Let me ask you: what do you think the most common hair color is? If you’re well-read and well-traveled, you might be able to guess it right, but really, depending on where you live, your answer is likely to be different.
Now, you might think that there are only four natural hair colors – black, brown, blonde, and red.
That’s sort of true since hair color really just goes from very light to bright red, but if we really want to get anal about it, according to the Fischer-Saller scale, there are 24 different shades of natural hair color for humans.
That said, what is the most common hair color?
Hair color percentages around the world
The most common human hair color – well, colors – are black and brown, found in roughly 90% of the total human population.
To be more specific, black hair is found in 75 to 84% of the population, and brown hair or brunette is somewhere in the 11% range.
Of course, this varies per region, with the biggest concentration of dark hair in Africa and Asia, and the least in North America.
Interestingly enough, blonde or light colored hair only presents in around 2 to 3% of the Earth’s population, with most coming from a European bloodline.
Aside from that, certain parts of the world like the Solomon Islands show an outcropping of blondies thanks to a genetic mutation.
Finally, as we all, know, red hair is the rarest in the world. In fact, only 1% of the world’s population are redheads.
Again, like blondes, most redheads are in Europe (especially in Scotland, where 13% of their population are redheads) or coming from European descent.
What determines hair color?
The short answer? Genetics. Really, though, it’s more of a combination of physical location relative to the sun as well as the slow and fascinating process of evolution.
To put it simply, those who live in warmer regions nearer the equator typically have dark hair (and skin) as the body’s way of protecting them against the harsh sun rays.
Meanwhile, those residing in colder regions nearer the poles have lighter hair (and skin) to help them absorb what little sunlight their region receives throughout the year.
And then there’s red hair, which is the result of genetic mutation, and as some would say, the work of fairies.
Aside from region, evolution, and race, however, there’s also another factor that influences hair color, and this one manifests over a relatively shorter time frame. We’re talking about health and age.
As we all know, aging typically turns our hair to white or gray, no matter the starting point. And, it can happen as early as 45 years old! (Probably earlier if you’re living a high-stress lifestyle)
Other natural hair color facts and trivias
- Did you know that the average number of hair strands you have largely depends on your hair color? Blondes are known to have thick heads of hair with around 150,000 strands, whereas brunettes and redheads have somewhere between 90,000 to 100,000 strands.
- Brown hair is typically complemented by brown eyes, and red hair is made even rarer by the fact that redheads also usually have blue eyes.
The most popular dyed hair colors
We’ve talked about natural hair colors, so let’s move on to chemically colored hair. Men and women alike have experimented with hair dyes all throughout history. In fact, this trend of coloring your hair has steadily gained popularity over the decades. In 1960, only about 7% of the population dyed their hairs, and now, that number is up to a staggering 85%.
One thing to note is that hair coloring is arguably a more common practice in Europe and America since blonde hair is easier and more versatile to color, although that hasn’t stopped other regions from trying out both classic and fun hair colors.
As for which color is the most commonly used, the answer depends on which era we’re talking about, and again, the region. Here’s what we know:
- Shades of black, brown, blonde, and red are the most common preferences in hair coloring no matter where in the world you look
- Western countries show a higher demand of “crazier” hair colors such as blue, purple, and pink since these colors lend themselves well to natural, unbleached blonde hair
- The global trend when it comes to hair color has gone from blonde in the ‘50’s to buttery brown hues until around 2017, before finally moving on to rose blonde – and rainbow colors – in recent years
What’s interesting here is that there seems to be a split as to whether men and women want to dye their hair in the first place.
According to one survey, around 50% of women prefer to show-off their natural tresses for a variety of reasons such as health, convenience, and body positivity, while those who are more inclined towards using hair dyes also tend to go for the craziest combinations.
Other colored hair facts and trivia
- More people prefer dyeing their hair at home than going to a salon. This is especially true with the reduction of disposable income – and more recently, the unavailability of salon services due to the pandemic.
- It’s a proven fact that coloring your hair makes you feel instantly more attractive. As they all say, “new hair, new me”.
- Speaking of attractiveness, one study found that most people – both men and women -are most attracted to brown hair compared to other hair colors, natural or dyed.
Hair color tips for the perfect results
Dyeing your hair is super fun, whether you want to go all out with a permanent hair color cream, rock a new look for a couple of weeks with a semi-permanent dye, or just go crazy for the day with temporary hair colors. Just make sure to follow these tips to make the most of your hair color journey:
- Choose the right hair color. The general rule is to stick to your natural tone and complexion, meaning, if you have warm toned skin, go for warm hair shades, or cool shades for cool skin complexions.
- That said, don’t let your skin limit you! Feel free to try whatever color you want and experiment to your heart’s content. Plus, with a bit of research and a lot of practice, you can definitely find a way to make that hair color work for you.
- Ask yourself, what do you want your new hair color to do? Do you want to make your eyes pop? Frame your face in a flattering way? Catch the sun rays and shine like a diamond? Show off your new fun and crazy personality?
After all that talk about hair colors, what we really want to say is that all hair colors are beautiful. So, whether you have black, brown, blonde, or red hair, don’t be afraid to flaunt it!
Besides, at the end of the day, it all boils down to how you take care of your hair. Make sure to show it some love with the right hair care routine!
Clue: this is even more important if you dye your hair. Proper preparation, care, and maintenance are essential before, during, and after hair coloration.