MARCH 26, 2022 ·
We constantly strive to achieve longer hair lengths, beautiful definitions, and styles, oftentimes trying to make our hair act the way we want or shape it into the perfect hair picture in our minds. Bad Idea!
To get the best result out of your hair, you need to base your hair care and styling routine on your hair characteristics grouped into; Hair type, hair texture, hair porosity, and density.
Our OGs, newbies, transitioners, and lifelong naturalistas hang on as we untangle the mysteries of hair textures and hair types.
Difference Between Hair Type and Hair Texture
Both hair type and texture are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to different hair characteristics.
Hair texture refers to hair in its singularity, i.e a single hair strand/shaft while Hair Type refers to the whole head of hair.
These two, together with hair porosity and density are guidelines for crafting an effective hair care routine and choosing the best products for you while cutting down lots of trial and error.
What Is Hair Texture
Hair texture is the circumference/size of a single hair strand. A hair texture can be either fine, medium, or thick, determined solely by the hair strand/shaft structure.
The thickness/size of the hair strands impacts their response to products and haircare routines. Here is how the various hair textures differ from each other;
Fine Hair -
Each fine hair strand is made up of only two layers; the cortex and the Cuticle, making them typically soft and delicate. Single hair strands are barely visible or felt when held between the fingers.
This hair type is prone to breakage and is easily weighed down by hair products.
Hair Care Tip - Use products with lightweight moisture and avoid direct heat to hair strands.
- Style less often to discourage breakage.
Medium Hair -
These are a bit thicker than fine hair. Each hair strand of medium hair is made up of three layers; the cortex, the Medulla, and the Cuticle. Individual hair strands are also more visible.
Tip - Are less prone to breakage, so can be styled often.
- Need styling products to control frizz
Medium hair types are more resistant to breakage and keep hairstyles better than fine hair.
Thick/ Coarse Hair -
Each strand of this hair type also has 3 layers; the cortex, the medulla, and the cuticle. This is the most textured hair with the thickest single strands that can be held and felt between the finger.
Tip - They are not easily weighed down by products so need moisturizing and frizz control products.
Thick hair types take longer to dry, are prone to frizz, are more resistant to breakage, and are also tolerant to heat.
They appear fuller because of the larger circumference of each strand of hair and also hold styles pretty well.
What Is Hair Type
Now done with the tiny single strands of hair, hair type refers to the head of hair as a whole and is grouped into 4 types;
Type 1 - Straight Hair
Type 2 - Wavy Hair
Type 3 - Curly Hair
Type 4 - Coily / Kinky Hair.
You probably have an idea of your hair type but if in doubt, observe strands of freshly washed product-free hair after it dries without heat, manipulations, or products. It will dry either straight, wavy, curly, or coily.
Each hair type is further broken down into A, B, and C to indicate hair texture; A - fine texture, B- Medium, C- Coarse/thick texture.
The thicker the individual hair strands (more textured), the deeper the waves, curls, or Coils. That means a hair type A is less textured than a C and will have looser curls or coils.
Straight hair is the strongest hair type and has the ability to reflect light off its surface giving it a glossy appearance.
It greases faster than other hair types as Sebum ( oil produced on the scalp ) travels more quickly down the hair shaft. Also is more resistant to heat. Further sectioned into; Type 1A - Fine straight hair mostly found in those of Asian descent.
Type 1B - Straight, medium texture hair that gives it more body and can hold curls a bit when styled with heat.
Type1c - Straight thick and coarser hair with lots of body to achieve that tousled dry look but more prone to frizz. Also, hold styles better.
The wavy hair types take on S-shapes wave typically towards the bottom half of the hair. It varies in texture from fine (A) to Coarse (C).
Type 2A has less texture and waves and is less prone to frizz than Type 2C with more texture, deeper and extended waves, and also more prone to frizz.
This hair type is characterized by distinct, bouncy, and springy curls starting from the hair roots to the bottom that go straight when wet and spring right back up as it dries.
It also varies from fine to coarse (A-C) and is prone to frizz, and heat damage.
Kinky hair types have very tight coils/kinks from the roots to the ends in S/Z- shapes or a combination of both. They also occur in different textures from fine to coarse with Type 4C being the most textured and coiled.
Type 4 hair is an extremely delicate hair type and most prone to breakage because each curl junction is a potential breaking point in the hair strands, no matter how textured the strands are.
Healthy type 4 hair is often shiny, and elastic.
This hair type faces various challenges that include; Frizz, shrinkage, curl definition, and hair dryness.
Hair Care Tips Based on Hair Type
Now, you have a good grasp of your hair texture and type. You can easily tailor your routine to cater to the weakness peculiar to your hair type and texture.
Here are a few tips to start you off;
1. Straight hair types are easily weighed down by hair products and get greasy fastest since the scalp oil (sebum) travels easily straight down the hair strands. It is important to shampoo frequently and avoids butter leave-ins.
2. Wavy hair types should always use a diffuser to reduce frizz and also avoid creamy products, rather use more water-based mousse/gels to style hair.
3. Curly and Kinky Hair types need more attention and TLC as they are delicate and most susceptible to breakage. Regular moisture is very crucial to these hair type to control frizz and prevent breakage. Moisturizing leave-ins such as the Hibiscus and Flaxseed Curls Unleashed to moisturize & strengthen hair strands while controlling frizz.
Avoid Sulphate shampoo as they strip curls & coils of its natural oils leaving hair strands dry and prone to breakage.
Detangle carefully to avoid breakage by increasing the elasticity of hair strands with products of maximum slip like the Marshmallow and Slippery Elm Detangler.
Each hair/Curl Type does not occur exclusively in a head of hair. That is to say that most people have more than one curl type on their heads.
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