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HAIR COLOUR, COUNT & VOLUME
 
HAIR COLOUR
 
The colour (pigmentation) of hair is produced by melanocytes, specialised cells that synthesise the pigment melanin. The melanocytes that synthesise melanin for hair are located in the hair follicle. Melanocytes are also distributed throughout the body: in the eyes, the ears, the central nervous system, mucous membranes and skin.

Melanocytes in the hair follicle are active only during the anagen (growth) phase of the hair cycle. No melanin is synthesised during the catagen (degradation) or telogen (resting) phases of the hair cycle.

Two major types of melanin are synthesised by melanocytes. Different melanocytes are, however, specialised to synthesise just one type of melanin:

• Eumelanin: a brown/black pigment that gives the colour to brown and black hair, is synthesised by oval-shaped melanocytes; and,

• Pheomelanin: a yellowish to reddish-brown pigment that gives colour to red and blond hair, is synthesised by spherical melanocytes.


Melanocytes usually synthesise only one form of melanin at a time. The melanin is taken up by structural proteins located in the cortex at the centre of the hair shaft. The synthesis of melanin and transfer of melanin into hair shaft proteins is regulated by genetically programmed enzymes and other regulatory molecules. Variations in hair colour shades can be caused by the amount of eumelanin or pheomelanin taken up by the hair shaft proteins, or by the presence in the hair shaft of both types of melanin - for example, in dusky red auburn hair.

More subtle variations in hue and shade may be caused by (1) reflection and refraction of light from internal interfaces of structural proteins in the hair shaft, or (2) reflection or refraction of light from hair-styling chemicals that coat the hair shaft (the "sheen" promised by advertising for hair-styling products). White hair contains no melanin.
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HAIR COUNT
 
There are 90,000 to 150,000 hairs on the scalp, if there has been no hair loss beyond the roughly 100 hairs that are lost daily by normal hair cycling. Blond colour is associated with the largest number of scalp hairs (about 140,000 to 150,000), followed by brown (up to 140,000), black (100,000 to 120,000) and red (90,000).
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Hair volume can be defined as hair that maintains body and fullness, continues holding a shape and has height and lift away from the head.

The volume of a person's hair will be determined by the hair diameter (i.e. the size of each hair strand), the density (how much hair you have per square centimeter), the stiffness of the hair, the curl in the hair (curly hair will have more density than straight hair if taken per hair) and finally the degree to which hairs stick together. As such, hair volume is due to physiological factors, and is also therefore genetic in nature.
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