From a biological perspective, there are considered to be three different types of hair. As well as African hair, this includes Caucasian hair and Asian hair. But what does this actually mean? How does African hair differ from the other two?
Different Types of Hair
If you’ve never read anything on this topic before, you are forgiven for thinking that all hair is the same. However, experts have now distinguished between the three so-called ‘ethno-hair profiles’. Not only do these profiles differ in texture, but they also have a unique colour, structure, and scalp implantation.
According to one individual we interviewed outside of the Rumbie & Co hair salon redfern, she said that African hair has some key characteristics, including its growth pattern that really make it different. Rather than growing away from the scalp, it grows parallel with the scalp. What’s more, it commonly has kinks, tight curls, and features of this nature.
Of all the different ethno-hair profiles, African hair grows at the slowest rate. On average, it grows less than 1cm per month (around 0.9cm). As it grows, the hair continually spirals, and this is why the difference in length from one month to the next is negligible.
What about the texture? Well, it’s denser than Asian hair but doesn’t quite compete with Caucasian hair.
As the most flexible of the three, it’s harder to narrow Caucasian hair down to one profile because of the different types. While some people have straight hair, others have to deal with curly or wavy hair. Growing diagonally from the scalp, it’s found in multiple shades, and the average month will see 1.2cm of growth.
In terms of the strands themselves, they are an oval shape, and this differs from the flattened shape of African hair. Also, it’s the fullest texture and density of the three profiles.
This guide is mainly about the difference between Caucasian and African hair, but the third hair profile is important because it provides context. For example, it has a perpendicular growth pattern and is the straightest of the three. Compared to the other two profiles, Asian hair grows faster, and an average month includes 1.4cm of growth.
With the lowest density of all three profiles, the strands contain a round shape rather than the oval shape of Caucasian hair and the flat shape of African hair.
Why the Difference in Texture?
With a basic understanding of the three hair profiles, it’s easier to dig into the varying texture. For the most part, African hair has a coarser texture. The reason for this is that African hair produces more sebum (protective oils). Rather than straight, African hair normally grows in tight curls and this prevents the oils from spreading evenly. Over time, the hair and fibres without access to oils dry out; the strands eventually become brittle and either flake or feel coarse.
The same happens to Caucasian curly and wavy hair but not quite as dramatically as African hair. Although scientists are still working in this area, they believe the texture difference comes down to genetics. Not only because it’s present across the majority of Africans, but also because it’s missing from other ethnic groups. Additionally, children tend to inherit the same hair texture as it passes from one generation to the next.
African hair is different from Caucasian hair and Asian hair; one of the biggest differences comes with the texture. As a genetic trait, the sebum and other oils don’t reach some parts due to the twisted nature of the hair and this causes a coarse texture. What makes African hair texture different from Caucasians? You should now have the answer!
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