ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Structure of Black Hair

Updated on February 27, 2020

First and foremost, it is important to understand that hair is hair, it's all the same, black hair is a cultural reference, it isn't scientific - the only thing that differs about all human hair is basically the curl pattern, but we'll learn more below.

If you are a black woman who wants to rock a natural hair style, you need to get down to the nitty gritty about how to keep your hair healthy. While the same can be said for women of all races, black women's hair has long been ignored, so that is why this article is written for them.

Is Black Hair Different?

People assume that there is a vast difference between black hair and other hair types, this article was created to help dispel some of the myths. In actuality, black hair is made of the same biological substances as all other types of hair. The difference is in the way that it is chemically arranged.

Keratin is the chief component of hair fiber; it is the sulfur-rich protein that gives hair the strength to withstand harsh styling techniques (combing, brushing, hair dryers, curling irons, flat irons, chemicals, etc.).

Each strand of hair comes forth from a pit in your skin called a follicle. At the base of the follicle, you will find what is known as the papilla. The papilla is your hair's source of oxygen, blood, new cells, and other important nutrients.

When the cells in the papilla multiply, they become an individual hair. After becoming individual hairs they begin to arrange themselves into three different layers: the cuticle, the cortex, and the medulla.

The Cuticle: The cuticle is the outside portion of your hair shaft. It is made of transparent cells that resemble fish scales. The main job of your cuticle is to prevent loss of moisture.

The Cortex: The cortex is located inside of the cuticle. The cortex holds the pigment that gives your hair its natural color.

The Medulla: The medulla is the deepest portion of your hair. Basically, it is made up of cells that run the entire length of your hair shaft (medulla, in medical terminology, always refers to an inner-most layer).

How Black Hair Differs

It is important to know that kinky and very curly hair, such as black women's natural hair, and other hair types, have fewer layers of cuticles than other types; therefore, it is far more vulnerable to breakage and will damage easily. This is the only real difference of black hair.

Moisture is the most important key to maintaining black hair, and every time you use chemicals, heat, or harsh techniques, you lose some of that moisture. If you take good care not to be overly harsh with your hair, and make sure to give it plenty of moisture (drink & wash) and healthy oils, it will be healthy and look good.

It takes a lot of time, research and general effort to figure out how to retain moisture and how to maintain natural hair in general. This is why there is such an explosion of natural hair care gurus on YouTube and on blogs.

Whitney White (Natural85) was one of the first of the Natural Hair Care Gurus to help pave the way for others to follow.
Whitney White (Natural85) was one of the first of the Natural Hair Care Gurus to help pave the way for others to follow.

Natural Hair Movement & The Natural Hair Gurus

The women who are a part of this current natural hair movement, the natural hair gurus, helped to start the current trend by putting a lot of energy into trying, reviewing and then filming and/or writing about their experience with different natural hair care products.

While today, some people balk at some of the advice from the natural hair care community overall, there can be no doubt that the natural hair care gurus helped to pave the way for many of us to be able to confidently rock our natural hair styles.

In the end, black women now have a wealth of good resources to look to when deciding to wear their hair natural, and learning about the structure of black hair is a good start.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)