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Old 02 January 2012, 09:26 PM
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Fright 'And his hair turned white overnight' or did it?

Research into hair whitening suggests it was historians, not doctors, who described the overnight phenomenon in order to dramatise events.
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Old 03 January 2012, 04:46 PM
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I talked to someone who personally claimed this happened to him. Actually the wife told the story. If I remember correctly, he was trapped in an active lava flow.
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Old 04 January 2012, 07:41 AM
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My ex-wife's grandparents told the story that the granddad's hair turned curly overnight the night before the wedding.

I never challenged them, but I always believed that turning the hair curly was a barbers job that the groom for some reason wouldn't acknowledge the next day.
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Old 04 January 2012, 01:27 PM
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Lainie Lainie is offline
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I don't think it happens overnight, but sometimes people's hair does change, apparently spontaneously, from curly to straight or vice versa -- and back again. Which is fascinating, because it means the shape of the hair follice changes.

Here's an NPR article about it.
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Old 04 January 2012, 02:17 PM
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Syllavus Syllavus is offline
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Good grief. I hope my hair never changes from curly to straight, I wouldn't have the slightest idea how to deal with it. I've spent the last twenty years of my life learning how to properly manage my curly hair so that it looks nice.
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Old 04 January 2012, 05:00 PM
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Something strange - DS1 and DS2 both had adorable wavy/curly hair when they were born, until their first haircut. After that, it's been straight. Granted, we cut their hair short (buzz/wiffle cuts) and don't let it grow out too far. I did notice that it gets a bit wavier when it's humid. Still wondering what could cause the curls to disappear. I miss them!
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Old 04 January 2012, 05:08 PM
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Lainie Lainie is offline
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My hair was curly at the ends when I was a toddler, but it was completely straight by the time I was in kindergarten, and I don't think my mom even had it cut in between.

DD's hair was stick-straight when she was born. Like a lot of babies, she lost much of it after a few months, and it came back curly (I'd been afraid it wouldn't be red when it grew back ). It's stayed curly since.

In theory, I love the idea of my hair suddenly turning curly. In practice, I don't know if I'd like it so much. When I was younger, I didn't understand how anyone with curly hair could possibly wish for straight hair, but after dealing with DD's curls, and watching her do it when she got older, I understand the disadvantages.
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Old 04 January 2012, 05:25 PM
quink quink is offline
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My hair was stick straight as a kid and went curly when I hit puberty. As I get older, it's starting to straighten out a bit more. My brother's was the same texture and colour as mine and did the same thing. One question I've gotten a lot is where my blonde comes from, since everyone in the generations before me has very dark brown hair. My dad was actually white bonde as a kid and his hair shifted to almost black by the time he was in his mid-teens.
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Old 04 January 2012, 05:40 PM
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"Throwback" is the term you're looking for, I think. A recessive gene may be passed along for generation after generation before it's paired up with another one and expressed. I have red hair, but on DD's paternal side, the red hair goes back at least four generations, to the late 19th century.
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Old 04 January 2012, 07:40 PM
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The Straight Dope tackled the question almost 25 years ago.
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