Why Do Some People Have Straight Hair and Others Have Curly Hair?

Every hair on your head or on your body is made up of a root, the soft, bulb-shaped section under your skin, and the shaft, the longer strand that sticks out of your skin.

If you were to cut a shaft of your hair from near the root and look at a cross-section of it under a microscope, it would have either of two shapes: round or flat. If it appears round, that means your hair will grow out straight; if that cross-section appears flat, that means your hair will grow at different rates in different places, making it curl or wave. The flatter the shaft, the curlier it will be. The shape of your hair shafts is determined by the shape of your parents’ hair shafts, for this is one of the characteristics you inherited from them.

Some people with curly hair are unhappy with it and have their hair straightened, while others with straight hair take “permanent waves” to make their hair curly. But both of these changes are only temporary, lasting only a short time, for the shape of the shaft cannot be changed, and as that person’s hair grows out, it will look the same as before the change.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

20 thoughts on “Why Do Some People Have Straight Hair and Others Have Curly Hair?”

  1. I think curly hair is a good thing. I personally wish I still had curly hair. I like the wet & wavy look. Before I started getting relaxers I had curly hair. And I should have never started getting relaxes b/c the wavy look is back in style now. So now I have decided to stop the relaxing treatment and go natural with my original curly look. My advice to women out there who have pretty wavy or curly hair please don’t cut it or start getting relaxers. B/c it’s beautiful.

  2. Perfer straight hair over curly any day, curls are cute but takes to much to maintain, with product, and brushing (massive damage) and washing, and all that.. straight hair def.

  3. I like curly hair because its cool straight is the norm and the norm sucks but if u have or like straight hair its fine ur pretty too….but curly hair women are cuter and different.

  4. (Response To Last Comment) I Think Curly Hair Is Normal Now. I See More People With Curly Hair Then Straight Today.

  5. i have staright hair and it is much better because you can do much more stuff with it and curly hair looks short and staright hair looks long, i love straight hair hate curly!

  6. i have curly hair and straighten it quite a lot, though it takes a lot of work so a a lot of the time i just let it go natural

  7. Fact: 65% of the world has curly hair.

    Hair that gets fried straight with heat and chemicals looks dry and damaged, natural waves/curls are healthy. Guys don’t want to touch dried up nasty hair.

  8. I have straight hair, and I would any day have curly hair insted. I have permed my hair before, and it didnt fry it.

  9. I have golden locks of curly hair and they are healthy and look really pretty to my family most guys hit on me because of my curly hair i love it’s sometimes annoying to take care of but it’s worth it

  10. I have wavy hair and having it is worse than having straight or curl because I am in between and constantly it gets freezy and I have to keep it wet with some gel or hair product because otherwise it will turn dry and freezy!

    I personally like straight hair curly hair looks like an Afro if people dont fix it it also gets dry as well as wavy and it needs to be kept wet so it will look better!

    I am jelous for not having straight hair!!

    So easy to keep and even if u dont fix it still looks shiny and soft :-/

  11. I have curly that is unqiure in that i have the lift have wavy hair has, and the tight curls that flair, and light enough that my hair that stays curly at long hair lengths, and perms itself if i use conditioner and let it air dry. I dont know very many people that has curly hair lots that have wavy hair though, so werid how can the majority of the population can have curly hair

  12. Curly or straight, you have to do something to it on a regular basis to make it look good. My hair is naturally curly now, but when it was straightened, I had to flat iron, curl and hair spray it every day and it STILL didn’t stay nice all day. Curly hair is just as much work though so anyone who thinks straight hair is easy, it ain’t. At least my hair is healthy and grows now. All that heat damage and chemicals when it was straight didn’t do it any favors.

  13. Natural hair is way better. I’m transitioning right now and I am actually going to do the BC soon. Many more women are going back to natural hair because it’s healthier and you can do a lot more with it then relaxed hair.

  14. i havee blonde curly hair and it is horrible in the morin to brush but i lovee it people come up to me everyday and tell me they wish they had my hair………My hair is really curly and BLONDE not very popular but its the best hair style.

  15. Jim Morrison had curly hair…never did him any harm!
    I think the whole Hollywood curl thing looks really good on the girls…SEXY !

  16. i have curley on the top of my head and wavy on the sides my arm and leg hair are basicly straight why because of the pore if your pore is round your hair will be straight if it is oval and the tightness of the oval pore will determine how curly your hair is for white people only if you are black it is a different story and a different folical altogether.

  17. I have extremely curly hair and I love it. It makes me stand out from other girls and managing my hair is simple. I wash it and condition it, comb it only when it’s wet with a wide tooth comb. Any brush will brake the curls and make it frizz faster. After I comb it I put hair gel and leave in conditioner throughout my hair and let it air dry. My curls are healthy, shiny bouncy and everywhere. I can do several things with my hair, like braid it, wear it half up, half down which actually looks a lot more complicated than it is, twists, buns, pony tails, ect. I have straightened my hair a few times, it often makes my hair look dry and fried and takes nearly an hour and half to complete. For me, curly hair is a much better look. I do like straight hair on others, it’s just not for me. I feel a lot more women could love their curls if they understood how to take care of it to make it look it’s best!

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