Unveil the Mystery of Viking Hair Color: A Detailed Insight

viking hair color

Viking hairstyles and their hair color have long been shrouded in mystery. Historians and pop culture have perpetuated many myths and assumptions about the hair colors of Norse people in Scandinavia. This article aims to provide a more accurate understanding of Viking hair color and its significance.

We’ll explore the common assumptions made about Viking hair color and delve into the historical context of ancient Norse people in Scandinavia. We’ll also discuss the genetic influences and environmental factors that contribute to the diversity of hair colors seen in contemporary Scandinavians.

Key Takeaways:

  • Viking hair color has been the subject of many myths and assumptions.
  • Historical context is important in understanding Viking hair color and its significance.
  • Genetic influences and environmental factors contribute to the diversity of hair colors among contemporary Scandinavians.

The Common Assumption of Blonde Hair

When we think of Viking hair color, the first image that comes to mind is often blonde hair. This common assumption can be attributed, in part, to the influence of popular Viking legends and Norse mythology.

Valkyries, the female warriors of Norse mythology, were often depicted with long blonde hair, as was the mighty god Thor. These representations have contributed to the perpetuation of the stereotype that all Vikings had blonde hair.

However, research suggests that this may not be entirely accurate. While blonde hair was certainly present among some Vikings, it was not the only hair color found in their population. In fact, a recent study published in the journal Nature found that only about 50% of Vikings were blonde-haired.

Beyond Blonde: Discovering Red Hair Among Vikings

Contrary to the common assumption that all Vikings had blonde hair, recent research has revealed that red hair was also present among the ancient Norse. The Norse genetic makeup and genetic variations allowed for this diversity in hair color.

While the genetic origins of red hair among Vikings are still debated, recent studies suggest a possible Melanesian origin. This theory suggests that red hair among Vikings may have been the result of intermixing with the Melanesian people, who also exhibited this unique genetic trait.

Genetic Variations Red Hair Presence
MC1R Present in up to 70% of Viking remains
KITLG Present among some Viking populations

These genetic variations have been identified through the analysis of Viking remains, which also revealed the presence of red hair in some individuals. This discovery challenges the long-standing stereotype of Vikings as solely blonde and establishes the diversity of hair color among the ancient Norse.

The Diversity of Viking Hair: Shades of Brown

While blonde and red hair are commonly associated with Vikings, the reality is that the Viking population exhibited a wide range of hair colors, including various shades of brown.

This genetic diversity among Vikings allowed for variations in hair color, with some individuals having light brown hair while others had darker shades. Interestingly, recent studies suggest that the pigmentation genes involved in determining hair color among Vikings were different from those found in other European populations.

Viking Population Shades of Brown Hair
Norway Light Brown, Dark Brown
Denmark Golden Brown, Chestnut Brown
Sweden Hazel Brown, Mahogany Brown

It’s important to note that the diversity in Viking hair color was not solely due to genetics but also the result of environmental factors such as exposure to sunlight. Vikings living in areas with less sunlight were more likely to have lighter hair, while those in areas with more sunlight were more likely to have darker hair.

The presence of various shades of brown hair among the Viking population serves as a reminder of the complexity of our genetic makeup and the impact of environmental influences on physical characteristics.

Historical Hair Care and Styling Techniques

For the Vikings, hair care and grooming were significant cultural practices. Hair was seen as a symbol of strength, masculinity, and beauty for both men and women.

Viking hair was often long and thick, requiring regular grooming to keep it healthy and manageable. Hair care rituals included washing with natural ingredients such as soapwort or using combs made from animal bones to detangle and style.

Hairstyles varied depending on social status, gender, and occasion. Men often wore their hair in a simple, untamed style, while women created intricate braids, often adorned with jewelry or beads.

Braiding was a common technique for both men and women. The “Ragnarsdrápa,” a Viking poem, described the braids worn by the legendary hero Ragnar Lothbrok as “snake-like and smooth.

Other popular Viking hairstyles included the “ulfberht cut,” a short, layered style named after Viking swords of the same name, and the “Swedish braid,” a braided style which involved creating a single braid on one side of the head.

Grooming was essential for both hygiene and appearance. The sagas described the importance of maintaining a neat appearance, with characters often combing their hair and beards before a battle or important event.

Viking hair care and styling techniques have inspired contemporary hair trends. The Viking-inspired braid, for example, has become a popular hairstyle among women, and braiding tutorials can be found online.

Cultural Significance of Viking Hair Color

Viking hair color was more than just a physical attribute. It held cultural symbolism and was associated with societal status and beauty standards within Norse society. Blonde hair, for example, was often associated with the gods, particularly Thor, and was considered a mark of nobility and strength.

Red hair was also highly valued among Vikings, and was thought to be a symbol of wildness and courage. In fact, Norse warriors with red hair were believed to be particularly fierce in battle.

Brown hair, although less commonly noted in historical literature, was still present among the Vikings and held its own cultural significance. It was associated with the earth and nature, and was sometimes considered a mark of humility or modesty.

The importance of hair color in Viking culture extended beyond mere physical appearance. It was often seen as a reflection of one’s character and identity, and played a role in determining one’s place within society.

Overall, Viking hair color held deep cultural significance and was a reflection of the values and beliefs of Norse society.

Viking Hair Color in Art and Literature

The depiction of Viking hair color in art and literature offers valuable insights into how Norse people perceived hair color and its cultural significance.

In Viking art, hair color was often used to distinguish between different characters. Blonde hair was typically portrayed as a symbol of youth and purity, while red hair was associated with more mature and powerful individuals. Brown hair, on the other hand, was often depicted as common and unremarkable.

Norse sagas also provide fascinating portrayals of Viking hair color. Visual depictions and poetic descriptions often highlight the beauty and desirability of blonde hair, particularly for women. However, red-haired characters were also celebrated for their strength and ferocity, such as the legendary Viking warrior queen, Lagertha.

The use of hair color in Viking art and literature underscores its cultural symbolism and importance in Norse society. By examining these representations, we can gain a deeper understanding of how hair color was perceived and valued among Vikings.

Debunking Myths: Separating Fact from Fiction

When it comes to Viking hair color, there are many common myths and stereotypes that have persisted throughout history. However, scientific research and archaeological findings have allowed us to separate fact from fiction and gain a more accurate understanding of Viking hair color.

One of the most pervasive myths is that all Vikings had blonde hair. While it is true that blonde hair was fairly common among Norse people, it was not the only hair color present. In fact, recent genetic studies have suggested that red hair may have been more prevalent among Vikings than originally thought.

Another myth is that Viking women were often blonde and beautiful, as depicted in popular media. However, this stereotype is not supported by historical accuracy or scientific research. Viking society placed value on a wide range of physical attributes, and beauty standards varied greatly among individuals and regions.

Archaeological findings have also challenged the notion that Vikings were all tall, blond, and blue-eyed. In fact, skeletal remains suggest that Viking populations exhibited a range of physical traits and appearances.

It is important to understand the facts surrounding Viking hair color in order to dispel harmful stereotypes and appreciate the diversity within Norse society.

Evolution and Modern-Day Viking Hair Color

While it’s clear that Viking hair color varied widely, it’s still fascinating to consider how it has changed over time. Today, modern Scandinavians carry on the genetic influences of their Viking ancestors, and as a result, there continues to be a diverse range of hair colors throughout the population.

One study conducted by the University of Copenhagen found that the genetic mutation responsible for blonde hair among Vikings existed long before the Viking Age, suggesting that it may have been a genetic trait present in the early Norse population. Additionally, recent studies have shown that the genetic variations allowing for red hair among Vikings may have originated from Melanesian populations.

Environmental factors might have also contributed to the evolution of Viking hair color over time. For instance, the Scandinavian climate may have selected for lighter hair colors in order to better absorb vitamin D from the sun, which is essential for bone growth and overall health.

Today, a variety of hair colors can be found in the modern Scandinavian population, including shades of blonde, red, brown, and even black. While there may be cultural associations with certain hair colors, many individuals embrace their natural hair color as a part of their identity. Some even choose to dye their hair in a Viking-inspired fashion, drawing from the rich history and cultural significance of Norse hair color.

Celebrity Inspiration: Embracing Viking Hair Color Today

Viking-inspired hair color has continued to influence modern-day hair dye trends. From striking platinum blonde to fiery reds, celebrities have embraced the diversity of Viking hair color in their own unique ways.

One such celebrity is Taylor Swift, who has been known to rock a platinum blonde hairstyle reminiscent of the legendary Valkyries. Her sleek and modern interpretation of the classic blonde Viking look has inspired many to adopt this edgy hair color.

Another celebrity who has taken inspiration from Viking hair color is Emma Stone, who famously sported a fiery red mane in the movie “The Help.” This shade of red is believed to be one of the genetic variations found among the ancient Norse people.

The trend of Viking hair color has also led to the rise of natural and organic hair dye products, promoting a healthier and more sustainable approach to hair care. By utilizing natural ingredients and avoiding harsh chemicals, these products help to preserve and maintain the vibrancy of Viking-inspired hair colors.

Modern Interpretation of Viking Hair Color

While traditional Viking hairstyles are often associated with braids and intricate weaves, modern interpretations have taken a more relaxed and effortless approach. Loose waves and messy buns are popular choices for those looking to add a touch of Viking-inspired flair to their look.

Accessories such as hair clips and leather bands can also complement Viking-inspired hair colors and add an extra edge. Whether it’s a bold and daring red or a cool and icy blonde, Viking hair color continues to inspire and capture the imagination of many.

Maintaining the Legacy: Preserving Viking Hair Color

Now that we’ve explored the history and cultural significance of Viking hair color, you may be wondering how to preserve and maintain your own Viking-inspired locks. Here are some hair care tips to help you do just that:

  1. Use natural hair care products: Opt for shampoos and conditioners that are free of sulfates and harsh chemicals. Look for products containing natural oils and ingredients such as argan oil, coconut oil, and shea butter, to keep your hair healthy and hydrated.
  2. Avoid excessive heat styling: Overuse of hot tools such as straighteners and curling irons can damage your hair and cause it to lose color faster. If you must use heat styling tools, use a heat protectant spray to minimize damage.
  3. Wash your hair less frequently: To preserve your hair color, try washing your hair every other day instead of every day. Over-washing can strip your hair of its natural oils, leading to dryness and dullness.
  4. Avoid exposure to chlorine: If you swim regularly, be sure to protect your hair from chlorine damage by wearing a swim cap or using a leave-in conditioner before and after swimming.
  5. Eat a healthy diet: A diet rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly those that promote hair health such as biotin and vitamin D, can help keep your hair looking its best.

By following these tips and using natural hair care products, you can help preserve the vibrancy and beauty of your Viking hair color while promoting overall hair health.


Overall, Viking hair color is a fascinating topic that reveals much about the historical context, cultural significance, and genetic influences of Norse people in Scandinavia. While many assume that all Vikings had blonde hair, research has shown that red and brown hair were also present within the population. Additionally, hair color was associated with societal status and beauty standards within Norse culture.

Today, Viking-inspired hair color continues to inspire modern-day trends, with celebrities embracing the unique shades and styles associated with this ancient culture. As we continue to understand the genetic and environmental factors that contribute to hair color, we can better appreciate the diversity seen among contemporary Scandinavians.

Whether you’re looking to preserve your natural Viking hair color or try out a modern interpretation, it’s important to consider historical context and cultural significance. By embracing the legacy of Viking hair color, we can celebrate the unique features and influences of this remarkable culture.


Q: What colors of hair did Vikings have?

A: Vikings had a range of hair colors including blonde, red, and brown.

Q: Were all Vikings blonde-haired?

A: No, blonde hair was a common assumption but not all Vikings had blonde hair.

Q: Did Vikings have red hair?

A: Yes, red hair was also present among Vikings due to genetic variations and possible Melanesian origin.

Q: Did Vikings have brown hair?

A: Yes, Vikings had various shades of brown hair due to genetic diversity and pigmentation genes.

Q: What were the hair care and styling practices of Vikings?

A: Vikings had hair care rituals and employed various grooming techniques. They had intricate braiding hairstyles.

Q: What was the cultural significance of Viking hair color?

A: Hair color was associated with societal status and beauty standards within Norse society.

Q: How was Viking hair color depicted in art and literature?

A: Viking hair color was portrayed in art and represented in Norse sagas through visual depictions and poetic descriptions.

Q: What have scientific research and archaeological findings revealed about Viking hair color?

A: Scientific research and archaeological findings have helped debunk myths and provide a more accurate understanding of Viking hair color.

Q: How has Viking hair color evolved over time and influenced the modern Scandinavian population?

A: Viking hair color has evolved, and genetic influences along with environmental factors contribute to the diversity seen in contemporary Scandinavians.

Q: Which celebrities have embraced Viking-inspired hair color?

A: Various celebrities have adopted Viking-inspired hair colors, contributing to modern hair dye trends.

Q: How can I maintain Viking hair color?

A: To preserve Viking hair color, it’s important to follow hair care tips, use natural hair care products, and maintain overall hair health.