The Men’s Attitude is reader-supported! We might get a small commission if you purchase something after clicking our links, at no extra charge for you.
We’re all familiar with the little red hair that sometimes pops up on our beards (and head for some of us). If you’ve noticed an increase in these red hues lately, there might be a good reason why!
The color of your beard is caused by the natural pigmentation in your skin. There are many factors that can make your beard turn red, but it’s typically caused by a gene mutation.
This blog post will explore what makes your beard turn red and if you can do anything about it.
Why Does My Beard Turn Red?
The most common reason for a beard turning red is due to the MC1R gene mutation, but it can also be the result of other factors like sun exposure and genetics.
MC1R gene and red beard
What is the MC1R gene and why should you care about it?
Your beard and hair color is determined by your DNA. There is a region on your chromosomes that contains several different genes that determine the color of your beard. One of those genes is called Melanocortin 1 Receptor (or MC1R for short).
Let’s talk about the specific genes that make your beard red.
How Does the MC1R gene Turn a beard Red?
MC1R gene converts the pheomelanin to eumelanin. The difference between the two is simple. Pheomelanin is a type of melanin that is red to yellow in color. Eumelanin forms are brown or black. All mammals have both of these types of melanin, eumelanin, and pheomelanin. And both are present in our beard hair.
When you are born you inherit two mc1r genes (one from each parent). These genes are usually not the same color and if they are not mutated, they will create a balance between eumelanin and pheomelanin and you will inherit one of your parents’ head hair, and beard colors. There is a lot more to it but let’s keep it simple.
But when one MC1R gene gets mutated, the balance between eumelanin and pheomelanin is gone, throwing off this system. This causes your body to produce mostly brown hair with some red hair spots here and there. This is the reason why your beard is getting red.
If both of the MC1R genes get mutated, you will end up with a red beard and ginger red hair because your body won’t produce any eumelanin.
I know it is a bit confusing but to make it simple, if your beard is becoming red there is probably a mutation in the MC1R gene. This mutation causes your beard hairs to produce mostly pheomelanin instead of eumelanin which gives your beard a red hue.
Red Beards and Sun exposure
Now, there are some cases that can give a person red hair without any mutation in the MC1R gene. For example, sun exposure; if your beard is getting red as a result of excess sun exposure, the change in hair color will be temporary.
The sun will cause beard follicles to tan and your beard will turn red when you spend too much time under the sun.
You should not worry about your beard becoming red if it is a result of sun exposure because this change in hair color will go away once you stop exposing your beard to the sun. If you want to avoid it, you can try to limit your exposure to the sun by wearing hats or beard covers.
But my parents don’t have red hair
The genes that control red hair are recessive genes. This means that a red hair gene will always be in your DNA, but it may never show up in your life unless you get the mutation. So if your parents have no red hair or red beards, chances are they only carry the recessive gene. So this is the reason why they might not have a beard that turns red, but you do have.
How do you cure a red beard?
First of all, there is no cure because having a red beard is not actually a disease. If you are asking if you can reverse a red beard- the answer is no. You can’t reverse it but there are some things you can do to hide it. You could dye your beard hair or shave it.
If you choose to dye it the process is simple and does not take long. The first thing you have to do is to choose the right beard dye color. You should choose a dye that matches your beard hair. If you have a blonde beard, use a brownish beard dye in order to cover the red hair better and match the blonde hair. If you have dark brown hair, use a beard dye that is brown in order to mimic the color of your beard.
After you have chosen the right hair color all you have to do is apply beard dye to your beard and leave it there for the recommended amount of time. Then you can wash your beard as usual. There are many types and colors of beard dyes. If you plan to dye your facial hair we suggest reading this article that we get into detail about beard dyes.
Do I have to shave my red beard?
This is totally up to you. If you have a red beard and don’t want it, then by all means shave it. But if you’re happy with the color, then there is no reason to change it.
I know that it might feel a bit strange at first to see your beard getting red. But be a bit patient once you get used to it, I am sure you will like it.
But you should remember that having a ginger beard does not make you bad-looking or unattractive. People will definitely notice your red hair, but they do not care as much as you think. Try it for a couple of weeks and if you don’t like it you can shave.
Are red beards attractive?
We get this question more often than you think and the answer to it is maybe.
The first thing about being attractive is feeling confident and comfortable with yourself. Red beards tickle your curiosity, but it does not really affect how attractive you are as a whole.
In general red beards are considered attractive because they are so different and they give you a unique kind of charm. You should consider yourself lucky if you have a beard that is different because not everyone can rock it.
Remember that a red beard is rare and not everyone has the power to pull it off, so if you can- do not hesitate.
Now that you have read the article, I hope that you have a better understanding of the mechanics of beard colors. Is your beard turning red? Do you see red hair here and there? What have you noticed during this process? Hit the comments and let us know about it!