The Hair Shape Mystery

Have you ever wondered why some people have poker-straight hair and you are a curly top?  Why is their hair shape so different than yours?  Is it genetics or just the way your hair grows?  The answer is yes.  You can talk to a Biology geek as to why you got gramma’s curls while your brother got dad’s wavy mane.  I, however, can talk to you about why your hair looks the way it looks.   Let me give you a quick Hair 101 bit of trivia you can share at parties.

Your hair shape is one of three basic groups: straight, wavy or curly.  How hair is identified is by taking a cross-section examination of your hair, in its natural state, of course.hair shape cross section

If your hair is round, you have straight hair.  If it is a less-than-round shape, you have wavy hair. If it is an oval, you have curly hair.  Of course, the more or less within each of these groups you have would determine the variation in each group.  (i.e., the flatter your oval shape, the curlier your curls)  That is why your waves are uniquely your own and not identical to your sibling.

But what makes your hair round, less-than-round, or oval you ask?  First blame your genetics, then blame your hair follicle.  The shape of your hair follicle will determine the shape of your hair.  Straight follicle, straight hair.  Slightly curved follicle, wavy hair and a hair folliclevery curved follicle gives you those curly curls!

(Extra bit of trivia:  The reason straighter hair is typically shinier is because sebum from the sebaceous gland can travel down the hair more easily. The curlier the hair, the more difficulty the sebum has traveling down the hair, therefore the more dry or dull the hair looks.)

So there you have it.  The mystery of your hair shape de-mystified.  But not to worry, if you don’t like what Mom or Dad or God determined would be your natural hair shape, we are always here to help you change your locks into what ever shape you like!  Whether with a perm, relaxer or smoothing treatment: you can make your world the way you want it!

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