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Why is my beard red when my hair is dark?

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Christian Bale, Seth Rogan and Michael Fassbender. Not only are they part of Hollywood’s elite, but they also have something else in common. They all have red beards, but not red hair.

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HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 04: Michael Fassbender attends the premiere of 20th Century Fox’s “Dark Phoenix” at TCL Chinese Theatre on June 04, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

Hair color is inherited from parents, grandparents and beyond. And it has to do with a specific gene known as the MC1R gene.

This gene is responsible for turning red pigment into dark pigment. So, if a person inherits two of the MC1R gene–let’s say from their parents–they end up with dark hair and a dark beard. If they only inherit one MC1R gene, they will end up with dark hair and a red beard. 

Redheads only make up about 1 to 2% of the population. This is why it’s more common to see the dark hair/red beard combination than pure red heads.