• Question: My hair is blonde, my mum, dad and grandparent’s hair colours are all dark, bar my Grandads whose hair was once blonde, but it naturally changed to a darker colour. Would the blonde hair in his earlier life mean that my hair is this way?

    Asked by anon-248492 to Zoya, Tom, Stacey, Laura, James, Connor on 14 Mar 2020.
    • Photo: Zoya

      Zoya answered on 14 Mar 2020:

      Hair color is determined by the amount of a pigment called melanin in hair.

      The type and amount of melanin in hair is determined by many genes, the best-studied hair-color gene in humans is called MC1R.

      An abundance of one type of melanin, called eumelanin, gives people black or brown hair. An abundance of another pigment, called pheomelanin, gives people red hair.

      Hair color is determined by three factors having to do with pigments: how much pigment is present, to what degree a eumelanin or phenomelanin is present and how close together the melanin granules are.

      Hair color may change over time. Particularly in people of European descent, light hair color may darken as individuals grow older.

    • Photo: James Lees

      James Lees answered on 15 Mar 2020:

      From my limited understanding passing on things like hair colour is not always so cut and dry as one parent/grandparent was like this so now I will be too.

      However the blondness had to come from somewhere and if somebody in your family tree was blonde at one point it might well have been them.