Two types of pigment give hair its color: eumelanin and pheomelanin. Pheomelanin colors hair red. Eumelanin, which has two subtypes of black or brown, determines the darkness of the Hair Color. A low concentration of brown eumelanin results in blond hair, whereas a higher concentration of brown eumelanin will color the hair brown. High amounts of black eumelanin result in black hair, while low concentrations give gray hair. All humans have some pheomelanin in their hair.
Pheomelanin is more chemically stable than black eumelanin, but less chemically stable than brown eumelanin, so it breaks down more slowly when oxidized. This is why bleach gives darker hair a reddish tinge during the artificial coloring process. As the pheomelanin continues to break down, the hair will gradually become orange, then yellow, and finally white.
The genetics of Hair Colors are not yet firmly established. According to one theory, at least two gene pairs control human Hair Color.
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