Friday, April 29, 2011

It would be like traveling through time backwards, but only on your head

Everyone I've ever known has had a haircut at some point in their life, and I imagine this is true for you as well. There may be someone out there who was born hairless and as they aged sprouted not a single strand of hair on their head. I write this blog post fully aware that I risk alienating this section of humanity, should they happen to exist.
You no doubt have noticed that after you cut your hair, it grows long again. Typically, this observation is not immediate, but rather it takes days, weeks really, to notice that the hair on your head has increased in length. Maybe this one part sticks out in some way it didn't before when it was shorter, or tight curls relax under the added weight of the newly grown hair. 

At some point you realize, either because you notice in a mirror or someone tells you bluntly in the hallway, that you need a haircut again.

Even though the length of your hair increases essentially continuously, every moment of every second adding to the layer of keratin nearest your scalp, you don't notice the small changes, but only the cumulative effect of the growth over a period of weeks.

Would it work the same if this process of hair growth were reversed?

Imagine an experiment in which the subject gets a haircut every day. Only this haircut trims just twice the amount of a typical day's worth of hair growth, effectively instituting a hair retraction process which causes hair to recede at the same rate as normal growth, opposite only in direction. 

Would it be the case that at some point people would notice and say "You got a hair cut"? Or would it slip by unnoticed, the whole world wondering how it is that your hair looks so fresh and amazing, day after day?

It will be some time before I can experiment on my own, since I recently attached the 1/4" comb to the clippers and applied them to my cranium.

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