Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Uses of Cut Hair
Name:   Christian C.
Status:   other
Age:   20s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1999-2001

I want to know if there is oxygen in hair. I am trying to find out if there is anything you could do with the hair that has been cut off your head. Could you use it for gardening? What could you use it for to makle it beneficial?


Hair is made of protein and the amino acids that compose it do contain oxygen atoms. However, it is not in a form that might be extracted and result in oxygen gas. What could you do with hair? Yes, it would make a decent (beneficial) gardening fertilizer.

ProfHoff 321

If you were just wondering what possible use cut hair has I know of only one use. After some people were working on an oil spill cleaning animals such as birds and otters, they realized how much oil hair/feathers actually hold. One use is to use hair clippings in a net and deploy it for oil spills. The hair is in the net in a tube like formation with floats and can be used to encircle the oil spill and soak it up. Hope that helps!

Michael Baldwin

Some organic gardeners use it as an organic fertilizer as a reasonably good nitrogen source.

Peter Faletra Ph.D.
Office of Science
Department of Energy

Yes there is oxygen, but not in the form of oxygen that we breathe in the air. That is molecular oxygen, or O2. Hair is largely made up of keratin, a protein. Proteins are made up of amino acids, which consist primarily of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen atoms linked together (in the same way that hydrogen and oxygen atoms are linked together to make water, H2O).


Click here to return to the General Topics Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory