The future is a hairy place. No one ever knows for certain what will happen next. Believe it or not, hair has a multitude of uses and many uses I bet you didn’t know about. Two attributes about hair: it’s cheap and strong.

What can be done with people’s hair once it leaves its head? I’m glad you asked because the potential is almost limitless!

The human hair is used for many things that you probably didn’t know; even to make soy sauce —Disgusting, bleh! Let’s surf this fuzzy wave together and see what uses for hair have been done.

Evolution: Uses for Hair

1861

Less provocative than food for human consumption, it is the oldest tradition of using human hair to create memories of loved ones. Popular trend in Victorian England, where it was not necessary to know the hair donor in most cases, and simply hair was important and fashionable, for use by the country’s jewelers.

Thank God technology arrived to stay, and thus giving hair better and less nauseating applications.

1995

Alabama hairdresser Phil McCrory did some experiments in his back yard. He took hair cuts at his salon and stuffed it into his wife’s panty hose to create a sponge for oil. He then poured some oil into a wading pool, threw in the panty hose filled with hair and waited. A few minutes later he was amazed to find “nice clear water.”

Encouraged by the dramatic results, he went to the NASA, where they performed more sophisticated tests And I’m not talking about that funny, real expedition where Karen Nyberg‘s explains of how to wash your hair in space, ha! As an added bonus, they found hair can be wrung out and used again, and the oil can be recovered as well.

2009

18-year old Inventor, Milan Karki, from rural Nepal, came up with a new type of solar panel that uses human hair, a design he thinks could provide the developing world with cheap, green electricity. He had built several prototypes and thinks these panels could be half the cost of the cheapest solar panels now available.

Inspired by Stephen Hawkings’ discussion of ways to make static electricity from hair, he theorizes that the melanin, a pigment that gives hair its color, is light sensitive and also acts as a type of conductor in place of expensive silicon.

2014

A Lithuanian artist, Tadas Maksimovas, has created a project which utilizes his own hair as the strings of a violin. The hair which stays attached to his head is drenched in glue, strung through a violin, and played. The end result is amazing; it sounds exactly like a normal violin.

2016

Would you use a bag made of human hair? Sanne Visser suggest a project which consists of a range of utilitarian objects and tools that helps to create a system all the way from collection through to the end application. It includes bags, straps, ropes, belts and even a swing.

2017

In a new study, researchers from the University of California – San Diego keep investigating why hair is incredibly strong and resistant to breaking. The findings could lead to the development of new materials for body armor!

One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure

Human hair is a natural resource that will be increasing in the future since the world population is rapidly rising. The UK alone ‘creates’ around 143.3 million pounds of human hair waste annually, which mostly ends up in landfills or slowly decays in the environment. This causes several problems for the environment and human health, such as the release of toxic gasses or choking the drainage systems.

However, human hair has many valuable properties; it is high in tensile strength, thermal insulation, flexibility, oil-absorption and it is light weight. What do you think is next? Just get ready to comb your gadgets!

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