Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Hair How are cotton or wool Hair Building Fibers actually made?

  • How are cotton or wool Hair Building Fibers actually made?

    Posted by smallpiglet on March 29, 2022 at 1:41 am

    What is the actual process that is used to get the cotton or wool into such fine particles? Is there a method someone could do at home to either make their own fibers? 

    If not, would there be an ideal way to manually dye existing white cotton fibers to match my exact hair color? The fibers are so tiny, I assume a powder would be ideal, but what would be suitable for use on the scalp?

    smallpiglet replied 2 years, 3 months ago 2 Members · 4 Replies
  • 4 Replies
  • ketchito

    March 29, 2022 at 1:32 pm

    @smallpiglet Cotton (and silk) are first made as a protein solution (fibroin) and then spun through specific channels (with changing variables such as pH, ionic strenght, shear and elongation) ’till they are made into solid fibers. Wool (and hair) are made through a bit different process, but they both result in the formation of solid protein materials with specific structures, which haven’t been replicated completely so far (nylon and kevlrar were discovered trying to synthesize  spider silk in the lab). 

    If you want to dye cotton fibers, there are many patents that can guide you through this process. Nevertheless, due to the different conformation (and the presence of melanins in human hair), I don’t think you could be able to get the exact same shade as your hair. 

  • smallpiglet

    March 29, 2022 at 11:53 pm

    @ketchito Thanks for the reply. My hair is currently purple, so it’s not a natural color. I have the dye I used on my hair, but it’s sort of gel-like, so I’m not sure how it won’t completely saturate the teensy fibers. 

    So is there no way to take raw cotton and pulverize it after it’s dyed, but in a home setting? 

    Someone on a chemistry forum suggested using Liquid Nitrogen on the cotton and shattering it, which seems sort of reasonable, but I’m not a chemist or science type really, so I’m betting there’s a better way.

  • ketchito

    March 30, 2022 at 12:58 pm

    @smallpiglet I had the same thought about liquid nitrogen. You could alternatively try to freeze the cotton in your freezer, and try to grind it…if that’s not possible (since the amorphous region of the fiber might not crystallize), then spray a bit of water on the surface of cotton, and try again.

  • smallpiglet

    March 30, 2022 at 10:16 pm

    Okay, that’s awesome! Thank you, I will definitely try that. I know it will be easier to dye cotton before it’s minuscule! Thanks again. I will let you know how it works!

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