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Why is Textured Hair so Fragile?

Dr Paul Cornwell, Director Business Development, and Dr Ernesta Malinauskyte, Principle Research Scientist in Hair Care Research, have pulled together a new review on hair breakage in Afro-textured hair. This follows-on from an article last year on ethnic hair care from Dr Trefor Evans, Institute Fellow and Director of Research.


An Afro-textured hair fibre with a longitudinal crack forming

Afro-textured hair, known for its tight curls, is well-known to be prone to breakage; chemically straightened Afro-textured hair even more so. As a result, hair breakage is one of the top concerns of consumers with this hair type. The question being asked at TRI is: why is Afro-textured hair so fragile? In this review article, Paul and Ernesta work through all the evidence in the literature that might explain what is happening. Is it related to the shape of the hair, or composition of the hair, or the inner structure of the hair? The conclusion, at this stage, is that tight curls increase tangling. The shape also creates internal stresses when the hair is unbent, untwisted or stretched. The uneven internal structure of the hair further adds to the problems. More work is being done by Paul, Ernesta and Trefor in the TRI Textured Hair programme to explore things further and to design solutions.


If you are interested in supporting our Afro-textured hair research programme please contact Paul (pcornwell@triprinceton.org)


Articles


Cornwell, P. and Malinauskyte, E. Defying Damage: Understanding Breakage in Afro-textured Hair. Cosmetics & Toiletries Magazine, February, 21-29 (2020)


T.A. Evans, New Focus for Ethnic Hair, Cosmetics & Toiletries Magazine, Vol. 134(6), June, 35-41 (2019)

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