Just like the skin, your hair holds a lot of importance in terms of it's type, texture, and specific hair care regimen. And just like with skin types, there is also a specialized way to identify and categorize different types of hair. This formulaic way has been used by trichologists, hairstylists, and other hair professionals as well.
If you want to achieve shiny, lustrous, and healthy hair, then you must know your hair type first and have adequate knowledge about the proper hair care routine and the right products for your hair type. But if you’re completely unaware and clueless about all these tiny details then don’t worry, we have your back.
In this blog, we’re going to cover some of the important aspects of hair and the types as well as a specific hair care regimen for each hair type. So without further ado, let's get started.
What does hair type mean?
If we look at the structure of hair, we come to know that hair is made up of two parts, hair bulb – a root inside our scalp skin and hair shaft – hair strand that we see on the outside.
Hair type typically means the shape of a person’s hair and this shape is determined by the shape of its hair bulb or hair follicle. Always remember your hair type greatly depends on the genetic factors that you cant change.
Hair shape means the degree of curliness of a person’s hair. The more oval or asymmetrical your hair follicle is, the curlier your hair will be and if your hair follicle is symmetrical that means your hair is straight.
Types of Hair:
Based on the shape of the hair bulb, your hair is divided into four main types and these types are further sub-categorized into a, b, and c types.
Type 1 – Straight:
Straight hair is the strongest of all other natural hair types. It is usually glossy in appearance and reflects light to the eye. Unlike other curly types, straight hair greases faster because the natural oil from your scalp travels down quickly making the hair oily. In addition to this, It is resistant to curling due to its symmetrical pattern that’s why this type of hair needs extra chemical treatment to achieve the desired results. Straight hair type requires heat styling as it does not hold hairstyles on their own. Straight hair is further divided into three subcategories.
Type 1A – Hair that falls in this subcategory is dead straight, and fine with no hint of a wave or curl. Holding curls for this type is also very difficult. This type of hair is quite rare to find but, Asian women are classified to have type 1A straight hair.
Type 1B – This type is not that much flat as compared to type 1A but still is very straight. This type of hair is thick with medium texture and has more volume hence giving it more body. Type 1B is generally straight if left un styled but still, it can hold the curls if styled properly.
Type 1C – This type still falls under the flat category but if air-dried after the shower, it gives an untidy look. Unlike the other two subtypes, type 1C hair looks coarser and shinier which makes it prone to frizz depending upon the environmental factors and climate change.
Type 2 – Wave:
Wavy hair texture is thicker than type 1 hair and may serve as a medium between straight hair and curly hair. Much of the hair in this type may appear straight with slight bends towards the ends forming an S-shaped curl.
Wavy hair looks gorgeous, but it is more prone to frizz which requires extra care to achieve the perfect waves. As it possesses a certain shape and texture, it is not as oily as type 1. Wavy hair is also divided into three subcategories.
Type 2A – This hair type is very fine and thin. It ranges from loose loops to S-shaped waves. Styling is so easy in this type because the hair lacks volume and definition.
Type 2B – Here, the hair is mostly straight at the roots but achieves more defined S-shaped curls from the mid-length. It has a medium texture and is frizzier compared to type 2A.
Type 2C – Is the gorgeous one because the curls start from the roots and are more defined. The texture is thick and more prone to dryness and frizz.
Type 3 – Curly:
Curly hair type is quite common among women. These curls start from the roots and go down to the entire length of the hair shaft. This type of hair has a kind of curls that go straight when your hair is wet but goes back to being curly when hair gets dry.
Type 3 hair usually forms ringlets that are clearly defined and easy to style. The texture is mostly fine but shows thick texture as well and that’s why it is more prone to frizz, tangles, dryness, and shrinkage. Curly hair type is also further divided into three subcategories.
Type 3A – This type of hair has loose curls, a thick texture, and has a lot more shine. Type 3A hair is easy to style without using hair styling products but it is prone to slight frizz.
Type 3B – It has tighter curls with a combination of textures and is made up of well-defined spiral curls that range from bouncy ringlets to corkscrews. Type 3B hair has a volume and is prone to frizz and dryness just like type 3A.
Type 3C – This type of hair has another name called curly-coily. It has very tight curls and is easy to style. Type 3C is quite voluminous but tends to experience the most shrinkage.
Type 4 – Coils:
Type 4 hair is also known as kinky hair and is most common in Africans and African Americans. This type of hair, has the tightest curls ranging from fine to coarse texture. The curls show S-shape to Z-shape and everything in between. The curls are wiry and delicate and need a gentle touch and hair care routine. Due to the shape of individual hair strands, natural oils are unable to travel down the hair shaft. This is one of the many reasons that people with kinky hair experience dry and itchy scalp. They are also divided into three subcategories.
Type 4A – This type has a soft texture and has very well-defined tight kinks or curls. It is dense, stringy, and wiry in texture with a visible S shape.
Type 4B – This type of hair has very tight curls in a Z shape pattern. Type 4B is soft, prone to breakage, and is less defined as compared to type 4A.
Type 4C – This type is densely packed just like type 4B but with less definition, more shrinkage, and is highly delicate. The curls are tightly coiled and have strands ranging from fine and soft to coarse and wiry. The curls are so tight that they may not look curly at all.
So, this is all about the 12 hair types and their characteristics. This way of classifying hair is used by hairstylists mostly but not doctors and researchers.
Determining your hair type is essential to choosing the right hair care products. There is no such thing as one-size-fits-all. Every hair type has a specific hair care product that is exclusively designed to cater to all its specific concerns. For example, kinky hair needs a lot of conditioning, but straight hair doesn’t. So now let's discuss how to take care of your hair using the right products and a proper hair care regimen.
Tips for Straight Hair Care:
The good thing about straight hair is its’ low maintenance because very few hairstyling products are required to style those flat strands as compared to other hair types. It is also very easy to detangle as it has no twists and turns just like other hair types.
On the negative side, it lacks volume, is prone to become oily, and always falling flat. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you. Here we will discuss some tips and tricks on how to take care of your straight hair and make it lustrous and perfectly smooth by following a simple hair care routine.
Use a gentle shampoo:
Washing your hair is important but washing your hair with a good shampoo is more important because when you don’t use a good shampoo, you’re ultimately going to damage your hair. So, to maintain the overall health of your straight hair, use a gentle shampoo that doesn’t contain Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS) a chemical commonly found in shampoos that has lathering properties but makes your hair dry and brittle in the long run.
Secondly, use a clarifying shampoo once a week to remove the product buildup that also contributes to weak roots.
Use the right conditioner:
If you have dry hair, then you can use a thick moisturizing conditioner but if you have oily hair then always use a light formula. Apply it to the tresses first and then go upward but never apply the conditioner directly on the roots because your roots are already conditioned, this way, you’re not over-conditioning.
A lightweight conditioner provides proper nourishment to your straight locks without weighing them down or worsening the oil production.
Be aware of tangles:
A good conditioner makes your hair healthy and detangles your hair easily after shampoo. Always brush your hair with a wide-toothed comb before stepping into the shower as this practice helps in preventing tangles and makes it easier to rinse the conditioner off your hair.
Use dry shampoo:
As your straight hair is always more prone to oil, it is best to use dry shampoo between the showering sessions. But keep in mind that dry shampoo shouldn’t take the place of your regular shampoo. You cannot shampoo every day so to combat the greasiness dry shampoo is the best substitute until the next shower. Dry shampoos work best in creating volume but just like any other product, they also build up on your scalp so a clarifying shampoo is a must once a week.
Avoid brushing wet hair:
When you brush your hair while wet right after the shower, it may cause a stretch to your hair which ultimately leads to breakage. So, it is always advised to brush your hair once dried, ultimately remove any knots using your fingers or a wide-toothed comb.
Avoid using heat styling tools:
Heat styling tools often suck the natural moisture out of your hair leaving it damaged and dry. Reduce the excessive use of heat styling tools to minimize the damage caused by them. Don’t go overboard and keep your styling simple.
Don’t overuse hair products:
Using excessive amount of hair products without prior knowledge can damage your hair and weigh it down because you don’t know what sort of chemicals are in there. If some of the products don’t suit you, they strip off the natural oils and cause hair fall which is another nightmare.
Therefore, it's very important to choose the right product that best suits your hair. For example, if you want to make your hair voluminous then use a lightweight dry texturizing spray that lifts your hair and makes its bouncy.
Trim your split ends:
If you have split ends, then you’re familiar with those annoying split ends because straight hair is more prone to split ends. So, it is advisable to get a fresh haircut or trim your split ends after every four to six weeks to reduce its number.
Dry your hair naturally:
As we already mentioned, excessive use of heat styling tools damages your hair so try to limit the use of blow dryers and curling rods. Always towel dry or air dry your hair after a shower as it makes your hair healthy and shiny. Don’t go harsh with a towel rather rub gently otherwise, harsh rubbing damages your hair cuticle.
Use oil in your hair:
When it comes to the overall health of your scalp and healthy locks, oiling always stands out. Massaging with your favorite oil helps improve blood circulation and relax your mane as well as nourishes the hair and boosts shine.
Oiling not only provides extra moisture but also promotes hair growth and helps repair split ends.
Avoid hot water:
Whether you’re using hot water for the shower or hot tools for styling, once they touch your hair, they strip off all the natural oils from your scalp making your hair dry, flaky, resulting in itchy scalp. That’s why lukewarm water is always preferred to wash your hair, or you can use cold water as well to achieve frizz-free hair and to reduce the damage.
Watch your diet:
Just like your skin, your hair quality speaks what you eat so choose sensibly. If your hair is oily then reduce the intake of oily foods as excessive use of oily foods makes your hair lifeless. It has been proven that nutrient-rich foods improve your hair’s health so try to incorporate fruits, vegetables, grains, lentils, nuts, and leafy greens in your diet.
Sit back and relax:
Stress is considered a major factor for all hair-related concerns so always try to minimize your stress levels by exercising daily as it promotes blood circulation and makes your hair grow faster.
Tips for Wavy, Curly, and Coily Hair Care:
Wavy hair is a perfect balance between straight hair and curly hair and is widely popular among celebrities around the world. Unlike straight hair, wavy hair requires high maintenance to manage the waves and the products are also different for wavy hair. The texture and shape of wavy and curly hair is the same so both of these hair types follow the same hair care routine and products.
If you’re blessed with naturally wavy or curly hair but don’t know the proper hair care regimen that your hair deserves, hang in there! We’re here to get you out of this confusion of which products should be used or which hair care routine you should follow. Just keep on reading the following tips and tricks where we cover wavy, curly, and coiliy hair care routines.
Avoid over shampooing:
Wavy hair is naturally drier than straight hair so always be mindful about washing your hair with the right shampoo. Over-washing can zap off the natural oils from your hair strands making them dry and brittle.
So always try to shampoo your hair once a week with a cleansing, hydrating, frizz-fighting, silicone-free, and sulfate-free shampoo to avoid stripping too much moisture from the hair.
Do a lot of conditioning:
To retain the moisture and maintain your waves, condition a lot! We cannot emphasize enough the importance of conditioning when you have wavy hair. For best results, always apply a thick, curl-defining formula before and after shampoo to detangle your curls and make your hair soft and smooth.
Use your fingers or a wide-toothed comb to detangle the knots but don’t use a brush otherwise your hair may break. After showering if you still feel that there are some tangles in your hair, then apply a leave-in conditioner to get rid of the remaining knots and frizz.
Deep condition often:
Deep conditioning your hair holds importance too. As we already mentioned to avoid shampooing your hair too much, you can apply a rich conditioner only on your hair just to provide extra moisture without shampooing your hair. This keeps your curls soft and hydrated without losing their bounce. Deep conditioning not only treats frizz but also helps repair split ends.
Moisturize your hair:
Conditioning is not just enough to win this battle; you need an extra dose of moisture to regain the integrity of your hair. Hair masks or treatments are the perfect solutions to provide your hair with extra strength and hydration.
If your hair is frizzy even after a lot of conditioning, incorporate a moisturizing silicone-free hair mask into your hair care routine once a week. This step is extremely helpful if you have damaged or color-treated hair.
Dry your waves carefully:
There are two ways to dry your hair after washing.
Air drying – if you don’t need volume and have spare time then just air dry your hair and if you want some extra boost of volume then plop your hair in a terrycloth towel, microfiber towel, or plain cotton tee to get rid of tangles and frizz.
As a result, your hair becomes bouncier and wavier. This method is also called scrunching in which you crush and squeeze your hair to give it more definition and curl. You can also apply a volumizing mousse to get more volume.
Diffusing – if you’re running late and don’t have time to air dry then a diffuser is the best option to dry your hair quickly as hair dryers damage your hair cuticles. This method also helps in improving the volume of your waves.
Use the right product to style:
If you want to keep your curls intact, you must provide your hair strands with an adequate amount of hydration and keep them protected from heat styling tools. If it is necessary to use a heat styling tool, then don’t forget to apply heat protectant spray before styling. You can also use a light setting spray to keep your waves intact.
Make sure that all these styling products are free of harsh chemicals like parabens, sulfates, and alcohol. Silicones are considered the enemy of kinky hair so always try to read the label before buying any product. To achieve the best results, always apply hair styling products to damp hair and let your hair dry with the product already applied.
Use a silk pillowcase:
You might be surprised to know that maximum hair breakage is done at night when you’re sleeping because of the constant friction caused by your pillowcase. To avoid this friction, use a satin or silk pillowcase at night. The soft material also helps in avoiding any tugging or pulling of your hair while you sleep. If you have curly hair, then wrapping up your hair in a scarf or a loose bun or wearing a bonnet protects your curls while you sleep throughout the night.
Use the right fabric towel for drying:
Usually, we dry our hair with a towel and that’s not bad at all but choosing the right way and the right cloth holds a lot of importance. When you rub a regular towel in your hair, the cuticles get severely damaged, and the friction caused by vigorous rubbing results in hair breakage. So always try to use a microfiber towel or a cotton tee and use gentle motions to squeeze extra moisture out of your hair to keep your curls intact.
Avoid touching your hair: Avoid too much manipulation (over manipulating your hair ….)
When your hair is wet, avoid touching your hair too often because when you touch your hair, your fingers attract the moisture and product from your hair and create frizz. Still, if you must touch your hair then wait for it to completely dry.
Regular trims are necessary:
If you want your curls to remain intact, smooth, defined, and healthy then it's highly important to trim your hair after every six to eight weeks to avoid split ends. This step is equally important for those with kinky hair as well.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle:
Your healthy curls or coils are a reflection of your healthy lifestyle so always try to maintain them. For this, you need to consume healthier meals that are rich in protein, some leafy green vegetables, and fruits.
Exercise and physical activity play a major role in keeping your mane and hair strands healthy, also it keeps you away from unnecessary mental stress and anxiety. For maximum hydration, drink plenty of water along with hydrating products to maintain the overall integrity of your hair and scalp.
Q1. Does my hair type change over time?
A. Yes, your hair type can change over time. Your hair type depends on internal and external factors. Hormonal imbalance, certain medications, and poor diet are internal factors that can affect your hair type. In addition to this, UV exposure, strong shampoos, harsh chemicals, heat styling, and hair dying are external factors that can change your hair type over time.
Q2. What are some of the basic hair care steps to follow irrespective of the hair type?
A. You need to remember some of the important hair care tips whether you have straight, wavy, or curly hair. Always use a mild shampoo that should be free of harmful chemicals, limit as much as you can the use of heat styling tools and try to incorporate the practice of oiling into your hair care regimen.
Q3. What determines my hair type?
A. Genetic and environmental factors determine your hair type and texture.
Q4. What are the long-lasting treatments to change my hair type?
A. Some salon treatments give you long-lasting results such as professional permanent perming and semi-permanent hair straightening (Keratin treatment and Brazilian blowouts). The result last three to five months.
Q5. How can I change my hair type for a shorter period?
A. You can change your hair type temporarily by using a blow dryer, applying different hair care products, and using heat styling tools. The effect lasts until the next wash.
Q6. Are there any other factors that determine my hair type?
A. Yes, hair density, hair diameter, hair porosity, hair greasiness, hair elasticity, and hair curl pattern are all the distinguished factors that determine your hair type.
Q7. What oils can I apply to my curly hair?
A. You can use a variety of essential oils and carrier oils mix to cater to your hair needs like coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, argan oil, argan oil, castor oil, and grapeseed oil.
Q8. What are some other best curly hair care products?
A. Humectants like glycerine and hyaluronic acid are considered best for attracting moisture towards the hair shaft. Other than that shea butter is a rich sealant that retains the moisture in the hair strand.
Q9. Is there any difference between kinky and coily hair?
A. Not really, both the terms are the same thing. Coily is the actual curl while kinky can be described as a very tight curl.
Q10. What is a curly girl method?
A. Curly girl method is a hair care approach that discourages the use of sulfate shampoos, silicones, and heat styling tools rather it encourages the use of a diffuser when blow drying, and no combs or brushes, and terry cloth towel for use. The aim is to treat your natural curls gently and minimize damage to the hair cuticle.