Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

You may be aware that your hair says a lot about you. Your hairstyle is used to express your personality, your hair color can hint to your ethnic background and the length and texture can also allude to your gender. However, did you know that your hair can also tell scientists where you live?

A recent study that involved hair samples taken from 65 cities revealed that the composition of a person’s hair was related to the certain chemical ratios found in their home town. It is a known fact that water molecules separate into hydrogen isotopes and oxygen isotopes as they accumulate in your hair. Researchers studying this phenomenon have found that the concentrations of these isotopes and their ratio to one another are similar to the concentrations and ratios found in the water supply of the area where a person lives.

Right now this discovery is being applied to forensic science. Hair samples can now be used to link certain people to crime scenes or to help track down criminals.

If you are looking for a unique biology science fair projects then consider elaborating on this discovery. Hair is a great material to experiment with because it is easy to collect, it is free and collecting the hair doesn’t hurt the person the hair is harvested from. Possible school science fair projects you can conduct with hair include:

  • Color and texture comparisons
  • Chemical composition experiments
  • Animal hair comparisons
  • The possibilities are limitless. Return to this science blog each Friday for more science fair project suggestions.

    29 thoughts on “Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

    1. rishi@Wigs birmingham says:

      Hi,
      I am very scared for my hairstyle and never afraid of trying new and cool styles.
      The post is really good and interesting one.
      Thanks for sharing.

      • sunshine says:

        And unlike what has been said in the past that it is inherited from the father’s side only, new genetic studies show that you can inherit baldness from the mother’s side also.

        Hmmm, this would be an interesting hair science fair project. How about surveying all the students in your school and see by asking fathers to fill out a form and state who in their family is bald, which uncles!

    2. Barry from Criminal Solicitors London says:

      Fascinating. I can’t believe that they can tell where you live based on your hair samples. Is that the same no matter where you live or only for certain areas?

    3. Lina@Discount Hair Straightener says:

      Very valuable information you have here. I loved reading it. Thanks for sharing this. I never thought that you could tell where a person lived with the use of hair. Interesting.

    4. Philip@Chicago Beauty Salon says:

      This is interesting that you can find where someone is from based on their hair. It is amazing where science is taking us these days.

    5. John@Chicago Mattress says:

      I’m interested to see what else they will be able to find out about you by a hair sample in the future. Science is crazy these days.

    6. David@ Hair Cutting Scissors says:

      Wow I never knew there was so much that can be told of by just a strand of your hair. Very interesting post. I am amazed at what scientist find out these days. I wonder if you move to a new state how long it takes for your hair to change for them to know?

    7. sammy @ styling chairs says:

      That is interesting, but in this day and age, not that surprising. Our bodies take in residues from the environment and so it is only a question of analysis. But fascinating none the less.

    8. John@Masters Thesis says:

      I think you can find the answer to your question in this article. It says that your hair can tell scientists where you live, so the composition of a person’s hair depends upon where he/she lives. It means your hair changes when you move to a different climate or country and scientists can see the difference under micrscopic conditions or through hair analysis which tells you the chemical makeup of the hair.

    9. Melissa @ Hair Thinning Shears says:

      Very interesting article. I didn’t know that they could tell where you lived by studying the hair. I do know that everything that you put into your body comes out through your hair. Including medicine, anesthesia, vitamins and etc.

      It makes you think about what we are consuming and all of the toxins we are breathing in.

    10. Darlene@Pest Control says:

      I guess this all just goes to show how important it is to keep up the environmental quality of the places where we live. Too many unintended consequences happen when we pollute our towns.

    11. Design Birmingham says:

      Amazing that you can tell where someone comes from by analyzing their hair? I suppose you could go bald just to avoid the police? Or drink bottled water from Scotland, if you are from London, to throw them off your scent?

    12. web-design-birmingham says:

      Its hard to believe that you can gain so much information from just hair strands.

      Good article

      -Dave

    13. stela@Whats on in London says:

      i think the main reason of hair damage is pollution and color on the hair which include harmful chemicals, so i advise to all that stay away from dust and don’t use hair color.

    14. Catherine@Sanctuaries says:

      I have noticed that my hair feels different depending on where I am living, so it is interesting to read your article.

      When I go home to my Mum’s house I always feel my hair looks nicer after I have a shower. It must be the water!

    15. paul@IT Support London says:

      If you use YUKO, used for hair straightening, it actually repairs your hair. I have short wavy/curly hair and I use this japanese straightening. It works really well and of course, you have straight hair for about 3 months.

    16. Jane@Fitness Secret says:

      The research is very interesting. The hometown’s soil and water determine the hair and even the body. Thank you!

    17. JethroPotts@recessedtoiletpaperholder says:

      I used to think that all the bald men around are just following the latest “hairstyle” fad. I never thought of this before, but…I now think that so many men shave their heads, because they don’t want to leave “evidence” at the scene of their crimes 🙂

    18. Alex@Hair Loss Products says:

      @JethroPotts
      I also made the same observation. Quite a bunck or rock’n’roll musicians that used to wear long and thick hair all of a sudden turn absolutely bald and now the real cause is evident to me. So it seems there are two main “hairstyles” there. Or I would rather call the second one a “headstyle”, hehe)

    19. June@windowtreatments says:

      Now I know why Brittney Spears shaved her head…so that the authorities wouldn’t have “evidence” that she used drugs, and not allow parental rights to her kids. I doubt that she wanted to hide that she uses “color in a bottle” on her hair…hee, hee!

    20. Rachel says:

      I know one thing that hair is very important part of our body and one has to take care of it, it is actually a protein and it requires lot of protein and other nutrients that are essential for hair growth. So, we have to take of it so that to prevent it from hair loss.

    21. Gordon@shoeshelves says:

      I’m concerned about the chemicals that are not just ingested through the water we drink that goes into the hair, but the chemicals that we put on the hair that is then absorbed by the scalp into the brain!

      I’d like to see a science project that can somehow measure BOTH chemicals going in and those coming out!

    22. Jimmy@Solicitors in Birmingham says:

      So very intersting, it seam to me that the world is becoming more and more like an episode of CSI. To think, when I was back at shool should we have done experiments like that, wow I would have definatly become a scientist.

    23. Henry says:

      Interesting ideas. I wonder if the same principle could be applied to animals. say a wild animal or stray dog shows up in your neighborhood. Could you take a sample of its hair and determine where it came from?

    24. Greg@Mens Wigs says:

      This is very interesting. It also scares me a little bit that these chemicals can absorb itself´s in our hair like that.

    25. Fred@Los Angeles Divorce says:

      I’m glad that just by losing hair at a crime scene or any other places, if the police needed to find a criminal at least its not hard with a trace of a hair.

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