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Are strawberry blondes redheads?

Are strawberry blondes redheads?

Whether strawberry blondes are considered redheads is a complex question with no clear-cut answer. Strawberry blonde hair is often described as a blend of blonde and red hair, featuring golden and reddish tones. While strawberry blondes do have some red pigment in their hair, there is debate over whether they fully qualify as redheads who have a high concentration of the red pigment pheomelanin.

What is Strawberry Blonde Hair?

Strawberry blonde hair is often considered a mixture of blonde and red shades. It overlaps with two other similar hair colors:

  • Red blonde hair that is predominantly blonde with some red highlights mixed in.
  • Light auburn hair that is mostly reddish-brown with some golden blonde pieces.

However, classic strawberry blonde hair is defined as a golden blonde base with occasional reddish-orange hues interspersed throughout. The red tones are most noticeable in sunlight, while the hair can appear more blonde or light brown indoors. The ideal strawberry blonde color results from around a 50/50 blend of red and blonde hair pigment.

This distinguishing strawberry blonde color is produced by a specific combination of the melanin pigments in hair:

  • Pheomelanin: This red/orange pigment occurs in higher concentrations in red hair.
  • Eumelanin: This dark brown pigment is found in high levels in brunette and black hair.
  • Low melanin: Blonde hair has low levels of both eumelanin and pheomelanin.

Strawberry blonde hair has moderate amounts of pheomelanin mixed with low levels of eumelanin. This combination results in the golden base with occasional red highlight color that characterizes strawberry blondeness.

Are Strawberry Blondes Considered Redheads?

There is some disagreement over whether strawberry blondes should be classified as redheads or as a unique hair color.

On one side, some people argue that strawberry blondes do technically have enough red pigment to qualify as redheads. Though they have less pheomelanin than fiery redheads, their ratio of eumelanin to pheomelanin is similar to many redheads.

However, others contend that strawberry blondes lack the intensity of red and saturation of pheomelanin to be true redheads. Their hair color is distinctly different, with more golden blonde than deep red hues.

Overall, most experts and organizations define red hair as shades from light copper to deep auburn. This excludes strawberry blondes, which fall more under blonde classification with reddish highlights. A few main factors set strawberry blondes apart from redheads:

Redheads Strawberry Blondes
– Hair is more saturated with red pigment – Red tones are intermittent and highlights
– Often have very light skin and freckles – Usually have fair skin, but not extremely pale
– frequently have blue or green eyes – Eye color varies, often light brown
– Red tones are natural rather than dyed – Color is natural, not dyed

A key difference is that redheads have a natural, all-over saturation of red hair pigment. In contrast, strawberry blondes have a primary golden base with red only appearing sparsely as highlights and lowlights. The overall impression is blonde hair with a reddish tint, not genuinely red hair.

What Causes Strawberry Blonde Hair?

The distinctive strawberry blonde hair color is determined primarily by genetics. Specifically, it is influenced by two key genes:

  • MC1R: Controls production of pheomelanin. Variants increase red pigment production.
  • OCA2: Involved in melanin synthesis. Variants result in less eumelanin pigment.

Certain versions of these genes can produce strawberry blondeness when inherited together. The OCA2 alleles lower the ratio of brown-black eumelanin. Simultaneously, MC1R alleles boost levels of red pheomelanin without reaching full redhead concentrations.

This genetic combination results in hair with a blonde base and pheomelanin-driven reddish hues. This strawberry blondeness often occurs in people of Northwest European descent, since these variants are most common in those populations.

The exact genes involved are not fully characterized, though. Other genetic and environmental factors also help determine final hair color, so not everyone with these alleles ends up with strawberry hair.

What is The Rarest Hair Color?

Natural red hair is the rarest hair color. Only 1-2% of the global population has natural red hair. Within that, true strawberry blonde hair makes up a relatively small proportion.

Pure blonde hair is similarly uncommon at around 2% of people. That makes strawberry blonde hair, as a blend of blonde and red, exceptionally rare.

The strawberry blonde combination of genetic traits occurs infrequently in the population. Requirements like low eumelanin and enough but not too much pheomelanin make the probability of this specific coloring very low.

Additionally, strawberry blonde hair is challenging to achieve artificially. The particular balance of blondeness and sparse redness is hard to duplicate via dyes. This makes natural strawberry blondeness stand out as one of the rarest hair types.

How To Care for Strawberry Blonde Hair

Proper care is required to keep strawberry blonde hair looking its best. The mixed nature of this hair color makes it susceptible to certain issues:

  • Fading – The red tones tend to fade faster than the blonde base.
  • Brassiness – Underlying warm tones can become brassy without sufficient conditioning.
  • Dryness – The blonde base is prone to dryness and damage.

Here are some tips for maintaining vibrant, healthy strawberry blonde hair:

  • Use purple shampoo to reduce brassiness in blonde.
  • Apply hair masks to hydrate and nourish hair.
  • Protect hair from sun exposure to prevent fading.
  • Get occasional gloss treatments to boost red tones.
  • Use heat protectant when heat styling to limit damage.
  • Get regular trims to keep splits at bay.

With proper care focused on enhancing vibrancy and hydration, strawberry blonde hair can look its best.

Famous Strawberry Blondes

Many celebrities naturally have or have dyed their hair to achieve shades of strawberry blonde hair. Some well-known examples include:

  • Nicole Kidman
  • Julianne Moore
  • Amy Adams
  • Isla Fisher
  • Ellie Kemper
  • Julia Roberts
  • Sienna Miller

These strawberry blonde celebrities help set beauty and fashion trends for the hair color. Their popularity reflects how eye-catching and glamorous properly maintained strawberry blonde hair can look.


While strawberry blonde hair features some red tones, it is generally considered distinct from true red hair. The golden blonde base with sparse red highlights sets it apart on the spectrum of natural hair colors. Though rarer than red or blonde hair alone, strawberry blondeness arises from a particular genetic combination resulting in this multi-faceted hair coloring. With proper care focused on nourishment and vibrancy, strawberry blonde hair can be healthy, shiny, and beautiful.