Porosity at Different Structural Levels in Human and Yak Belly Hair and Its Effect on Hair Dyeing

Alexander R.M. Müllner, Ruben Pahl, Doris Brandhuber, Herwig Peterlik

Yak belly hair was proposed as a cheap substitute for human hair for the development of hair dyes, as its chemical composition closely resembles human hair in Raman spectroscopy. The absence of melanin in yak belly hair also leads to a strong reduction of fluorescence in Raman measurements, which is advantageous for the investigation of the effectivity of hair dyes. To assess the suitability for replacing human hair, we analyzed similarities and differences of both hair types with a variety of methods: Raman spectroscopy, to obtain molecular information; small-angle X-ray scattering to determine the nanostructure, such as intermediate filament distance, distance of lipid layers and nanoporosity; optical and scanning electron microscopy of surfaces and cross sections to determine the porosity at the microstructural level; and density measurements and tensile tests to determine the macroscopic structure, macroporosity and mechanical properties. Both types of hair are similar on a molecular scale, but differ on other length scales: yak belly hair has a smaller intermediate filament distance on the nanoscale. Most striking is a higher porosity of yak belly hair on all hierarchical levels, and a lower Young's modulus on the macroscale. In addition to the higher porosity, yak belly hair has fewer overlapping scales of keratin, which further eases the uptake of coloring. This makes, on the other hand, a comparison of coloring processes difficult, and limits the usefulness of yak belly hair as a substitute for human hair.

Dynamics of Condensed Systems
External organisation(s)
LIM Cosmetics GmbH
No. of pages
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
103018 Materials physics, 103042 Electron microscopy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Analytical Chemistry, Chemistry (miscellaneous), Molecular Medicine, Pharmaceutical Science, Drug Discovery, Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, Organic Chemistry
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