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Better Hair Through Chemistry

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    The Exploratorium

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Better Hair Through Chemistry

In this activity, learners hook up a hair to a lever system and create a hair hygrometer to measure changes in humidity. Learn the science behind bad hair days, and learn how hair increases its length when humidity increases, making curly hair frizz and straight hair go limp.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Corrugated cardboard about a foot long and 9 inches wide
  • A piece of thin cardboard
  • A pair of scissors
  • A knife
  • A pushpin or other large-diameter pin
  • A straight or common pin
  • A strand of hair that's one foot long
  • A hot glue gun
  • A dime


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Processes
      • Weather and Climate
  • Life Sciences
    • Cells
      • Chemistry of Life
    • Human Body
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemistry of Life


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Doherty, Paul; Shore, Linda


  • All Rights Reserved, The Exploratorium,


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