Posts Tagged ‘Caucasian hair’

What Makes Your Hair Different



I am sure you have noticed the differences in African American (Afro-Caribbean) hair compared to Caucasian or Asian hair.  There are several differences in hair types, such as the shape and size of hair follicles, the growth rate, texture, and color. Many people probably assume that Asian and Caucasian hair is the same as far as length and texture. Likewise, people like to refer to African American hair as to being “nappy”. Let’s take a look at each ethnic background and learn about their hair type.

African American Hair

Typically African American hair is tightly coiled or spiral. The reason that the hair is tightly coiled or spiral is due to flat, ribbon-like structure of the follicles. In cross section the hair looks like a kidney or spiral shape.  The hair color tends to be a very dark brown color.  The Hair density of hair follicles for African Americans ranges from 50,000-100,000 and has the slowest growth rate of .9cm per month. Studies have shown that African American hair produces the most oils, known as sebum, than Asian and Caucasian hair. However, due to the tightly coiled shape follicles the oil is unable to spread evenly along the hair fibers. Consequently, the hair becomes very dry and makes it more prone to hair breakage. This is why African American hair is shorter and does not grow as fast as other hair groups.  In addition, this is why African American hair use treatments, oils and many other chemicals to maintain the hair.

As mentioned above some people like to refer to this hair type as “nappy”, the proper term in “kinky”. Kinky means that the hair is thick and course and is difficult to maintain. Kinky hair is harder to comb. To reduce friction and to make it easier to manage, African Caribbean hair requires specially formulated hair care products and shampoos unlike Caucasian and Asian hair.

Caucasian Hair

Caucasian hair can vary, being straight, wavy or curly. When seen in cross section, the fiber looks like a circle or oval shape. The colors usually are dark brown to light blond. The hair follicles density can range from 100,000-150,000. Caucasians hair grows at a rate of 1.2cm a month. Caucasian hair is thinner than Asian hair.

Asian Hair

Asian hair tends to be straight, and on average is the thickest hair compared to other ethnic groups. In cross section the hair fiber is round. The hair color varies from medium brown to dark brown. Density ranges from 90,000-120,000 hair follicles. On average Asian hair grows the fastest of 1.3cm per month. Asian hair absorbs and retains moisture more quickly than Caucasians and African Americans. Since Asian hair grows quickly, the shaft loses moisture; as a result the scalp can suffer dryness.


In summary different ethnic backgrounds have different type of hair follicles, hair texture and growth rates. As you can see African American hair is the most unique hair of the three. Asian and Caucasian hair is similar but not the same.


To learn more about the hair structure and hair life cycle click here.




Hair Dressing Training 

Ethnic differences in hair fiber & follicles

Ask A Geneticist by Anne Tecklenburg, Stanford University












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