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5 ways that asian hair is different from caucasian hair

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.

{ 21 comments… add one }

  • Bryan May 16, 2015, 4:26 am

    Rubbish. Asian hair still sucks. Most of the time you can see into the scalp as the hair density is so thin, and they just stick out like a porcupine if you keep it short…

    • sarah September 1, 2015, 7:18 pm

      You should talk about your own hair it is not fair if you judge Asian people with there hair.

      • Hugh September 30, 2015, 7:19 pm

        I’m an Asian male, and i totally agree with Bryan. I have to constantly shave the sides of my hair every 2 weeks and let the top grow out so that when i style my hair, it would look more like side part and less like Kim Jong Un hair style. You guys were talking about female Asian hair, not male. Have you guys seen any female that have hairstyle that is shorter than 3 inches before? Exactly! they look just like a porcupine. When it’s short, it grow straight out instead of stick to the scalp.

        • Sean July 5, 2016, 12:12 am

          Im a half japanese half german male. My hairs on my head are very thin and straight but dont stick out like a porcupine like Bryan said.

      • Jailer November 13, 2015, 5:33 pm


    • Chelsea February 3, 2016, 8:20 pm

      well at least we don’t have to worry about going bald

      • Elliot May 1, 2016, 6:00 pm

        Most Asian women already look bald because their hair density is so low compared to Caucasians.

  • Shanelle June 17, 2015, 3:32 am

    How can you say that! I am Asian and i can assure you that my hair does not ‘suck’ and may as well be nicer that yours.

  • Maysi September 1, 2015, 7:07 pm

    @Bryan maybe it’s because you don’t know that much about ‘Asian hair’ Asian girls have smooth, straight, silky hair ‘Asian Hair’ are far more different and better than any other race.
    Don’t judge a book by it’s cover!

  • Sarah September 1, 2015, 7:07 pm

    hey Bryan you don’t know anything about Asian hair its because maybe you don’t have that kind silky hair aye.

  • Pilgrim September 14, 2015, 3:57 pm

    yep. hair on hair extensions are korean.

    i have one parent asian, one parent caucasian.
    asian parent has hair on head as thick as beard hair.

    i have both kinds all mixed on my head. i have somewhat curly hair.
    no one else in my extended families have curly hair.

  • Kirsten October 14, 2015, 6:00 pm

    Yes, Asian women have beautiful hair. Out of caucasian women, I’ve noticed Russians and Scandinavians have that same type of hair. I’m mostly caucasian, but I do have smooth, straight, elbow length hair. I just treat it well, which means keeping the ends trimmed, using expensive conditioners and no heat styling. Diet comes in to play too. I eat lots of fish and take a good food based vitamin daily, so your hair is also a reflection of your health.

  • Erreeanna October 15, 2015, 6:53 pm

    Today at gym I saw from behind a 60-something woman on cardio machine with this thick mass of grey mop on her head, but it was cut perfectly. The strands were somewhat in ringlets, but it was dense, like one of those trees you see that are just a big puff of green above the trunk. She got off machine and I was flabbergasted: She was Asian–looked pure Asian (Japanese, Taiwanese, Korean, etc.), so I’m wondering, where on earth did she get that mop of hair? It looked too natural in front to be a wig. Maybe it was a weave? Maybe she was three-quarters Asian and one-quarter white (one parent is half white)? Maybe the half white parent passed down the thick ringlet gene?

    • anon October 17, 2015, 10:46 pm

      although it is less common, asians can have curly hair. i am asian and although my hair is not curly with thick ringlets like the woman you described, my hair is pretty wavyish-curly.

      • Molly July 9, 2016, 11:01 pm

        The same goes for me. I’m most likely 100% Chinese and I have naturally wavy/curly hair (loose waves, sometimes curls). Whenever I go to get my hair cut, I always get comments about having so much hair (I’m also female, with hair down to my mid-back). My hair isn’t thick, I just have a lot of it.

        However, I’m unsure of my exact ancestry so it could be a result of having some non-East-Asian genetics.

  • Anony2 February 3, 2016, 12:09 pm

    I love Asian hair. I’m so jealous. My hair is blonde so it’s really thin like a baby. Its this wavy/almost straight mess. Asian hair is the best.

  • Annie March 4, 2016, 7:10 pm

    I can see where Bryan is coming from. I’m a Chinese-American female and although I do love my hair, it has it’s down falls, such as because of the density it’s true that you have to keep it at a certain length yet at the same time you have to constantly layer and thin it when you go get a hair cut, otherwise you will look like you are wearing a hijab when you let your hair loose. I didn’t know about hair layering when I was a teenager and I actually hated my hair in those periods, because I can’t ever let my hair down since it’s so heavy that it’s like a big hijab on my head. I actually quite envy Caucasian hair because when it’s straight, it’s so straight down and flat just like a waterfall, so beautiful! And because of the varied coloration with their hair they look like they have natural shine to them like highlights! Of course even Asian hair can vary. I tend to have high density in mine so there are Asians who have fine hair like Caucasians and yes they can look very nice also.

  • Yim April 20, 2016, 11:25 am

    I’m an asian and I love my long, silky hair. My friend is also an pure asian but she’ve got a very curly hair and she spents a lots of money and times to make her hair straight. I found her being so stressful for it. I’m very satisfied of my silky hair because I don’t need to use some hair conditioner, hair treatments for making my hair grew nice and I also don’t need to have a flat iron. But I like caucasian’s and black’s hair too, because they do look nice.

  • Mazzoo May 7, 2016, 4:42 pm

    I would never think one hair type is better than another, they all have pluses and minuses and there will be exceptions in every race ie. Asian people with thin hair, wavy hair, etc. I am European/ celtic and my hair is thick and dead straight like asian hair, I don’t know what the structure of it is but it doesn’t like to curl and is shiny and resistent to dye. If I cut it short it does indeed stick up and look ‘porcupiney’. People are always surprised when they talk about hair straightening (which seems to be the fashion now) and I say I don’t do it, I wash my hair and it dries like that, they don’t believe me. Naturally I want what I don’t have and love curly hair, it doesn’t stay for long in my hair.

  • JoAnn Barton May 11, 2016, 10:37 pm

    My parents are from England and Sweden. Hairstylists have described my hair as “Asian”. It’s very thick, straight, and shiny. I’m 69 years old now, and have let my hair grey naturally. It has numerous shades of grey/silver, and friends and cousins have commented that they love the varying shades in my hair and ask what hairdresser colors my hair. No one colors my hair! This is the natural progression of aging. Perhaps some of us (or all of us, if we will just let nature take control) naturally achieve attractive shades of greying/aging? Whatever…I have been described as having “Asian” hair, and I love it!

  • miche July 24, 2016, 4:39 am

    I am also not Asian and have tangle free silky hair (I don’t add conditioner and coming out of the shower can run my hands through it, no knots). It’s very fine but thick (I have lots of fine hair). As I have native American genes (amongst my 80% European) and they are said to be descendants of Asia, perhaps it is mainly Asian hair?

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