Nape WhorlQ: My hairdresser says I have a nape whorl. What exactly is this and what can be done about it?
A: A hair whorl is a specific pattern of hair growth in which a section of the hair grows in a spiral or curved shape. This is usually made notable because the hair emerges from the skin at a shallow angle which reinforces the direction of the whorl. Depending on placement, some whorls can be interesting features of the hair (such as with some half-whorls at the forward hairline which create unique curves in the fringe). However, in most cases, they present a challenge that has to be dealt with.
In dealing with whorls and other growth patterns, the trick is to select styles that incorporate the effect the whorl gives, or that attempt to overcome or camouflage it. If you favor short hair styles, with tapered necklines, you may want to keep the hair at the neck short enough to lie close to the scalp when styled. In most cases, longer lengths over a whorl will enable you to hide it as the weight of the length of the hair will force the hair in the direction you want it to go. How long you need to have the hair to combat the whorl is a matter of the texture, elasticity and density of your hair. The length needs to add sufficient weight to pull the hair into the direction you desire.
In some cases (and yours sounds like it may be one) a stylist can use a permanent wave solution on a hair whorl and a fine toothed comb to redirect the hair somewhat. As the chemical side bonds are disrupted, he or she can comb the hair in the direction you prefer and once in that position, the solution is rinsed, and the neutralizer is applied, all while the direction is reinforced via a gentle combing.
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