This is an article explaining how Asian hair is different from other hair types.
I’m Asian, so obviously I have Asian hair. A few years ago, I decided to rebuild my hair care routine from scratch, taking my hair type and texture into greater considerations. I used to wash my hair according to what adults tell me, regardless of its own unique structure and texture. Because of it, I also expected my hair to turn out the same way as everyone else’s.
The thing is, not all hair types and textures require the same hair care practices. And by studying and understanding my own hair type and texture, I am able to care for it better.
We always read that Asian hair is different. Aside from the color and pigment of natural Asian hair, does ethnicity really play a role when it comes to hair structure? Asian hair is different from Caucasian hair and other ethnicities in many ways. There’s the color factor but also the structure and composition factors that make the difference.
If you want to find out more on what makes Asian hair different, read on because we are diving deep below!
Hair and Ethnicity
To understand hair differences, it’s also important to point out that ethnicity and ethnic origins play a huge role in this. There are 3 basic ethno-hair categories: Asian, Caucasian, and African.
Each group has their own unique hair characteristics that are totally different from another group. One can find the differences in color, structure, texture, growth direction, and even growth rate.
While categorizing people can be harmful as it can lead to stereotypes and discrimination, knowing your own hair type and category can actually prove to be helpful. Knowing your hair type and how different and unique it is from other ethnicities will give you a better understanding of how to take better care of your hair.
What Makes Asian Hair Different: Characteristics of Asian Hair
We always hear and read it – Asian hair is different. The question is, how? For a deep dive on what makes Asian hair different, we talk about it below in a variety of categories.
- Physical characteristics first
Before we talk about the structures and composition of Asian hair, let’s first take a look at the physical differences Asian hair presents from other hair types.
We all know it – Asian hair is generally very dark in pigment. Asian hair usually has black to dark brown hair colors. This is a quality Asian and African hairs share.
In scientific terms, the higher levels of the pigment-giving eumelanin there is, the darker the hair color is. Higher eumelanin content runs in Asian families, thus the darker color in Asian hair.
Caucasian, on the other hand, have a variety of hair colors, ranging from dark brown to light blondes. The lighter the hair color is, the less eumelanin content there is.
Whether an Asian person has straight hair or curly and frizzy hair varies per individual. Generally, Asian hair tends to be straight with less curves and curls, compared to Caucasian hair. Though it’s important to keep in mind that a number of Asians do have wavy and curly hair textures, just smaller in number than Caucasians.
- Layers of cuticle
Cuticles are the hair’s protective layers that encase and guard the inner protein layers of our hair. Typically in humans, hair has anywhere around 5 to 10 cuticle layers. Depending on your ethnicity, this can vary.
While Caucasian hair has cuticle layers closer to 5, this number doubles in Asian hair. Asian hair typically has around 10 cuticle layers.
With 10 and more than half compared to Caucasian hair, Asian hair displays a thicker, fuller, and more densely packed appearance.
- Flatness of cuticle
Caucasian hair has much flatter cuticle structures than Asian hair. Asian hair grows and falls down at a much steeper angle than its Caucasian counterpart. This angle gives Asians a much more full and thick hair appearance.
- Distance between cuticles
Each type of hair also varies when it comes to the distance between hair cuticles. The smaller and narrower the distance is between the hair cuticles, the fuller and thicker the hair appears.
Between Asian hair and Caucasian hair, Asian hair displays a much narrower distance between hair cuticles. This is another reason why Asian hair appears fuller and thicker than Caucasian hair.
- Growth rate
Among the ethno-hair groups we’ve talked about earlier – Asian, Caucasian, and African – Asian hair has the fastest growth rate at approximately 1.4 cm per month.
Caucasian and African hair has a growth rate of approximately 1.2 cm and 0.9 cm per month, respectively.
- Hair breakage
Asian hair has stronger cuticles than Caucasianhair. While it is true that Asian hair is less prone to hair breakage, it doesn’t mean Asian hair doesn’t break at all.
When Asian hair breaks, this is due to the adhesive protein holding the cuticles together falling off entirely. This is why when Asian hair breakage comes in large pieces and whole strands. On Caucasian hair, on the other hand, this adhesive holds better but the cuticle itself is more fragile. Caucasian hair breaks off into smaller pieces rather than as whole strands.
- Moisture and porosity
Hair can be highly porous or non-porous. Porous hair means it’s easily permeable with water and moisture. Non-porous hair means it’s more difficult for water and moisture to absorb.
With porous hair, though it’s much easier to absorb moisture, it loses moisture just as easily. With non-porous hair, though it’s difficult to moisturize, once you get the product into the hair shaft, it’s able to retain moisture better.
Though hair porosity depends greatly on the individual and hair texture, Asian hair tends to have low porous hair. Cuticles are tightly sealed and have the tendency to repel water rather than absorb it. It also means it’s able to retain moisture better once you work the product in effectively.
Asian and Caucasian Hair: A Quick Summary of Facts
We have below a quick summary of facts about the differences between Asian and Caucasian hair.
- With twice the diameter and much thicker cuticles than Caucasian hair, Asian hair often appears thicker and fuller.
- Asian hair cuticles are more closely packed together, giving a fuller, thicker appearance.
- Asian hair grows the fastest out of the other ethnic hair types and groups.
- Asian hair tends to have a straight texture more than curls and waves, though it can’t be concluded that Asians only have straight hair. A good number of Asians have waves and curls, though much lower than the number in Caucasians.
- Asian hair color varies from black to dark brown. Caucasian hair has more hair color variations going from a dark brown to a very light blonde.
- Asian hair sheds less per day compared to Caucasian hair. This also means Asian are less prone to baldness.
- Asian hair grays much later in life than Caucasian hair. This means Asians can enjoy their natural hair color longer than Caucasians.
- Asian hair reacts better and faster to hair loss treatments than Caucasian hair does.
How to Care for Asian Hair
Detangle before washing
For hair that easily gets tangled, it’s very important to make brushing before washing your hair a habit. This will make your showers go smoother and easier. It also helps prevent hair breakage and fall out while in the shower.
A wide-toothed comb or a paddle brush are great tools for this.
Wash with the right products
If your hair seems more unmanageable lately than ever, check on your hair care products. Whatever your hair and scalp issue is, make sure your hair care products – from shampoo, conditioner, stylers, and leave-ins – works to address those issues.
Warmer and colder showers for hair
Who doesn’t love a hot, relaxing shower, right? Actually, your hair doesn’t like them.
Regardless of your hair type, hot showers are a big no no. Instead, use warm water to wash your hair. And if you can, rinse hair with cold water. Cold water helps cuticles close and seal in moisture.
Asian hair can often be thick. This makes them more prone to frizz. You can tame and control frizz with good old hair oil. It also imparts shine and much-needed hydration to Asian hair.
An aspect of taking good care of your hair is knowing how similar and different it is from other hair types. If you’re Asian, you might have heard or have been told how different your hair is compared to other ethnicities and groups. The question is, how?
Asian hair is often dark in color – mostly black and sometimes a dark brown. Higher color pigment contents in hair run in Asian families, thus the dominant darker hair color compared to Caucasian hair that can have dark to light hair colors. Though hair texture and curvature varies from person to person, Asian hair is known to have straight hair more than curls and waves.
With more layers of cuticles than Caucasian hair, Asian hair appears thicker, fuller, and is more densely packed. Falling down at a steeper angle than Caucasian hair, this also gives Asian hair a thicker and fuller look.
Asian hair grows the fastest among the other hair groups. Asian hair also sheds less and is less prone to baldness. And lastly, Asian hair goes gray later than Caucasian hair.
And that has been our deep dive on how and what makes Asian hair different! We hope this guide brought you a new and better understanding of your hair!