The woman: the hair through the years

Women and their hair, what is it? One woman goes to the hairdresser every six weeks, while another goes four times a year. There are women who spend a long time every day styling their hair, but there are also those who only comb it before they leave the house. Many women dye their hair or have it done. And there are also many different natural hair colors. One day the hair will turn gray, but fortunately most women do not go bald like men.

Lots of hair

There are approximately 100,000 hairs on the scalp. All the hair follicles of a six-month-old human fetus are already developed. Blonde women have the most hair follicles. Brown-haired women have more hair follicles than red-haired women. Because women do not have such visible facial hair, they appear to have less hair than men. Yet men and women have the same number of hair follicles. Due to the effects of testosterone, many men eventually lose their head hair. Women can experience hair loss due to pregnancy or menopause. There is also a hereditary factor in hair loss in women. Hair can also fall out when there is a disorder in the immune system. Stress, fever, malnutrition and medications can prevent hair growth and lead to hair loss. Usually the hair grows back normally once the cause has been removed. An excess of vitamin A or a deficiency of protein in the daily diet can slow down hair growth. When brushing, combing and washing, people also lose hair. A loss of about a hundred hairs per day is normal. When you lose hair due to too much coloring, perming or a combination thereof, the cause is usually hair breakage and not hair loss.

Hair colour

The number of melanin pigments produced by special cells determine the hair color. These pigments, through combinations in different parts of the hair shaft, ensure that the hair turns blond, red and brown to black. Hair color can change due to sunlight (bleaching) or serious illness (less pigment formation). Medicines are not likely to change hair color. The melanin is produced in small granules by cells at the bottom of the hair follicles. These granules are then passed on to the cells of the cortex and medulla. Different size and density of the melanin granules result in different hair colors. In blond hair, the pigment is only in the bark and the pigment is very light. In black hair the pigment is in the cortex, the medulla and in the hair shaft and the pigment is dark. The graying of women’s hair is partly determined by heredity. Blonde women get the most gray hair and eventually turn completely gray. Only 28% of women become completely white. On average, European women get gray hair at the age of thirty-four.

Hair growth

Hair grows fastest between puberty and the age of forty. It grows about 0.5 to 1.5 millimeters per week. After the age of fifty, hair growth slows down. When the hair no longer grows as fast as it falls out, the result is that the hair becomes thinner. In women, the hair follicles are active for about six years, in men it is about three years. The length of hair is determined by the speed at which it grows and by the cell cycle. There is a hair follicle active period where the follicle is activated to produce new hair. The growth of new hair causes the old hair to be pushed out. The length of the hair can vary greatly, there are even cases of women with hair as long as 3.65 meters. But usually the length is sixty centimeters to one meter.

Texture and shape

The different shapes of the hair follicles determine the thickness and shape of the hair. A flattened, ribbon-shaped hair follicle creates a strand in the hair. An oval hair follicle creates curls and a round hair follicle produces straight hair. The hair follicles are slanted, so each hair lies in a certain direction. This hair implant dates from the aquatic era and follows the way water flows over the head when swimming. Numerous genes determine the shape of the hair. The gene that produces thick, straight hair is dominant over the gene that produces strongly curly hair. Fine and straight hair is always passed on by a recessive gene. There are two different types of frizzy hair, with helical curls all curls are the same size. In spiral frizzy hair, the curls become larger the further away they are from the head.

Source: Hoedshop

Hair and fashion

Just like clothing and body shapes, hair has also been subject to fashion for centuries. In the sixteenth century , during the reign of Queen Elisabeth the First, hair was curled and placed over pillows on the head. In the eighteenth century , hair was frizzed, curled and tucked under a hat, after which false hair emerged from under the hat. In 1920, hair was often cut short in a bob or cut in layers. After which, curls were made at the ends of the hair, which emerged under a fashionable cloche hat (see photo). In 1950 , hair was often permed and put up high. The well-known cotton candy hairstyle also comes from that time, the permed, teased hair that stood high on top of the head, just like cotton candy. In 1960 , the short-cropped boy’s head was very popular. Nowadays, hair fashion is no longer subject to fashion. The street scene shows different hairstyles, from long hair to short and even spikes are not strange on a woman’s head. There are also all kinds of different colors to see, from deep red to pink and blue. Fashion will always exist, but it no longer influences an entire generation of women.

Something different with your hair


If you have straight hair and you want curls, you can of course use curlers. But if you want to curl for a longer period of time, you can have your hair permed. The hair shaft is made to swell through a chemical process and the hair is made thicker by placing an elastic layer around it. An alkaline perm lasts a long time, but is harmful to the hair structure. This breaks the molecular bonds in the hair fiber and rearranges them into a new shape. An acid perm is less harmful, but only lasts six to eight weeks.


Again, if you want to straighten the hair, you can straighten it with a special hair straightener . But if you want to enjoy straight hair for longer, you can have it straightened. This is a fairly aggressive treatment that makes the hair brittle. A perm solution is used that breaks the bonds that form the hair shaft.

To colour

How the hair reacts to artificial colorants depends on the porosity of the hair shaft. The scales on the hair are lifted by hair dyes, making the hair more brittle and porous. This applies to coloring the hair as well as bleaching the hair.

Wigs and hairpieces

Wigs and hairpieces were once in fashion, they were clearly visible. Wigs are not used that often anymore, unless a woman becomes bald due to an illness. Even then, a wig is not so often chosen these days. Nowadays, hairpieces are still used to extend or thicken your own hair. Hair extension is an example of this, where pieces of hair are woven into your own hair at the hair root.

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