Why Your Beard is Straight or Curly
I think at some point we’ve all noticed that some beards are completely straight and some are extremely curly.
It turns out that there’s completely logical reasons behind such variation in beard texture…
The Shape of the Follicle
Most of the time hair follicles are depicted as being perpendicular to the surface of the skin, when in fact this is usually not the case. Hair follicles create more of an acute angle in relation to the skin rather than a right or 90-degree angle. On top of that, hair follicles are not usually perfectly straight, they’re curved to an extent. It appears that the more curved the follicle path is, the wavier and curlier the resulting hair becomes. I have illustrated this in the image below.
In general, most people possess all variations of follicle shape somewhere on their body. This is the reason that your head hair can be very straight and your beard can be super curly.
But wait… there’s more!
The shape of the actual hair also plays a significant role in all of this. Again, hair is almost always depicted as being perfectly round, but for most people this is inaccurate. Usually, only people of Asian descent grow nearly perfectly round hairs. Those of European descent usually grow hair that is a rounded oval shape, while those of African descent grow hairs that are closer to a flat oval in shape. I have illustrated this in the picture below as well.
The shape of the follicle pattern mixed with the shape of the hair is the reason for the wide variety of straight or curly hairs all over your body.
You might want to know, is it possible to change your growth pattern?
No, not really. But there are some things you can do to temporarily alter the “degree of curliness” of your beard. It is important to also remember that as your hair gets longer, it will natural become straighter due to the hair's own weight.
The most common and least detrimental way to straighten a beard would be to use beard oil and beard balm. These products tend to “relax” the hair and add some weight to let gravity take its course, resulting in straighter hair.
There are of course other ways to straighten your beard, but some of this can be a bit more damaging. I always recommend using a blow dryer on low or no heat while you comb or brush through your beard. This will help you straighten the hairs by loosening up some of the curves.
A flat iron is possible, but is considerably more destructive than blow drying and I would never recommend it. Unless of course you’re preparing for a beard competition which calls for you to straighten your beard, but that is occasional. Generally, the more heat that is used determines how long the effects will last. Most of the time, the longer it lasts, the more damage has been done.
I would also never recommend using chemical straighteners, as this method literally breaks the bonds in the outer layers of your hair. This is extremely harsh and deteriorates your hairs, resulting in impending breakage.
Similarly, using reverse methods to make a straight beard curlier are just as destructive, if not more.
My recommendation would be to embrace and love the beard that nature has given you! They’re all unique in many ways, texture being just one of them.
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Until next time, you bring the Beard, I'll bring the Booze!