Face fuzz is really au fait right now – and many men have adopted the bearded look to keep their top lips toasty and trendy.
But, as they embark on their mission to grow and maintain mutton chops, determined their facial hair will attract females, many brunette men are surprised to see their beard hair grows ginger.
While redheads are rare – making them even more dazzling to those with dishwater blonde or dull brunette hair – a curious genetic quirk means non-redheads can grow ginger beards.
Hair colour is determined by your genetics, which you inherit from your ancestors and can stem back hundreds of years – way back when your familial line originated.
With all of those ancestors influencing your genetic make-up, there’s an astonishingly wide range of hair colours and hues that can sprout on a person’s body.
The precise shade of the colour of your hair is determined by the amount of melanin – a type of organically developed pigment that is also associated with your predisposition to tanning – in your body.
Petra Haak-Bloem, a specialist at the Dutch national genetic research centre Erfocentrum, informed a Motherboard blogger:
For white people the shades are dependent on two sorts of melanin: eumelanine (black pigment) and pheomelanine (red pigment). Hair cells of dark haired people only contain eumelanine. Blondes have less eumelanine. And redheads’ hair contains mostly pheomelanine.
Having a ginger beard and brown hair is linked to a mutation on the MC1R gene. The gene plays an important role in making proteins involved in the production of melanin which, as Haak-Bloem explained, determines whether your hair has red pigment or not.
People inherit two different MC1R genes, one from each parent, Haak-Bloem told to Motherboard. However, it’s very possible that only one of your MC1R genes will mutate.
In this case, you’ll have both eumelanine and pheomelanine pigments, which can pop up anywhere on your body, from your eyebrows to your beard to your pubic hair.
So, if you’re the lone ginger in your family, so dome digging and you’ll likely discover a distant uncle Cecil who was blessed with a ginger gene – thus, your worry about being adopted are officially over.
Mystery solved. As they say, variation is the orange, vibrant spice of life.
So, if you’re one of the men who enjoys a sprinkle of ginger streaking through your chin mane, embrace it.
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.