Friday, January 27, 2012

What Makes Blonde People Blonde? The Interesting Facts About Hair


 Special Note: This article departs from my normal style, but I have included it here because the subject of hair styles and hair types is popular. Blonde jokes have done their share to contribute to the general interest in hair types. This article focuses on some of the interesting scientific facts about hair.

"A blonde was cruising down the highway at breakneck speed when a cop pulled her over.
'May I see your license and registration, please?' asked the cop.
Miffed, the blonde said, 'I wish you guys would get your act together. Just yesterday you took away my license. Now today you want me to show it to you!'" ~blondejokes.com


 What makes blonde people blonde or curly-haired people curly-haired? Genetics would likely be your answer. So then, what makes blonde hair blonde or black hair black? And, what exactly is hair composed of and how does it grow? We will attempt to answer all these questions and more in this article on the subject of hair.


You might think it an odd subject to focus on, but the subject of hair has occupied the attention of many people, both male and female, for thousands of years. Early civilizations had dress styles and hair styles which might seem outlandish to us today, but were quite popular back then. Ancient Egyptians preferred to be bald, ancient Greek men commonly wore beards, and some of the Mohawk Indians shaved the sides of their heads. Today, people style and dye their hair in a way similar to how their ancestors did long ago. People with curly hair, during different periods, have straightened it and, at other times, people with straight hair have curled it.

So, what makes straight hair straight and curly hair curly? The type of hair one has depends on the shape of the cross-section of their hair shafts. Imagine that a hair shaft is the size of a telephone pole. Say that we have a straight hair shaft. When we chop it in half and look at the cross section, we see a circle. When we chop a wavy hair shaft in half, the cross section is oval-shaped. Looking again at our enlarged hair shaft, we notice that it appears black and shiny in the sunlight. When we bring it into the shade, it no longer has a sheen. Why is this and what gives hair its color?