Trichology Corner: Hair Composition

Chemical Composition of the Hair

Hair is composed of proteins that grow in the cells that originate from the hair follicles. These living cells go through the process of keratinization. New cells that are formed are filled with the protein called keratin. After being filled with keratin, they begin to move upward the hair follicles. As they move upward, they lose their nucleus and die. This means that the hair shaft is a bunch of keratinized cells that are no longer living.

The proteins in the hair are made up of amino acids joined together by peptide bonds. These peptide bonds are located in the cortex of the hair shaft. A long chain of amino acids linked by a peptide bond is called a polypeptide chain. 

The cortex is filled with polypeptide chains that are cross-linked like a ladder, and there are three different types and two forms of side bonds. These side bonds hold the hair fibres in place, and account for the strength and elasticity of the human hair. 


There are two different forms of side bond

Temporary bonds 

These are salt bonds and hydrogen bonds. The temporary binds are easily broken and rejoin when the hair is blow-dried, wet or heat-styled.

Permanent bonds

The permanent bond is the di-sulphide bond. This is a very strong bond, and not easily broken. Processes like perming and relaxing are the only processes that can break this type of bond.

N.B: Remember that when it comes to hair care, there's a lot of fact, fiction, myth and reality on the internet. In the event of any confusion, it is advised you see a professional hair care expert.

Atilola Moronfolu (HPT) is a certfied hair care expert and a holistic practitioner of trichology certified and accredited by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners and Mahogany Hair Revolution, Los Angeles, California. To book a hair clinical appointment with Atilola in Lagos Nigeria, send a mail to or call 07061141501.

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