The Basic Hair Structure

The Basic Hair Structure

The Basic hair structure

Understanding your hair

Those beautiful locks are not just fine strings of silk; they are made up of much more than just that.


In a Nutshell:

The hair follicles beneath the skin on your head, produces hair and maintains stem cells. When your hair falls out, the stem cells are there to re-grow the hair. Every person’s hair has a different texture; the hair follicle’s shape determines that. What your hair is mainly composed of is protein, a protein called Keratin. Keratin protects your hair’s cells from damage; you do get Keratin treatments and products to put this protein back in your hair.

The basic hair structure is made up of the following:

The bulb or the base of the hairs root contains the stem cells.
The follicle is the only living portion of the hair.
The hair shaft is the golden locks that hang from your head, this part is considered dead.

The hair shaft has three sections:

Outer layer- The Cuticle
The first layer is the cuticle which consists of thin flat cells .The outer most cells is the Hydro-lipid layer which is water (hydro) and fats (lipids) which provide protection and hydration to the hair strands. If this layer is damaged your hair will break easily, have no elasticity and will be left dull and lifeless.
Middle layer- The Cortex
The second layer is the cortex contains a dark brown/ black pigment (melanin) which gives your hair its color. You get grey hair when the melanin production slows down. The cortex mainly consists of keratin.
Inner Part- The Medulla
The third, thinnest part is the medulla which has no known function and is even absent in certain hair types.

Now that you understand what hair is made of you also have to understand the hair growth cycle.

The hair growth cycle works like this:

Phase 1) Anagen – The growing phase which lasts 2-8 years, determines the length that your hair will grow.

Phase 2) Catagen – In this phase hair growth stops, the follicle gets smaller and the bulb below the follicle separates itself from the blood supply and moves upward towards the surface. This phase approximately lasts up to 2 weeks.

Phase 3) Telogen – By this time the hair strand is all grown up and ready to retire, it will not grow again because the blood supply has been cut off and the hair is basically resting until it falls out. This slumbering period can last up to 3 months.

The growth cycle will then start all over again for that hair follicle. So if you’re not losing too much hair all at once don’t stress it’s just a cycle that has been completed. Remember you can shed up to a 100 hairs a day which is totally normal.

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If you have any questions about my post or input about hair growth and hair structure please leave a comment below.
I would love to help and your input is always welcome.

Your Friend Chani
The Faeriedaele Fox
Kind Regards
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4 Replies to “The Basic Hair Structure”

  1. Hi Chani,

    This is an interesting post. I’ve never given any thought about hair growth. But I noticed an interesting note you made about the middle layer, the cortex…which is the layer which give the color of your hair, and which is where your hair’s color changes to gray. That’s when the melanin production starts to slow down.

    Thank you for sharing the basic structure of hair in this post. This helps to understand hair growth and it’s cycle.

    1. Thanks Rosa, I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it. It certainly helps when you know how it works. It makes it easier to treat difficult hair right from the core 🙂

  2. How very interesting, I learned quite a few things I didn’t know. You give a very complete explanation of what hair is, from what it is made of to the growth cycle. I didn’t know you could lose up to 100 hairs per day. In the 1800’s women used to save every hair and made beautiful pins and other ornaments with it.

    1. Hi Lulu, that is very interesting you’ve given me a wonderful idea for a new post on the history of hair. Thank you for reading my post 🙂

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