“Hair” All About It; What Makes Your Hair Curly or Straight

Having either curly or straight hair is a big deal to a lot of people – Americans spend $38 billion dollars on hair care every year. With all this attention focused on hair styles, you might be wondering what exactly makes your hair either naturally curly or straight. Wonder no more; below are the reasons behind your curly locks or straight-as-uncooked-spaghetti bangs.

Shape/Opening of Your Hair Follicles: Your hair style is larger determined by the shape and size of your hair follicles, tube-shaped cavities that produce individual strands of hair. People with curly hair have follicles that look like slits, whereas straight-haired individuals have follicles that are circular. Wavy-haired people fall in between their curly and straight-haired friends, possessing oval- shaped follicles.

Number of Twists in Your Hair: Hair twists as it grows; this applies to people even with straight hair (though their twists are hard to spot with the naked eye). Logically, the more twists a person’s hair has, the curlier their hair will be.

Humidity: Humid weather doesn’t only affect the fur of dogs – it can also alter the appearance of your hair. Hair tends to be very porous, which allows various molecules to seep inside strands of your hair with relative ease. On humid days are notorious for the abundance of moisture in the air; the molecules from this moisture simply enter your hair, and cause it to twist and curl.

Bulbs – Not Just for Lighting: The bottom sections of hair follicles are known as bulbs, which are named for their light bulb-like appearance.  With curly hair, these bulbs have a noticeable bent, or “hook,” causing the hair to grow at an angle.  Obviously, people with straight hair do not have these hooks.

Disulfide Bonds – They Matter Too: Disulfide what? In plain English, disulfide bonds refer to the chemical bonds that link protein together inside your hair. Generally speaking, a person with many of these bonds will have curly hair; people with few disulfide bonds will have straight hair.

Hormones and Medication: Your body’s hormones can change over time; your hair tends to change along with them. In addition, certain medications may also change the appearance of your hair.

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