First off, let me state that this thread is not about the differences between curly and straight hair. Discussions of inter-keratin triple helix disulfide bond linkages will not be permitted in this thread. Nor will any mention of hair straighteneing or curling protocols/chemistries. Friends, cast these off as they are irrelevant.
What we’re interested in here is the the macro-structure of curly hair. Specifically, why do curls form?
For the purposes of this discussion, let’s define a macro-curl as a structure consisting of hundreds of individual hair strands originating from a small patch of scalp. Micro-curl, OTOH, is the kinking and twisting of an individual hair strand caused by the aforementioned (and now unmentionable) inter-strand disulfide linkages. My question is, what forces hold the individual strands together in this quasi-stable (and durned cute) configuration. This seems to occur best in hair that is only moderately curly on a micro level.
Too much micro-curl, and forces which separate the strands of hair dominate, resulting in serious fro-age. Not enough, and strands hang separately, lifeless and limp.
Interestingly, the addition of a compound which bonds hair strands to one another (gel, pomade) counteracts the fro or frizz effect, allowing macro-curls to form in otherwise unruly hair. This underscores the necessity of an inter-strand bonding force in the formation of macro-curls.
It occurs to me that temporary inter-strand bonding as a result of wetting the hair might provide a template for macro-curl formation. Once hair is dry, though, the macro-curls remain.
How do macro-curls get organized? What promotes their stability?