In public school art classes we learn that with just three primary colors – Red, Green, Blue – most any other color can be created. That being true, why don’t we have people all over the globe being born with one of those three unusual hair colors?
Primary Colors And Why
Our brains are programmed to see color based upon various light and wavelength that is detected by the human eye. Not everyone sees the same color in exactly the same way. Normally, we use cone receptors in the eyes to see the full 3-D range of color. Color combinations are based upon three main colors? Red, Green, and Blue. Cone receptors are also known as TRI-(three)chromats.
Few people on earth are natural red heads, and no large populations of green heads or blue heads have been found to my knowledge. Even though Red, Green, and Blue are the primary colors, hair color is determined by two pigments found in all human hair called Eumelanin and Pheomelanin. The quantity of these pigments provided by our DNA is dictated by heredity.
Sometimes pigment strength jumps from generation to generation. That is why you may be born blonde but your children have brown hair from birth. Also, hair color is often dominated by the other parent. When it comes down to it, natural hair color can be basic brown, black, blonde, or red.
Pigments Make The Difference
It is the quantity and strength of Pheomelanin and Eumelanin that formulates the combination of natural hair colors that we see. Each person has more or less of these pigments and therefore more or less of one basic hair color than another. For example, Pheomelanin colors hair red. Eumelanin colors hair black or brown. The Irish have much more Pheomelanin pigment in their genes than African-Americans.
Speaking of the Irish and Scottish population. It has been reported that 13 percent of their populations are redheads, while worldwide that number is only between 1% and 2%.
Grey hair comes about because of lack of pigmentation and the way light is reflected on the hair. In some light, hair appears to be grey while in other light there is a sense that a person has blonde hair.
Most hair extensions are harvested from women who have high amounts of black Eumelanin pigment. The pigment is extracted from the hair and colored to suit the preferences of the stylists and their customers.
Luckily for us, hair color usually looks much the same for each individual. It would be concerning if I thought that some people saw my hair as brown and others thought it was purple. Thank heavens for our trichromats.
It is also wonderful that with modern technology, we can experience any length and color of hair that we wish to have. Even the natural colors produced by Pheomelanin and Eumelanin.
Logan is founder of Donna Bella Milan hair extensions and lashes and author of the Donna Bella weblog.