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How Is Eyebrow Hair Different from Head Hair?

By A.M. Boyle
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Eyebrow hair differs from head hair in several respects. The hair on a person’s eyebrows will not grow as long as head hair. It is also thicker, coarser, and differently shaped than the hair on an individual’s head. The roots of eyebrow hair are thicker, and the hair there does not fall out as quickly as head hair.

All human hair is made of intertwined strands of a type of protein called keratin. Still, hair has different characteristics depending upon where it is located. Hair on one part of the body can appear quite different than hair on another part. The differences between eyebrow hair and head hair provide a clear example of this.

Hair grows from a small bubble in the surface of the skin called a follicle. The base of each strand of hair nestled within a follicle is called the hair root. Attached to the follicles are sacs called sebaceous glands. These glands secrete a type of oil that gives hair its shiny appearance. Each hair is covered by a clear outer layer called a cuticle that can either make it smooth or coarse, depending upon the nature of its surface. Hair constantly grows, matures, and is then shed by the body to be replaced.

The hair on a person’s head has small roots. The hairs themselves are thin and narrow to a point at the ends. All the hairs on a person’s head are nearly the same thickness and can grow up to 40 inches (about 100 cm) or even longer. Head hair can be straight, wavy, or curly. A fully mature strand of head hair generally lasts up to three months before it is shed by the body.

The roots of a person’s eyebrow hair are slightly thicker than head hair. Each hair contains more strands of keratin and, unlike head hair, can vary slightly in diameter. Eyebrow hairs grow to a much shorter length than head hair, with the maximum length reaching only about 0.5 inches (approximately 1 cm). The hairs of the eyebrow are also coarser than head hair and have a curved shape, even if the head hair is straight. These hairs, once mature, generally stay in place up to nine months before being shed, and in most instances, even though a person may lose all of his or her head hair, eyebrow hair might thin out but generally will not be completely lost.

Eyebrow hair also grows at a different angle from the body than head hair. Head hair basically grows out from the skin at a gentle slope, but eyebrow hair grows at a much sharper angle. With regard to the color, although the hairs of the eyebrow often match the color of the hairs on a person’s head, this is not always the case. The hair above the eye can be a different shade lighter or darker than head hair. As a person ages, eyebrow hair takes longer to turn gray or white than head hair, and sometimes, it never turns color at all.

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Discussion Comments

By stoneMason — On Jun 13, 2014

I've noticed that eyebrow hair is much thicker and coarser than the hair on my head. And my eyebrows are also a little darker than my hair. My hair tends to lighten when exposed to sunlight but my eyebrows never change. They always remain dark.

It's also interesting how the roots of eyebrow hair are thicker than regular hair. It actually makes sense because when I pluck eyebrow hair, it hurts a lot!

By burcinc — On Jun 12, 2014

@candyquilt-- My cousin had that procedure because she lost her eyebrows due to a health condition and they refused to grow back.

You're right, they take hair from the scalp and make eyebrows with it. Although hair is different than eyebrow hair, since it is placed carefully and in the same direction like eyebrows, it looks natural.

The only issue with this procedure is that the new eyebrows grow long because it's actually regular hair growing. So my cousin trims them down once in a while to make sure they look neat.

By candyquilt — On Jun 12, 2014

I heard that there is a procedure called eyebrow transplant where hair from the scalp is transplanted to the face, as eyebrows. Since regular hair and eyebrow hair are different, doesn't this cause problems?

Does anyone know about this procedure or has anyone had it done?

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