Is Black a Natural Hair Color? The truth might Surprise You.


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When you hear the term “black hair,” you automatically think of raven locks and jet-black strands. But is black a natural hair color?

Truthfully, no. Black hair is actually very dark brown hair. It may seem like a strange concept, but it’s true!

We’re here to shed some light on this subject and explain why we all should embrace this unique, beautiful hair color. 

Is black hair a natural color?

While there are many people with natural black hair, it isn’t a “true” black color – rather, it is usually a very dark brown shade.

The Science Behind Black Hair Color 

To better understand why black hair is actually very dark brown hair, we have to dive into a bit of science behind melanin production.

Melanin is the pigment responsible for giving our skin and hair its color. People with black hair have higher concentrations of eumelanin (a type of melanin) than people with lighter colored hair.

This means that although their hair looks black, it’s actually closer to being very dark brown because the color is produced by oxidized melanin instead of pure black pigment. 

If someone has black hair they will likely always have dark brown or black hair regardless of age or lifestyle changes such as diet or sun exposure—unless they decide to dye their hair!  

The combination of these environmental influences can result in variations on the same basic black hue, ranging from deep chestnut to warm coffee tones.

Is black a common hair color?

Black hair is the second most common hair color in the world.

About 75-85% of the global population has black hair! Black hair is most common in the continents of Asia and Africa.

Is black hair called natural hair?

Natural hair is a term used by people to refer to the fascinating variety of textures, styles, and lengths that exist among people of African heritage.

Black hair comes in so many distinct shapes and sizes that it’s no wonder it even has its own definition.

Whether you have tight curls, springy coils or S-waves, the beauty of black hair lies in its versatility.

From intricate braids and bantu knots to bold crimps and bohemian dreadlocks, there’s always something new to try when it comes to rocking your beautiful natural look.

Celebrating black hair means embracing its natural beauty and the diverse ways it can be styled, which is an important part of many people’s cultural and personal identity.

Does black hair exist or is it just dark brown?

Black hair is actually very dark brown. While there are people with naturally black-colored strands, it is not a true black color.

The dark hue comes from higher concentrations of eumelanin that oxidize and form the deep shade. This means that when you look at someone with black hair, what you are really seeing is a beautiful and unique variation of dark brown!

The depth of color depend on individual’s unique genetic makeup, as well as environmental factors like exposure to sunlight or pollutants.

The combination of these environmental influences can result in variations on the same basic black hue, ranging from deep chestnut to warm coffee tones.

Check out the latest looks in our black hair collection board on Pinterest.

is black a natural hair color pinterest board

Is black a genetic hair color?

Yes, black is a genetic hair color—every single strand is created by certain chemical combinations designed to create a specific pigment.

Around 90% of the world’s population carry the MC1R gene that helps produce darker hair colors.

This gene carries instructions for creating melanocortin, a protein which helps to create eumelanin in hair follicles—the type of melanin responsible for black or dark brown tones.

To have black or dark brown hair, it is necessary to inherit this gene from both parents. If only one parent passes down this gene, then lighter shades of brown are usually produced.

What’s the rarest hair color?

Natural red hair is the rarest hair color in the world. Only about 1-2% of the population of the world have natural red hair.

How do I get black hair?

Whether you’re looking to switch up your look or just want to add a bit of drama, jet black hair can be a great way to make a statement.

But it’s not as simple as just dying your hair black. You have to take into account the type of black you want, and how to achieve that perfect raven-black look.

You also have to be up for the commitment. Once your hair is dyed black, it’s hard to go back!

Black pigment is super hard to remove from your hair. If you’re sure, here are the simple steps to dye your hair a beautiful, glossy black.

Watch and learn: How to dye your hair black at home.

Here’s great video that shows you how to apply black dye at home the easy way.

YouTube video

Step 1: Decide on using permanent or semi-permanent dye.

First things first, you need to decide whether you’re going to use semi-permanent or permanent hair dye.

Permanent hair dyes are great for those who want their hair color to last a long time and need minimal touch-ups. The downside is that it can be damaging to your hair and difficult to reverse.

Semi-permanent dyes are gentler on your hair, but will not stay in as long or be as intense in color. They’re the perfect choice for those who want a bold look without too much commitment.

Step 2: Choose your black hair color

Once you’ve decided on the type of hair dye to use, let’s discuss the different types of blacks you can get for your hair.

Natural jet black is the darkest shade of black and is often achieved by mixing two hair colors—blue-black and natural black.

If you don’t want to go all out on the darkness, consider getting blue-black. It has more cool tones compared to natural black and will give you a slightly softer look overall. 

Step 3: How to get the perfect black color 

Once you decide which color suits your aesthetic best, here are some tips on how to achieve the perfect jet black color for your hair: 

  • Start off with hair that’s already been lightened or pre-lightened before coloring it with a permanent dye. This will ensure that the color takes better and lasts longer.
  • Tone down any brassy or yellow hues in your hair with a purple shampoo or conditioner prior to coloring it. This will help keep your final color looking uniform and vibrant. 
  • Make sure you always follow the instructions on the box dye carefully so that you avoid any potential mishaps during application! 
  • Finally, apply some kind of conditioning treatment after rinsing out the dye so that your newly colored locks stay healthy and hydrated!   

Getting jet-black hair is no small feat but with these steps in mind, it doesn’t have to be hard either! Just remember – when in doubt always consult a professional hairstylist for optimal results! Good luck! 

How to care for black hair

Keeping your black hair gorgeous is all about sticking to a few simple care tips. Here’s what I recommend:

  • Stay Hydrated: Make sure to condition your hair regularly. It keeps it soft and shiny.
  • Sun Protection: Use products with UV protection to keep your color from fading.
  • Wash Sparingly: Too much washing can dry out your hair, so just a few times a week is enough.
  • Keep it Vibrant: Shampoos made for black hair can help keep the color deep and rich.
  • Trim Often: Regular trims help avoid split ends and keep your hair looking neat.

Just a few easy steps and your hair will always look fantastic!

Parting words.

At the end of the day, whether your natural locks are black or very dark brown doesn’t really matter—it’s still uniquely yours!

Embrace whatever shade you were born with because it’s part of who you are and makes you beautiful in so many ways.

That said, if enhancing your natural color is something that appeals to you, there are lots of products available now that will help do just that!

From subtle highlights to bold balayages, awesome ombrés and everything in between, don’t be afraid to experiment and find out what works best for your unique look.


  • Nicola Freeman, Creative Director & Content Lead

    With over two decades of passionate hair dyeing experience, I've experimented with nearly every shade imaginable. My journey began long before blogging; as an award-winning copywriter in London and New York, I shaped narratives for iconic brands. However, when friends sought advice during lockdown for at-home hair dyeing, I realized my true calling. Beyond being your hair color expert, I'm a mom of two girls, wife to artist Tony, and an avid soccer player!