The persistence of human scalp hair on clothing fabrics

J Dachs, James ROBERTSON, Ian McNaught

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


This study reports the persistence behaviour of human scalp hairs under a number of different circumstances. The effects of artificial dyeing of hairs, the presence or absence of roots and different types of fabrics on the persistence of hair on a variety of garments were investigated. The garments were made from cotton, polycotton, cotton/acrylic, polyester and wool. The results indicated that neither artificial dyes nor the presence or absence of roots had statistically significant effects on the persistence of hair. In contrast, the type of fabric had a major impact and it was found that, generally, hairs persist longer on rougher fabrics. The rate of loss of hairs from non-woollen fabrics during normal wear was found to follow an exponential decay curve. In contrast, the rate of loss from the woollen garments was quite linear, indicating a constant, even loss, and thus suggests that a different process is involved in the persistence of hairs on woollen garments from that on non-woollen garments. The speed at which hair was lost from fabrics decreased in the order polyester, cotton/acrylic, polycotton, cotton, smooth wool, rough wool, so that wool gives the best chance of recovering samples of hair. Due to the uniqueness of each case, it is advised that caution be used when making any interpretations and before drawing any conclusions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-36
Number of pages10
JournalForensic Science International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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