What is Hair? An Essential Introduction for Guys

Last updated on August 7th, 2018 at 04:16 pm

Hair is a material (bio, if you must know) that we humans produce in pretty much every part of our body. Us men have, on our heads, two types of hair: facial (e.g. beards) and scalp (the stuff on top). This article will be focused on the hair that grows on the scalp.

Now, I must start  this hair introduction by telling you this: hair is dead! That’s right, hair is not alive and it doesn’t have any nerve terminals, otherwise having a haircut would be quite a painful experience. Hair is made of a special type of protein called keratin, which is the same stuff your nails are made of. A hair strand (one individual hair) is actually formed in layers to make up a tube, which is what you see as hair when you look at yourself in the mirror in the morning. Getting a bit too technical for you guys but worth learning: the layers making up a hair strand are the medulla (inner layer), the cortex (layer on top of the medulla) and the cuticle (the outern layer). It is the cuticle that you also get to “see” when you look at your hair and it is this layer where hair products work their magic on.


A hair strand posted at men's hair blog for guys to reference

This is what an individual hair strand looks like (magnified 200x)!


A hair strand also grows from a follicle, a tiny pocket buried in your scalp of which you have thousands. Blonde haired people have the most hair follicles, aproximately 150,000 whereas it is redheads that have the least (aproximately 90,000). It is believed that there is an evolutionary basis for this, since pale colours have the least heat retaining property. Since this is just an introduction and not an anthropology class, let’s leave the reason for follicle density like this for now!

Hair grows on average half an inch per month and it grows a tiny bit faster in summer. Your hair follicles also have some glands surrounding it that secrete a special type of oil, known as sebum, which is essential for the health of your hair. Yeah, I know it sounds gross, but this icky oil is imperative for the good looks of your hair as a dude! Of course, if you don’t know how to optimally groom your hair, you may very well end up with the likes of greasy scalps, which I am sure you have experienced at one time or another.

Of course, there are different shapes for hair too. Men (and women) can have two types of hair: straight or curly (non-straight). Straight hair is, as the name implies, hair that grows straight, without curving. Curly hair, on the other hand, curves/curls at any given point which gives rise to the different sub-types of curly hair, ranging from wavy to highly kinky hair. I have designed a popular curly hair classification system which is currently used by many men because it gives a numerical term for each of the coloquial names as well as its application, ranging from Type I (wavy hair) all the way up to Type V (highly kinked hair). Again, without getting too technical, you either have straight hair or you have curly hair, and feel free to check my hair classification guide to know more about your hair type.

I believe this is more than enough for the first article at Men’s Hair Blog. My team and I believe highly on this website and we have set it as our goal to bring you the absolute best content on hair content for men on the web. Keep checking back as there is so much more coming and join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to us to be on the latest of Men’s Hair Blog.

All the best.

Rogelio & The Men’s Hair Blog team.

For your male grooming needs, visit the Barbershop Forums, the mens style and fashion community with some epic male grooming stuff thrown in!

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