Many people are intrigued by just how different the hair of African and African descendants is. There are numerous misconceptions about African-textured hair, chief among them that “black hair doesn’t grow.” This misconception stems from the biology of the hair structure itself, which is different from the structures commonly seen among other ethnic groups.
This hair is often described as “kinky.” Straight hair grows from circular follicles, and curly hair grows from oval shaped follicles; kinky hair follicles are nearly flat. Furthermore, the protein which makes up kinky textured hair possesses more disulfide bonds. Hair follicles produce oils that coat the length of hair, giving hair the characteristic shine of other hair types.
Because kinky hair is so tightly curled, the oil is unable to move down the length of the hair. This leads to hair that easily becomes dry, brittle, and easy to break. For this reason, people with kinky hair types must employ different methods of hair maintenance in order to grow hair long. Once a method is found to keep the tightly curled hair moisturized, kinky hair can grow just as long as other hair types.