A molecular simulation of the afro hair fibre showed that unlike other hair types, in afro hair lipids were interwoven into the microfibres that make up the hair shaft. When these lipids were removed in all hair types, only Afro hair showed a difference in keratin structure. The removal of lipids caused tighter packing of the hair keratin structure. Effectively, the hair fibre shrunk .
This phenomenon, known as ‘shrinking’, occurs when the internal lipid content is too low for the keratin structure to retain its full uncoiled structure. When there are insufficient lipids, hydrogen bonds link excessively, this linkage would have been blocked by the hydrophobic nature of the lipid in the structure.