and walnut brown skin tone.

The darkest brown hair color is often called “natural black hair” and it’s the most widespread natural hair color in the world. A whopping 75% to 85% of the world was born with this hair color.

Like brown hair, “black” and brown hair color fluctuates due to the presence of eumelanin in hair. Black hair is a dominant gene, so even if a black-haired individual has a baby with a light-haired partner, the child is likely to have dark hair.

Natural black/deepest brown hair dominates in most parts of Africa, South America, and Asia. In addition, black hair is also found everywhere in Latin America and Eastern and Southern Europe.

Go Rare: Switch Up Your Hair Color

Charming young female with red-orange human hair smiling while looking into the distance.

After finding out that red, blonde, and strawberry blonde are the rarest hair colors, you may be itching to go rare. If that’s the case, it’s an option you should explore.

Before reaching for hair color-altering products, you’ll need to find out which hair color will suit you best. If you choose the wrong color, it will negatively affect your persona and overall look.

Choosing the Right Hair Color for You

Here are a few tips on how to choose the right hair color for yourself:

  • Decide whether you want a light or dark hair color.
  • Take a close look in the mirror to see if you have cool, warm, or neutral skin undertones, and then decide accordingly:
  • If you have warm undertones, you should go for warm hair colors because they complement each other well. If you want a bold fashion hair color, choose a shade like ginger, red, or rose gold.
  • If you have neutral undertones, go for cool hair colors like platinum or beige blonde.
  • For cool undertones, colors like green, blue, and purple are best.

If you want to be totally free and choose a color that’s been calling your name, you can go that route as well. But we do recommend choosing a color that complements your skin undertones.

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Pretty lady with curls that are a reddish natural color wearing a striped shirt with raven black strips.

3 Ways to Achieve Your New Hair Color

After deciding what hair color would suit you the best, it’s time to get to work on your hair color transformation! Here are three ways to do so:

1. Bleach

Use bleach to dye your hair to a lighter base color, and then apply a semi or demi-permanent color over it. Just be sure you know what you’re doing before you reach for the bleach because it only takes one bleach session to do permanent damage to your hair.

Also, be aware that once you bleach your hair, your natural hair color will be gone until your roots grow out.

Female with a tanned white skin color with burnt-orange hair pigmentation.

2. Permanent Color

Permanent hair dyes are formulated to be mixed with developer to give you a permanent color change in minutes. Though it’s not as harsh as bleach, it won’t lift your hair very much.

Choose this method if you’re sure about the color you want and wish to keep your new color for an extended amount of time.

White lady with dark brown curls - one of the most common hair colors in the world.

3. Semi-permanent Color

Semi-permanent hair dye is perfect for people who want to change their hair color often, desire a subtle change, or have naturally light hair. It washes out quickly over the course of weeks. What’s great is that a semi-permanent color won’t cause any damage to your hair.

Lady with naturally curly hair wearing a winter sweater while smiling.

FAQs

Welcome to our FAQ section. Here, we’ll answer your most common questions about the world’s rarest hair colors.

Now you know the rarest natural hair colors in the world and how people inherit them through the transmission of genes. You also know how to switch up your hair color and choose a new and exciting one.

We hope you found this article to be helpful and encourage you to experiment with new hair colors for the fun and freedom they bring.