Titian hair

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A young woman with dark Titian hair.

Titian is a tint of red hair, most commonly described as brownish-orange in color.[1] It is often confused with Venetian and auburn.


The term originates from Titian, an Italian painter who would often depict women with red hair of this description. Titian has been used as a hair color term in the United States as early as the 1800s, when women were commonly using henna to dye their hair a Titian color.


Madonna and Child (c. 1508), by Titian

Titian is commonly misused as a synonym for hair colors with similar definitions or hues of color.

Titian hair is frequently mistaken with what is called Venetian hair due to similar definitions and origins. Definitions of Venetian hair describe it as being reddish and golden in quality, but the distinction between the two is that Titian is a golden-brown, and Venetian a golden-yellow. The two are also often referred to as Titian-red and Venetian-blond, respectively, to emphasize the distinction.[2][3] The origins of the formulas to create these hair colors by dyeing are also the same.[4] As the Venetian women had more methods to lighten their hair,[4] the term Venetian has become specifically associated with the blond variety.

The term Titian is sometimes misapplied to auburn hair. While Titian hair is a brownish shade of red hair, auburn hair is a brownish shade of hair encompassing the actual color red. Most definitions of Titian hair describe it as a brownish-orange color,[5] but some describe it as being reddish.[6] This is in reference to red hair itself, not the color red.

In popular culture[edit]

  • From 1961 until 1967, Barbie offered Titian dolls, with Midge being the staple for the variant.[7] Midge's packaging illustration featured this hair color, while the original Barbie character was typically given blonde hair during this period.
  • Dana Scully, from The X-Files, has Titian hair, as confirmed by Chris Carter, the show's creator, on Reddit in 2014.[8]
  • Nancy Drew had Titian hair from 1959 to 1960.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Titian" in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  2. ^ Sutherland, Daniel E. "The Expansion of Everyday Life, 1860-1876". University of Arkansas Press. Retrieved 29 October 2013. 
  3. ^ Browne, Kreiser, Ray Broadus, Lawrence A. "The Civil War and Reconstruction". Greenwood Publishing Group. Retrieved 29 October 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Sherrow, Victoria. "Encyclopedia of Hair: A Cultural History". Greenwood Publishing Group. Retrieved 29 October 2013. 
  5. ^ "Titian" in The Free Dictionary
  6. ^ "Titian" on Dictionary.com
  7. ^ Caent, Emily. "THE HISTORY OF TITIAN BARBIES". Zala. Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  8. ^ Chris Carter AMA Reddit 2014
  9. ^ Plunkett-Powell (1993), 48.