I see right through you all, Hoyas. You all seem so happy about the recent change in weather: the warmth, the birds, the flowers. We have flocked to the “Healy Beach” (an apparently taboo term) , to the esplanade, and to that unnamed patio in between Regents and Hariri (ideas?). But, we cannot ignore the inevitable calamity that approaches: frizzy hair.
Hair connoisseur and fellow Hoya Emily Schuster (COL ’13), who reportedly washes her hair EVERY day, said, “My hair doesn’t get ‘curly-hair frizzy’, but it slowly elevates…” “Like a lion’s mane,” adds Kyra Adams (SFS ’16), another hair enthusiast.
You can sense the frizzy-hair-induced-terror in their words.
No matter what type of frizzy we experience, we still beg the question: WHY? Why are we cursed with such a horrid first world problem? Most of us realize that frizziness is somehow related to humidity; in fact, you can even construct a hygrometer with hair (Here’s a link to the definition of hygrometer). But here’s some more info.
Bundles of long keratin strands are a huge part of hair’s composition. Two different chemical bonds are formed between these strands: disulfide bonds and hydrogen bonds. Disulfide bonds are permanent, and are unaffected by humidity. Hydrogen bonds, on the other hand, are weak and very susceptible to the polar properties of other hydrogen.
Have you ever noticed that if you let your hair dry in a weird shape after a shower it can stay that way? The water actually breaks the hydrogen bonds in you’re hair, and they are reformed when your hair dries. These newly formed bonds can preserve the form of your hair when it dries.
A similar thing happens with humidity. There’s more water in the air, which means there’s more hydrogen. This messes with the bonds in your hair, causing you’re hair to go crazy. So not only do you have chemistry to blame for the delayed Cherry Blossom blooming, but for frizzy hair too. But don’t hate on chemistry; the same science is responsible for Burnett’s and baked goods.
Yet again, we see first-hand why Patrick Ewing is a brilliant man—he’s frizzy hair free.
Simply Science is a reoccurring post that aims to make recent scientific discoveries accessible and applicable to the Georgetown student.