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Why do some people have straight hair while others have curly hair?

Discussion
Sep 12, 2012
by: jkpynes

Having curly hair myself, this is something I have wondered about. The rest of my family has very straight hair, while I have curly hair and I was curious as to what factors determine hair type.

“That shape depends on the shape of the hair follicle. This tiny structure guides the hair fiber up a sort of tube as it grows. The inside of the tube determines if the hair is curly or straight — ovals produce curly hair and circular tubes yield straight hair.” npr.org

Not everyone has the same kind of curly or straight hair. People with African ancestry have a different type of curly hair than those from Europe. People from Asia have different straight hair than those from Europe.

The amount of curl in curly hair is dependent on the shape of the follicle and the shaft.

"The direction that hair grows out from the scalp also determines if it will be curly. Within the follicle, the hair bulb may lie at a certain angle. This angle will determine in which direction hair will grow when it emerges from the scalp. Curly hair grows out of the scalp at a sharp angle because their bulbs sit to one side within their hair follicles. Hair also twists as it grows out of the scalp. Even straight hair twists, but only a little, so there aren't as many twists in straight hair. The more twists there are in hair as it grows, the curlier the hair will be."

Read more: How Does Hair Grow Curly? | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how-does_5011167_hair-grow-curly.html#ixzz26GmVVnic

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=102074149

Comments

dear jkpynes

Submitted by docasio1 on Wed, 2012-09-12 12:23.

I can relate to this discussion Why do people have straight hair while others have curly hair. Because it came to my mind also. I noticed that alot of people have different types of curly hair and diferent types of straight hair, but i think it has nothing to do with race my opinion. I read a book called GOOD HAIR, and it talks about women with different hair types feeling comfortable talking about their hair. I do agree with what you wrote about how the hair grows and the science of it. Thanks for your writing. I look foward to reading what you write next.

I thought your topic on why

Submitted by JAfricano on Thu, 2012-09-13 10:41.

I thought your topic on why hair is shaped the way it is was interesting. I had already known that part of the reason was because of the way the hair follicle was shaped, but I had not known it was also affected by the angle at which it grew out of the scalp.

I was curious about this because my hair is kind of wavy. Your article states, "People from Asia have different straight hair than those from Europe," which I found interesting because I have a cousin whose hair is really curly, so his curly hair would be structured differently than yours, but also kind of similar because he's half-Asian/half-European.

Your article was very informative, Julia, and I hope to read more from you.