Optical factors affecting hair appearance are reviewed based on hair structures from macroscopic to microscopic viewpoints. Hair appearance is the result of optical events, such as reflection, refraction, scattering, and absorption. The effects of hair structures on such optical events are summarized and structural conditions for hair appearance are considered. Hair structures are classified into the following: the alignment of multiple hair fibers, the cross-sectional shape of the hair fiber, and the microstructures of hair fiber (cuticle, cortex, and medulla). The alignment of multiple hair fibers is easily affected by the existence of meandering fibers and their alignment along hair length becomes less-synchronized. The less-synchronized orientation of multiple fibers causes the broadening of the apparent reflection and luster-less dull impression. The cross-sectional shape of hair fiber affects light reflection behavior. Hair fibers with elliptical cross-section show glittering colored light based on total reflection in the hair. The scaly structures of cuticles at the surface of hair are often uplifted and cause light scattering, and then affect hair luster. The porous structure of the cortex and medulla in hair fiber can cause light scattering and affect hair luster and color. The above phenomena suggest that important factors for hair appearance are the alignment of multiple hair fibers, appropriate cross-sectional shape, ordered scaly structure, and pore-less internal structure.
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