Hair Anatomy & Structure

What is HAIR?

Media depicts beautiful hair as full, healthy and shiny. But what exactly is hair? Hair is just one part of our complex biological framework. Yet this single anatomical feature is deeply embedded in our identity. Which is why it’s unsettling when we have had bad hair days or worse, when we start losing it. At Daniel Alain, we understand not only the importance of hair health, but how deeply the thread of our hair weaves through our identity, femininity and confidence.

Right now millions of women are seeking answers. Our Hair 360 Center is a sanctuary of solidarity, resources and solutions to guide you.

Whether your hair loss journey is temporary or long-term, we are committed to equipping you with innovative knowledge and resources to empower you to fall in love with your hair again. To do this, we first have to understand the complexities of our hair, how it grows and why for many of us, it falls out. 


There are certain steps we can take to preserve our hair follicles, stimulate growth, prevent hair loss and achieve beautiful, healthy-look hair. Yet even if we take all the right steps to take care of our strands, there are various medical and genetic threats outside our control.

A fundamental of providing solutions is understanding the dynamic issues women face. At the root of our hair health is the anatomy of hair strand and health of our hair follicle structure. With knowledge and understanding, we’re able to stay on top of cutting edge hair science and provide comprehensive solutions.


Given the emphasis on abundant, healthy hair, it might come as a surprise that hair strands are actually lifeless. A closer inspection on hair follicles, however, reveals a cycle of life generated by abundant and very much alive hair cells. These cells conduct crucial biochemical activity in order to regulate the hair growth cycle as part of a complex and delicate ecosystem within the dermal biome.

Within the cycle are four phases: Anagen, Catagen, Telogen and Exogen. At any given point in time, each hair is in a different phase.


Hair grows from the hair follicle and is made of protein cells called keratin. While a strand of hair might seem thin in your hand, it’s comprised of three layers:

1. Cuticle
This is the outer layer of the hair strand which protects the cortex.

2. Cortex
The thickest layer of hair is the inner layer, which is responsible for hair strength, color and pigment, and hair texture. For example: the cortex is the reason why you have blonde, thin hair or red, thick hair, or any combination of hair thickness and color.

3. Medulla
The third and innermost layer is extremely thin and fragile. In fact, it’s nearly invisible and is generally only prevalent in thick, coarse hair. For example, naturally blonde and thin hair do not tend to have the medulla.

How Hair Structure Impacts Hair Health

If the cuticle protects the cortex, ultimately defining the condition and attributes of your hair, and the medulla is only present in thick, coarse hair; how does this relate to your hair health? Imagine the cuticle as your hair’s shield; it’s the first line of defense and outer layer of the hair shaft. Essentially, the cuticle is the cortex’s bodyguard.

Bottom line: the condition of the cuticle impacts the condition of your hair. To have strong, healthy hair relies on having strong, healthy cuticles. How can you improve the cuticle?

The cuticle is made of protein scales that overlap to lock in moisture. The healthiest hair repels water because it has a hydrophobic outer lipid layer. This thin layer is vital to lock in moisture. A closed cuticle keeps moisture in and reflects light which means: hello, shine! Shiny hair isn’t the only benefit of a closed cuticle: it also reduces breakage and friction. 

Porosity & Hair Beauty

We often hear the term, “damaged hair,” but what does that mean exactly? When hair has damage, it happens to the outside cuticle layer. The result is a lifted cuticle with holes, scaling and cracks. These symptoms often accompany the term, “porous hair.”

When hair looks dry or dull, it’s likely due to high hair porosity. When cuticles have trouble retaining moisture, it creates “weathered” hair, meaning it isn’t reflecting light, lacks shine, and may have split ends and breakage. Ready to close the cuticle, lock in moisture and obtain soft, shiny hair? We thought so!

Moisture & Hair Beauty

Craving luxurious, shiny hair? You’re in good company and it’s time to take a hard look at moisture. Maintaining a desired moisture balance is essential to having healthy-looking hair and protecting the integrity of the cuticle. Is the solution as simple as using moisturizing products to restore the cuticle’s ability to repel water and retain moisture? That depends: a moisturizer must either improve or maintain hydration. With this in mind, moisturizers fall into three categories:

These act as a seal by physically preventing water loss so the cuticle can retain moisture.

Moisturizers that attract moisture to the hair and result in softer, more elastic and less brittle hair.

Provide a protective shield that smooths the cuticle and repels moisture. Emollients work effectively when the right proportions are achieved: too much can weigh hair down and make it look thinner., too little creates dehydration, static, and increased frizz.


Suffering from dry or brittle hair? This means that the cuticles may be compromised and you are losing valuable moisture. To achieve the right balance of moisture, Daniel Alain created INTACT, an Anti Hair Shedding Treatment that contains a unique blend of emollients (the protective shield), and humectants (the moisture-attractor). Together, these moisturizing aids maintain the balance of moisture in the hair. And don’t even think about buildup or heavy hair, because the precise blend is strategically designed to create ultimate moisture balance without using silicones, oils or residual building agents.

How? This innovative blend includes rich coconut fatty acids that help the cuticle lay flat. This enables the cuticle to reflect light and ultimately, enhance shine. And that’s not all nature’s moisturizer does; coconut fatty acids are high in lauric acid which due to its low molecular weight can penetrate the hair shaft to nourish, repair and moisturize from within.

Say hello to light, bouncy hair that’s full of body and shine.