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View Full Version : Natural redheads, has your hair dulled/darkened with age?



Anje
March 3rd, 2009, 03:49 PM
I'm curious, because I'm pretty sure I've observed this phenomenon in myself and a few others.

As I understand it, from a eumelanin perspective, a redhead is a very light blond, and as more eumelanin is added, the red shifts auburn, then to warm chestnuts and chocolates before hitting black. Then we have a liberal helping of phaeomelanin which gives the red.

So I'm wondering if, just like many folks who are blond as children darken to dark blond or even a full-on brown, do you also have an increase in eumelanin with age that has darkened your red?

(Here, I'm not dealing with the seasonal changes in red... There's another poll for that.)

Red Rapunzel
March 3rd, 2009, 04:12 PM
Dear Anje,

As a naturally red-headed sexagenarian, I feel qualified to answer your question about red hair darkening with age: My own experience indicates the answer is a resounding "no!" My own red hair has become much lighter as I get older even though I almost never go out in the sun. That is also the experience of my red-headed aunt who became quite a strawberry blonde in her later years. The tendency, I think, is for red hair to lighten with age and then finally become a different kind of grey - a creamier, blonder type of grey than most end up with.

Anje
March 3rd, 2009, 04:15 PM
Interesting. I've heard that redheads gray by turning "buff" for a while first. I'm not sure I'll be one of them. My dozen or two grays seem to be sparkly white.

invisiblebabe
March 3rd, 2009, 04:20 PM
Is there a cheese option? :D

I'm not a natural redhead, but I wish I were!

SimplyLonghair
March 3rd, 2009, 04:51 PM
I was strawberry blonde as a child and went to a slightly darker red as I have gotten older, but my sister who was auburn, just went brown loosing all of her red. Many in my family get sandy as they get older, but many go more auburn or brown. I have alot of redheads in my family. Of the cousins and there are 14, 11 of them are redheaded. We are Scotch Irish and Cherokee mix. :shrug:

ratgirldjh
March 3rd, 2009, 05:42 PM
my best friend has waist length red hair and i've known her for over 20 years.

her hair used to be much richer red - now she has silver hairs mixed with the red and it looks more strawberry blonde.

Wavelength
March 3rd, 2009, 06:36 PM
I was a bright strawberry blonde as a little girl. My hair darkened slowly over the years. By the time I was in high school I was more of a light auburn (but still had a lot of red). By the time I graduated university, you couldn't see the red unless I was in bright sunlight.

So yes, in my case the red went darker over time. My grandmother was a redhead who remained so until she went grey, but my mother was a brunette and so was my father. I have a cousin on my mother's side who was like me, started off a redhead but now she's a brunette. She likes her hair better now though, because her siblings used to tease her as a child about being the "adopted redhead".

Riverboat Red
March 3rd, 2009, 06:43 PM
Hi there! I'm an old-timer delurking to answer. :-) Yes, my naturally red hair is darkening with age (quite a lot, actually, when I looked at some old LHC pics I posted back in 2002), and like you said, my gray hairs are particularly sparkly.

freznow
March 3rd, 2009, 06:44 PM
My mom's red hair has certainly dulled with age. She was definitely completely red before, now it looks almost brown (with silvers mixed in.)

Sam-I-Am
March 3rd, 2009, 06:53 PM
I am only 26, but my hair has pretty much been the same color since the day I was born. It has darkened a bit since coming to LHC, but I think that is because it is consistently moisturized versus when I was a kid, it was always dry and frizzy, which made it look more coppery.

burns_erin
March 4th, 2009, 07:10 AM
My hair is not naturally entirely red, plus I have quite a bit of grey so I henna so it is hard to tell, so the henna answer is what I picked.. But I think, overall my hair has lighteded. Not just the red, but also the brunette.

patissegrietje
March 4th, 2009, 07:33 AM
My colour is a little mousier than it used to be i think, or maybe just darker.
I don't really know since my hair always looks brighter in pictures, so i guess it looks brighter in childhood pictures as well. (unless... it's a digital camera thing)
Anyway, i voted for darker because my hair is sometimes mistaken for 'brown'

rockkcor
March 4th, 2009, 09:45 AM
turning from coal black to red brown with the age

shayly-fyanna
March 4th, 2009, 11:14 PM
Definetely darkened. i used to be a light coppery red until about 2 years ago when it started to darken into a dark copper with blonde, cinnamon and dark red. but perhaps that is simply because i spend alot less time outside than i used to. so i have started using henna to keep the color even all year and for the benefits it offers.

HeavyHenry
March 5th, 2009, 01:38 AM
Still red if you can classify me as red according to most neds I am lol but then again ive got a sensitive scalp common in redheads I understand.

Magrat
March 5th, 2009, 02:39 AM
I voted both that I'm unsure but think so and that I've reached for help with henna.

I have a lot of grey (white) hairs and most of them are showing around my face, which lightens it and makes it rather boring (IMO). Some of them add to a lightening/dulling of the rest of the hair as well, but that's more subtle.
Now, my hair has never been bright red, but it's a sort of light auburn (I think is the right term) with a reddish tone. Recently, I would say the red is diminished even if taking the white out of the equation, but it's difficult to be really sure. I would not consider my hair darker or lighter than it was 20 years ago really, just that the red is duller.

So, four days ago I reached for henna (for the first time in eight or ten years). :p

MerryKat
March 5th, 2009, 03:48 AM
I was a medium auburn as a child which darkened to a deep auburn in my teenage years. With both of my pregnancies I 'lost' more of the red till my hair was a flat brown colour. As a result I use henna to get back to what I consider my natural colour.

My whites are bright white and I am starting to reduce the mix of my henna / cassia to give me a softer copper which I will gradually blend to cassia with a hint of henna as the white takes over.

bowie
March 5th, 2009, 04:14 AM
Yep, my hair has dulled a bit. I have used different types of henna and/or cassia to gloss it up. I have also used Natural Instincts to gloss it up as well. Although, right now, I have had nothing done to my hair since December and it looks pretty great. Shiny. Healthy. Red with strawberry blond and caramel mixed through. Usually I have to run some kind of gloss through it 2x per year to liven things up.

Cerenia
March 5th, 2009, 12:40 PM
I'm still too young to say something about my hair, but my mother also had red hair, which became more and more blond over the years.
I think it's quite comfortable, because you don't have to dye your hair and it doesn't look grey or white.

neon-dream
March 6th, 2009, 05:18 PM
Im probably brighter than I was when I was younger. But I'm only 19 :)
I love my hair colour ^_^

kwaniesiam
March 6th, 2009, 06:01 PM
Interesting question, though I myself am a hennahead though my favorite teacher ever had the brightest natural red hair I had ever seen. It was a true light ginger orange, he was only in his early 30's but this has been an interesting thread so far so I'd be curious if such hair changes over age. It was certainly bright though :shrug:

LutraLutra
March 8th, 2009, 08:44 AM
I was born with bright copper hair that darkened to a warm auburn in my early teens. Now that I'm growing my hair and not dying it, I can see that (apart from the greys) my hair is much lighter and more coppery than I remembered. It's also almost strawberry blonde at the ends with really dark auburn roots. Edit - I think I voted in the wrong section, I meant "maybe, I'm not sure". Doh.

NenNa
March 13th, 2009, 02:27 PM
My hair is getting lighter and duller in color. There are also a few white ones. The difference between the ends, wich are rather dark red and the "rusty" looking roots is very noticable. I've however chosen not to dye it.

Quahatundightu
March 13th, 2009, 02:39 PM
Mine used to be quite orange as a kid, I couldn't wear red because it clashed! But as I got older it became a very slightly deeper red. :) Well I'm still not sure if red clothes look any good on me, but oh well :P

Jim
March 13th, 2009, 02:45 PM
Mine has definitely lightened as I have aged. I wouldn't say it has dulled, just that it is going more towards strawberry blonde than a deeper red. Of course, of late it is going more grey which I am combating. Better living through chemistry!

Jim

Islandgrrl
March 13th, 2009, 03:39 PM
My hair has darkened quite a bit, but I think it's really because of the sun. My hair was much, much lighter when I lived in So. Cal. Since moving to the Pacific Northwest, it's probably not really darker, just not sun lightened.

I cheat. I henna the gray stuff.

Twitter
March 14th, 2009, 02:54 PM
When I was really little my hair was bright orange. Then as I got older it turned more blonde, then to a brownish red that looks auburn in the sun. Since I had my son it has turned darker. I do henna glosses to get brighten it.

A theory I have about redheads. It seems that those with bright "carrot" or orange-red hair turn to "buff" as they get older, but darker reds or auburn turn darker. For example, my aunt had very bright red that is lightening as she ages and my mom had more auburn that has turned brown.

PrincessColene
March 22nd, 2009, 02:59 PM
Well my nick-name as a child was, in fact, Carrot top, but in the last few years it has deepened a bit. I also think it is simply not seeing as much sun as it used to.

Igor
March 22nd, 2009, 06:34 PM
Mine has darkened and grown red with age (Or better treatment) I used to be a classic honey blonde but since I started growing it out at around 20 of age and treating it right, I have definitely become a redhead

ReddishRocks
March 22nd, 2009, 06:42 PM
Mine has fluctuated through my life... I have a pretty good series of pics on my blog of the last 10 years, but this is a photo of me as a wee tyke of two years:

http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x143/ReddishRocks/Oct82.jpg

Very similar color to what I still have... maybe I've got more red now...

When my grandparents came to my wedding, it had been a few years since they'd last seen me. They remarked that they thought my hair had gotten darker. I think my hair was its brightest red when I was in my teens. :)

IndigoInk
March 22nd, 2009, 07:35 PM
My hair is weird. When I was born I was bald with just a little peach fuzz. By the time I was two I had fine wispy bright red curls. When I was four I had thick, wavy blond hair. It stayed that way until about 16 when it started to darken. I started dying it after high school but blond was too much maintenance so I went auburn. I haven't dyed my hair since before I got pregnant and my daughter is now seven years old. LOL. I have always had red in my hair, in the sun it is very very obvious.

Irishred
August 6th, 2009, 10:21 AM
My hair has darkened over the years. This is true with all in my family that have red hair. My dad was a red head as a kid but I only knew him with brown hair (34 when I was born). My 2 brothers with red hair still have more red but there edges are very dark brown. My sister is a dark auburn and uses henna so I cannot be positive but I am pretty sure she is darker than she used to be... henna to redden. Me, well, I know I am not a bright red as I used to be. Then again, where I am getting white hair (we don't grey, we white in my family - grandmother was red and went snow white... I can hope) I almost look like I have strawberry blonde highlights.

Mostly genetics determine all this.

MandaMom2Three
August 6th, 2009, 11:28 AM
I used to have auburn hair but the red lightened to the point where it disappeared completely :( Thankfully there's henna :D

CherrySilver
August 6th, 2009, 12:22 PM
Well, it's not as vibrant as it was when I was a kid, but it's still definitely golden red! My hair got slightly darker as I got older and after I had my kids. Just a few golden blonde/whitish hairs coming in at the hairline.

The only thing I've done to it to boost the highlights a wee bit was the honey thing, along with a little cinnamon mixed in with conditioner. Still has very good shine with all the treatments I do (ACV, oils, shea, etc.).

McKanna91
August 10th, 2009, 01:23 PM
My hair was a light coppery shade when I was little, but has since darkened to a more intense red. I guess it could be called light auburn. All the different shades of red kind of confuse me, lol.

My dad and aunt both had very red hair, but in their mid-'50s it started to lighten. My dad's has faded to a light, mousy brown color and my aunt, who is a few years younger, now has sandy, strawberry blonde hair.

berr
August 10th, 2009, 02:02 PM
oh i despise the mouse on this laptop. 3rd try


I have 30 yr difference photo in my album. my hair is duller and lacks some of the shine. my bangs have gone to skunk stripes of buff and white.

I've actually got a length pic from 30 yrs ago that i never posted because I'm making a gesture with my middle digit. :p

GlassEyes
August 10th, 2009, 02:26 PM
We are Scotch Irish and Cherokee mix. :shrug:

That's an interesting drink. :)

Yes, this was on the first page, and no, I have nothing to add to this thread whatsoever (little red I have is hair dye and henna), but this made me giggle.

Kiraela
August 11th, 2009, 02:54 PM
I'm not much of a redhead, but boy, my mom is. Her hair definately darkened with age. She's now more of a dark auburn/brown. When she was my age, her hair was 'violently carrot colored'. Her grays give it more of a Cajun seasoning, salt and (red) pepper look, haha. I can remember just a decade ago, when I first started taking riding lessons, she matched the chestnut Saddlebred I rode almost 100% perfectly, so it has really only darkened over the last several years. Then again, after my brother died, she stopped covering her grays, so that may have something to do with it...

lindaton
August 11th, 2009, 08:48 PM
My red hair didnt really get dull but did get lighter. Maybe it was just all the gray. My Dad kept asking me over the course of a couple years if I was sick or if I didnt feel good. Finally I realized it was time to for me to color. I will be posting pics [when I figure out how to] that span over a 27 yr period of my hair journey soon.

Linda

angelic
August 11th, 2009, 08:56 PM
My hair colour has stayed the same throughout my life so far. I don't think my hair wsa lighter when I was born, I just had less of it so it appeared to be lighter, lol! My eyebrows have darkened somewhat with age, but the hair on my head has stayed the same.

Aer
August 11th, 2009, 09:35 PM
I couldn't decide if I should vote for the hair darkening as I got older option or brightening it with henna option. I voted for the darkening as I got older because it isn't red-red anymore since I've had a child for some reason, it is auburn now, and sometimes I very lightly gloss it with henna when I want something different plus henna is really good for my hair. I actually like my hair more now that it's darkened. When it was really red, like when I was a kid and a teen, it sometimes clashed with dark eyes, and for some reason I got a lot of questions. like if that was my natural color, even when I was eight years old! Some girl in highschool told me that it was impossible for my to have natural red hair and brown eyes, that you had to have green or blue eyes to for it to possibly be natural. I guess if thats true, and that I doubt, then I'm a modern science mystery or marvel. I have Scotch Irish, Welsh, Crow, Cherokee, Jewish, and Irish heritage maybe thats why my coloring is different.

klcqtee
August 11th, 2009, 09:58 PM
My hair went from golden brown, when I was young, to a mustard flavoured auburn (It sounds a little icky...which it is). Henna makes it beautiful though, so I'm pretty happy.

ChrissieM
August 12th, 2009, 02:44 PM
My aunt and I have the same kind of red hair...it was a richer strawberry blond when younger, then darkened into more of a light brownish red when older (after teen years). I've been taking steps to preserve the copper. I chemically dyed my hair for years, now I've switched to henna/cassia. My aunt has let hers continue to darken though, and it is now auburn brown with about 25% gray when I last saw her. The grays are silver/white. I like the idea of a buff/warmer gray, and I hope that's what I'll get, but I'll take whatever comes.

mktmgt
June 2nd, 2010, 06:18 PM
Mine has actually stayed the same. :o

Milui Elenath
June 4th, 2010, 04:12 AM
My hair is . . . unstable. It began red and went through various colour changes during childhood and teens before becoming auburn as an adult but as I get older, (minus the greys) it is getting darker. My hair has never been this dark before and its not just losing red. I voted for both getting darker and henna'ing though I tend to do roots only.

MonaMayfair
June 4th, 2010, 08:51 AM
My red hair is due to henna! But my mother and aunt had red hair which was very bright when they were young. By the time I was born (when my mother was 47) their hair had darkened to brownish red and they dyed it to make it redder.

strwbrry dakri
June 4th, 2010, 04:46 PM
I was a copper top when I was small, then dulled down somewhat - still red, but more subtle. In my 30's I really dulled down, and now color is my best friend! I'd love to try henna, but I'm a big chicken. The work setting won't tolerate any off beat colors, and I don't know how it will turn out. I know. Strand test. Patience is not one of my virtues!

Alex Lou
September 21st, 2010, 09:43 PM
There are definitely two separate sets of genes at work here. My dad does not have red hair, but was blond as a child. His hair darkened to a very dark brown as he grew up. My mother is a red-head. She was born with bright red hair and it stayed bright red until it started turning white.

Now me and my brother were both pale blonds as very young children. But, I inherited a recessive gene for red hair from each of my parents and have red hair, while my brother inherited only one red-head gene from my mother, and does not have red hair. So when I was about 5, my hair started show a bit of orange. I was a strawberry blond. At age 10, my hair was bright orange, while my brother's was dark blond. In adolescence, his hair achieved a medium mouse brown, while mine darkened to a bright auburn.

Since then my hair has only darkened a shade or so, probably from less sun exposure.


And for those wondering about what happens when red turns to white: my mother's hair quite a beautiful apricot blond in the process of turning white.

Alex Lou
September 21st, 2010, 09:58 PM
Wasn't sure that anyone would know what I meant by "bright auburn", so here's a pic:
http://i339.photobucket.com/albums/n461/julieandcandy/1.jpg

I'm holding up hair that I chopped off almost 10 years ago. It was slightly lighter. And my current is slightly hennaed (henna is permanent!? :wail:)

akuamoonmaui
September 22nd, 2010, 08:51 PM
Some girl in highschool told me that it was impossible for my to have natural red hair and brown eyes, that you had to have green or blue eyes to for it to possibly be natural. I guess if thats true, and that I doubt, then I'm a modern science mystery or marvel.

You and me both! I take it she wasn't in the chess club....:doh:


My hair was much more ginger when I was younger. Any new growth has a lot of brown/topaz in it, but once it gets lightened by the sun or a little help, the ginger comes out.

emeraldfaery
September 22nd, 2010, 08:52 PM
I didn't vote cause there isn't really a category for mine. I started out very blond, but after my various hair cuts the blond was cut away and now it's more of a reddish hue. Especially in the sun. I would call it dark auburn, I guess. That's fine with me though cause I've always wanted red hair....even if it's only a little red. :D

Alex Lou
September 22nd, 2010, 11:47 PM
I didn't vote cause there isn't really a category for mine. I started out very blond, but after my various hair cuts the blond was cut away and now it's more of a reddish hue. Especially in the sun. I would call it dark auburn, I guess. That's fine with me though cause I've always wanted red hair....even if it's only a little red. :D

I know what you're talking about. Some dark blonds end up with a orange cast and look like a dulled redhead. The color is almost exactly between blond, brown, and red.

selenechiba
September 26th, 2010, 12:43 PM
Now, I'm not a red-head (hope you don't mind my interjection), but my father is: he's 55, and his his hair has turned completely blond... no hint of red left. He keeps the length around mid-back, so it was always a brilliant "crowing glory". Still pretty now, but not as striking.

selenechiba
September 26th, 2010, 12:45 PM
Err... *"crowning glory". :oops:

tinti
September 28th, 2010, 07:32 AM
Yes! :( I started out copper blonde, and now I'm ... what? I don't know. Dark haired at least! And the red is almost gone :(

Fractalsofhair
September 29th, 2010, 11:08 AM
I was very bright red haired as an infant, but it quickly went to light blond, which has slowly darkened a little bit to a medium to light blond.

chellis
October 29th, 2013, 01:54 PM
Now, I'm not a red-head (hope you don't mind my interjection), but my father is: he's 55, and his his hair has turned completely blond... no hint of red left. He keeps the length around mid-back, so it was always a brilliant "crowing glory". Still pretty now, but not as striking.

That's me! apart from the white (about 30%), my hair is about a 7.5N. I am 50.
Good on your father for his long hair! It's lovely on men.

shadow609
October 29th, 2013, 03:19 PM
I have definately gone sandy red but my dad and i both had hair the color of a new copper penny. My mom is ashy blond going grey and my dad went silver not white. Also i have hazel green eyes and my dad has brown eyes. He's Cherokee Irish (3/4 cherokee at that and doesn't burn in the summer, I do :( ) With any luck i'll go silver like my dad and not dull grey like my mom.

browneyedsusan
October 30th, 2013, 05:38 AM
My red went away in my 20's. I'm ash brown and gray now. I have a friend whose red hair did the same thing; turned brown after childbirth. I don't have any natural red, but henna boosts my spirits immensely! :)

emilia1992
October 30th, 2013, 05:44 AM
I'm not a redhead, but I did read something on the actor Chris Rankin's twitter feed (he's a natural redhead, the one who played Percy Weasley in the Harry Potter movies). He said that for the last two films, his hair was dyed redder as it had become darker over time. The films took ten years to film; he was around 17 when he started. That seems very fast!

RedNymph
October 30th, 2013, 11:24 PM
I had very bright red hair as a child. Now at 19 my hair is more auburn. The red still there just not as bright.

truepeacenik
November 6th, 2013, 10:21 AM
Zombies in the thread!

I'm 45.
Did I just admit that?

While I did dabble with glossing, my hair is 98 percent original.
And 2-3 percent silver. Or monofilament/ fishing line.

In sun or under lights, it's the same hue. It is one level of tint lighter.

Diamond.Eyes
November 16th, 2013, 11:07 AM
My father is of Norwegian descent and started with true ginger red hair. He is now in his mid-forties and his hair is a nice auburn color that still contains a great amount of red pigment.

My grandfather, who is of Irish descent, had his ginger-red color his entire life until his early sixties then it started fading to a light strawberry blonde (as apposed to greying) which he still has at the age of 86.

DBF is from Ireland and had strawberry blonde hair as a child, which turned into a nice medium shade of auburn during his teenage years. His beard is fire-red though :p.

My hair color has stayed pretty similar to the red color I had as a child, it definitely isn't as red as when I was a baby, but it is definitely a very pigmented red. If anything it has gotten a tiny bit lighter, which I am okay with :D.

xoam0re
November 21st, 2013, 12:46 PM
My hair color has stayed pretty similar to the red color I had as a child, it definitely isn't as red as when I was a baby, but it is definitely a very pigmented red. If anything it has gotten a tiny bit lighter, which I am okay with :D.

your hair is BEAUTIFUL. such a beautiful, beautiful red.

RedSonja
November 23rd, 2013, 04:01 PM
When i was younger my hair color was auburn. Then it became medium brown. Iīve noticed many years later, when my hair grew longer (hip/tailbone), that the ends, starting from bra length became auburn again and the very ends some ginger but it may be because of sun burnin? :/

ETA: Wow, thatīs true, you and your hair are very beautiful!

Kelikea
November 23rd, 2013, 04:10 PM
My aunt has naturally red hair. She is in her late 60s and it did not darken, it got lighter/blonder, and she now looks strawberry blonde instead of grey.

Ruzovy
November 26th, 2013, 01:19 PM
My father is of Norwegian descent and started with true ginger red hair. He is now in his mid-forties and his hair is a nice auburn color that still contains a great amount of red pigment.

My grandfather, who is of Irish descent, had his ginger-red color his entire life until his early sixties then it started fading to a light strawberry blonde (as apposed to greying) which he still has at the age of 86.

DBF is from Ireland and had strawberry blonde hair as a child, which turned into a nice medium shade of auburn during his teenage years. His beard is fire-red though :p.

My hair color has stayed pretty similar to the red color I had as a child, it definitely isn't as red as when I was a baby, but it is definitely a very pigmented red. If anything it has gotten a tiny bit lighter, which I am okay with :D.

Oh my GOD I'm not even a real redhead but I just had to comment on your hair. It's hands down the most beautiful hair I have EVER seen!!! So long, wavy and so beautifully RED!!! I don't mean to sound creepy but I could stare at it all day it's so so pretty!!! :O

evalina
February 16th, 2014, 10:37 AM
Digging out this poll.
My red seems to fade over time, gets almost blonde in summer. Really sad bc now that I actually love my hair colour.

MissBubble
February 16th, 2014, 01:55 PM
My mother was ginger red till her teen years, around 15, then it started changing. At 30 she was a strawberry blonde which still remains with the addition of some grey.
I was born more copper than red, but it was only for 3-4 years. I ended up an ashy light brunette, or dark blonde without any warm undertone in it.