Healthy hair: what is it?

J Investig Dermatol Symp Proc. 2007 Dec;12(2):2-5. doi: 10.1038/sj.jidsymp.5650046.


Shiny hair with a smooth texture and clean-cut ends or tapered tips is generally perceived to be healthy. Hair texture and shine relate to hair surface properties, whereas the integrity of hair ends relates to the hair cortex. Hair can be straight, wavy or curly, blonde, black, brown, red, gray white, and its natural variations are important to our identity. Manipulation of the normal structure of the hair shaft is epidemic and dictated by culture, fashion, and above all, celebrity. Although cosmetic procedures are intrinsically safe, there is potential for damage to the hair. Loss of lustre, frizz, split ends, and other hair problems are particularly prevalent among people who repeatedly alter the natural style of their hair or among people with hair that is intrinsically weak. This may be due to individual or racial variation or less commonly an inherited structural abnormality in hair fiber formation. Hair health is also affected by common afflictions of the scalp as well as age-related phenomena such as graying and androgenetic alopecia. Hair products that improve the structural integrity of hair fibers and increase tensile strength are available, as are products that increase hair volume, reduce frizz, improve hair manageability, and stimulate new hair growth.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Eicosanoic Acids / chemistry
  • Female
  • Hair Diseases / ethnology
  • Hair Diseases / etiology*
  • Hair Preparations / adverse effects*
  • Hair Preparations / pharmacology
  • Hair* / anatomy & histology
  • Hair* / chemistry
  • Hair* / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hygiene


  • Eicosanoic Acids
  • Hair Preparations
  • 18-methyleicosanoic acid