10 September 2021

V the publishing house “Audrey” published the book “Hair. World History “, which the author – American scientist Kurt Stenn – made up almost entirely of incredible scientific and unknown historical facts. You can familiarize yourself with some of them right now.

Hair is a very durable material, so there is nothing supernatural about circus performances in which artists are hung by their long hair. Although the sight is not the most pleasant, plus a great merit here is the strength of the neck muscles.

“In a laboratory setting, one healthy hair from a human head can support about 100 grams of weight and not break. <…> Scientists have found that it takes an effort equivalent to about 90 grams to pull healthy hair out of the scalp. “

In addition, hair is not only strong, but also one of the most durable structures in the body, occupying an honorable third place after bones and teeth.

“If you bury a hair in dry soil, it can last for tens of thousands of years. But, getting into warm, moist soil, the hair shaft will disintegrate in a few weeks or even days. This is due to the fact that hair is made up of protein. 85 to 99 percent of the dry hair shaft is protein. Compare this to the protein content of a cutlet or marbled beef: 17 to 22 percent. “

Hair is responsible for controlling and regulating body temperature. If evolution did not take care of the absence of dense hair on the human body, people would simply die, unable to withstand heatstroke.

“Hair itself conducts heat very poorly, its thermal conductivity is 8 times lower than that of copper. Thick hair traps air, and air conducts heat much worse than hair. <…> Scientists have calculated that on a hot and sunny day, fur-covered erectus hominids would die from heatstroke after 10-20 minutes of non-stop walking. Their body heat could not dissipate quickly enough. “

You’ve probably noticed that hair grows in a strictly defined direction: the most striking examples are vortices on the crown of people and animal hair (stroking against the grain is prohibited). But they hardly guessed that nature laid a certain meaning in this phenomenon. For other factors that affect hair growth, read here

“In assessing the direction of hair growth, Professor Bernd Weber and his colleagues at the University of Bonn found that people with clockwise hair are dominated by the left brain hemisphere, while people with counterclockwise hair do not. <...> Embryologists suggested that this connection reflects the fact that at the very beginning of the development of the embryo, skin and brain cells are part of the same cellular tissue, which then forms the skin and brain. “

Male (and female, too) baldness of the “swan lake” type, when the hair falls out in the center of the head and is firmly held in place in the area of ​​the temples, is not an accident and not a whim of Mother Nature. The hormonal background is to blame for this.

“Androgens, male hormones present in the blood of both sexes, also affect the maturation of most hair follicles on the body, although the bulbs on different parts of the body respond to them differently. The follicles on the sides of the head are completely insensitive to androgens. They grow hair rods regardless of the concentration of androgens in the blood. ”

Just know this: when faced with a problem of hair loss, you panic not just because something is wrong with you and you are an overly nervous person. Hair loss is as much a tragedy for a person as the loss of a body part. No more and no less. And the help of a psychotherapist with, for example, alopecia areata, will not be superfluous. Read about five remedies for hair loss here

“Doctors believe that a person who has lost their hair experiences the same feelings as a person who has lost an important part of the body, for example, an arm or a leg. A person experiences a painful sense of loss, going through all stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance of the situation. “

Hair in general – not only a hairstyle, but also a beard, mustache, and other vegetation on the body – we unconsciously perceive as a message to the world. Therefore, they tend to give people characteristics by hair color (remember the stereotypes that all redheads are cunning, and blondes are frivolous) or the type of styling. This is also used by writers, storytellers of myths, legends and fairy tales (vivid examples are the blue beard of the character of the same name as a symbol of cruelty, the lush white beard of Santa Claus as a sign of kindness).

“Even today, we identify famous people by their hair. Graphic artist Christina Cristoforou proved that by sketches of hair alone – without faces and clothes – made in black pencil, viewers instantly recognize a person. The hairstyles of Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, for example, make it possible to uniquely define a person. “

Chances are you are aware that only a few centuries ago, barbers (then they were not yet called hairdressers) acted as doctors. This is not just a coincidence: hair was considered a vital trait along with blood flow and was treated accordingly. What salon procedures can harm your hair, you can read here

“The holistic approach was based on the idea that health is a balance between good and bad spirits. And to maintain this balance, they used spells, bloodletting, craniotomy and hair removal to banish evil spirits. In this sense, cutting hair was just as important as bleeding. “

The pleasure (and, in general, the right) to go to a hairdresser was far from always among women. In Europe, until the 17th century, the church forbade a man to work with a woman’s hair, so hairstyles, haircuts and styling were done at home with the help of maids or relatives.

“The first commercial women’s hairdressing salon opened in Paris in 1635, and although this salon did not gain widespread popularity, it was visited by women who could not afford a hairdresser.”

The first officially recognized female hairdresser was, of course, a resident of Paris – Marcel Grato. In the 1870s, he invented a method of curling hair with a curling iron, which, taking into account modifications, we still use to this day.

“Grato experimented with curling and found that the combination of curling irons, pressure and heat creates crisp and lasting patterns. This approach allowed him to simulate natural-looking light waves, later called “Marseilles”, on hair of any length. “

Hair looks healthy and shiny due to the fact that it is covered with sebum. And their ability to retain fatty substances can be of great help in environmental disasters.

“In November 2007, when a Korean tanker crashed into the pillars of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco and more than 180 barrels of oil spilled into the water, environmentalist Lisa Gauthier and other volunteers were able to use hair blankets to help purify the water.”

But that’s not all: Forensic scientists confirm that hair can help solve crimes due to the fact that chemicals remain in the dry hair shaft for decades.

“The chemistry of hair doesn’t lie, as the events that took place in 2013 in Middlesex County, New Jersey proved. Pharmaceutical chemist Tineil Lee was constantly quarreling with her husband. The police visited their home in the suburbs 16 times. When her husband was found dead, Li was the first suspect. But how did she kill her husband? The toxicologist found thallium – a perfect, tasteless, odorless poison – in body fluids as well as in hair taken from the deceased. “

But now it will be unexpected and, most likely, not entirely pleasant: without knowing it, we use our hair … for food.

“The food industry uses cysteine ​​as a dietary supplement, and it is the hair that provides some of the cysteine ​​for human consumption. When you mix cysteine ​​with sugars, you get a chemical derivative that gives the food a roasted meat smell. <…> These flavor enhancers are added to many finished products. “

And finally, a small futurological prediction: in the fairly near future, hairdressers may well be replaced by robots. One such copy is already undergoing testing.

“There is already an automated haircut device called the Robocat. It is designed for do-it-yourself haircuts and cuts hair without traditional scissors or comb. The tool consists of a hair dryer that pulls hair into the tube. There is a moving blade at the end of the pipe, cutting off the hair. “
Text: Marina Syutaeva