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Amazing Things You Didn't Know About Natural Blondes

Jo was a natural blonde until puberty and has been experimenting with various fun shades of blond (brown, magenta, and blue) ever since.

Forget the blonde jokes—what do you really know about the blond hair color?

Forget the blonde jokes—what do you really know about the blond hair color?

1. Nobody Knows for Sure What a "Natural Blond" Is

If you Google "natural blond," two things become immediately apparent:

  • There is no universally agreed-upon definition for this phrase or a standard measurement that can be applied to determine whether or not a person can be officially called blond or not. Individually, people have formed their own ideas about what constitutes a blond's "naturalness": some say that anyone who was born blond is naturally blond, even if their color darkens over time, while others believe that the term can only apply to those who retain their blondness into adulthood. Additionally, how blond a blond has to be in order to hold that title is up for interpretation.
  • Google thinks this question is only relevant to women (if you type the question into Google, it will auto-correct your spelling and show you results for what is a "natural blonde," and blond with an e refers to women).

2. Blondness Is a Lot Rarer Than You Think

Of course, you know that most blond-haired people you meet were not born that way, but did you know that only 2% of people worldwide, and only about 1 in 20 in the U.S., are natural blonds? That's because 1 in every 3 women bleach their hair. Fewer men do, but their numbers are rising!

Marilyn Monroe, arguably the most famous blonde ever, was born a brunette.

Marilyn Monroe, arguably the most famous blonde ever, was born a brunette.

3. Having Blond Hair With Brown Eyes Is Even Rarer

Just because a person is born blond doesn't mean they have blue eyes. Blue or green eyes are the norm, but blond with brown eyes happens, too (and the effect is rather stunning)!

4. Natural Blonds Have More Hair

Blondies have approximately 120,000–147,000 hairs on their heads compared to their dark-haired friends, who have 100,000–120,000. This makes sense, since darker hair contains more melanin, so it also provides more of a protective barrier from the sun. This means brunettes need less hair to protect their scalps from UV damage.

Blonde girl from Vanuatu, Oceania.

Blonde girl from Vanuatu, Oceania.

5. Blondness Is Not Reserved for Those With European Ancestry

Blond hair is most common in Scandinavia and around the Baltic Sea, where it is believed that blondism originated. But they're not the only blonds. Ten percent of the dark-skinned Melanesian population of the Solomon Islands is born with naturally blond hair. Aboriginal Australians also have often have natural blond-to-brown hair, with as many as 90% of children born blond in some areas.

6. Most Blond Hair Darkens Over Time

Most naturally blond children's hair starts to darken with puberty because the amount of eumelanin in the hair increases with maturity. In addition, a woman who remains blonde through puberty may see a permanent darkening of her skin and hair after her first pregnancy. Of course, most people go gray at some point, so the period of blondness can be quite brief, overall.

7. Blonds Are Less Blond in Winter

Most blond people see a noticeable darkening of their tresses during the colder months, when there is less UV exposure to work its bleaching magic. Some natural blondes look brunette half the year!

8. Blonds Are NOT Going Extinct

Fake news oftentimes eclipses reality, and there was a rumor going around several years ago that claimed that blond people would become extinct by the year 2202. Many reputable media sources, like the BBC and The Sunday Times, parroted the false factoid that they erroneously attributed to the World Health Organization. The rumor was parroted from 2002 to 2006, and it is still being cut-and-pasted and repeated today. The hoax became so widespread that Snopes stepped in to set the record straight.

Women in Ancient Rome tried to bleach their hair with pigeon poop; in Renaissance Venice, they used horse urine.

9. Blond Hair Is the Most Fragile and Prone to Damage

Even undyed/unbleached blond hair tends to be weaker than other colors. As a general rule, brown hairs are thicker than blond ones but thinner than red. Naturally blond hair is usually the finest (and therefore the softest) and also the most easily damaged.

10. There Were Naturally Blond People in Ancient China

The Caucasoid, blond-haired Tarim mummies, were discovered in the Taklamakan desert of China, dating from 1800 BCE.

More Amazing Facts About Blond Hair

  • Blond beards grow faster than dark ones.
  • As they get older, blonde women are more prone to macular degeneration, a condition that can cause blindness.
  • Blonds produce less melanin, and this makes their skin more susceptible to cancer.
  • The genetic mutation that led to blondism occurred about 11,000 years ago, around the last ice age.

I'm not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I'm not dumb . . . and I also know that I'm not blonde.

— Dolly Parton

More Facts: Being Blonde Pays More

  • Blondes Get Paid More: A 2010 study from the Queensland University of Technology looked at 13,000 white women and found that blonde employees earn more than 7% more than white females with any other hair color.
  • Blondes Marry Money: According to a study authored by David Johnston, blondes marry men who earn an average of 6% more than the husbands of women with other hair colors.
  • Blonde Restaurant Servers Get Better Tips: In a survey of 482 waitresses conducted in 2009 by Cornell University, blonde women earned higher tips.
For as long as Hillary Clinton has been a public figure, she has also been blonde.

For as long as Hillary Clinton has been a public figure, she has also been blonde.

Most of the Most Powerful Females in the U.S. Are Blonde

Is blonde ambition just the catchy name of Madonna's biopic, or is it something more? Think about it. The first woman to win the popular vote for the President of the United States (Hillary Clinton) was a blonde, as was the first woman to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court (Sandra Day O'Connor). Think Meg Whitman, Marissa Mayer, Susan Wojcicki, Angela Ahrendts, Arianna Huffington, and so on, and the fact that female university presidents are more likely to be blonde, and you'll see where I'm going with this.

According to a study, described in a 2016 Huffington Post article, "Why an Outsized Number of Blondes Are Leading the Country," by Jennifer Berdahl and Natalya Alonso, two business school professors at the University of British Columbia, not only are 48% of female CEOs at the top 500 companies blonde, but 35% of female senators, too. I'm not sure about other countries, but the more powerful Margaret Thatcher became, the blonder she got.

What Does This Mean?

On her blog, Berdahl unpacks what this study could mean: “Our data suggest that blonde women are not only assumed to be younger than their darker-haired counterparts, but are also judged to be less independent-minded and less willing take a stand than other women and than men,” she writes. “In other words, Barbie can be CEO as long as she is young and/or docile, or being blonde might allow her to be older and more forceful than she otherwise could be.”

If you dig deeper, you'll begin to see a connection between blondness, whiteness, privilege, youth, and power. I'm not suggesting that these powerful women are all "natural" blondes or that blonde women are genetically predisposed to success. I don't know which came first: the power or the blondness. But there is an unexamined societal belief that connects female power and blondness, one that that those of us who are blonde by choice are probably hoping—consciously or not—to benefit from.

“If women are choosing to dye their hair blonde, there’s something strategic about the choice.”

— Jennifer Berdahl, author, researcher, and professor at the University of British Columbia

Further Reading

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2017 Jo Tucker


Elaine on August 11, 2020:

I have long silky black hair,and have always noticed how often women dye their hair blond.I do have have a blond friend,and she has natural dirty blond hair and green eyes.Although I'm not a blonde,I found this article very interesting,and I have always wondered what Barbie would be like if she didn't have blond hair.

Julia on June 03, 2020:

My hair is naturally golden blonde, and I have blue eyes these facts make me scared :( btw I'm a kid

Julia on June 03, 2020:

I'm blonde

charlotte on April 16, 2020:

so basically (long story):

i was born with thin, pin straight black hair. this gradually turned brown, then extremely curly and ginger. the curls loosened as my hair grew, and i turned white blonde. i grew my hair down to my butt until the age of 10, when i had it cut to just below my shoulders. my curls were bigger then, and my hair had darkened a little, but was still a very light blonde. as i passed 12, i cut my very frizzy and very curly hair to my shoulders. i hated it, constantly wearing it tied up tight in a bun. now, my hair is medium/light blonde, still very frizzy and extremely curly, and guess what?

IM GOING TO SHAVE MY HEAD NEXT WEEK!!!! i’m so excited!!

Hayleybburkhart on February 22, 2020:

So ya i have dirty blonde hair and blue eyes and i dont know if i am beautiful or wht so i am trying to see alot of facts for blondies so i can find my answer and yes i have blonde hair and blue eyes

Ernesto on February 15, 2020:

i have a mix of brown and blond

Alexis Gentry on December 30, 2019:

I have Blonde hair and brown

Stella on November 04, 2019:

I am what you would call a dark blonde and I have never dyed my hair. My mom has always been a bright natural blonde but my dad had very light blonde hair as a kid but darkened to a very dark brown over the years. My hair is a mixture of my mom and dad's hair. I have a variety of colors in my hair and dark brown eyes. People say that is very rare but other than my mom's side my family has dark brown eyes.

Alex on September 26, 2019:

I'm a natural blonde and my mom is from germany so i think this is a very intresting article and I have greenish blueis eyes my dad has really dark brown hair and blue eyes and I have mom's color thx for the awesome read! -Alex

Elle on July 17, 2019:

I have natrul bond Hair and Brown eyes and if never seen a girl with the same combination

Anon on July 02, 2019:

Very interesting article. I am naturally platinum ash blonde with blue eyes. I have always hated the way people stereotyped me growing up. It is very interesting because my hair went through a dark phase when I was in high school, but lightened up after I turned 19. I always had people asking what dye I used or where I got my hair done because my eyebrows and complexion are very dark in comparison. I started dying my hair black and no one believes my natural color is bright blonde until I reveal my roots. Perhaps, I will go back to my blonde tresses after reading this article.

Lexi on May 04, 2019:

Dumb Blondes" are famous!

Sarah on March 30, 2019:

I have blonde hair with natural highlights and people always ask me how I have brown eyes.

mbowers123 on August 26, 2018:

Interesting article! I am a natural platinum blonde and it's true that my hair gets a little darker in winter. I married a Nigerian and had a daughter who has brown eyes and beautiful long silky black hair. Sometimes I think that if the world were all just various shades of brown that there would be no racism. But some would just find something else to hate on - fear has a way of doing that.

Liv on May 14, 2018:

I'm naturally bright blonde with dark brown eyes

Megan on February 15, 2018:

I'm proud to be a blonde. dirty blonde but highlighted so I look blonde.

Deborah Demander from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on October 02, 2017:

Interesting article. I was a "dishwater" blonde as a kid. And have lightened my hair, off and on over the years. Interestingly, four of my five daughters are natural blondes, and one of them used to dye her hair brown, because she didn't want people to think she was dumb!

Thanks for writing.