How to Descriptively Define Hair in Fiction


Hair is an important part of the human body. It can be long or short, straight, wavy or curly, or any combination. It may also be dyed or highlighted to achieve a specific style. Hair is a symbol of youth, femininity or power, and it can express one’s personality, mood, attitude and lifestyle. Hair can also serve a number of practical functions, including protecting the skull from sun damage, as well as insulating the head from cold temperatures. Hair can also be used to hide one’s identity or make a fashion statement.

When describing a character’s hair in your writing, it is important to understand how different types of hair can affect a person’s appearance. There are many things to consider, including texture, thickness and color. Using descriptive words can help you better convey these features to your reader.

As you research and write about a character, consider their lifestyle and environment. If they live in a climate with hot and humid weather, their hair might be frizzy or prone to flyaways. They might also be able to tame their hair with a brush or hairspray, or they might use a hair dryer to straighten it. Considering these factors can give you ideas about how your character might care for their hair and what style would suit them best.

Hair is a keratinous filament that is primarily made of dead, keratinized cells. The portion of the hair that is visible above the skin’s surface is called the hair shaft, while the part that is anchored to the scalp is referred to as the hair root or hair bulb. The root is made of a group of basal cells that form the hair matrix. As the hair grows, cells in the hair matrix divide repeatedly. As new cells develop, the older ones are pushed outward from the hair follicle, and the hair becomes longer.

The shape of the hair follicle is a large factor in determining whether the hair will be curly or straight. Round follicles produce straight hair, while oval or other shapes produce wavy or curly hair. Hair color is determined by melanin, which is a pigment produced by specialized cells in the hair matrix.

While we often refer to our hair as being made of a protein called keratin, this is a bit of a simplification. Keratin is actually a complex compound that is composed of a protein, a fat and an alkaloid. Hair also contains other substances that contribute to its properties, such as water and oxygen.

When describing a character’s hair, it is important to consider the role that it will play in their story. For example, if a character has wavy or curly hair, it can help readers visualize their personality and the scene they are in. If a character has long, thick hair, it can indicate their virility or power. Finally, the shade of a person’s hair can communicate their status or their relationship to authority.