Hair

Scientists care about your curls, too.

Friday, 28th August 2015by culture HQ
It’s no secret that culture’s resident nerd Jess is always on the hunt for cool new scientific or technical advancements in the big wide world of hair. Her latest discovery? The Purdue team, who are currently utilising their engineering degrees to exploring the extent to which your curls can cop the heat.

ALRIGHT ALRIGHT, WE KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING – REALLY, CULTURE, REALLY? DO WE REALLY NEED ANOTHER LECTURE ON THE OFT-DAMAGING EFFECTS OF HEAT TOOLS ON THE HAIR? ALTHOUGH VIGILANT HEAT PROTECTION AND THE RESPONSIBLE USE OF STYLING TOOLS ARE VERY IMPORTANT IDEALS TO KEEP IN MIND, TODAY WE’RE VEERING SLIGHTLY OFF COURSE AND LOOKING AT A NEW STUDY CURRENTLY BEING UNDERTAKEN AT THE PURDUE UNIVERSITY IN INDIANA – WHERE A GROUP OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERS HAVE BEEN STUDYING THE EFFECTS OF HEAT TOOLS ON DIFFERENT HAIR TYPES TO DETERMINE EXACTLY HOW MUCH HEAT CURLY HAIR CAN TAKE BEFORE IT’S IRREPARABLY DAMAGED.

BUCKLE UP… IT’S SCIENCE TIME, EVERY ONE!

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At the forefront of this most noble of plights is mechanical engineer Tahira Reid, owner of her very own curly head of hair and self professed ‘solver of real world problems’. Having conducted a search for data relating to heat treatments herself and coming up empty-handed, Tahira turned her well trained eye on the case herself.

Initial research predominantly produced little in the way of hard fact relating to the temperatures at which curls can be irrevocably harmed, and instead consisted mostly of articles comprised of hearsay and YouTube How-To’s instead of cold hard fact. Even more worryingly still, hair type was being commonly sorted into three outdated and unhelpful racial categories – African, Asian and Caucasian.

“The world is not those three categories,” Tahira explains, referencing a more modern scale of hair type that branches out from racial confines – Segmentation Tree Analysis, which identifies eight different hair types ranging from the straight – Type I – to the tightly curled – Type VIII – classified by their curl geometries and textures. To cut a very long, convoluted and – let’s be honest here – overwhelming story short, the curlier the hair, the higher the chance that it contains weak cross-sectional points rendering it more vulnerable to breakage of damage at the hands of too much heat.

In their latest study, the Purdue team crafted their own ironing tool to test the affects of different temperature settings on these different hair types in order to determine the different thresholds of heat that each hair type can withstand. Now this is an experiment we can get behind!

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Images featured throughout from Retro Blues, as published in culture‘s Autumn 2015 Issue.

Photography Myles Pritchard // Hair Diana Djurdjevski // Make-up Diana Djurdjevski // Styling Tash Lanni @ Bow and Arrow // Model Caroline Lossberg @ London Management


Friday, 28th August 2015by culture HQ