Find Your Ethnicity From Hair? | Can You Tell Ethnicity from Hair?

Ethnicity From Hair

Can Hair be Used to Determine Ethnicity? Well, to get the answer you need to look into the basic concepts first and make a reliable judgment for this question.

  • What is Ethnicity?

For the beginners, it is better to start with the meaning of the term “ethnicity”. Ethnicity refers to categorizing people on the basis of some attributes where they identify or distinguish themselves from another group. These attributes can refer to nation, culture, history, traditions, language, religion and social behavior.

  • The Idea of Identifying Ethnicity from Physical Features

Scientific studies reveal that physical features of humans such as hair type, skin color, eyes structure, etc are absolutely insufficient to reveal somebody’s ethnicity. The physical features can not determine history, culture, language, religion, etc of a person.

  • The Complexity of Relying on Hair for such Determinations

Relying on hair for ethnicity determinations is not a reliable option. Why? Because our hair retains years of information, but the trace elements present in the hair follicles may change due to external factors such as sweat glands, environment conditions, diet, etc.

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Let’s just give a quick introduction on what our readers are going to get through the blog.

  • The Science Behind Hair
  • Hair Characteristics Across Ethnicities
  • Genetic Variation and Misconceptions
  • Advancements in Genetic Analysis
  • Hair DNA Test kit
  • Ethical Considerations
  • Conclusion

The Science Behind Hair

  • The Structure of Hair

hair structure

Hair is a natural part of the human body that plays an important role in defining the look and overall personality of a person. One hair strand is chemically composed of lipids, protein, trace element’s that aids in determining ethnicity of a person. Can you get DNA from Hair Without the Root? No, because the roots of the hair contain some cells. These group cells of cells contain DNA. So, without roots DNA can not be found.

Do Genetics Contribute to Hair Characteristics?

 Genes are really mysterious. Genetics affects numerous aspects of the hair such as hair structure, hair color, hair thickness. Can you find DNA from hair? Yes, hair analysis can help to find out DNA as the roots of hair carry DNA.

Hair Characteristics Across Ethnicities

Major Ethnic Groups based on Hair Characteristics

Can you Tell Ancestry from Hair? Depending on ethnic origin, three major categories are formed. These three major categories have different characteristics. All the information is summed up in the following table.


  Asian Hair Caucasian Hair African Hair
Hair Color Black to brown in color Blonde to dark brown in color Black to brown in color
Hair Growth Rate Fastest growth rate (grows 1.4cm per month) Growth rate is 1.2cm per month Slowest growth rate (grows 0.9cm per month)
Hair Growth Growth is perpendicular to the scalp Smooth, wavy and curly Curly and frizzy. It grows parallel to the scalp
Hair Shape Round and uniform shape Oval shape Flattened shape
Hair Density Least dense hair Most dense hair Slightly more dense than asian hair

Analyzing skeletal remains through forensic anthropology, including DNA testing, enables the determination of an individual’s ancestry by examining cranial morphology, dental features, and skeletal metrics.

Which Skull is Use to Find Race?

Hair Color and Ethnicity

Human hair colors can be associated with certain ethnic groups. It is seen that higher frequency of certain hair color can be seen in certain geographical areas. Can Hair Color Find your Ethnicity? Yes, for example Asians mainly have black straight hair, whereas Europeans have blonde hair and Africans have twisted black hair.

3 Types of Hair Ethnicity

Genetic Variation and Misconceptions 

Let’s dive a little deeper to know about the misconceptions regarding ethnicity.

Linking different characteristics of hair with ethnicity is a complete misconception among common people. The characteristics of our hair such as color, thickness, texture and  growth are all decided by a complex combination of genetic factors and other external factors. However there can be certain traits which are more common in a particular ethnic group.

Over the years we have seen a diversity in our genetic trades and across various populations that resulted in a broad spectrum of hair types. This broad spectrum is divided into different categories on the basis of ethnicity. Also other factors such as migration, culture exchange have led to diversity in hair traits in any ethnic groups. Hence, creating a misconception that a specific here is related to a single ethnicity overlaps the importance of genetic variations over the years.

Advancements in Genetic Analysis

  • Hair DNA Testing

Can a DNA test be done using hair? Yes, hair analysis is available to determine DNA. In this process a few strands of hair follicles are taken to carry out the test and get accurate results.

  • Hair Analysis in Forensic Science

Hair is an important resource in the field of forensic science.  It is an important tool in determining the DNA and gives valuable information in any crime scene. Can you find your ethnicity from hair forensic science?

Hair DNA Test Kit

Hair DNA test kits are used to derive the genetic information from the hair sample of a person. It helps to get insights about one’s ancestry, health and other traits. There are many such popular companies that provide this facility such as 23andMe, MyHeritage DNA and AncestryDNA.

Accuracy of DNA Testing

How Accurate is Hair DNA Testing? This question definitely arises in our readers mind. Hair DNA testing can show accurate results for determining ancestry and some genetic traits. But this process has some limitations. DNA testing using hair as a sample is less accurate than DNA testing using saliva or blood. The accuracy can be affected by a few factors such as quality of sample, the company doing the test or the markers used in the testing process. Although in various studies it is revealed that DNA tests show 99.9% accuracy in its results.

How To Use GEDmatch To Find Ethnicity?

Hair DNA Test Cost

There are many companies that offer Hair DNA Tests. But every company has its own features and limitations. How much does a hair DNA test cost? At what cost you can get these services. Here is a table, so you can compare and choose the appropriate one.

Company Features Cost
23andMe Conducts DNA tests on hair and other features.
Gives ancestry and health information.
AncestryDNA Conducts DNA tests on hair and other features
Mainly gives ancestry information
MyHeritage DNA Conducts DNA tests on hair
Gives ancestry and ethnicity  information.
Living DNA Conducts DNA tests on hair
Gives detailed ancestry information

DNA Test at Home

Nowadays there are many convenient methods available to carry out different complex tests at the ease of our home. One such is Hair DNA test at home. This test comes with just a few easy steps starting from plucking a few hair strands to carry out the test using a DNA test kit. Few companies offer DNA tests at home at a reasonable price and good features. Some of the leading names are:

  • 23andMe
  • AncestryDNA
  • MyHeritage DNA
  • Living DNA

Ethical Considerations

There are many ways to conduct Hair dna analysis for health  and ancestry information. But these processes have some limitations ethically. Some of the ethical considerations are:

  • Biasness and Formation of Stereotypes

Finding out ethnicity sometimes gives rise to harmful and unjust stereotypes in the society. This further leads to biases and discrimination.

  • Privacy Issues

Analyzing somebody’s ethnicity can raise privacy issues. People may show comfortless in revealing their ethnicity as it also interferes with their personal privacy rights.

  • Culture Sensitive Process

Determining ethnicity from here or other physical features can cause harm to the cultural sensitivity as this process overlooks the diversity within ethnic groups.

  • Scientific Drawbacks

This topic of determining ethnicity from hair has some debatable history. There is still no scientific validation of carrying out such processes. Science says that genetics and ethnicity have a complicated link.

  • Fear of Misuse

Information regarding ethnicity derived from physical features has a potential risk of misuse intentionally or unintentionally. This information can be used for causing social injustice and discrimination among different ethnic groups.

  • Inaccuracy

Ethnicity is a complicated concept influenced by different factors. Relying on physical features for determination can lead to inaccuracies.


As we come to the end of our blog we can conclude on a few important things.

  • Determination of ethnicity from a hair strand is quite a complex process which is further influenced by different factors.
  •  The features of hair such as texture , hair color and hair density are all associated with genetic factors whereas ethnicity is a combination of factors such as genetic environment, culture , language, history etc.
  • Now the variations in genes that give rise to a particular hair trait are not associated with a specific ethnic group. Not only genetics but environmental factors such as climate and type of hair care play an important role in defining the trait of hair.
  •  Different culture practices and mingling of people among different populations further twist the relation between hair and ethnicity.

In nutshell, depending on only hair analysis for determining ethnicity of a person gives limited and sometimes inaccurate results. This shows the need for a better, comprehensive and broader approach.


Can ethnicity be determined accurately from hair analysis alone?

Ethnicity determination from hair analysis is limited, as it doesn’t capture the full complexity of genetic and cultural factors.

What hair characteristics contribute to ethnicity assessment?

While hair texture and color may offer some clues, a holistic understanding involves considering a range of genetic markers and anthropological factors.

What role does environmental influence play in hair characteristics linked to ethnicity?

Environmental factors can impact hair appearance, but they do not provide a definitive basis for determining a person’s ethnicity.

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