Curly vs. Straight




I have grown up with extremely curly hair, ever since I was born.  My mom has slightly wavy hair and my dad used to have curlier hair when he was younger.  Besides genetics and family origin, I always wondered what actually made hair curly or straight or anywhere in between.    

After doing some research, I found that a main difference in hair type depends on the shape of the hair follicle.  People with curly hair generally have very flat hair follicles.  This reminds me of using the straight edge of scissors in order to curl ribbon for a present.  People with straight hair have very round follicles so the hair comes out without being skewed in any way.  People with wavy hair, since it is a mix of curly and straight, also have a mix of the shapes of the follicles; they have an oval shaped follicle.  (  In addition to the follicle, the bulb in the hair, located at the bottom of the hair shaft, is different depending on the level of curl in the hair.  If the hair is extremely curly, the bulb will be hooked towards the end of the shaft.  This hook causes the hair to grow at more of an angle, therefore adding more curl.  In contrast, straight hair does not have this hook at all. 

There are a number of other factors that can also affect the way the hair grows.  Outside factors can also cause a change in the curl level of one's hair.  Humidity in the air can affect the level of curl and cause unwanted frizz because of the extra moisture in the air.  In addition, some medicines and added hormones from food and medication can alter the texture and consistency of one's hair.  From other research I found online, as hair grows, it naturally twists and turns the longer it gets.  That being said, if hair twists more naturally as it grows, it is going to result in more naturally curly hair.  While this seems obvious, it makes me wonder what causes the natural twisting and curling of the hair?

What other things do you think affect the consistency of your hair? Is there anything we can do to change the way our hair is naturally, or is it just genetics?





I love this blog, and the picture you found is perfect!
I have a friend who has suzy q curls and both of her younger sisters have it as well as her mother. So in that aspect, yes, I believe genetics will take a big role in that. Im sure there are man different options one can take to change the texture, thickness, color, and bounce that one has. They now sell shampoos, conditioners, moose, and hair serums specifically for that purpose.

Great post! As someone with EXTREMELY curly hair, I find it to be a constant source of frustration. I'm bi-racial, so my hair is interesting, to say the least. It's a big mess of tightly spiraled curls, but it's not wiry or greasy in any way. But it's definitely due to genetics. My mother's hair is the same way!

I did a blog on something very similar from this period and I would love you to take a look at it. I'd post the link here, but it doesn't seem to want to agree with me today. My blog discusses the scientific reasons why hair is the way it is (also based heavily off of chemical reasons) and discusses styling with heat. Here's also a really good article that I think might further your understanding of why hair is curly or straight or wavy!

I have very curly hair myself and I know my sister's is even worse than mine. I wonder why hers is so much more coarse than mine and why it is still a different texture when we straighten it. She used to get the Keratin treatment and it seemed to work for a little while, but she discontinued her use because she found that the process releases a lot of carcinogens. It was her attempt to change her genetics, but after a few months of stopping the treatment, her hair returned to normal. I guess mother nature always wins!

Wow, so interesting! I never knew it was because of the shape of our follicles that our hair was straight or curly. A lot of people always say it's due to race (Africans have curly hair, Asians are supposed to have stick straight hair). Do you think that your race determines the shape of your hair follicle? Is there a link between the two?

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