Differences between African, Caucasian and Asian Hair

Researchers of IQAC-CSIC, in collaboration with the ALBA Synchrotron, demonstrate that African hair has more lipids that are highly disordered. This distinction with Caucasian and Asian hair might be relevant to develop new ethnic hair-care products.

Cerdanyola del Vallès, 14th December 2021Researchers from the Institute for Advanced Chemistry of Catalonia (IQAC-CSIC) in collaboration with the ALBA Synchrotron have studied and compared the lipid distribution of African, Caucasian and Asian hair fibers. More specifically, the work has determined the presence, distribution, and function of lipids of each ethnicity. The differences observed can explain some of the barrier properties against external substances that each hair type presents. In particular, African hair was demonstrated to have more lipids that are highly disordered, which can explain its differentiation from Asian and Caucasian hair concerning moisturization and swelling (when water content inside the fiber increases).

Read more on the ALBA website

Image: Left: Cross-sections observed by optical microscopy for Caucasian hair selected to analyze by μ-FTIR, regions were manually determined. Right: Chemical map of second derivative obtained at 2850 cm−1 (CH2 symmetric stretching) of Caucasian virgin hair (a) and Caucasian delipidized hair (b).

Credit: ALBA