≡ Menu

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 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. One option is Phique hair care products.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • 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.

          • Ryan February 20, 2019, 4:50 pm

            Half Asians have different hair growth than full Asians boi.

        • AZN March 22, 2017, 8:25 pm

          I’m an Asian female who has shaved my head. And I agree with you that the growing out phase was very awkward. However, I don’t agree with you and Bryan in that both of you believe that Asian hair sucks. It’s just different than the now supposed norm, Caucasian hair.

          • Harvey March 20, 2019, 4:57 pm

            I didn’t know that! I’m caucasian male and I hate that my hair is so limp i kind of like the thickness of asian hair cause it looks nicer. At least asian people can pull off all of these cool hairstyles where as I can only dream of finding one that is decent I guess the only Nice thing about my hair is that you can easily alter the texture with products and tools and it will hold. But then comes wind and rain lol

      • Jailer November 13, 2015, 5:33 pm


      • Frank May 4, 2019, 5:19 pm

        Hello I’m asian. Cuticles and scalp density is different. I’ve got couple of Asian friends where they have a lot of spaces in between scalps, and others have so much hair the rubber band breaks when they tie their hair. Cuticles are like the thickness of the individual tree and scalp density is more like how many trees are in that forest.

    • 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.

        • Maddie November 13, 2019, 4:17 am

          I’m korean and every hairdresser I’ve ever had tells me I have a lot of hair. Not bald in the slightest. I break so many hair bands and combs. All my combs have so many teeth missing just from brushing. I broke a comb by the handle once. I’m guessing your not asian and writing this.

          • Anonymous March 21, 2020, 6:09 am

            I’m asian I have thick hair and I find it very offending that people are saying Asian hair sucks. Also every one has different hair types. For example: I have dark brown glossy hair so my hair isn’t true black. My sister has dark brown curly hair.

        • Lia March 30, 2020, 5:51 pm

          I’m assuming you’re not Asian?
          I’m a woman of East Asian descent and I have a ton of thick hair.
          I’m nowhere near bald LMAO…

    • Jess December 26, 2016, 4:41 pm

      Not “rubbish”. All 4 of my nieces (who are Asian) have thick, dense hair. You should be wiser so as to not post such ignorant comments in the future.

      • Jillian October 24, 2019, 6:53 pm

        “ignorant comments”
        I think the point we’re all missing is that Asians are HUMAN and thus have a variety of different hair types.
        They’re right in saying not every Asian has perfectly straight, thick, and shiny hair.
        That doesn’t mean everyone has the same hair type as this person though.
        But arguing that this article isn’t over-exaggerating or generalizing isn’t really the way to go about it.

    • Wynston January 31, 2017, 4:17 pm

      Here comes the Stereotyping Train! All aboard! I am an Asian but my hair’s better than most of my white friends… Eugene of the Try guys of the BuzzFeed, He tends to have the most beautiful hair in the franchise and is considered to be the epitome of fabulous hair!

    • Bryan 2 April 16, 2017, 1:49 pm

      I’m half Japanese, half Colombian. I inherited my maternal grandfather’s hair and it’s all wavy and curly, which I love. Fortunately, I don’t have that problem of looking like a porcupine.
      I’ve seen a lot of Asian guys looking just like that, it must suck. They’ve gotta let it grow long enough so it looks descent.

    • Chris June 26, 2017, 9:05 am

      Years of living in whatever country you are in has made you hate every tiny bit part of your Asian feature. I pity you for disconnecting yourself from your native culture. Deep down you must have a lot of pain and hurt. What a wonderful world you have missed out!

      • Liv July 2, 2019, 11:47 pm

        I’m half Indonesian half Caucasian so I have a mix of both types, but I definitely have some mixed feelings! I also get complimented on how my hair is naturally straight and smooth and I love that! But the most annoying thing is that my eyelashes are very stubborn and cannot be kept curled! My lashes are actually very long, but they are just straight and jut right out of my eyes instead of making their curled debut. What do u other mixed fellas have to say about it!

        • arwen September 6, 2019, 2:19 pm

          I’m a mix of Korean and caucasian, I feel the same. My hair feels like a mix of the two and my lashes are long but they just stick straight! Eyelash curlers don’t help at all either

    • Lola October 26, 2019, 4:54 pm

      Asian hair is beautiful! My boyfriend is Asian just like me, and keeps his hair short. Its sooo cute and i always call him my porqupine lol! Its so smooth yet ”bouncy” to touch and i love it! I also have Asian, silky, jet black hair but and i keep it waist length. <3

    • Tenzin November 11, 2019, 4:29 pm

      I don’t agree. I’m Tibetan, and my hair is super thick and is really cool. I usually make a quiff with my hair, and make a ducktail in the back to get that nice look. You probably are east asian, so I dont know how your genetics work.

  • 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.

    • TruthSeeker December 9, 2017, 9:28 pm

      +Erreeanna, I’ve never heard anyone describe someone else’s hair as a “thick mass of gray mop” unless it was a derogatory term. Then again, not many people at the gym are so concerned about a woman’s hair type & the type of cut & curls she has (from someone who’s behind you no less). What’s really flabbergasting is the fact that you are still trying to attempt to figure out (even long after you left the gym) what percent Asian that woman at the gym was, the amount of ringlets in her hair, the density of “that mop of hair”, all the while trying to figure out if she’s wearing a wig or a weave (or if it’s natural), and the nationality of BOTH of her parents. Maybe next time you’re at the gym you should concentrate on something else….you know, like working out! So either you have way too much time on your hands and don’t have a life of your own, or you were attracted to her but didn’t have the guts to walk up to her and start a conversation. Either way if you’re spending that much time trying to calculate all of the factors that came to be for someone to have a specific hair type you need a new hobby. Seriously, Gtfo!!

      • LongHairDoCare March 23, 2020, 5:05 am

        TruthSeeker, *you’ll prob. never see this, I TOTALLY AGREE, MOP HAIR? RUDE MUCH? My Husband’s KOREAN hair is the BOMB, he looks SO good, the porcupine bounciness, the shine, the jet black color, sometimes I see a few strands of red from his Irish appa. Our son has thick brown hair, maybe it’s from my Peruvian maternal grandma, mixed with Caucasian, but he sure has his beautiful brown eyes, so cute. Bottom line is, all hair is good hair, & my preference is right next to me. Love Each Other & Thank God for allowing another day to do just that!

  • 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.

    • NUNA January 3, 2017, 7:55 am

      AGREED Yim 🙂

  • 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.

    • Shiizu October 28, 2016, 5:27 pm

      True! Asian hair is a very strong kind of hair, asian hair results of an adaptation of the cold climates in the past, that’s why some nordic people have the same kind of hair. But asian hair can also be wavy and curly look at laotian people, chinese people, khmer people. In Japan, some japanese have slight waves to really wavy hair, you can look at geisha photos, they have waves on the lenght and it’s not because of braids because braids wasn’t a traditional hairstyle.. About me I am half kazak and half nomadic from North Africa and my hair is straight to slight wavy and is thin and the structure seems flat like african hair which is very weird cause my hair is straight lol
      But whatever, asian have beautiful hair and when they wear it long it looks like silk, it’s so beautiful, wavy asian hair is also beautiful though

  • 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?

  • Tim December 13, 2016, 12:20 am

    Interesting topic! I’m a white American male (Irish and German heritage) living in a small town in northern China as an ESL instructor. Lately I’ve been paying closer attention to the local hair types, as I go to the same places to get my haircut as everyone else and have noticed that hair styles that work for locals don’t work for me.

    A lot of Asian men have this thick, straight hair that does, in fact, grow straight up out of their scalp. A hairstyle that works for them is to let the top grow out and chop the sides down to almost nothing – Almost like a natural fauxhawk. It’s a very handsome look for them, but I’d need to cake on a lot of hair gel to make my hair stick up like that, and then it wouldn’t be natural. My hair seems naturally inclined to being matted down. I like short-cropped hairstyles, so sometimes I envy my Chinese friends and colleagues!

    It’s illuminating for me, as I’d long assumed there were only three or four hair types – Straight hair, curly hair, the thick kind of hair common in black African populations, and perhaps a straight wavey type (though that might just be the natural result of letting the first type grow long enough). I never realized that there’s also a difference between the straight hair of people with northern European roots and that of people with northeast Asian roots.

    I see a lot of comments here that seem to consciously or subconsciously value the typical Caucasian hair type as being superior to the East Asian one, which I guess is due to Western standards of beauty following the majority. I guess after living in China for so long, I’m beginning to be influenced by the local standards of beauty over here! Actually, we should all learn to value our own unique qualities and appreciate those of others without disparaging or resenting them.

    • Kate August 19, 2019, 1:58 am

      Im a caucasian female with very long, slightly wavy, light brown hair. When I went to China I went to the most amazing hairdresser (only AUD$7 for a wash, cut, style, and massage all the while!! This was in Ningbo). The hairdressers were stumped by my hair because what usually works for their clients doesn’t work for me. My hair is so much thinner (it has many strands and thick in that sense, but thin as in each strand is thinner and weaker than typical Chinese hair). My hair also breaks so much more easily than typical Asian hair. I’m pretty surprised by the conscious /subconscious preference on these comments to caucasian hair because in my opinion asian hair tends to be amazing… It depends on the person (some people like my boyfriend have soft silky hair with thinner strands (still thicker than mine!) and some have coarser hair but the strands are so thick and strong). My female Asian friends tend to be able to grow their hair so long so easily. To me the quality of it just seems so amazing. On the downside Asian hair is just harder to colour if you wanted to, because being dark brown or black, bleach needs a long time and damages it more. Other than that I’m surprised I’m not seeing more Asian hair envy!!

  • La Reice Williams January 26, 2017, 9:28 pm

    I’m black and Asian and have beautiful hair. I wonder how that happened lol.

  • Emily February 15, 2017, 2:00 am

    Im an Asian and i have very silky hair but i think that it really depends. I have silky hair and my mum doesn’t. In fact my mum has damaged and dry hair. I have to say that sometimes having Asian/thick hair really sucks.

  • Aria April 27, 2017, 2:19 pm

    I’m Asian, and having this kind of hair SUCKS! I don’t have silky hair, and this part of my hair, sticks up STRAIGHT. So, it sucks. Period.

  • Lolol April 29, 2017, 9:44 am

    Blonde people tend to have more hairs than the average person but there is a simple yet logical explanation to it, their hairs are thinner than that of an average person.

    The Scandinavians I have met usually have thinner hairs than mine, I have thick hairs and oddly enough more hairs than that of an average Scandinavian person (mine is straight to wavy, old fashioned looking curls can be found near the end of my hair).

    • Marina September 11, 2019, 8:34 am

      I’m a Russian. I have exactly what you’re talking about. Even though I’m a complete blend of Asian and European I got the thin blondish hair. I’ve had to work very hard to get it looking healthy. I have to air dry it now. And what’s worse is whenever I’m just a little bit stressed it’ll fall out in small clumps. Yikes.

  • josh November 16, 2017, 8:08 pm

    I’m a white guy with thick full dense hair like any Asian person and I have the same problem with the hair growing straight out, Except unlike most white peoples hair I’m not going to have to worry about going bald thank God.

  • Calvin November 28, 2017, 1:00 pm

    Really, I am thinking why Koreans typically has higher dense than chinese. If you go Korea, you will also find less male bald patterns. You may want to look into that. i am really starting to believe it’s more of food than genetics…something they eat.

    • popopopo August 10, 2020, 1:08 pm

      its genetic actually. korea/japan native race people have very very dense hair with straight super shiny super black hair very smooth hair. chinese people hair density is lack and hair that is very thick and spiked toward sky.

  • Shengnan January 12, 2018, 2:38 am

    Asian male, I have very thin hair and interim density, I always be described “Your hair so soft” by my barber, which was very embarrassing as a male…

  • Era February 14, 2018, 4:11 am

    For one thing, I am 100% asian, surrounded by asians every day, have asians for a government, regardless of race. My hair is a dark brown that appears ‘light’/ ‘warm” in natural sunlight, slightly wavy and thick. I can say that I rarely ever met a Chinese person (such as myself) that have perfectly, sleek, sraight hair. My best friend has ‘thin’ wavy hair, dark brown (different shade). My other best friend has light black hair, super wavy, and my final best friend(korean) has thick brown hair, slightly wavy. Most asians that I know of have hair that is half wavy and half straight. Like foofy, fuffy(depends), sleek, not sleek, BABY HAIRS (even in adulthood), puffy (like you can’t even smooth it down, ‘flat’, down, silkly, like silk, and standing straight up.

  • Jackie March 21, 2018, 9:16 pm

    Bryan, what’s so suck about Asian hair? I’m mixed Filipina and I’m the sole member of our family who inherited my Caucasian grandmother’s features including her hair. I envy those who have the typical Asian silky straight black hair. I would have save lots of money if only I have that. No need to face my eternal battle with my unmanageable dry, wavy hair. No need to have it rebonded every year and no need for special hair treatment every month. All just to have that Asian hair look.

  • melody May 6, 2018, 2:40 pm

    I am Asian and i have beautiful hair. so please know that even if you judge someones hair you can also have really weak and damaged hair.

  • Michael A Caraballo December 12, 2018, 12:04 pm

    Who cares, about the hair difference Asian women are Beautiful

  • Patrick September 25, 2019, 1:49 pm

    As a halfie male, I have hell everytime I go to the hairdressers.

    Asian hairdressers in asia cut your hair as if you are white and shave the sides too short and you can see the scalp, because technically Caucasian hair is thinner, but you still have the asian density.

    I went to the supposed best hair salon in the country —Failed, just wanted a side parting and he took clippers to the side of my head and I knew it was all over.

    Western hair dressers try and give you a standard SS cut and you end up looking like porcupine triad/ Kim jon Un.

    Best thing I’ve found for a halfie male is to INSIST that you do not want it too short on the sides, you want to BLEND the sides into the top, NO clippers, the sides will fall at a certain point.

    Also insist that you do not want any lenth off the top. Every no regular hair dresser struggles

  • Ryan October 27, 2019, 10:41 pm

    I am half Japanese and my hair is thick and straight..and grows out like a hedgehog..just like bryan says.

  • Lena November 15, 2019, 2:20 am

    I am Cambodian (south East Asian) I have long thick hair and I love it. It’s a bit coarse but it’s a part of me and I love it.

  • dilshan March 14, 2020, 3:20 am

    i’m from srilanka. like to have hair like korean/thai, bcz my hair is davy wavy, which i cannot do any styles, as per my experience most men after 27 tends to hair fall. thickness will not long for long time. hair should be strong.

  • Lia March 30, 2020, 5:52 pm

    Elliot- I’m assuming you’re not Asian?
    I’m a woman of East Asian descent and I have a ton of thick hair.
    I’m nowhere near bald LMAO…

  • Sue April 25, 2020, 12:26 am

    I am caucasian and my hair is thin and I turned white in my 30’s. Now my hair is thinning on top. I would love to have thick asian hair you are all complaining about. I have seen some beautiful lustrous hair on some kpop boy band members, eg Lee Jung Shin of CNBlue. we all want what we can’t have.

  • Nozomi April 25, 2020, 4:20 pm

    I’m a Hafu and my hair is different. When I was young, it was straight and black, the typical native Japanese hair. When I hit puberty, my hair lightened, became more porous, and quite wavy (my Caucasian father had very wavy hair). It also tended to be dry and even frizzy. I had to stop perms and straighteners because they fry my hair. I also have to go to a stylist who knows ethnic hair, and use special products to protect my hair. It looks so much better now.

  • CL June 10, 2020, 3:51 am

    All hairs look nice as long as it’s clean and well taken care of. I’m Asian and my hair is straight with slight wave. In no way does it suck like what the first commentator said. Caucasian hair has pretty natural colors and Asians have thick strands. Let’s all enjoy our differences.

  • Lena December 29, 2020, 10:30 pm

    I am Cambodian and I have long, thick and coarse hair. I love my hair. For those who said Asian hair is jealous. I’m sure they’re bald and hate their hair.