Redheads are rare—like really rare. Less than 2 percent of the world’s population has red hair. Some people are afraid of the majestic gift that is redheaded-ness, which leads to the idea that redheads have no soul or they’re going extinct (both false). Others, like Buzzfeed Deputy Editorial Director and author of The Big Redhead Book, Erin La Rosa, see flame-colored hair for what it really is, the mark of a unique creature with lifelong membership for an intensely select club.
We combed through La Rosa’s recently released book to learn more about what it’s like to be a redhead. In the book, she covers historical facts, pop culture truths, redhead sex, redhead parenting, ginger bullying, and more (laced between a few personal stories, a drinking game, and even a redhead-approved playlist).
Scroll through below for the top six things we learned from La Rosa’s book about being a redhead.
1. There are Six Kinds of Redheads (and They Are the Unsung Heroes of Pop Culture)
You remember Jessica Rabbit? How about Ron Weasley—or all the Wesleys for that matter? Redheads are all around us in pop culture and they usually have a range of six archetypes, according to La Rosa. These six types are the redheaded vixen, the comic-relief redhead, the lead ginge, the fiery redhead, the evil ginger, and the animated ginger. Think on it. You’re likely to find more examples of characters that fit the bill.
2. Red Hair Goes Gray Slower Than Other Hair Colors
Redheads haven’t exactly found the fountain of youth, but they’re close. According to La Rosa’s personal research, gray hairs often appear slightly lighter because of red hair’s lack of melanin. Because of this, the hair may appear blonde (which blends better with red hair to begin with) before turning gray completely.
3. Parenting a Redhead is a Little Different
La Rosa puts it best in her book, “As the parent of a redhead, there will be a few awkward moments and some things that are wildly out of your control, but in the end you still get to live your life as a parent of a unicorn.” Being the parent of a redhead is rare and therefore can be tricky. Strangers may stare or gawk at your child, it may be harder to find other parents of redheads, you’ll have to teach your child how to handle a lot of attention, and more.
4. Redheads Face Their Own Set of Microaggressions
Redheads, like many of us, get bullied for being different. But our crimson-haired friends also face a set of microaggressions you may never have realized. According to La Rosa, redheads often hear things like, “You’re pretty… for a redhead” or “You don’t look like a normal redhead.” But, La Rosa notes, that facing these kinds of comments can make redheads more resilient and tolerate people. This leads to further proof that redheads are amazing unique people we should all love and admire.
5. Redheaded Men are an Undervalued Gift
And La Rosa gives us seven scientific (observational) facts (strongly held beliefs) to back up her claim. These facts range from ginger beards making your heart speed up just by their natural color, the enticing rarity of redheaded man-ness, ugly-duckling syndrome (where redheaded men don’t realize how hot they are), and more.
6. The Sun is Still a Redhead’s Frenemy
Red hair and fair skin often go together, which can be a dangerous think in direct sunlight. Chances are, according to La Rosa, a redhead knows that sending too much (or any) time in the sun without protection can lead to major sunburn. So, she details several ways to protect against the UV rays like wearing a hat, adding UV film to your car windows, and downloading the UV meter app. These are some tips and tricks that even us “norms” (non-redheads) can use.
To learn more about the ups, downs, and in-betweens of being a redhead, pick up a copy of The Big Redhead Book, available here on Amazon.