Why your beard hair is a different colour than your head hair, according to science

If you’ve ever wondered why the hair on one part of your body looks so different from the hair on another part, you’re probably not alone. This phenomenon is a perfectly natural one, and it can be explained pretty easily with science.

As it turns out, you have different types of hair that grow during different phases of your life — and they can come in different colours and textures.

Deep inside the hair follicles (tiny pockets in your skin that house each strand of your hair), there are two different types of pigment that give your lovely locks their hue.

These two types of pigment are eumelanin, which colours hair black or brown, and pheomelanin, which colours hair blonde or red. Despite what you may have heard, all humans have a little bit of pheomelanin in our hair. It’s just that in people with dark brown or black hair, the pheomelanin is effectively masked by the darker eumelanin. If your brown hair has a few golden or auburn tones, that’s the eumelanin peeking through!

But different parts of the body are home to different colours — and textures — of hair. A variety of factors contribute to this phenomenon, including the fact that some follicles simply produce more pigment than others. Usually, eyebrow hair is the darkest; the follicles there tend to produce a lot of pigment.

So what about texture? The hair on your beard — or on your genitals or on your tummy — can be wiry and curly — even while the stuff on your head is smooth and straight. There’s another reason for this. As opposed to the hair on your head (“head hair”), the stuff coming out of your beard belongs to a type of hair called androgenic hair, which sprouts during and after puberty thanks to changes in the levels of a certain type of hormone called androgens.

Androgenic hair also differs slightly from head hair in terms of how it grows. Like head hair, it goes through three different growth phases in which the hair grows at different speeds, but these phases happen at slightly different times, which influences how long or short your hair gets.

So there you have it! If you have curly hair in one place and straight hair in another, embrace it. It’s perfectly natural.

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