Hair Anatomy

Hair Anatomy Joan Morais Cosmetics School
Hair Anatomy Joan Morais Cosmetics School

A cosmetic formulator, the modern formulator, must understand the sciene of hair, hair anatomy, the structure of hair to formulate and make products for the hair. The cosmetic formulator develops hair products for the scalp and nonliving hair. In this post on Scalp Care, I relate the anatomy of hair to a tulip, click on Scalp Care to see the similarity.

Besides being a cosmetic formulator, I am an herbalist and aromatherapist. I look to nature for similarities of the human body.

“Look deep into nature then you will understand everything better.”- ALBERT EINSTEIN

Hair anatomy is the science that studies the structure of hair, the living and nonliving parts.

Hair is protein, keratin and small amounts of moisture and lipids. The condition of the hair is affected by the health of the scalp and the health of an individual. Hair reflects imbalances in the body. The physical structure of hair consists of the follicle and the hair shaft.

Hair begins in the deep layer of the skin, the dermis in the hair bulb, the follicle. At this point hair is called a follicle, not hair. The follicle is the living root of hair. The dermal papilla is a bulb formed at the base of the follicle. This bulb is the living area filled with blood vessels, blood and nerves. The papilla and follicle must be healthy to prevent hair loss and grow healthy hair. We are born with all the follicles we will ever have. We lose follicles as we age. 

Hair Shaft
Hair grows from the follicle in the dermis and through the epidermis, the top layers of skin. Once the hair has pushed through to the scalp, the follicle is now called the hair shaft, also known as a hair strand. At this point, hair is no longer living. The nonliving hair is dead. The hair shaft is protein, about 90% protein, also known as keratin. Keratin is the major building block of the hair. Depending on the type of keratin, it provides strength and sturdiness. The hair shaft is the part that cosmetics (hair care products) and hair care services address. The hair shaft (hair keratin) is fiber. Think of and care for the hair as fiber. The hair shaft (hair strand) is made up of the medullathe cortex and the cuticle.

The medulla is the space and inner layer in the middle of the hair shaft. It is nearly invisible. There is still uncertainty for the exact role the medulla plays. The medulla is the part tested to discover information on a person’s diet and drug use. This is the part of hair tested for a drug test.

The cortex is the middle of the hair shaft, the core and bulk of the hair fiber and composed of protein fibers and contains melanin. The cortex gives the hair strength. Melanin determines the hair color. The more melanin there is, the darker the hair. Curls are determined by the amount and ratio of cells in the cortex and the ability to absorb moisture. 

The cuticle is the outer layer of the hair shaft and consists of protective scaly layers of keratinized scales. These thin scales look like the tiles of the roof on a house. In time, the tiles are worn down from rough brushing and combing of the hair, styling the hair, chemicals (hair dying, relaxing), harsh hair care products, washing the hair and the environment, like relative environmental humidity. The inner hair is then exposed and easily damaged. The cuticles are uplifted or tightly packed.

Understanding the science of hair, the anatomy of hair helps to understand hair growth and hair loss. Learn about hair growth and hair loss here.

Become a Hair Formulator

The Professional Natural Hair Care Formulation Diploma Course, teaches how to formulate and make natural hair products. Using plant-based ingredients that nurture the hair and scalp like the Scalp Serum and the Hair Growth Drops.

When the hair formulator, modern formulator, understands the basics of hair anatomy, she can create products with ingredients from nature to nourish, soften, encourage hair length and beautiful hair.

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