Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought, “Oh my god, has my red hair faded? Why does it look so…un-ginger?”
Terror ensues, until you run outside and realise you are still ginger and that your lapse in judgment is thanks to bad artificial lighting. Phew.
Fellow redheads, if this has ever happened to you, you are not alone.
Some redheads are blessed: their ginger hair is a bright, copper-to-orange colour and always will be (till they fade to glorious silver), and their copper top blinds every set of eyes within a mile-radius if they step into direct sunlight.
Don’t get me wrong – I am definitely ginger. I have freckles, pale skin, low tolerance of heat, the lot; but I have been told that I’m “not that ginger”, and my heart sinks every time.
The truth is, like many redheads, my ginger hair has fluctuated to different reddish shades over the years, getting deeper and darker as my ink pot of ginger genes starts to run low.
But it seems I can’t win. When I was a child, I was teased endlessly for my hair colour and I wished I was platinum blonde or chocolate brunette. Now, I want to be as ginger as physically possible, and while it’s agreed that I’m still a redhead, I’m just “not that ginger”. What a kick in the teeth.
What am I supposed to do? Dye my hair a brighter ginger shade? Or embrace the fade? I feel like every reflective surface is another chance to double-check that my ginger hair is still there. The whole thing is ever so slightly stressful.
Instead of hitting the hair dye bottle there are less drastic ways to boost ginger shades. Cranberry juice, a (literally) carrot-topped hair mask, or Gingerful hair products containing natural henna all help sustain red hair shades.
So perhaps there’s hope for me yet. But the struggle is real. Having red hair is part of your identity. Heck, in some cases it is your identity.
I identify as a redhead, so that’s how I’m staying.