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Hair Twist Research Review

The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable Research.

Angular approaches to, or with, hair
by Alice Shirrell Kaswell, Improbable Research staff

Redrow’s Twist
“Hair Dressing Method and Device,” U.S. patent 3889692, issued June 17, 1975 to Redrow Allan Raymond. The inventor explains:

To use this invention, the hair to be manipulated is first combed and separated into a number of strands and the free end of each strand is engaged with one of the leaders to be drawn into and through one of the respective guide means. Each separate hair strand is thus led into the intertwined position of its guide with respect to the other guides and their hair strands. When all of the strands to be intertwined have been led into and through their respective guides their leaders are detached from the strands and the tubes are pulled longitudinally off of the free end of each strand to leave the several hair strands intertwined in the pattern that the guides originally occupied.

Daum’s Hair Twists
“Wordless Thoughts: Entering the Knot of Compulsive Hair Twisting,” Melissa A. Daum, master’s thesis, Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2012. The author begins thus:

In this thesis, I will be exploring my own habit of twisting my hair. I want to formulate an understanding of what motivates my hair twisting habit and what its purpose is in my life. By understanding the specifics of my own personal fixation, I am assuming that I will better understand the more general, commonplace phenomenon of bodyfocused repetitive behaviors.... To begin this journey, I will illustrate my habit and its origins in detail.

Moore’s Twist

 Detail from Moore’s patent for a “Method for Setting a Hair Twist."

“Method for Setting a Hair Twist,” U.S. Patent 5249589, issued October 5, 1993, to Melanie Moore. The inventor explains:

[This is a] method for setting a hair twist on a head having hair on its top and a neck at its bottom, comprising the steps of: pulling a full handful of hair back at the nape of said neck; holding of said hair in one hand; making a large twist going up against the back of the head; making a plurality of twists against the head and moving it upward toward the top of the head and into a roll having an edge; pinching the top of the roll so the roll will not loosen up; bringing all remaining hair under the roll; pushing said remaining hair under the roll; keeping pressure on the roll so that it does not loosen; placing a hair comb, having wide teeth at one end and a top part at the other, into the edge of the roll, at its teeth, at a 90 degree angle to the head; turning the top part of the comb down toward the head; and finally pushing the comb into the roll.

Powell and Kunisch’s Electro-Powered Twist
“Apparatus and Method for Axially Twisting Hair,” U.S. Patent 5249589, issued 1993, to Terri Powell and Karl Kunisch. The inventors explain:

In use, the stylist grasps a group of hair to be axially twisted into loops and curls. Generally the group has a diameter of about one inch, although the diameter may be larger or smaller depending on the desired style or design effect to be achieved.... The stylist pinches together the ends of the hair in the group and then the stylist places the end section of the group of hair into the probe. This is done by placing hair on the sloped section 19 and slidably inserting the hair into the slot 23. The stylist aligns the probe 19 logitudinally with the group of hair extended radially from the head and then axially rotates the hair. Rotation may be accomplished by either holding the shaft 18 in a stylist’s hand and manually rotating the shaft 19, or preferably by inserting the shaft 19 into the electrically powered drive unit 50, for powered rotation.

During power rotation, the powered drive unit 50 acts to slowly twist the group of hair held by the probe.

Baker-Fox-Davis’s Surgical “French Twist”

“A ‘French Twist’: Practical Hair Control in Plastic Surgery,” Michelle L. Baker, Leanne C.J. Fox, and Christopher R. Davis, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, vol. 131, no. 3, 2013, pp. 456e–7e. The authors, at Frenchay Hospital, Bristol, U.K., explain:

Hair control is paramount for optimizing the surgical approach and subsequent wound closure during head and neck surgery, craniofacial surgery, and neurosurgery....

We describe the use of French braiding as a simple, free, and versatile alternative with many positive features. This technique is particularly applicable to patients with longer hair to enable a precise surgical approach, clear operative field, and straightforward wound closure. Braids are adaptable to many surgical approaches, allowing all strands of hair to be neatly controlled away from the surgical incision, particularly for larger volumes of hair. There is no additional trauma to the scalp or hair during the procedure, and the braids may be left in postoperatively for ease of wound care.

Black Holes, No Hair
“Metric for Rapidly Spinning Black Holes Suitable for Strong-Field Tests of the No-Hair Theorem,” Tim Johannsen and Dimitrios Psaltis, Physical Review D, vol. 83, no. 12, 2011, p. 124015.


The article above is from the March-April 2015 issue of the Annals of Improbable Research. You can download or purchase back issues of the magazine, or subscribe to receive future issues. Or get a subscription for someone as a gift!

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