Hair Follicle Changing Shape
Susan Hepworth https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/?term=hair+follicle
Have you ever woken up one day and looked in the mirror and realized that your hair is just…different? It’s hard to pinpoint when and where the change happened but you know you can’t be imagining it! Somehow your curls are looser, or maybe they’re tighter? There may even be waves or curls where there’s never been before! Whether you are loving the change or you’re looking to get back what you had, we thought we’d delve into the mystery of why our hair textures change in the first place.
What Makes Curly Hair Curly?
To understand what could cause someone’s hair to change it’s best to first know what gives curls their unique shape and texture!
Born This Way
This one is a no-brainer; genetics play a huge role in all of our physical attributes, and our hair is no exception. Whether you have a head full of luscious waves or lots of bouncy ringlets, you have genes to thank for that. So if your mom, dad, or grandparent has curly hair too, chances are they passed those genes on to you! Thanks, Ma!
Bent Out of Shape
Since genes alone can’t fully explain the variations between different curl types, hair texture comes down to way more than just simple genetics.
The truth is that the shape of your hair follicles are the biggest factor in determining your hair texture. Your hair follicles are the part of your scalp that guide and grow hair fibres, so it makes sense that they could shape the way your strands look. Hair follicles that are circular and symmetrical produce straight hair, while oval shaped follicles produce hair that curls.
But wait there’s more! Curly hair also has a unique composition. Unlike straight hair, curly hair strands have an uneven distribution of keratin protein. These proteins form bonds throughout the hair shaft that contribute to the shape, size and tightness of each curl. When curly hair is chemically relaxed, these bonds are broken apart, and as a result, straightens the curl.
Even though it’s been determined for years that curly hair is a dominant gene, scientists admit that there is still no way to predict, the size, tightness, or overall behaviour of someone’s curls. Curly hair is just THAT unique.
Why The Change?
The Root Cause
Now that we know what a big role our follicles play in shaping our curls, it is likely that major changes in textures start at the root of your hair. That being said, it is possible for the shape of your follicles to change. Bodily changes like age, health, hormones, stress and diet are all factors that can impact the landscape of your hair.
Believe it or not, major hormonal changes (like the kind you experience during pregnancy, puberty or even menopause) can actually affect and CHANGE the shape of your hair follicle as well as the size and thickness of your hair strands. So all the stories you’ve heard of hair changing (for better or worse) during pregnancy actually have some truth to them!
The ‘D’ Word
The dreaded ‘D’ word: damage. Damage doesn’t come by flat ironing and straightening alone; there are many other factors that could cause damage to your hair, such as dryness. Your curls are the bounciest and healthiest when your hair AND scalp are moisturized. When they are dry, your curls can become rough, brittle and more susceptible to damage.
Another sneaky culprit can be over-manipulation. Detangling, pulling and brushing your hair back into buns, ponytails, and styles meant to stretch the hair can also affect your texture over time so be mindful of this if you’re trying to bring some life back into your curls!
A Long Story
Long hair means more hair, and more hair means more weight. As your hair grows longer the weight starts to pull from the bottom up to your roots, resulting in your curl pattern being stretched and elongated. Sometimes a new hair cut can bring a little bounce back into your hair by using scissors to create varying layers and textures in your hair. Consulting with a curly hair specialist is the best way to figure out what kind of cut works best with your curl texture.
Maybe your hair type hasn’t changed (or at least not drastically), maybe you’ve just figured things out. A lot of us curly girls have spent a good portion of our lives not actually embracing our curls and perhaps you’ve finally figured out what works for you. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard feedback from customers who are shocked at how a product can really transform your curl pattern.
Have you ever noticed a change in your curl pattern? Maybe you had an unexpected pattern spring up after pregnancy? Or maybe your kinks and coils are looser than they used to be after rocking a straightened look? Comment below and let us know!