Currently, hairdressers around the world throw away tonnes of human hairs after they have given someone a new hairstyle. I know people sometimes donate their hair, which can be used to create wigs.

I wonder whether there are other new or unexpected ways hairs could be recycled or upcycled to create new products. Perhaps it can be dissolved and useful substances or molecules can be gathered. If so, could you point me towards some (research) articles or books that show how the hairs are used, and how they are processed?

  • 2
    Possible duplicate of How can we dispose or recycle hair clippings from barber shops? although that question is not specifically about upcycling and the science behind it.
    – THelper
    Commented Nov 20, 2019 at 14:43
  • 1
    In the past it was common to fill matresses/pillows with animal (horse) hair. I wonder if that would work with human hair (after proper cleaning). Another (not so nice) area of investigation might be looking at what Nazi Germany did with the hair from Holocaust victims.
    – user2451
    Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 8:19

2 Answers 2


In e.g. China, L-cysteine is produced from human hair (among other things) and used as a dough conditioner (bread 'improver')


Or Google for l-cystine bread improver human hair


I have found it good to deter rabbits from eating shrubbery/gardens, sprinkled on the ground. You don't need much as it lasts a long time.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.