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Art × Science: Face Project

<Production Report No. 4> Adding Depth and Realism to a Sculpted Face:
Implanting the Hair

This is an English translation of information in Japanese on December 11, 2020.

In May of 2019, Kao began working with the contemporary sculptor Kazu Hiro in a joint research project to sculpt and cast two ultra-realistic portraits of Audrey Hepburn at double her real-life size. Through the process, Kazu Hiro and Kao used artistic and scientific methods to explore the elements that make a human face radiant and unique.
This series focuses on the process Kazu Hiro used to create his lifelike portraits. This fourth report describes how he prepared the hair for his sculptures and implanted it.

Preparing the hair for the scalp

Once Audrey's skin was painted, Kazu implanted the hair on her scalp, her eyebrows and eyelashes, and the peach fuzz on her face. As the volume of the sculpture was 8 times bigger than life size, real human hair would have been too fine.


Kazu's solution was to take real human hair and make it thicker using a chemical formula and process developed by Kao. The resulting hair had qualities similar to Audrey's hair –fine, straight, lustrous, smooth, and brunette, but properly scaled for the portrait sculpture. For the older Audrey, he added white hair.

Implanting the hairs into the scalp

A typical human scalp is covered with more than a hundred thousand hairs. Kazu had to implant the human hair with a needle, one by one. To recreate the hair whorl, each hair had to be placed at a carefully controlled angle. Kazu took weeks to finish, working from morning till night with concentration and patience. The space between each hair had to be exact. If any one hair was too close to another, an observer would sense something unnatural.

Implanting the eyelashes, eyebrows, and facial hair

Thicker hairs with tapered ends were used for the eyelashes and eyebrows. Kazu used dark-colored hair for the young Audrey and light-colored hair for the older Audrey. As a finishing touch, peach fuzz was carefully added over the facial surfaces, mainly around the jaw and chin. Though almost invisible, the peach fuzz provided a natural highlight by catching the light, which helped to make the sculpture more real.



* This is not a realistic rendering of the subject but the artist's interpretation.



About Kao

Kao creates high-value-added products that enrich the lives of consumers around the world. Through its portfolio of over 20 leading brands such as Attack, Bioré, Goldwell, Jergens, John Frieda, Kanebo, Laurier, Merries and Molton Brown, Kao is part of the everyday lives of people in Asia, Oceania, North America and Europe. Combined with its chemical division, which contributes to a wide range of industries, Kao generates about 1,500 billion yen in annual sales. Kao employs about 33,000 people worldwide and has 130 years of history in innovation. Please visit the Kao Group website for updated information.

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