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What’s the 2nd rarest hair colour?

What’s the 2nd rarest hair colour?

Hair color is determined by the amount and type of melanin pigment produced in hair follicles. Melanin comes in two types: eumelanin which produces brown and black hues, and pheomelanin which produces red and blonde hues. The combination and ratio of these melanins determines someone’s natural hair color.

Globally, brown and black hair colors are the most common, while red and blonde hair are rarer. But just how rare are the different natural hair colors? Let’s take a look at the worldwide distribution of hair colors from rarest to most common.

5 Rarest Hair Colors

5. Pure Blonde

Pure or platinum blonde hair is very rare globally, found naturally in less than 1% of the population. This hair is entirely devoid of eumelanin and consists solely of the pheomelanin pigment. Pure blonde hair is palest blonde shade possible and lacks the darker hues found in sandy or dirty blonde hair. It is most common in northern and eastern European populations.

4. Strawberry Blonde

Strawberry blonde hair occurs naturally in 1-2% of the population. It is characterized by a pale blonde hue with faint reddish tinges. The effect is created by a high ratio of pheomelanin to eumelanin pigments. Strawberry blonde shades range from light copper to dark blonde with a pinkish/peach tint. It is somewhat more common among northern and eastern Europeans.

3. Natural Red

Natural red hair without hair dye is very rare, occurring in 1-2% of the global population. True red hair results from a mutation in the MC1R gene that boosts pheomelanin production. The most intense shades result from two copies of this recessive gene. Natural red hair ranges from deep auburn through burgundy to bright copper. The highest concentrations are found in Scotland, Ireland and northern/eastern Europe.

2. White

Pure white or snow white hair is even rarer than blonde hair, occurring naturally in less than 1% of the human population. This hair is devoid of any pigment due to low or absent levels of melanin production. White hair results from a lack of melanin production and is most commonly associated with aging (grey hair), but some children are born with pure white hair. Other rarer causes include albinism and vitiligo.

The 2nd Rarest Hair Color: Violet

The rarest natural hair color in the world is violet or lavender. This unique hair color results from a complete absence of melanin production, combined with a light scattering effect from the hair’s structure. The light scattering produces a pale violet hue to white/grey hair in certain lighting.

Violet hair is only found in 1 person per 1000 people globally, occurring just 0.1% of the time in nature. It is most commonly seen as a result of aging, when white/grey hairs start scattering light. However, some children are born with a complete lack of melanin, resulting in violet hair from birth.

This hair color is quite different from bright or unnatural purple dyes. The violet is only visible in certain lighting, appearing silver, grey or white otherwise. It does not result from pigments, but rather an optical effect from the hair structure.

Scientifically, violet hair results from:

– Lack of melanin pigments (complete albino/grey hair)
– Light scattering through the translucent, colorless keratin strands
– Short wavelength blue light commonly scatters and reflects back as violet wavelengths

This produces a soft violet tinge to otherwise white/grey hairs. As we age and melanin production drops, more hairs become translucent and prone to this scattering effect. But for the very rare few, a complete lack of melanin from birth results in violet hair hues.

Causes of Natural Violet Hair

Here are the main causes of this extremely rare hair color:

Albinism – Genetic disorder causing lack of melanin production from birth. Albino hair appears violet/lavender when light scatters.

Vitiligo – Autoimmune disease destroying melanin producing cells. May cause violet hair if pigment cells in scalp are targeted.

Aging and Greying – Melanin production decreases with age, gradually producing translucent white hairs. As more hairs become clear, violet tinges become visible.

Inherited Lack of Melanin – Some children are simply born with melanin deficits, usually becoming blonder with age. In rare cases, no melanin leads to violet hair.

Chemotherapy – Cancer treatments destroy melanin producing cells. Regrowth of translucent hairs can temporarily appear violet.

So in summary, violet hair requires a complete lack of melanin combined with short wavelength light scattering. It’s an optical effect from clear hairs, not actual pigment. This perfect combination of factors is exquisitely rare worldwide.

Populations with Violet Hair

Given its rarity, violet hair can arise in any population where albinism or aging occurs. However, it remains most commonly reported in:

– Northern Europeans – Especially common in Germanic and Slavic ancestry. Albinism arises more here.

– Western Europeans – Particularly Britain and France. Prevalence of vitiligo higher.

– Asia – Cases of violet hair recorded in China, Japan and India. Mainly from albinism.

– Africa – Albinism in sub-Saharan African populations can produce violet hair.

– United States – Melting pot population includes cases of lavender hair.

So while globally rare, violet hair has been observed on all continents. Prevalence of albinism and vitiligo contributes most to its occurrence. But scattered cases arise from inherited melanin deficits as well.

Comparison to Other Hair Colors

To demonstrate just how rare violet hair is, let’s compare its frequency to other natural hair colors:

Hair Color Global Population %
Black 45%
Brown 30%
Blonde 15%
Red 1-2%
Violet 0.1%

As shown, violet hair occurs in just 1 out of every 1000 people, while black hair dominates at 45% of the global population. The chances of having violet hair are astronomically low compared to common colors.

Spotting Natural Violet Hair

It can be challenging to distinguish truly natural violet hair from hair dyed purplish colors. Here are some tips:

– Examine base and roots – Dyed hair often shows a different shade near scalp. Natural violet is uniform from root to tip.

– Check for strand variation – Dyed hair is typically flat colored. Natural violet varies between strands as melanin levels differ.

– Assess opacity – Dyed purple hair has an artificial opaque effect. Natural violet is translucent and shines through when backlit.

– Look for gradation – Natural violet is often concentrated on lighter hair around the face that scatters light best. The color gradually decreases further back on the head.

– Consider age and ethnicity – Violet most commonly arises in elderly northern Europeans, albinos, and those with vitiligo.

So in summary, look for subtle variations in shade on translucent, backlit hairs concentrated near the face and lighter hair. This points to rare natural violet hair as opposed to bold, uniform purple dyes. Consult a colorist if confirmation needed.

Caring for Violet Hair

As a complete absence of melanin, violet hair is the most fragile hair type requiring special care:

– Use gentle, melanin-free shampoos – Harsher formulas can damage and dull the hairs.

– Apply rich conditioning treatments – Important for adding moisture and shine back.

– Protect from UV light – Melanin absorbs UV rays naturally. Its absence means hair needs covering and UV filtering products.

– Avoid heat styling tools – Heat weakens the strands and accelerates fading of violet tones.

– Handle gently when wet – Wet hair without pigment is prone to tangling and breakage if mishandled.

– Add temporary purple toners – These can enhance the violet effects as hairs start to go more white.

So nourish those precious hairs gently while safeguarding their violet beauty! Let the hair shine in its rare glory.

Enhancing Natural Violet Hues

If looking to emphasize the natural violet tones, try:

– Optimal lighting – Position in bright environments where blue light will scatter best. Open shade is ideal.

– Backlighting – Create a backlit effect so light shines through the translucent hairs, boosting violet.

– Cool products – Shampoos and conditioners that add cool, bluish undertones helpaccentuate the violet.

– Purple styling – Weave in subtle purple ribbons, hair clips etc. to complement the violet shades.

– Gloss treatments – semi-permanent clear glosses with violet pigments deposit more cool tones.

So while violet hair needs gentle care, the right lighting and styling can magnify its beautiful sheen!


In conclusion, violet is the world’s 2nd rarest natural hair color, occurring in just 0.1% of people globally. This unique hue results from a complete lack of melanin combined with light scattering through translucent hair shafts. While most common in elderly and albino populations, cases appear worldwide. Distinguishing natural violet hair from dyed purple requires checking for subtle variations in shade on fragile, translucent hairs. With proper care to nourish strands and enhance violet tones, this exceptionally rare hair color can shine in its ethereal glory. So embrace violet hair as the jewel it is!