We've become so accustomed to seeing Heroes star Hayden Panettiere donning California-girl blond locks over the past few years, it's hard to imagine her any other way. However, at the Miami International Airport yesterday, she was spotted with fiery-red locks peeking out underneath her white Titleist cap. I love it when people take risks with their style, but I'm not sure this hue is the right red for her complexion. What do you think of Hayden's new copper-toned shade? Is it a pleasant departure from her signature flaxen mane, or do you think it's a miss?
People with blond hair are called blondes. The same goes for brown-haired beauties, who are known as brunettes. If you have red hair, you're known as a redhead — whether it's copper, auburn, strawberry, or colored with reddish-violet undertones. Easy.
But when it comes to those with raven locks, why isn't there an official name designated for those with the darkest strands? Is it simply that black-haired is, in actuality, the most appropriate description? If you could give those with the darkest hair their own alias, what would it be? Ravenettes? Inkhairs? Blackheads? Nah, none sound quite right. Whether it's for virgin hair or it's dyed black, what's the best description you can conjure up?
If you've seen the South Park episode "Gingervitis," you know how Cartman feels about gingers, or fair-skinned, freckled redheads: they're less than human. While most people viewing the episode probably took it as, at best, a morality lesson about arbitrarily discriminating against others, and at worst a joke in poor taste (maybe both), it isn't so funny in real life.
A group of students in Calabasas, CA, instead decided to institute "Kick a Ginger Day" at their middle school, and proceeded to beat up some of their classmates. While this is an example of the worst sort of juvenile stupidity, it does point out the underlying prejudices redheads have to deal with, whether it's jokes about their "fiery tempers" or sexual harassment. Even Christina Hendricks's character Joan on Mad Men continuously gets called "Red" and has comments made about her. And in the UK, ginger discrimination is wel -known — to the point where redheads have been awarded settlements after workplace harassment tied to their hair color. What do you think about all this? Are there more pejorative connotations connected to having red hair these days, or are people just now paying more attention to a long-extant problem?
Simply put, melanin is pigment, but there are two types of melanins that give hair and skin its distinctive coloring. Let's start with pheomelanin, which lends reddish tones to the body.
While pheomelanin can be found in light- and dark-skinned people, females tend to have more of this type of pigment in their skin than men do. Hence, you'll often notice a slightly more pink or reddish quality to a woman's body. Also note that pheomelanin is more concentrated on the lips, nipples, and girly parts.
Even though we all have at least some pheomelanin in our hair, if you're a redhead, you're loaded with it, as it's what is responsible for imparting those fiery reddish tones to your locks. But don't forget about blondes, however, as pheomelanin, thanks to its yellowish tones within, works to determine the pigmentation of golden-haired beauties, too.
As Lucy could tell you, red is the rarest, and perhaps most coveted, hair color (so much so that Ms. Ball dyed her naturally blond hair her now iconic shade of carrot). And for thousands of years, people have been coming up with stories about it. In the Middle Ages, for example, people with a certain shade of red hair were considered unmistakably vampires or werewolves, and early Renaissance alchemists believed the blood of a red-haired man was necessary to turn copper into gold (aren't we sorta glad we live in a post-alchemy world?). For every crazy superstition, ginger stereotype, or story about a fiery temper, though, there's an actual, interesting fact about red hair. Take my quiz and find out just how much you actually know about our flame-haired brethren.
Photo courtesy of The USPS
Recently, I made my yearly — OK, it's been more than a year — trip to the eye doctor. I've worn glasses for about 14 years now, and from one "trendy" frame to another, I've had lots of different looks. Since some were good, and others I'd prefer to forget, that was the inspiration behind this series of posts on choosing eyeglass frames. Since we've already looked at face shape, eye color, and skin tone, for the final installment of this series, let's look at how your hair color can help guide you when making a choice between those funky green shades or whimsical yellow specs. To check out some tips, just keep reading.
We're used to seeing Evan Rachel Wood with the pretty strawberry-blond hair she wears when playing vampire queen Sophie-Anne LeClerc on True Blood, but the other night at a Gucci flash-store launch, she was showing off this new, sexy auburn shade. We all know Rachel is no stranger to hair dye. Do you remember that last year, she went from blonde to dark brunette? But as a redhead, she's gorgeous either way. So tell us: which fiery shade do you think best complements her pale skin and light eyes?
Back in July, Jessica Alba lightened up her hair from brown with caramel-toned highlights to a somewhat flat blond shade that most of you weren't loving. We've seen the actress go back and forth with various shades of blond and brown before, but to my recollection, we've never seen her go red. Yesterday, after a trip to the salon, Jessica debuted her new red locks. What do you think about the switch? Is it a good one, or do you prefer her with another shade?
Just a few weeks ago, Ashlee Simpson was sporting a much subtler, natural hair color, but now, she's taken it up several notches, going for an intense copper-toned red. The new version of Melrose Place is set to premiere on Tuesday, and as one of the show's characters, she has been all over Manhattan making appearances on various talk shows to promote it. Yesterday, she was seen wearing three very different hairstyles while making her rounds. Of course, like Ashlee, each style had its own distinctive flair. Which one is your favorite?
Blondes may stereotypically have more fun, but some studies show those born with red locks might feel more pain. So we all need to treat our ginger-headed friends more gingerly since research shows they're more sensitive to hot and cold, and strangely, redheads also require more anesthesia to become numb.
For those with brown, black, and blond hair, the Melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) gene produces melanin, which gives our hair and skin color. In redheads, this gene is mutated and produces pheomelanin instead, causing pale skin, freckles, and strawberry tresses. MC1R mutations also affect carrot tops' perception of pain and the effectiveness of drugs that are used to block the sensation of pain.
Not only is this research interesting (and may explain why your friend screamed her red head off when she got her ears pierced), but it may also help scientists design drugs that are more person-specific based on an individual's genetic profile.
If you're a redhead, please share your thoughts on this hairy subject.