In my Facebook group, Makeup and Beauty for Redheads, I asked members what was hard about being a redhead and what they loved about it. It was great to get feedback and feel a camaraderie with others who have struggled as well as celebrated many of the same things! Here is a selection of some of their answers. (And if you’re not already a member, why not join us? Whether you’re natural or dyed, we love to share beauty tips and gab about everything to do with being a redhead!)
Question 1: What has been your greatest struggle as a redhead?
“My biggest struggle was in childhood, with all the teasing that I received in school being called “carrot top” etc.”
I was made to feel that there was something wrong with me because of the color of my hair.
“It made me more self-conscious and took me years (well into my 20’s) before I learned to appreciate the color of my hair and to then receive adult complements, as genuine.”
“My biggest struggle I would say (as silly as it sounds) was finding a boyfriend in my teenage years. I never really got bullied but in my teenage years when things seem to be more of a struggle and all my friends were having relationships, anyone that I did like wouldn’t want to know me, with them actually stating it’s because of being ginger. Even my first boyfriend, I heard him say that he didn’t want to be with me because I’m ginger but then we stayed together for 6 years. And to be completely honest, I didn’t even want to be with him, I just wanted to be more like my friends.”
“My greatest struggle, I think, was growing up in a school where I just looked different. I was teased and picked on. I was called names and they even made up little stories about why I had red hair. (My parents both had brown hair.) Then, when I started dyeing my hair the teasing got worse, probably because it confirmed that they were getting to me.”
“My greatest struggle of being a redhead female with curly hair was finding myself as a teenager. I was teased and adored so it made me confused. Like am I really different from everyone else? I have a great heart and mind, I am smart, but why do I get treated differently from everyone else?”
“Finding my identity separate from just being ‘a redhead.'”
“The lesser struggle would be finding foundations and powders that go with my skin tone.”
“My greatest struggle as a redhead has been sunburns and sensitivity to heat. I’ve struggled with appropriate sun block and get migraines from the heat.”
I struggle with finding foundation shades that work with fair, sensitive skin and mahogany red hair.
“Greatest struggle with being a redhead is never being able to hide my emotions, good or bad. Any increase in my blood pressure shows on my face and neck. Everyone can tell if I’m mad, nervous or upset, no matter how hard I work to appear or sound composed.”
“Called names at school, and the teasing….even being the only redhead in the family got me down… lucky to say I don’t have the problem with tanning, my skin goes to a bronzy colour after being in the sun. Must say still have to be careful, burns quickly and red, but it turns into bronzy tan. Oh my… the freckles double up in summer time! Now that I am older I just want a more fair skin tone, but the freckles stay! With this group I’ve learned to love my freckles!”
“My biggest struggle was being picked on growing up. I grew up in school where I was a minority, only 5-8 other kids the same race as me at any point, let alone my hair. It wasn’t until my teens that I met another redhead like myself. I was always a target for jokes and being picked on everything under then sun. Redheaded step-child, I had no soul, I was pale and ugly, all of it. Every school picture I stuck out, red hair and super pale.
Eventually I dyed it black and honestly it looked AWFUL. I had an allergic reaction to it and that just made it worse. I wasn’t fooling anyone, I still got picked on. I had a love hate relationship with my red hair for like 10 of my 25 years. Also the burning—the sun is my worst enemy, quite seriously. I have been in the hospital numerous times with sun poisoning, when no one else I was with got even a little tan.”
“My biggest struggle is my ridiculously sensitive skin and trying to keep sun damage to a minimum.”
My biggest struggle was being picked on and teased growing up.
“Greatest struggle is being fair and sunburning, flushing on my face and my chest when nervous, and pain management.”
“My struggles were being picked on and singled out growing up, the thin/fair skin that shows things like cellulite, age spots, veins, etc. more than tanned skin, and feeling pain so easily.”
Question 2: Why do you love being a redhead? (There’s a lot more of these than those about our struggles!)
“I love being a redhead because it’s different, and our hair shimmers in the light like different shades of fire. I teach History at school, and include a module called ‘Gingers Through Time’ to embrace the ginger heritage. Gingers get bullied in the UK, but not in my school.”
The best thing about being a redhead is that I stand out in a crowd!
“Yes we are seen as different, but being older now, it’s great! Constant compliments about my hair and my overall look, people wanting my hair, not looking the same as everyone else, being unique and having met the perfect man who always told all his friends his perfect woman would be a redhead.”
My favorite part is that I look like Black Widow!
“I’m 55 now, I love being a redhead and the compliments I get are great. And I wouldn’t want to be any other colour. I’m trying to hide the grey now unfortunately but that happens with most colours as we get older.”
“I love being a redhead because I feel like a unicorn. A rare, majestic creature if you’d like to call it that. My favorite is when people ask if the color is natural, that look when I tell them it is. I’ve definitely embraced it more and more as I get older.”
“I own it because it’s who I am and no one can take it away from us. People pay lots of money to get our hair color. I like seeing other redheads because we smile and nod to each other and appreciate one another. We are special & I love it.”
I always feel some sort of redhead connection when I see another redhead.
“I love the redhead connection, I’ve experienced it with men and women, children and adults, doesn’t matter — if we see each other, it’s usually a smile, a nod, or occasionally I go in for a “ginger power!” high five.”
“I also love that redhead connection when you met another one. The best thing about being a redhead is that I am different than everyone else.”
“I love being a redhead because it makes me unique. It allows me to stand out from the crowd.”
“I am a mum of two gorgeous redheads and I am a teacher in a secondary school…which allows me to share my pride in my hair colour. I teach my children to embrace what they have, and to be proud of being different. To shrug off the nasty comments, because those comments generally stem from jealousy.”
I truly love everything about being a redhead. It makes me who I am.
“I was taught at a young age to embrace my hair color and freckles, because they make me unique. I’ve carried that with me, all of my life.”
“Although I was teased as a kid for my curly red hair, I had so much positive encouragement from family that it never bothered me. So many in my family are redheads and the ones who aren’t always let us know how special it is. I love my red hair and proudly hold it as a significant part of my identity. Maybe too much sometimes ’cause when those whites sneak in it frustrates me!”
“What I love the most is that it’s like being involved in this exclusive group. Everywhere I go people talk about redheads they know and sometimes good jokes. It’s a conversation piece.”
“I love being unique, I enjoy being a green-eyed redhead and getting compliments, finally.”
“The thing I’ve learned to love is the unique beauty of a natural redhead. I never appreciated it until I got older, but now I know I’ve got a beauty all my own even if it doesn’t look like anyone else’s. Although being in this Facebook group makes me see there’s a lot more redheads than I ever realized.”
“Being a redhead rocks WITH freckles…even at my age!”
“I can think of nothing negative. Well I do remember not having any pretty barbies with red hair. Now they have lots! I love that we are rare and beautiful.”
“I was born a blonde with a tiny bit of strawberry. Both sides of my family have redheaded genes. As I got older I noticed more red coming in. One day I decided to color my hair a richer color of red and it looked so good and natural. I am a very pale person with hazel eyes, light eyebrows and people would argue with me that it was natural. I guess when it runs in the family you may look good. I have been doing different shades of red for years and every color looks fantastic.”
“I love realizing as an adult how unique and special I was because of my hair, and learning about my MCR1 mutation that makes me a redhead, learning about how far we redheads have come through history of the evil and wrong done to us. Knowing I live in a time where I don’t have to worry about my life as did redheads before me in history so long ago. Being proud of my hair and loving it.”
“I love being different. I tried covering up my red for years but now I embrace it.”
“I love how my hair looks in the sun!”
“Redheads are a blessed minority! And yes, this “carrot top” was teased, but I’m sure it was due to envy!”
I love being a redhead now that I’m older and see how beautiful being different really is. It has become a huge part of my identity and I couldn’t see myself looking any other way.
I’d like to thank all the members who were willing to be involved in this project. What about you, dear reader? Feel free to share your own personal struggles as well as the things you love about being a wonderful, special, and unique redhead!