‘Hair is’ vs. ‘hair are’ vs. ‘hairs are’ in English

by Jakub Marian

Tip: See my list of the Most Common Mistakes in English. It will teach you how to avoid mis­takes with com­mas, pre­pos­i­tions, ir­reg­u­lar verbs, and much more.

The soft matter covering your head is usually referred to using a plural noun in other languages, e.g. die Haare in German or les cheveux in French. In English, however, “hair” is a mass noun (just like “fur” or “grass”), and as such it is used with singular verbs:

correct My hair is long.
wrong My hair are long.
correct Her hair looks good.
wrong Her hair look good.

Since it is a mass noun, we don’t use the indefinite article before it:

correct She has beautiful hair.
wrong She has a beautiful hair.

It should be noted that “hair” in English does not refer only to the hair between one’s forehead and nape; it refers to any kind of “fur” covering some part of a person’s body. To avoid possible confusion, we often use adjectives when referring to “non-head” hair, e.g. facial hair (the beard and mustache in men), pubic hair (hair around the genital area), body hair, and so on.

“Hair” can also be used as a countable noun when referring to a single strand of hair. For example, you can say:

I found a hair in my soup.

You can also use “hair” in the plural when referring to several isolated hairs:

It is possible for two hairs to grow from a single follicle.

However, this is a relatively rare usage. When you speak about hair covering some part of the human body, you should never use “hairs”:

correct Which way would you like me to cut your hair?
wrong Which way would you like me to cut your hairs?

By the way, if you haven’t read my guide on how to avoid the most common mistakes in English, make sure to check it out; it deals with similar topics.