Skip to main content

What is hair made of?


What do you call a bee who's having a bad hair day? A frizz-bee!

The main purpose of hair is to keep us warm. In some animals, it has sensory or defensive uses. But what exactly is hair? It's mostly made of a protein called keratin (nails are, too!). Some hairs on the body are easier to see than others, like your eyebrows and the hair on your head. The hairs on your cheeks are almost invisible or hard to see. Did you know there's hair on almost every part of the human body, except the palms, soles and lips? But we actually have less hair than most mammals.

Each individual hair has a shaft and a root. The shaft is the part that sticks out of your skin's surface. This part is dead cells, which is why haircuts don't hurt! The root of the hair that lies beneath the skin's surface is called a follicle. Unlike the shaft, the base of the root is living cells. As the cells multiply, they push old cells out of the skin, and this is how hair grows.

We each have more than 100,000 hairs on our heads, but we naturally lose about 50 to 100 of them every day. According to Britannica Library, the average life of different types of hair can vary, from four months to five years. But rest a-sheared, new hairs are constantly replacing those that have fallen out from the same follicle!

Recommended Reads