Can Black People Have Red Hair?

black and red hair

Have you come across black people with red hair? They are uncommon, and their percentage is also low. Can black people have red hair?

Black people can have red hair. It is due to mutation in the TYRP1 gene. A genetic disorder like Rufous Albinism could also result in red hair.

Altogether less than 2% of total population have red hair! From this you can consider black people with red hair is very rare!

According to cosmopolitan, Scotland has the highest population of red hair with 13% while Great Britain comes second with 10%.

Why Can Black People Have Red Hair?

1. Biracial parents

Kids get a pair of traits, one from each parent that makes up who they are. These traits define their eye and hair colour.

There is a dominant and recessive trait. When the dominant trait pairs with the recessive trait, the dominant trait wins, and the dominant trait appears in kids.

For example

Black Hair(B) Red Hair(r)
Red Hair(r) Br rr
Red Hair(r) Br rr
  • When black hair pairs with red hair, kids have black hair due to dominant trait.
  • When the recessive trait is paired with another recessive trait of red hair, kids have red hair.

Here is a 50% possibility of having red hair.

Another Example:

If you carry two black haired genes, all your children will become black-haired.

Black Hair(B) Black Hair(B)
Red Hair(r) Br Br
Red Hair(r) Br Br

2. European Ancestry

Black people having red hair child is because they have European Mutated Gene

Black people with red hair usually have European ancestry or ancestry from the Oceania region. That is where the mutation of the genes started.

A study shows, In 1989, there were an estimated 4.6 million people with European ancestry on the African continent.

When you trace back their ancestry, you will realize that they come from these two regions. Therefore, the reason individuals having these physical traits is pretty clear.

3. Lack Of Melanin

Hair colour is determined by

  • How much melanin pigment is present in our hair and
  • What kind of melanin pigment.

Generally, there are two forms of melanin. i.e. Eumelanin and pheomelanin. 

People who produce more eumelanin have dark or brown hair. In contrast, people who produce pheomelanin have blonde or light hair.

According to 23andme

If you produce a low level of Eumelanin and a high level of pheomelanin, you may have red hair.

4. Mutation

MC1R variant causes red hair for caucasian while the TYRP1 variant causes red hair for Africans.

In Caucasian, red hair occurs when the gene by the name of MC1R is present in the 16th chromosome.

According to Wikipedia,

Red hair can originate from several changes on the MC1R-gene.

Due to the mutation in the M1cR gene, it produces more pheomelanin and less eumelanin. This causes red hair.

This type of inheritance is called autosomal recessive. In this case, even if both the parents don’t have red hair themselves, they can have a redheaded child.

While in Africans, red hair occurs when the gene by the name of TYRP1 is present in the 9th chromosome

Due to mutation in the TYRP1, it produces less eumelanin and more pheomelanin causing red hair.

6. Climatic Effect

While African ancestors were European, the sunshine is on the lower side. The skin needs sunshine to get Vitamin D.

The skin attempts to absorb more sunlight because of its dearth. It happens not only for bone development but also for the robust immunization system of our body. These people have a high rate of sun absorption.

What many people might not know is that this evolution of the body to absorb more sunlight and get the pigment, which protects them from UV rays is on the lower side. That is because such people absorb as much UV rays as possible to get vitamin D.

The pigment is by the same genes responsible for producing the pigment that colours the eyes and hair. It means that the amount of that pigment is pretty less. That is why the hair become red in the absence of melanin pigment.

According to The week,

Redhead could become extinct due to climate. The gene responsible for red hair might die due to increasing temperature!

5. Malnutrition

According to Pubmed, sufficient tyrosine is needed for the proper melanin synthesis.

Tyrosine generally helps in the production of melanin that gives colour to hair and skin. If there is no availability of tyrosine, it will hamper melanin production, causing red hair.

Malnutrition also causes hair thinning and hair loss!

6. Albinism

Albinism is a condition in which people born without pigment in their body.

It is also called OCA(Oculocutaneous Albinism). It is the disorder of melanin biosynthesis.

It is rare. 1 out of 20000 prevalence has this kind of disorder.

Normally, people having albinism have white hair, but few affected individuals also have red or ginger hair colour depending upon the melanin production from your body.

7. Pro-opiomelanocortin

According to Orpha,

The Pro-Opiomelanocortin dificiency results in red hair, pale skin and adrenal insufficiency

Related Post:

Can two parents with black hair have a child with red hair?

Red hair is recessive. Two parents with black hair can have a child with red hair if both of their parents have a recessive gene. It means that both of their ancestors were redheaded.


Redheaded people are rare. Altogether there are 1-2% of redhead in the world. Talking about African redhead, their existence is also very low, down to 0.5%.

African people can be redhead because of European ancestry, malnutrition, genetic disorder, and other climatic condition.

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