The Case of the Mismatched Beard

mismatched beardIf it’s your first round of beard growing, you may be one of many men who gets a surprise: your beard isn’t the same color as your hair.  This phenomenon isn’t new. In fact, as more guys jump on the bearding train, it’s become fairly obvious that beards can go their own way color-wise.  And strangely enough, that color—more often than not—seems to be red.

Why All the Ginger Beards?

Blonde, brunette, or natural redhead, you could end up sporting a scarlet beard. Millions of men have been perplexed by their mismatched beards. It’s especially confusing when there isn’t a redhead to be found in the family tree. So what gives?

Petra Haak-Bloem works with Erfocentrum, a Dutch company that studies genetic disorders. She says that a gene called MC1R is to blame (or gets the credit) for all the foxy facial hair.  Here’s how it works.

Hair color, on any part of your body, is due to a wild combination of a bunch of different genes. Head hair and body hair (that includes your face) express these genes in different ways, so you can’t expect them to match regardless (which makes those blonde guys with brunette beards and vice versa seem a lot more sensible).

That still doesn’t quite explain why so many beards are flaming, though. So what’s the deal?

It turns out that the gene MC1R, which causes ginger hair and fair skin, only does so when there are two copies of it—at least when it comes to red head hair. So there are plenty of blondes and brunettes out there with one copy of this gene that don’t know it, and they pass it on.

When you only have one copy of the gene, Bloem explained, red hair can turn up in unexpected places elsewhere. And while scientists aren’t sure why the chin seems to be a ginger hotspot, there’s no denying that it is.

The only reason it’s become so noticeable now is the fact that so many more men are sporting stylish, manly face-manes.

Mismatched Beards: Hot or Not?

When the shades don’t match the curtains, what do you do? Dye your beard? Shave it off?

Hell no! Half the reason you’re bearding is to celebrate how awesome natural masculinity is. Beards are magnificent in every shade of the rainbow.  So pick up your Buffalo horn comb, and your Beardilizer beard oil and burnish that beard with pride. Because every beard deserves the best!