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June 27, 2009 2:01 AM   Subscribe

Why is my gray hair coarser than my non-gray hair?

According to Wikipedia, gray hairs grow in without pigment. So why do they feel coarser than my normal, dirty-blond hair?
posted by bendy to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
They are coarser. Why? I have absolutely no idea. But I can say that the courseness softens over time. When I first started getting gray hairs in my early twenties, they stuck out like the bristles on a brush. Now, in my mid forties, the hair on my mostly gray noggin' and face feels, well, just like normal hair.
posted by elendil71 at 4:10 AM on June 27, 2009

Best answer: There's quite a few things about this...

The different texture of gray hair is due to reduced moisture that accompanies reduced pigment. see here.

Grey hair has different properties than non-grey hair; it is more dry and has a rough, wavy texture.
see here.

No real hard evidence I'm afraid, this seems to be the prevalent opinion: The declining presence of melanin also appears to contribute to the lack of moisture in gray or white hair. So as your hair becomes lighter in color, its texture becomes dryer and coarser. That’s why gray hair tends to be more curly or wiry. found here.
posted by multivalent at 4:26 AM on June 27, 2009

I have two grey hairs. I find them totally by touch. My sisters say the same thing. I think they just are coarser, for everyone.

FYI, this will also apply to your pubes :)
posted by DarlingBri at 7:44 AM on June 27, 2009

Mine are curly, the few that I've got. My hair is already pretty coarse, but only slightly wavy so I guess in lieu of being even coarser, my greys decided to go corkscrew.

When I'm old, I'm gonna look like Shirley Temple.
posted by padraigin at 11:40 AM on June 27, 2009

I have a couple eyebrow hairs that are gray, and grow several times longer than the normal ones. They just aren't the same hair. But my entire head of hair is much dryer at 50 than 20! When I was young, I had greasy hair. Now, if I don't cut it short, it's too dry (and short, it is as healthy as one could wish). The gray up there doesn't seem to be any different. But my hair in general is more fine than most (even the body hairs). My mostly gray face hair doesn't seem any different from the pre-gray texture, unless it is softer.
posted by Goofyy at 11:59 AM on June 29, 2009

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