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Why Different Hair Textures Tangle (Or Don't)

Why Different Hair Textures Tangle (Or Don't)

Oof. I just looked in the mirror and wondered how sitting at a desk all day manages to turn my hair into a rat's nest. And now I know! Jean-Baptiste Masson, a French researcher, has found that straight hair tangles more than curly hair does. As it turns out, it's a matter of physics.

After observing a group of 212 people over the course of three weeks, Masson created a mathematical model to explain the phenomenon. As News in Science reports:

Although curly hairs are more likely to come into contact with other hairs, he says straight hairs tend to have bigger angles between them when they connect. This second factor turns out to be the most important when it comes to tangles, Masson reported. It's the angle at which hair meets that most determines its likelihood of tangling.

You may wonder why a physicist would be studying hair. Masson's work was inspired by a field of science called polymer dynamics, and his findings may help other scientists develop Velcro-like products—and more likely than not, some new hair products, too.


Join The Conversation
missquiet missquiet 9 years
Interesting. I have straight hair, but it always seems like every strand is going in it's own direction. :P
actorgirl21 actorgirl21 9 years
of course you have to take into account the condition of the hair... if your hair is very damaged it will also tangle like no bodies business regardless of the texture.
LadyLibertine LadyLibertine 9 years
i have frizzy curly hair and it tangles at a drop of a hat I brush it than seconds lately tangles again it seems so i think curly tangles more than straight
sumnboutme sumnboutme 9 years
i have really straight hair and it usually tangles at the back of my neck. it once tangled up so badly that i had to cut it...
pebby01 pebby01 9 years
that's really interesting!
vawilliams vawilliams 9 years
This is so true, I wish I could have been part of that case study. I have incredibly fine hair that tangles at the drop of a hat. What I am blessed with (or cursed with, depending on how you look at it) is a TON of it - it's like a sasquatch on my head. I blow out my hair in the morning using straightening, defrizzing products (such as Phyto Defrissant, Bumble & Bumble silicone-based products, or Frederick Fekaii straightening balm) and it looks great and I can run my fingers through my hair, for about 10 minutes. By the end of the day the underside of my hair could house a family of 4 seagulls.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
My hair is thinish and culry/wavy and man doe sit tangle soooo bad (espeically when i's scary when I wake up!)
mlen mlen 9 years
schaiane i have the exact same hair- i'm also convinced the fineness leads to it as well- if it were thicker it'd be weighed down more and less likely to fly all over the place and tangle up! you should see me after the windows down in a car- my hair is all over the place!
i-am-elle i-am-elle 9 years
So that's why my hair tangles more when it's straightened.. as opposed to when I let it air-dry or use a diffuser & it's slightly wavy. Interesting!
sparkle-sugar sparkle-sugar 9 years
i have wavy hair. hardly ever tangles. very easy to manage. YAY :)
Schaianne Schaianne 9 years
That's just crazy. But it explains my fine, thin, STRAIGHT hair problem.
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