Knowing your hair type is essential for learning how to care for your hair properly. Typically, people classify their hair based on how it feels. For example, they may refer to it as greasy, dry, or brittle. But, there is actually a classification system that focuses on your hair texture. Once you know your hair texture, you can learn strategies for keeping it as happy and healthy as possible. Let’s figure out your hair texture and type and explore the best ways to care for it.
What Gives Hair Texture?
Before we break down the different hair types, let’s chat about texture. Hair texture describes the circumference of your individual hair shafts. There are three main textures: fine, medium, and thick. Each is just as it sounds but has unique requirements for keeping it healthy.
Fine Hair Texture - This texture is the most fragile and requires extra care. Each hair shaft is extremely thin and only has two layers: the cortex and the cuticle. The cuticle is the outer protective layer, and the cortex is the innermost part of the strand. People with thin hair often struggle to style their hair and usually do not tolerate hair products as it weighs down their hair. Oil is also easier to see in people with this hair type.
Medium Hair Texture - Most people with medium hair (which happens to be...most people) have 2-3 layers in each strand. They have a cortex, cuticle, and sometimes medulla. The medulla is the innermost layer of hair and is like the marrow of your hair. It is made up of round cells and gives it a thicker, coarser feel. People with fine hair (and many blondes) do not have medulla in their hair. People with this hair type do well with many hairstyles and have hair products hold their styles for longer periods of time.
Thick Hair Texture - Also described as coarse hair, this hair texture has all three layers and gives people the impression that their hair is thick, although it can be misleading. People with this hair type can tolerate more styling products and tools without too much breakage. However, it is common to struggle with frizz in humidity and longer drying times after washes.
In general, having fine hair does not necessarily mean you have less hair, nor does having thick hair mean you have a full head of hair. Knowing your hair type and what amount of hair is normal for you can help you not only care for your hair but watch for early warning signs of hair loss and other changes.
Learning Your Hair Type
Your hair type helps you know if you have curly, straight, or somewhere in the middle hair. But, there are some subtle differences in each category that may help you better care for your hair. So, let’s take a look at each type (and subtype).
Hair Type #1 - Straight Hair
People with straight hair often have fine hair as well. And, it is prone to showing oil more quickly, as oils from your scalp can travel more rapidly to your ends than people with curlier hair types. Within Type 1, there is:
- Type 1A - very straight and fine
- Type 1B - thicker but has a medium texture, so you likely will have more volume than a Type 1A person.
- Type 1C - very thick and coarse, so it is hard to make certain styles like curls and waves last.
Hair Type #2 - Wavy Hair
Individuals in this category have natural waves and usually thicker hair than Type 1 people. Sometimes, it can be fine, but most often, it is of medium texture or even on the coarser side.
- Type 2A - wavy hair that is fine or thin
- Type 2B - wavy hair that is medium thick
- Type 2C - wavy hair that is thick, coarse, challenging to style, and more prone to frizzing.
Hair Type #3 - Curly Hair
This hair type is usually curly when dry and straight when wet. And, once the hair dries, it usually springs back into a curl.
- Type 3A - curly hair that is thick and shiny with clearly defined curls
- Type 3B - tighter curls
- Type 3C - very tight curls that may even be kinky
Hair Type #4
The final category is for people who have very tight or kinky curls. Usually, people with this hair type have a coarse texture. Surprisingly, most people in this category have fragile hair that is easily damaged by chemicals, heat, and the wrong products.
- Type 4A - soft hair with well-defined curls
- Type 4B - soft, fragile strands with tighter curls that have less definition
- Type 4C - curls are so tight the hair may not even look curly on the surface.
Moisture: The Key To Managing All Hair Types
No matter your hair type, one of the best ways to help your hair look and feel as vibrant as possible is to give it the right amount of moisture. Dryness tends to cause hair to fall limp and break, and it also looks dull and lacking in color. So whether you are a Type 4C or 1A, you want to make sure to give your hair an appropriate amount of moisture while avoiding practices that can damage your hair.
To learn what products will best serve your hair type, meet with a Product Advisor from DS Laboratories. For example, some products are ideal for people with curly, fine hair, whereas others are better for those with fine, straight hair. All of our products are safe for people with color-treated hair, so learn what products will give your hair the right amount of hydration and support.