Mechanical damage of hair can serve as an indicator of health status and its assessment relies on the measurement of morphological features via microscopic analysis, yet few studies have categorized the extent of damage sustained, and instead have depended on qualitative profiling based on the presence or absence of specific features. We describe the development and application of a novel quantitative measure for scoring hair surface damage in scanning electron microscopic (SEM) images without predefined features, and automation of image analysis for characterization of morphological hair damage after exposure to an explosive blast. Application of an automated normalization procedure for SEM images revealed features indicative of contact with materials in an explosive device and characteristic of heat damage, though many were similar to features from physical and chemical weathering. Assessment of hair damage with tailing factor, a measure of asymmetry in pixel brightness histograms and proxy for surface roughness, yielded 81% classification accuracy to an existing damage classification system, indicating good agreement between the two metrics. Further ability of the tailing factor to score features of hair damage reflecting explosion conditions demonstrates the broad applicability of the metric to assess damage to hairs containing a diverse set of morphological features.