OK, I realize this topic may creep some of you, be it because of hygienic or ethics questions. I trust you will understand it comes out of pure curiosity and of the desire of using more natural materials in this craft.

Thing is, when cutting my curly, cottony hair by myself, I end up with little brown balls of hair, very similar in shape to what you might expect from a ball of coton, although a little less dense. This is far from being the first topic created on the question and, in addition to the many uses of animal hair you can find on the internet, I've read a few things on making yarn or stuffing out of human hair and I was wondering if it would make a good stuffing material for finer works, as amigurumi by instance.

I know this idea raises a few questions, especially regarding hygiene and ethics (hair being a biological material) but while I would be happy to discuss these with you, I'm especially wondering about the technical aspect of the question: durability of the hair as material, change in shape overtime, washing, holding of the stuffing, treatment which would make the whole process easier, etc.

  • 1
    The hair of other mammals has long been used as a stuffing (such as horsehair which is also used to make fabric) and plenty of people wear the fur of many species. The existence of antiques using such materials suggests that they're durable enough.
    – Chris H
    Apr 27, 2018 at 12:51
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    I think for the sake of this question we can assume you would procure the human hair in an ethical manner -- much as we'd assume someone asking about a certain type of paint wouldn't shoplift their supplies from the store :) Somewhat related, human hair has been used for crafts historically, albeit not as a stuffing material.
    – Erica
    Apr 27, 2018 at 16:29

1 Answer 1


Human hair is primarily made of keratin and is usually somewhat oily (a result of the sebaceous glands lubrication to help the follicles grow out of their subepidermal sheathing). Although keratin also forms the basis of horn, claws and even fingernails, it is an organic protein that can serve as food for microorganisms. It has a long history in art, which is why I think it is a good idea to look at what professional art restorers have to say:

Human hair is a fragile organic material, which is sensitive to light, temperature and relative humidity.

... common degradations are: abrasion / breaking / undulation / infestation by lepidoptera and dermatophytes

So if you are going to use it as a material, I would recommend that you take a couple precautionary risk-minimization approaches to support its longevity by reducing its stress factors.

Dermatophytes are fungal colonies that on humans are pretty hard to treat, but you can take a trick from Ayurveda for treating water: get some uncoated and very thin copper wire from an electronics store (or harvest some from an old cable by defraying it and washing it in acetone). Copper ions are antifungal and antibacterial.

Next, I would recommend occasionally misting the object with a diluted (1:10) lavender essential oil to distilled water. This will not only impart a pleasant and sweet smelling note to the object, but it will also inhibit mite infestation.

Finally, you will want to consider adding a desiccant to remove ambient humidity inside the object (unless it will always stay in a dry, arid region). If you are not worried about the object being accidentally consumed by small children or pets, you might add a sachet of silica-gel inside (like the ones you can find in new shoeboxes or leather gloves).

Let us know how it goes!!!

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