Science Questions

What determines hair colour?

Tue, 20th Nov 2012

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Randy asked:

What pigments are involved in making hair blonde or red?


Ginny -  Well, the keratin that makes up the structure of your hair is actually white, so itís all about these two different types of melanin which are the pigments that gives your hair colour.  There's eumelanin which can be black or brown and there's pheomelanin which is sort of a reddish, yellowish colour.  Itís the proportions of each of those that make your hair a different colour.  So if youíve got brown hair, youíve got lots of eumelanin and not as much pheomelanin.  Blondes will have any real proportion of the two, but not very much of either of them and red heads have a lot more of the pheomelanin and not so much of the eumelanin.


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