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What is the most common hair type in Germany?

What is the most common hair type in Germany?

Germany is home to over 80 million people with a range of hair types and textures. The most common hair type among Germans is straight hair, though wavy and curly hair are also present. Factors like genetics, ancestry, and regional location influence hair type distribution in the country. Understanding popular hair types provides insight into the diversity and origins of the German population.

The Majority Have Straight Hair

Studies estimate around 65-70% of Germans have straight hair. This hair type tends to be fine to medium in texture and lies flat with no curl or wave pattern. The cuticle layers of the hair shaft are tightly packed, allowing the hair to reflect light and appear shiny.

Several factors contribute to straight hair being the most common in Germany:

Genetics Straight hair is a dominant trait in European populations. Most Germans have ancestral ties to Northern and Central Europe where straight hair prevails.
Ancestry Ethnic Germans (Volksdeutsche) and Germanic tribes like the Franks and Saxons had predominantly straight hair.
Climate Straight hair may have been advantageous in colder Northern European climates inhabited by early Germanic peoples.

The high percentage of straight hair coincides with Germany’s ethnic makeup. Over 90% of the population has European ancestry, primarily from Germanic, Celtic, Slavic, and Baltic groups where straight hair is common.

Wavy and Curly Hair is Present

Though straight hair prevails, other hair types are part of Germany’s diverse population. An estimated 15-20% of Germans have wavy hair, while 10-15% have curly or coily hair.

Wavy hair has a slight curl pattern with “S” shaped waves. True curly hair has more prominent spring-like curls winding in a helix shape. Tightly coiled hair is rarest, found among those with African ancestry. Regional background impacts hair curl variation:

North Straighter hair dominates Northern regions like Schleswig-Holstein.
South Wavier and curlier hair increases in Southern areas like Bavaria with more Celtic/Alpine influence.
East Wavy hair is somewhat more common in Eastern regions closer to Slavic nations.

The presence of curlier hair likely stems from Celtic, Slavic, Jewish, Baltic, and other ancestral impacts on the German population. Intermixing with groups possessing curlier hair has introduced wavy and tight curls into the German gene pool, especially in Southern and Eastern areas.

Hair Type Variation Exists Within Regions

While broad geographical trends exist, variation in hair types is found across Germany. Even in Northern areas where straight hair dominates, wavy and curly hair occurs. Likewise, straight hair is still common in the South and East.

This diversity stems from:

Internal Migration Germans have traditionally been very mobile within the country, spreading hair traits between regions.
Local Ancestry Different ancestral mixes occur locally, influencing hair beyond regional norms.
Genetic Recombination Genes shuffle each generation, moderating broad geographical patterns.
Foreign Immigration Recent influxes of immigrants have increased hair diversity, especially in urban areas.

Therefore, while overall trends exist, the range of hair types present makes it difficult to pin down a location’s “typical” hair. Germany’s diversity must be examined at a local level.

Straight Hair Dominates Among Men

When analyzing by gender, men skew marginally straighter in hair texture versus women. Approximately 70% of German men have straight hair, while 60-65% of women do. Curly and coily hair is slightly more prevalent among women.

Proposed reasons for this gender difference:

Androgens Hormones like testosterone may increase straight hair incidence in men.
Evolution Some theorize straighter hair was selected for in males fighting with headgear.
Hair Treatment Heat styling can temporarily straighten curly hair on women.

However, the gender difference in hair type is modest. The majority of both sexes have straight hair in Germany, with sizable minorities having wave and curl.

Blonde Hair Tends to be Straighter

Hair color intersects with hair type in Germany. Lighter blonde hair is most frequent in Northern Germany where straight hair prevails. Darker hair is more common in the South, corresponding to a higher incidence of wavy/curly hair.

However, plenty of exceptions occur:

Dark-haired Northerners Not all Northern Germans have blond hair, yet most still have straight hair.
Blonde Southerners Many Southern Germans are blonde but have wavy or curly hair.

Therefore, hair color and texture correlations are loose. The two traits are independently influenced by a variety of genetic and environmental factors.

Hair Structure Differs Among Types

On a molecular level, straight, wavy, and curly hair have structural distinctions in their underlying proteins:

Keratin The primary protein in all hair. Structural differences in keratin influence curl pattern.
Bonds Varying bonds between keratin chains affect hair flexibility and curl.
Density More densely packed keratin makes hair straighter.
Crosslinking Additional crosslinks between keratin proteins increase rigidity and straightness.

These microscopic attributes combine to generate the visible hair types. Understanding the structural basis helps explain why traits like straight hair propagate in populations.

Hair Structure Can Change Over Time

Genetics dictate the underlying potential for hair curl, but structure can change over an individual’s lifetime. Factors like age, health, and hormones can shift the structure, altering curl pattern.

Some examples:

Infancy Baby hair is typically straight due to hormonal conditions in the womb.
Puberty Hormone changes allow curls to emerge in adolescence.
Pregnancy Some women experience temporary changes to curl pattern.
Aging Hair tends to get straighter with age as protein structure changes.
Damage Environmental damage can reduce curl until hair is repaired.

For these reasons, an individual’s hair curl may fluctuate somewhat over their lifetime while tending toward their genetic baseline.

Hair Care Differs by Type

To best care for and style their hair, Germans take hair properties into account:

Straight Can benefit from smoothing treatments and blow outs but may require volumizing.
Wavy Well-suited to sea salt sprays and texturizing products to boost waves.
Curly/Coily Moisturizing is key; needs less washing and heat while conditioner and gel enhance curl definition.

Understanding one’s hair shape, porosity, density, and other traits is key to optimal care. Consulting with hairdressers helps Germans learn suitable techniques and products.

Diversity Will Likely Increase

While straight hair has historically dominated in Germany, increasing ethnic diversity predicts a rise in hair curl variation.

Immigration and a more multi-ethnic society will likely shift Germany’s hair landscape over generations. More German citizens will possess very tightly coiled African hair or looser waves and curls from Asian backgrounds.

However, straight hair will likely remain the most prevalent due to persistent Northern European ancestral majority. Rather than displacing straight hair, diverse hair types will intermix to expand Germany’s hair palette.


Though hair diversity exists, Germans are predominantly straight-haired, owing to the country’s ancestry and history. Regional variation occurs due to localized influences, moderating genetic trends. While hair structure can fluctuate over time, genetics remain the key determinant. Increased diversity will introduce more hair curl but not supplant the prevailing straight hair in the German population. Understanding these factors provides insight into both the unity and diversity of the German people.