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Hair Texture & Genetics
How it works
While scientists are still researching the many genes that determine hair texture, they believe the shape of our hair follicles creates the texture of our tresses. The curvier the follicle, the curlier the strand.
The genetic link
23andMe researchers have identified 75 places in our DNA—also called genetic variants- that influence hair texture. Other factors, like age and environment, might also play a minor role in hair texture.
Did you know?
Walk down the shampoo aisle, and you'll see lots of bottles emblazoned with the word, "keratin." That's because keratin is a hard-as-nails protein that helps build hair fibers. As your hair grows from the follicle, keratin links the hair cells together. Research suggests that the shape of the hair follicle affects how keratin links the hair cells together. So if the follicle is curved, keratin links the hair cells together in a curved shape. When the strand of hair grows out of the follicle, the strand keeps the same curvy shape as it gets longer.
Want to learn more about your hair texture? 23andMe's Health + Ancestry Service can tell you what type of hair texture you're likely to have based on your genetics, from straight to wavy to curly.