Is there such a thing as natural black hair in humans? Or is it only achieved by dyeing the hair?

it's actually dark brown

  • It could almost be said that completely natural black human hair DOESN’T EXIST. What the human being visualizes as black is actually dark brown.
  • It’s more visible if we look at the hair under natural light. We can visualize some red highlights because red is the underlying color of the hair that looks black.
  • It means that the famous jet black, deep black, or night black can only be achieved with a hair dye.


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Well, what a surprise!

You’ve probably been envying your college roommate’s black hair for months. Now, you find out that, actually, that dark black, so radiant, so deep, so suggestive black hair was only the product of a hair dye.

 That’s how things are with colorimetry. They can fool more than one unwary person.  The eye can also play tricks on us.


shoulder length hair

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Think of the images that mock those who participate in caravans in the great deserts. From one moment to the next, they observe an oasis right under their noses. As they approach it, the oasis turns to sand, sand, and more sand.

 With hair color, things are more or less the same because the eye can deceive you, according to the light under which you observe hair color. 


However, our eyes are not to blame for everything. There’s something else that’s responsible for us perceiving hair as black when it’s actually dark brown.

It all has to do with the composition of the hair.

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The pigment granules will determine how black hair can be

tight curls

This topic reminds me of my studies during hairdressing school. We must appeal to physiology to know if hair can be naturally black.

It’s what scientific studies claim.

Simply put, the first thing you need to know is that the natural color of hair is given by melanin.


 Melanin is a pigment found in certain cells. It’s responsible for coloring our skin, eyes,  and hair. 

Did you know that your hair contains two types of pigments?


  • Yes, the two main types of pigments are called granular and diffuse. The granular ones are reddish, and the diffuse ones are yellowish.
  • The higher the concentration of granular pigments, the darker the hair will be. In turn, the higher the concentration of diffuse pigments, the lighter the hair will be.


 Actually, even if hair has the maximum concentration of granular pigments, it’ll be dark brown instead of black in 99.9% of the cases. 

And one more thing.


If you expose a hair “that looks black” to sunlight, you’ll notice the reddish highlights. Why?

Because that dark hair has a higher concentration of granular pigments.

What color were the granular pigments? Reddish! Very good, you passed physiology!


That’s why when apparently natural black hair is bleached, the red highlights emerge

red undertones

I still remember the face of Julieta, one of my dark brown-haired clients, who asked me to lighten her hair a little more than five shades.

It wasn’t easy at all because bleaching is quite an aggressive process. After preparing for it, we got down to work.


I’ll never forget her expression when she noticed that what looked like black hair, gave way to a dark red. Then, it turned medium red, orange-red, orange, yellowish-orange, and so on, until we reached a very light blonde.

 Those are all the colors hiding underneath what looks like black hair.  


The truth is that Julieta’s black hair had a high saturation of granular pigments, i.e. the maximum concentration of red pigments. If you take a “black” hair and look at it in the sun, you will see reddish reflections.


Therefore, when you look at black hair, your eyes will deceive you

sun exposure

At this point, I must be somewhat sympathetic to our dear eyes, which allow us to see the beauty of the world.

They aren’t to blame. Someone else contributes to our observing dark brown hair as black.

Do you know what it is?


The incidence of light.

 That’s why when you look at hair that looks black in natural light, you can see red highlights.  Why does this happen?


Because black corresponds to the visual perception of maximum darkness. It’s the result of the absence or complete absorption of light. It’s an achromatic color. It doesn’t have a tone. It’s just like white and gray.

That’s why when we see dark brown hair, like black, we can differentiate red highlights when we look at it in natural light.

If all this amazes you, I have one more curiosity to tell you.


Do you know who can boast naturally black hair?

animals could have black hair


The main difference between human hair and animal hair lies in the thickness. Animal hair is thicker and coarser than human hair.

Although their internal structure is quite similar, the pigmentation of animal hair is much more varied.

That’s why animals have black hair.


What should you do if you want black hair?

permanent hair color

To have black hair, you must dye it. Hair dye is an artificial coloring that’s designed by scientists to achieve the goal: absolute black.


 Elements like resorcinol, ammonia, ammonium chloride, sulfates, toluene, and three pigments of the primary colors, red, blue, and yellow, are used to produce hair dyes.  

That’s used for all the hair dyes of all the color charts that we see in hairdressing salons or stores.


The important fact here is that to achieve the black shade, companies use more blue pigments. When they’re combined with the tones provided by other pigments, they result in a neutral black shade.

This means that the black hair dye contains a different ratio of each of these pigments. That’s why there is bluish-black, for example. It contains a higher amount of blue pigments.



What we see as black hair is actually dark brown hair. If we look at it under natural light, we can see reddish highlights.

To achieve completely black hair, as black as night, you must use black hair dye. It’ll give you the artificial pigments to achieve that dark color.

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