Difference between hair and beard, puzzle solved!

Like many people, you must have already wondered why the beard deserves special care, different from the hair. And like many people, you must have also noticed that your beard does not have the same texture, and does not grow in the same way as your hair. From there, you probably asked yourself: but where does this difference between the two come from? Fortunately, your pharmacist is there to answer this existential question! Welcome to this new article which will explain the difference between hair and beard.

What is a hair?

A hair starts with a hair follicle. And as you have already read the previous article , you already know that the hair follicle is located in... the dermis, absolutely! Dermis which, as a reminder, is the intermediate layer of the skin, between the epidermis (above) and the hypodermis (below). In reality, the follicle is located in an invagination of the epidermis. It is therefore surrounded by keratinocytes. The latter, instead of migrating towards the surface, remain at the level of the follicle, and keratinize (die). The follicle will then assemble the dead keratinocytes to make… hair! 

Hair follicle diagram

Note that one or more sweat and sebaceous glands are juxtaposed to the hair follicle, along with the horripilator muscle. It's this muscle that contracts when you have goosebumps, for example, to straighten the hair. This is a thermoregulation mechanism.

Several types of hair

Hair follicles are found almost all over the body. It is therefore easy to realize that not all hairs are the same... And that is normal, because in truth, there are several types of hairs. In childhood, down appears: very fine little hair, produced by a small follicle. At puberty, a large part of the down is replaced by the so-called terminal hair, or permanent hair. This is the hair that everyone knows. Thicker, produced by a larger follicle, and above all, subject to strong hormonal control: that of testosterone. The latter, known to be the male hormone, is also present in women, but in smaller quantities. So she also has hair, but less…

Difference between hair follicle + hair

Among these terminal hairs, there are two categories: primary and secondary. The primaries are those that everyone has: Hair, eyelashes, eyebrows... their follicles are often straight and fine, creating a fairly flexible hair. The secondary terminal hairs, for their part, undergo stronger hormonal control. Their follicles need more testosterone to activate and make them. Their expression is therefore dependent on sex. They are thicker than the primary terminal hairs, and their follicles are curved, which is why they are usually curly. These secondary terminal follicles are found in particular in the pubis, armpits, and… the face. They are therefore at the origin of the beard. Beard follicles are the most dependent on hormonal control. This is why women, who have just enough testosterone to activate others, are hairless.

A different timing

The other difference between hair and beard is the length of their life cycle. The latter is the same for all hairs: a growth phase (anagen) up to a defined length, followed by an aging phase (catagen), then death and shedding (telogen phase). This three-stage cycle lasts several years for hair, while for beards it only lasts a few months. In other words, beards grow at a similar rate to hair, but not long enough to reach the same length (imagine never going to the barber). This also explains why after two years without shaving your legs, you don't look like Chewbacca! Each hair type has a different cycle length.

Anagen, catagene and telogen phase

And the care in all this?

The difference between hair and beard is partly due to the difference in hard skin at the location. The scalp is thicker, oilier, and therefore more resistant than the skin of the face, thinner, drier, and more exposed to external aggressions, in addition to being perforated by large curly secondary terminal hairs! In addition, the latter being thicker, they have higher nutritional needs than hair, which is finer and “satiated more quickly”. This is why Monsieur Barbier has designed his shaving products which take care of your skin, as well as his FULL CARE beard & hair care range which intensely nourishes your hair, but also your beard, for well-maintained hair all over. line !

Shaving products from Monsieur BARBIER

Beard & Hair Products from Monsieur BARBIER

I hope this article has satisfied your thirst for knowledge, and that the mystery of the difference between hair and beard will never keep you from sleeping again! With that, we'll see you soon for a new episode of Culture Barbier. In the meantime, don't hesitate to browse our blog, follow us on the Monsieur Barbier Facebook page, our newsletter and even subscribe to the Golden Ticket group , the meeting place for cinema news, with places to be won to attend. have fun with friends or family! 😉


Article on the physiology of the hair follicle:
AA Panteleyev, “Functional anatomy of the hair follicle: The Secondary Hair Germ”, Exp. Dermatol., vol. 27, no . 7, p. 701-720, 2018. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/exd.13666

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