How to Write About Hair

Hair is a fine, filamentous outgrowth of the outer layer of skin found only in mammals (except for the lips, fingertips, palms, soles, and glans penis). It’s actually made mostly from protein called keratin, and it gives our hair its strength, structure, and color. It also has a lot of oil in it, which is what gives our hair its sheen and softness, but can be damaged by too much sunlight or chemicals.

Each hair grows from a small hole in the skin called a follicle, which is embedded under the surface of the skin. When nutrients reach the hair follicle, it’s converted to new cells, which then grow outward from the follicle and outward into the hair. As the new cells grow, they push outward against the older cells. This causes the outer layer of the hair to expand, while the inner cells shrink and eventually die, leaving behind a hardened protein called keratin.

A hair’s function is varied, but it primarily serves to protect the scalp against sun damage and serve as an insulator against extreme hot or cold temperatures. Hair can also be a form of social expression, with certain cultures attaching significance to the length and appearance of hair. Hair can even function as a sense of touch, and the hair on the scalp can respond to nerve signals from the brain, causing the hairs to stand up – a phenomenon known as goose bumps.

The way a person’s hair is styled can tell you a lot about them, and describing a character’s hair can make them feel more real to the reader. Whether their hair is messy, pulled back in a ponytail, or piled high in a mohawk, it can convey their mood, attitude, or the activity they’re doing.

There are lots of different ways to describe hair, but it’s important to choose the right words so that readers can see it in their mind. Messy hair can mean that the person is careless or doesn’t take good care of themselves, while neatly styled hair may indicate a meticulous person or someone who is trying to impress someone else.

Using the senses of sight and touch can help to bring characters to life in your writing, and describing a character’s scalp, eyelashes, or fringe can make them seem more realistic to the reader. Just remember to only include what’s relevant – too many details can distract from the story. Instead, focus on showing the character through their actions, as well as how they look. Readers will be able to fill in the rest. Happy writing! –Hannah Sherry is a freelance writer who enjoys learning about the science of human bodies and the psychology of personalities. Her favorite part of writing is introducing her readers to characters with unique backgrounds and personality quirks. She writes articles, book reviews, and essays on a variety of subjects. Her work has been published in a number of online and print publications. She lives in Chicago with her husband and dog.