Ranked: Different Hair Colors


The Fischer-Saller Scale classifies human hair color into 24 shades, ranging from very light to red. These classifications are determined by the amount of two pigments: eumelanin (brown) and phaeomelanin (red). A study published in Forensic Science Communications explains that the scale is the accepted international standard. [1]

The most common hair color varies worldwide, with some countries (e.g., Sweden) having a high percentage of blond-haired people, while other countries (e.g., Nigeria and India) have more dark-haired individuals.

Different Hair Colors in the World

World Wide Percentages of Different Hair Colors

Hair Color Percentage of Population
Black 85%
Brown 11%
Blonde 2%
Red 1%
Grey/White 1%

Source: [2]

1. Black and Brown

Black haired woman with voluminous

Shade Range (Brown): Walnut Brown, Dark Brown, Dark Chestnut Brown, Lightest Brown, Deepest Brunette, Milk Chocolate Brown, and Maple Brown

Shade Range (Black): Raven Black, Jet Black, Deepest Brunette, and Soft Black

According to the US National Library of Genetics, the most common hair colors are black and brown on the global scale; around 90 percent of the world’s population have them (collectively). [3]

Black to dark brown hair colors are prevalent worldwide; they are the most common in Africa and Asia. In the United States, however, only 7.5% of women have black hair. [4]

It can be difficult to distinguish between shades of black hair pigment without bright light, as some shades of natural black color appear bluish or iridescent.

Under bright light, other shades of black may appear warmer or slightly reddish. People with naturally black hair do not need to use chemical treatments to achieve full, thick hair. Black hair color is naturally associated with a higher hair density, which means less hair is needed to attain fullness.

On the other hand, the brown hair category includes a wide variety of shades, from very dark to light brown, depending on the amounts of eumelanin and pheomelanin pigments in the hair.

The majority of people with brown hair have medium-thick strands, but very few have fine or coarse strands. The average circumference of these strands is about that of a single thread, and as such, most will appear to have normal thickness and fullness.

2. Blonde

Beautiful young woman with long healthy hair

Shade Range: Honey Blond, Ash-blond, Dirty Blond, Golden Blond, Strawberry Blond, and Platinum Blond

Blonde hair is relatively rare, occurring in only two percent of the world’s population. The majority of the world’s blonde-haired individuals are found in Europe and are Caucasian. [5]

Blond hair can be found in the Solomon Islands, part of Melanesia. The blond gene occurs in five to ten percent of the population due to a genetic mutation. [6]

The highest rates of blond hair in the world occur in countries with relatively small populations (like Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and Finland) compared to countries with high black or brown hair rates (like China and India).

As a result of the prominence of blonde-haired celebrities, many women choose to dye their hair blonde. In fact, as many as three-quarters of Caucasian women have chosen to be a blonde at some point in their lives. [2]

3. Red

Face of a beautiful woman with red hair

Shade Range: Auburn, Strawberry Blond, Deep Burgundy, Bright Copper, Burt Orange, and Red-Orange

According to BBC, red hair is the rarest natural hair color in the world, with fewer than two percent of people believed to have red hair. Most of these people are from Europe or have European ancestry. [8]

Red hair may be dark with brown undertones or bright and orange tones. It can also be light and reddish blonde. Red hair is rarer than blonde because it is a recessive trait, occurring only when a person has two copies of a mutated melanin-conversion gene (one from each parent).

The red hair of a child depends on the presence of a mutated MC1R gene carried by both parents. If two carriers of the gene then have a child, there is a 25% chance that the child will have red hair. [8]

4. Gray/White

Enjoying music

Gray or white hair is most often seen in aging people whose natural pigment levels decrease significantly, resulting in a lack of pigmentation. It’s rare for people to be born with white hair, but this occurs in several instances.

Piebaldism is a rare genetic condition in which a person has a patch of white hair and/or skin at the front hairline. It affects only 1 in every 20,000 individuals worldwide. [9]

Albinism, a genetic condition in which the body does not produce enough melanin, also results in white or gray hair. It is estimated that one out of every 18,000 to 20,000 people worldwide suffer from albinism. [10]

Most Favorable and Least Favorable Hair Colors – Research 

Most Favorable 

Young, beautiful brown haired woman with dense

A study shows that people with brunette hair are perceived as being the most attractive.

In a study published by the Florida Scientist, researchers from the University of Tampa’s College of Natural and Health Sciences sought to better understand which hair color was considered most attractive for both men and women.

Researchers collected data on hair color from a survey of more than 1,900 male and female students at the university. They were also asked about preferences for hair color among both themselves and others.

By presenting photographs of the same woman (with dyed hair) to male and female research participants, the researchers found that out of the total individuals studied, 67% of men preferred women with brunette hair, while 71% of women preferred men with brunette hair.

Least Favorable 

Beautiful girl with long red hair

The same study also found that both groups regarded red hair as the least favorable.

When male and female subjects were asked to rate the attractiveness of women besides brunette hair color, on average, 27 percent of males rated blonde-haired women as most attractive, while 23 percent of females chose the same.

The researchers found that 6 percent of males and 6 percent of females chose red hair to be the most attractive out of various hair colors.

Source: [11]

Interesting Facts about Hair Colors

Various hair dye sample chart

  • As people get older, their hair turns grey because they stop producing certain types of melanin. [12]
  • Brunettes have a greater potential for nicotine addiction than those with any other hair color. The high melanin content of brown hair makes it more difficult for the liver to metabolize nicotine. [13]
  • Melanesians of New Guinea are the only dark-skinned group of humans known to have a high rate of blond hair among them. They also have a different gene for this trait than Caucasians. [14]
  • Most blondes have more hair strands than people with other hair colors. A typical blonde has 150,000 strands of hair, brunettes have 100,000, and redheads have 90,000 strands. [15]
  • Brown hair and brown eyes are the most common combination of features found in humans.
  • Around 86% of Americans have some grey hair by the time they reach 56 to 60. [16]
  • Of the women surveyed, 37% had their hair permanently colored at least twice in the past year. [15]
  • A majority of women—68 percent—say they feel more attractive after getting their hair colored. [15]
  • Hair color services account for 17% of the hair and nail salon industry’s revenue. [15]
  • Commercial hair dyes often contain metallic salts that can lead to breakage or discoloration.


As it turns out, hair color is not one-size-fits-all. Between blonde and brunette, copper brown and red, there are more shades than most people realize, and that’s before you even get to all of the different looks you can create using all types of colors.

If we rank hair colors by commonality, black and brown will always get the top two ranks. This is because a majority of people in the world, especially Asians and Africans, have black/very dark brown hair. On the other hand, people with natural red/gray hair are rare (only 1% to 2% of the population).


  1. Miroslav Prokopec, Libuše Glosová, Douglas H. Ubelaker (July 2000), Change in Hair Pigmentation in Children from Birth to 5 Years in a Central European Population (Longitudinal Study), Retrieved September 09, 2022, from https://web.archive.org/web/20140320053148/http:/www.fbi.gov/about-us/lab/forensic-science-communications/fsc/july2000/index.htm/ubelaker.htm
  2. Debra Carpenter (August 9, 2022), What Is the Most Common Hair Color? | It’s Not What You Think, Retrieved September 09, 2022, from https://youprobablyneedahaircut.com/what-is-the-most-common-hair-color
  3. Is hair color determined by genetics? Retrieved September 09, 2022, from https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/traits/haircolor
  4. (AUGUST 10, 2017) Money flowing into the natural hair industry is a blessing and curse for those who built it up, Retrieved September 09, 2022, from http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-natural-hair-industry-20170809-htmlstory.html
  5. Dr. C. George Boeree, Race, Retrieved September 09, 2022, from http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/race.html
  6. Dr. D. Barry Starr (June 26, 2012), Do all blonde people have a common ancestor?, Retrieved September 09, 2022, from http://genetics.thetech.org/ask-a-geneticist/blonde-hair-and-single-ancestor
  7. Hannah Barnes (October 02, 2013), How many redheads are there in the world? Retrieved September 09, 2022, from http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-24331615
  8. Wortham, J., Miller, A., & Delvescovo, D. (2018). Male and female hair color preferences: influences of familiarity, geographic region of origin, and environment on mate attraction in University of Tampa students. Florida Scientist, 81(1), 33–54, Retrieved September 09, 2022, from https://www.jstor.org/stable/26477962
  9. Muneeb Shah, Emily Patton, Daniel Zedek (April 14, 2022), Piebaldism, Retrieved September 09, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK544238/
  10. About Albinism & Hypopigmentation, Retrieved September 09, 2022, from https://www.albinism.org/about-albinism/
  11. Grace Weintrob (March 30, 2022), The Science of Gray Hair, Retrieved September 09, 2022, from https://www.research.colostate.edu/healthyagingcenter/2022/03/30/the-science-of-gray-hair
  12. Celeste Hurst (December 20, 2016), 34 Brilliant Facts about Brunettes, Retrieved September 09, 2022, from https://www.factretriever.com/brunette-facts
  13. Karin Lehnardt (November 30, 2016), 42 Flaxen Blonde Hair Facts, Retrieved September 09, 2022, from https://www.factretriever.com/blonde-hair-facts
  14. Hollee Wood (September 21, 2019), 27 Hair Color Statistics, Facts & Industry Trends (That Will Blow Your Mind), Retrieved September 09, 2022, from https://www.holleewoodhair.com/hair-color-statistics/
  15. Alvin Goodley (October 18, 2019), 4 Rarest Hair Colors in the World, Retrieved September 09, 2022, from https://rarest.org/people/hair-colors
  16. One in ten people over 60 don’t have grey hair!, Retrieved September 09, 2022, from https://www.thehealthsite.com/news/one-in-ten-people-over-60-dont-have-grey-hair-33394
  17. Kali Coleman (February 5, 2022), People With This Hair Color Are the Most Attractive, Study Says, Retrieved September 09, 2022, from https://bestlifeonline.com/most-attractive-hair-color-news/


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