Naturally Blonde Hair Around the World

via naturallycurly

 Hair is simply amazing. The human body and the mechanisms by which it adapts to its environment are mind boggling, and our hair color, texture, porosity and everything else plays a massive part in how well we succeed in a particular environment (or at least it did before we started living in these air conditioned covered boxes).

We all love and nourish our hair, but it’s so easy to forget just how magical these dead cells growing from out of our scalp really are.

Enter the Melanesians, a native group of people living on the Soloman Islands northeast of Australia famous for their beautiful dark skin and naturally blonde hair. Yep, that’s right. They don’t sport weaves, wigs, extensions, permanent dye, temporary dye, some weird henna reaction, or whatever else anyone uses to get the blonde look that’s so typical of the caucasian persuasion. Ten percent of these islanders actually come by it naturally.

The odd combination has got scientists wondering about how such a color combo develops over time. According to the Global Financial Newswires, many scientists have long thought that their blonde hair was a result of a diet high in fish, perhaps bleaching by the sun and salt water, or a reminder of the island’s historic relations with people of European descent.

In fact, the blonde Melanesians have blonde that is unique solely to them. According to the study in which scientists compared 43 blonde hair islanders to 42 dark hair islanders, blonde Melanesians have a variant of a native gene called TYRP1 that plays an important role in the melanin biosynthetic pathway. This variant is completely separate from what causes blonde hair in Europeans, and doesn’t even exist in the European genetic set.

What’s truly beautiful in this fascinating discovery, as so perfectly stated by the study author Sean Myles, a geneticist at Nova Scotia Agricultural College, is that “it’s a great example of convergent evolution, where the same outcome is brought about by completely different means.”

And that makes hair of all textures, types and colors absolutely unique and absolutely beautiful.

44 Weigh in!:
Tea Wash said...

this is absolutely amazing. its a reminder that the characteristics of people of african descent can not be defined collectively. a common misconception is that their blonde hair comes from European ancestry, but an article i recently read, http://www.theroot.com/buzz/dark-islanders-blonde-hair-not-europe, suggests otherwise

ClosetConfections said...

My kinky red hair was always seen as an anomaly when I was growing up, so I found this to be a very interesting read.

Anonymous said...

Actually, blond hair has an occurrence rate of 5-10% in caucasians too. 90-95% of caucasian adults have brown hair, The blond color they prefer to sport is the result of dye. It's a recessive trait.

Anonymous said...

so beautiful

Anonymous said...

More proof that race as a BIOLOGICAL construct is BS and that humans are a marvelous melange of DNA...

Most African-Americans (just to bring it back home for a sec) are "mixed" and that mixture presents itself in many different and unusual ways.

Native Africans can present with characteristics that belie stereotypical notions of what a "real" black person looks like. I'm thinking specifically of one YouTuber, RusticBeauty, who's 100% Nigerian but would get accused of being something else because her skin isn't Hershey-bar dark. I'm also thinking of YouTuber Sera, who's also West African (I forget where) and has 4b/4c hair past her waist.

Statements like "Only mixed people can grow long hair" and "My people are 100% black even though I have curly hair", among others commonly read on hair blogs and forums, can't and shouldn't be taken at face value.

Dandelion said...

I'm nowhere near blonde, buti have several extremely light hairs on my head. My daughter who is half Mexican on her Dads side has reddish brown hair. No one on either side of our families has red hair. Funny how these things work, eh?

Anonymous said...

Awesome read. I got my blond from my maternal grandmother. I'm not altogether sure where hers came from.

Anonymous said...

I agree with another post that this helps to show how race is a social construct.Which it is. LOL It never ceases to amaze me that people who believe in religion or even evolution place so much emphasis on race. There is only one race the HUMAN race. Plus as someone else mentioned blonde is a unique occurrence. I think this article is great in disproving stereotypes and prejudices. In the end it's all just genetics and you can never know what will come from it.

Anonymous said...

I am a little on the dark skin side and my hair grows out naturally blonde since birth lol. And I am not mixed! All african!

Anonymous said...

Just goes to show that God made each one of us unique.

Anonymous said...

Love the article. My son has blonde hair all over his body...and My husband is dark skinned has natural red hair on his head and face and has Gray eyes...My people My people we are Beautiful, we are a rainbow of brilliant colors...I love it

Anonymous said...

Today's secret word is biosynthetic. Whenever anybody says the secret word....scream real loud.

Nicol C.

Anonymous said...

That lil boy is extremely cute!! He reminds me of that lil boy from the movie Australia lol. I find this very interesting. This just breaks down the typical stereotype in this world.

Ashley L.

Anonymous said...

Interesting article but these people aren't African. They have dark skin but they're not African.

inNARA2 said...

Great article!!!

Anonymous said...

The term "convergent evolution" makes me shudder. These people are not 'freak-of-nature' marsupials or a subspecies of mankind. They are human beings just like you and me. They just happen to be dark with light hair.

Jamie said...

I think it shows the diversity among human beings and is a wonderful representation of who we are as people. It goes to prove you have to get out and see the world for yourself! The media gives you one image when the world comes in so many shapes and colors and textures. God can do amazing things and we are all beautiful in our own way!

Alyssa said...

Come to Jamaica and you'll see A LOT of little kids who are white with kinky blonde hair or dark with kinky blonde hair. Also some dark ones that have straight hair. It's all completely mixed and beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Excellent article!

Anonymous said...

#naturalredhead checking in! I loved this. Neither my parents nor my grandparents have red hair, but my great grandmother on my father's side does!

Anonymous said...

These children in the picture are not African! They just have dark skin. So what's the point of this article?

Sophie said...

I saw these people featured elsewhere, and I think this phenomenon is really cool! No they're not African, but the point is that human beings are all any mixture of traits. We set up artificial divisions based on coloring, but it's just a construct. It's not a bad thing to group people in some way, but the groups aren't hard and fast. My mom has a friend who is African as far as she knows with naturally bright green eyes. Why pidgeonhole beauty when there's so much out there to appreciate??

Abby said...

really beautiful people dark skinned people are so diverse!

Gwenn4ya said...

It's amazing! I love hearing of how people of color live and where and just how different we all are. It's so awesome to me. For real! People of color and they have blonde hair! Just so different, yet so wonderful!

Anonymous said...

My God is truly amazing. "Red and yellow, black and white all are precious in His sight."

Anonymous said...

In Haiti where I come from blond hair is a sign of malnutrition

Kandy aka GoldenCurlGirl said...

Wow!This truly shows that God loves variety and is not partial. I love to see the diversity in the human race because it really confirms in my heart how wonderfully we ALL are truly made.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 10:50 does it matter that theyre not African? The post is titled Natural Blonde Hair Around the World, not Natural Blonde Hair in Africa. Nowhere in the article does it state they are African. Do you not know that not all brown skinned people in the world are African? The point in the article is to showcase blonde hair on people who are typically believed to not have blonde hair. Have a seat and good day.

Anonymous said...

^^^Thank you anonymous @ 10:14 AM. The point of the article is to point out that blond hair occurs naturally outside of Europe. It's not a trait unique to Northern Europeans as Europeans have assumed.

Blue eyes are also not unique to Europeans. Many groups in the Pacific have blue eyes that are not the result of European admixture.

In fact, blond hair and blue eyes are pigment (tyrosinase) mutations and can occur spontaneously in any group.

All phenotypes are the result of genetic changes (mutations) which persist due to recombination and isolation.

Those who want to hold on to antiquated and false notions about separate and distinct races are uniformed. Everyone on this planet has some African ancestry.

Anonymous said...

RusticBeauty is NOT NIGERIAN!!!

Anonymous said...

In the Caribbean, the combination of sun, sea water and application of aloe leaf gel can gradually lighten one's locs.

Note the little cutie by the shore in the upper left photo.

VioletFem said...

@ Anonymous 8:02 PM
I don't understand why you shudder at the term "convergent evolution".
Convergent evolution is a natural process that can occur to ANY LIVING ORGANISM it is not specific to "freaks of nature", whatever that means. The article clearly states that the basis of the natural occurrence of blonde hair in Melanesians is based on a genetic variant that is completely different than the one seen in blond caucasians. It clearly explains how different genetic mutations in groups of people who don't even share the same environment, can result in a similar outcome.

Anonymous said...

We have an amazing Creator who sees beauty in diversity!

Unknown said...

This is so cool, I heard that there are some black people in Africa with naturally blue eyes. Talk about Diversity.
MY GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD!

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 12:21PM

Actually RusticBeauty IS Nigerian. Both her parents are Nigerian. She has stated this on more than one occasion.

tatiana said...

@Anonymous 6:54 Totally agree w your whole comment, especially the part about race being a social construct! Ironically, I read THIS article yesterday, which shows how dangerous this construct can be: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1093674/The-tragic-story-white-girl-born-black-tore-family-apart.html?fb_ref=LikeButtonBottom&fb_source=home_oneline

BigAchieverDoc said...

Yes when we are kissed by the sun. God's sun this happens to our hair. and the best part it is natural way of nature. My daughter bless her has blond, red, and light brown hairs in her hair. Naturally born given highlights. They are even more visible in the summer.

Anonymous said...

BigAchieverDoc,
you just explained my daughter's hair to a T! I concur, more visible in the Summer as well. I remember people coming up to me and asking me. What Dye did I put in her hair? She was five years old O-O! #areyouserious?

Anyways, this was previlent amount all of her relatives on her fathers side. Some of their hair was as blond as the kids featured in the post. You don't have to go abroad to see this...It's right here in the USA.

Anonymous said...

'We're so diverse'
'race is just a social construct'
'god made us so unique'

All this to celebrate the idea of some blacks living on remote pacific islands having blond hair!! LMAO!

I wonder if the article had been about people on remote pacific islands with 6 fingers on each hand or webbed toes (such cases actually exist due to some truely amazing human genetic mutations) or some other example of 'god's special diversity' whether there would be as much joy and celebration in the comments.

I'm pretty certain the answer is NO. Black people here are excited and praising god, because blond is massa's hair colour, and is thus special and superior to plain ol' black. Same with light eyes.

Lets face it, they're both celebrated in the black community because lighter is shorthand for better.

Anonymous said...

Blonde hair could also be seen as a sign of malnutrition....

Anonymous said...

I LOVE IT WHEN I SEE DIVERSITY. IT PUTS THINGS INTO PERSEPECTIVE. I HAD TO EXPLAIN TO MY IGNORANT CO-WORKER THAT BLACKS COME IN DIFFERENT SHADES AND HAIR TYPES. THATS WHY I LOVE PROVING PEOPLE WRONG WHEN I SHOW PICS LIKE THIS. I ALSO HAVE PEOPLE IN MY FAMILY WHO ARE VERY DARK SKIN WITH STRAIGHT HAIR. MAKES ME WANT TO SAY AH HA,HA,HA I TOLD YA SO!

Cygnet said...

"I wonder if the article had been about people on remote pacific islands with 6 fingers on each hand or webbed toes (such cases actually exist due to some truely amazing human genetic mutations) or some other example of 'god's special diversity' whether there would be as much joy and celebration in the comments."

In my personal case, !!!YE-E-E-ESSSSS!!!

Not, let's be clear, because of what I infer you to point out as a possibly perceived misfortune, but at the understanding that God is still good.

As a result of "some other example" of God's "special diversity", I was born with blond hair, blue eyes, and skin fairer than most white people, but I am not white. Both my biological parents are black, and both their parents were black, at least on my mom's side. So I'm black enough for me. But because of my life story, all three of the comments at which you claim to "LMAO" are applicable to my existence.

Am I celebrated? Well, let's see, I've been stared at, pointed at, and laughed at when I was with the rest of my family and people thought my mom wasn't looking, despite her best efforts to dress me up and make me look pretty. The same things have continued happening into my adulthood, and I've done nothing to incite it but to be myself and be visible. I've both had names hurled at me and stuff thrown into my face from moving vehicles; the good news is that the latter only happened once. I've had people choose to merely tolerate the best of my attributes, both physical and otherwise, of which they felt they could make the best use and, on the strength of the rest, reject me as a person. All this, and more I could say but won't, solely because of how I look. No, even with blond hair and blue eyes, none of this feels particularly celebratory to me.

Am I excited and praising God? You better know it! About the blind man whom Jesus healed by having him wash away the mud poultice He made by spitting on the ground, Jesus answered in response to His disciples' query whose fault it was that the man was born that way that it happened that God might be glorified. And God was glorified. And God Himself told Moses, speaking to him from the Burning Bush, that He it is who made the blind and the deaf. If, as one Bible passage states, He causes even the wrath of man to praise Him, then why not some genetic anomalies? It is beyond imaginable enough to me that He loves me and shows it by waking me up and blessing me to have what I need to survive every day, that He shows up in ways trivial and extraordinary, that He calls me His and gifts me to be and do what He envisioned for me while I was no more than a thought in His mind, and gave His absolute best for me so I could be in relationship with Him forever. That robs me of the power of speech sometimes.

No, the article that caused the reaction of many of the other responders wasn't about my particular circumstances. Yes, there are those of the black community who actually do think that "lighter is shorthand for better", and in light of that, your reaction makes sense. But the same God who made me made the Melanesians of the Solomon Islands, too, including the blond hair. Which, as I happened to note and remember from the article, is actually NOT the same kind of blond as "massa's hair colour". And since the whole creation in all its diversity testifies of Him anyway, the reactions of the "excited and praising" also make sense.

Ayisha B said...

It is always so cool to learn new things about people around the world.

watkinsabob said...

not sure i knew of dark skinned people that had naturally blonde hair. Cool!!!

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