In a world where every hair care product claims to be made for your individual hair type, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that there really are true scientific differences between hair types.
For example, a study recently published in the Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists (57, 327-338 July 2006) discovered that there are at least 5 basic differences between Asian and Caucasian hair.
1) Number of Cuticle Layers
Cuticles are the protective “shingles” that guard the inner protein structure of your hair. Typical human hair has 5 to 10 layers of cuticles. Asian hair has more (closer to 10) than Caucasian (which has closer to 5). Asian cuticles are also wider, thicker and more densely packed.
2) Flatness of Cuticles
On Asian hair, the cuticles are laid down with at a steeper angle. Caucasian hair has flatter cuticles.
3) Distance Between Cuticles
The interval, or distance, between cuticle cells is narrower in Asian hair than in Caucasian hair.
4) How Hair Breaks
As Asian hair is stretched or pulled, the cuticles tend to break off in large pieces that keep their original shape. On the other hand, the cuticles of Caucasian hair tend to break into smaller fragments and fall off. In this sense, Caucasian cuticles are more fragile.
5) Why Hair Breaks
The cuticles of Asian hair tends to fall off because the adhesive that holds the cuticle cells together fails. In Caucasian hair, the adhesive holds better but the cuticle cell itself starts to break first.
What does this all mean?
For the first time, scientists have proven that Asian hair has a more solid structure than Caucasian hair. This may account for the beautiful long, shiny look that so many Asian women are known for. The Beauty Brains think it also suggests that Asians may need different hair care products than Caucasians.