The Way Your Hair Grows

Alright, so you’ve probably heard of all the good stuff already.

Approximately it takes our hair to grow 1/2 inch every month which equates to 6 inches a year.

Others it takes 1/4 inch every month which equates to 3 inches a year.

But you’re probably wondering exactly what makes our hair look the way it is and how it is structured on our scalps.  So what I found out, that a lot of people might not know is this:

The way the hair follicle is positioned in our scalp ultimately determines the curl pattern we are born with.

If you have a Type 1 Hair (straight hair) your hair strands look like this:

Naturally Healthy Hair Janssen, Mary Beth pg. 19

Straight hair grows out of the root on a straight angle. A straight hair strand also has a circular diameter bulb that is embedded in the scalp.

Now Wavy Hair this is probably our Type 2s:


“Naturally Healthy Hair” Janssen, Mary Beth pg. 19

The hair root has an oval perimeter and the shape of the root allows the hair strand to come out of the scalp at a slight angle creating wavy hair all the way through.

Now Curly Hair our Type 3s and 4s looks like this:


“Naturally Healthy Hair” Janssen, Mary Beth pg. 19

The root of the hair is an extreme flattened oval and this allows the hair strand to grow at an extreme angle creating a curly effect.

Depending on how extreme the angle is  would differentiate how curly your curls are.

Now we’re going to dive into

The Anatomy of Our Hair:

'Naturally Healthy Hair' Janssem, Mary Beth pg.19

‘Naturally Healthy Hair’ Janssem, Mary Beth pg.15

They are three layers to our hair strands:

Cuticle– is composed of a layer of overlapping cells or scales, like shingles on a roof.

Cortex– the main bulk of our hair which holds 90 percent of our hair’s molecular weight and is responsible for our hair’s strength elasticity and color.  That’s why when we wet our hair our cuticle’s open up into this layer. Within this layer this is where the main source of protein is located held together by a variety of bonds. 80% of these bonds are hydrogen which can be broken down by regular handling. (ex. brushing) and 8 %  are disulfide bonds (strongest bonds in our hair) which can only be broken down chemically.

Medulla– is a thin transparent cells and air spaces often found in the center of the hair strand. The medulla is not always present, often the case in finer hair.  It is also composed of protein , however this is sometimes found in the center of the cortex layer in finer hair. The medulla hasn’t really shown a function that we need to be concerned about as far as handling hair.

Information from “Naturally Healthy Hair Herbal Treatments and Daily Care for Fabulous Hair” by Janssen, Mary Beth.

Hope this give more insight about how our hair is structured and how it grows.

I have another post coming about my wash day and some more information about hair.

Until next time.




3 thoughts on “The Way Your Hair Grows

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