The Science Behind a Good Hair Day
Scientists are looking at human hair on the microscopic level to try to determine the differences between frizzy and silky hair. They hope their research could lead to better shampoos and conditioners, and give people more "good hair days."
The researchers, from the University of Bayreuth in Germany, mounted Caucasian female hair follicles on the tip of an atomic force microscope. They observed how the follicles reacted to rubbing against each other and being exposed to chemicals, humidity and "hair stickiness."
With this extremely close-up view, the scientists found that some environmental forces caused scaly projections on hair fibers, which created friction with other fibers. This friction created a negative charge that made hair fibers repel each other, making hair feel rough and hard to comb.
In the future, the scientists will investigate the effects of shampoos and conditioners on hair, and try to find an ideal composition for hair-care products. For instance, as co-author Eva Max explained, there could be an optimal amount of friction, and shampoos could be designed to achieve this optimum level.
As the researchers noted, hair styling products are becoming more sophisticated, and this is largely due to a better understanding of the science of hair. Hair care products make up a $60 billion industry worldwide.