Black Bulb Vs White Bulb Hair

Black Bulb Vs White Bulb Hair

Every hair is made of 2 parts. One is called the hair shaft or the outer part of the hair, and the hair root. The hair root goes deep inside your scalp and widens at the bottom. That wide and round part has the appearance of a bulb, that’s why it is called a hair bulb. In that hair bulb, new cells are constantly being produced and together they create a hard cell that goes out as hair. Hair bulbs are normally formed in your natural hair color. The people with white hair will have white-pigmented bulbs and people with black hair will have black-colored bulbs.

If having a bulb as your natural hair color is normal, then what would be the case of concern here? Well, when you see that your hair that is falling out has a transparent root that has a white hue on it, that’s when the bulbs are called white bulbs. The white bulbs are not always the main culprits of your hair fall. It is a completely natural transformation of your hair that comes with age. But sometimes this can be the underlying reason for your hair fall as well. I have explained the difference between the black bulb and the white bulb here so that you can identify the underlying problem of your fall.

Black Bulb Vs White Bulb Differences

Black bulb vs white bulb differences
Black bulb vs white bulb differences

While the black bulb and white bulb are still hair, there are some differences between them. So let’s see how they differ in terms of appearance, pigments, growth phase, and gene factors in the table below:

Black BulbWhite Bulb
AppearanceThe Black bulb appears when there is more melanin production in the body and your hair is black.The white bulb can appear when there is less melanin production in the body and your hair is white.
PigmentIt is the natural pigment of the hair.It can be natural, but the pigment is changed to white if age the body loses melanin.
Growth PhaseBlack bulbs can be seen when the hair is in the anagen phase or growth phase, to support your black hair growth.White bulbs can be seen when the hair is in the catagen phase and the hair loses its connection with the follicles and shed.
GenesYour genes will decide what color you are going to have in your hair or hair bulbs. It is not a concern for your hair but if your hair sheds excessively with a black bulb it can lead to Alopecia or balding.White bulbs can occur for various factors other than genes, for example, hormones, age, etc. It can be no big deal or be a concern depending on these underlying factors.

Why Your Hair Has a White Bulb?

Why your hair has a white bulb
Why your hair has a white bulb

To understand more about the white bulb, you need to go through the different hair growth phases first.  Your hairs normally go through 4 cycles which is necessary for healthy hair growth.

Firstly, the Anagen phase which is an active hair growth phase when the new cells are continuously being produced and the hairs grow simultaneously.  The growth phase can last shorter and longer depending on our genes and body growth and can last up to 2 to 6 years.

Then, your hair goes into the Catagen phase and stops growing. It is also called the transitional phase as the hairs get detached from the papilla but still remain in their place. The hairs remain in this resting phase for 2 weeks to 4 months and then fall out. This is the phase when your hair bulbs lose their natural colors and become white.

After that, comes the Telogen phase and exogen phase when the hair follicles shed and start a new growth phase for the new hair to grow. So, it is very normal to have white-bulb hair in the second phase for its healthy shedding.

Why Your Hair Has a Black Bulb?

Why your hair has a black bulb
Why your hair has a black bulb

When the hair is in the growth phase, the cells will be forming with the pigmentation and stick to the roots of the hair to create hair growth. If you have a higher melanin production in your body, the cells will be forming black pigmentation. If your hair blub has the same pigmentation as the hair, your hairs are completely healthy and growing.

The black bulb at the end of your hair determines that it is in the growth phase or the Anagen phase.  When the hair is in the catagen phase, the bulbs start to lose their pigmentation and the hair falls off. When the Exogen phase or the early Anagen phase starts again, the bulb will become black again for its growth.

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Do Hair with White Bulbs Grow Back?

Do hair with white bulbs grow back
Do hair with white bulbs grow back

The growth of the hairs with a white bulb depends on various factors like hair cycle, age, hormones, genes, etc. the white bulb that comes with the hair cycle is a natural process and your hair grows back after that. If your white bulbs are due to age, then the growth of that hair will be difficult. As with age the keratin and the growth of the cells decreases. We can also see the reduction of the melanin in our body as our body grows old. That’s when our black hair starts to change color and the hair bulbs start to become white day by day. But it is still not obvious that the white bulbs cause the hair to fall or not grow back. Genes and hormones are equally responsible for your hair growth or hair fallout.

Do Hair with Black Bulbs Grow Back?

Do hair with black bulbs grow back
Do hair with black bulbs grow back

Black bulbs can shed for various reasons, for example, if you comb your hair too roughly or tie your hair too tightly. It can also happen if you use heating tools too much in your hair. Loosing about 100 hairs every day is a typical scenario, but if you start to lose your hair in an extreme way with the black bulb it can indicate an underlying problem as well. normally the black bulb hair falls off excessively when you have a condition called Alopecia Areata. The hair cannot even survive the growth phase and falls out. You should be concerned as it can be a sign of getting bald. Consult with a dermatologist to check on your hair condition because if you have Alopecia, it is highly unlikely that your hair will grow back.


1. Can a white bulb be a sign of Telogen Effluvium?

Telogen Effluvium is a type of hair loss that occurs during severe stress. Normally stress messes with our hormones a lot which can make our hair super thin. If you are suffering stress issues, the white bulb or the telogen phase comes sooner than expected. If you think your hair fall is due to Telogen Effluvium consult with a specialist immediately.

2. Can heat and chemical damage affect the hair bulb?

Yes! Heat and chemical damage can affect your hair bulbs. Using more heating tools and chemicals can erupt the natural growth of your hair and can make your hair thin. Just like the damage to the hair shaft, Heat and chemicals can damage the hair follicles and bulbs which can make your hair fall out excessively.

3. Is it normal to shed hair with a black bulb?

It is normal if you shed up to 100 hairs per day, but excessive hair loss with black bulbs is not normal. It can be a sign of Alopecia Areata or balding.

Final Thoughts

Now it might be clear to you why your hairs have black bulbs or white bulbs and why they appear and changes colors.  To understand your hair and hair growth better, knowing the difference between the black and white bulb will help. Now you can identify the reasons behind why your hair is falling out. It is very normal to shed 50-100 hairs per day due to the hair cycle. Do not freak out if you have this amount of hair loss every day. But, if you are facing excessive hair loss, and to find out if the hair fall is due to the white bulbs, age, any hormonal imbalance, or any environmental reason, consult with your doctor to check up on your hair before it is too late.

Key Points

  • The color of the bulbs can depend on melanin production in our body.
  • More melanin will create a black bulb, less melanin will create a white bulb.
  • The melanin can also reduce because of our age and hormonal issues.
  • It is very normal to have both colors in your hair bulb due to the hair cycle.

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