What Hair Type Am I?
Learning about your particular hair type can help you to look after your hair. Different types of hair require different treatments – so whatever your hair type, you can help to maintain it for longer. If you are having concerns about hair loss, your local Manchester hair loss clinic can help.
What Does Hair Type Mean?
Your hair type depends on its curl pattern, which is determined by the hair follicle. The more asymmetrical or oval the follicle, the stronger the curl pattern.
Hair type is determined by genetics, but it can also be affected by heat or chemicals (such as a perm). It can also change if you are taking certain medications or through hormonal changes. However because your basic hair structure is built into your DNA, it will usually revert back to its original type once it has been through one growth cycle.
Scalp Moisture Level
To ensure good hair care, it’s important to first look at the scalp. Scalp moisture falls into three categories: dry, normal and oily.
Dry scalps tend to flake and require gentle, hydrating formulas, while oily scalps benefit from oil control treatments.
Scalps can also be a combination of oily and flaky – in which case a more frequent washing routine may be required alongside a soothing oil control formula.
What Hair Type Am I?
In answer to the question“what is my hair type?”, celebrity stylist Andre Walker has a theory which can help people to find theirs by checking whether it falls into one of the following four categories:
- Type 1 – Straight
- Type 2 – Wavy
- Type 3 – Curly
- Type 4 – Coily
These types also have subcategories based on looseness or tightness of the curl or coil. Some people may also have a combination of different hair types at the root and at the ends.
Some recommendations are given for each hair type on maintenance and treatment – although if you find your hair becomes more or less porous, or if it changes structure temporarily due to chemical processing or medical treatment, consider temporarily reviewing your hair care regimen.
Type 1 – Straight
Straight hair has no natural curl and may vary in texture but tends to have no waves throughout the length.
This type can tend to become oily, so be careful of adding any heavy oils or serums that could weigh it down, especially close to the root.
Dry shampoo can help to soak up oils between shampoos – but avoid washing your hair too regularly as this can cause your scalp to overcompensate by producing too much oil.
- Type 1A is often thin or fine, requiring products that give a little extra grip such as texturising spray to help keep hair accessories from sliding out and to give a little extra control. Blunt cuts tend to suit this hair type, adding the appearance of thickness.
- Type 1B is a little coarser with a slight wave to it. Again, dry shampoo works well with this hair type, which tends to become greasy at the root.
- Type 1C has a more coarse texture againand tends to be thicker and prone to frizz and dryness. Moisturising hair masks can help to replenish and rehydrate.
Type 2 – Wavy
Wavy hair tends to have a looser texture with a slight bend to it. Many people choose to straighten their wavy hair, but to keep it healthy it’s best to learn to embrace your natural wave – as overuse of appliances such as straighteners can lead to heat damage. When using these, always use a heat protectant spray or balm.
- Type 2A is soft and tousled, falling in a fairly straight pattern from roots to eye level, then becoming more wavy towards the ends. To maintain, use light, mousse or gel-based products that help define rather than flatten the wave and allow a little volumizing at the root.
- Type 2B forms waves from around the middle of the length to the ends in a more defined s-shape which may be more difficult to straighten. Instead, products such as salt spray can also help provide a light amount of texture, offering a beachy look.
- Type 2C is wavy from the crown all the way to the tips. This hair type is often thick in texture and tends to become frizzy in damp or humid weather. Antihumidty products and using a diffuser on your hairdryer can help with this.
Type 3 -Curly
Curly hair tends to form in loops varying in width. Again, brushing is not recommended for this hair type as it can break up the definition of the curl, leading to frizz.
With curly or coily hair, a leave-in conditioner layered under mousse can be a good way to provide moisture and volume in one.
- Type 3A hair forms in loose S shaped curls about an inch wide. Ponytails and tight hairstyles are also not recommended for this hair type, as pulling the hair back like this can lead to hair loss at the hairline, particularly for those with this hair type as the weight of the style can pull hair at the root. Instead opt for looser, braided styles.
- Type 3B hair has a smaller curl starting at the root in a spiral shape. With type 3B hair, avoid using sulfates and silicones in your products, as although these can give the appearance of shine they can eventually cause your hair to dry out. Apply styling gel to wet hair to give definition.
- Type 3C hair has the tightest curl. To maintain type 3C hair gently rake leave-in conditioner through wet hair and define with your fingertips, rather than using combs or brushes which can cause it to frizz.
Type 4 – Coily
Coily hair has the tightest curl and lots of volume. This hair type is delicate, yet requires plenty of moisture, so opt for light conditioning treatments that provide hydration without weighing your hair down.
- Type 4A is an S-shaped coil with a tight curl. This hair type benefits from loose “wash-and-go” styles rather than tight, protective styles as it allows the hair to maintain it’s curl and to absorb moisture.
- Type 4B hair forms a Z-shape and benefits from a process called shingling, which is where wet hair is detangled using fingers and a leave-in conditioner, then separated into quadrants. To form and define the curls, curling cream is then worked down the lengths, while twisting it around an index finger.
- Type 4C coils are the tightest and most delicate, so it’s important to keep them nourished and moisturised using rich treatments containing ingredients like shea or cocoa.. Many people with this hair type prefer co-washing (conditioner-first), or rinsing hair through with a cleansing conditioner instead.
Aside from basic hair type, there are a few other characteristics to look for when learning how to care for and maintain your hair.
Porosity refers to your hair’s ability to absorb moisture through the cuticle (the surface layer of the hair). The more holes the cuticle has, the more porous it is – and the better able it is to absorb moisturising treatment. Less porous hair tends not to absorb moisture as well as porous hair, which can lead to build-up of product on the surface of the cuticle.
For this reason, less porous hair benefits from use of a clarifying shampoo to remove build-up, and the use of lighter hair products to create moisture and volume. Using hair dryer can also help this hair type to absorb products, as it opens up the cuticle allowing the strands to absorb moisture.
Hair structure refers to the thickness of the strands, which can also affect the hair’s ability to hold styles and particular products. In general hair structure falls into three categories: fine, medium and coarse.
If a single strand of your hair appears thinner than a strand of sewing thread, it is likely to be fine. Strands of a similar width to the thread would be medium, while strands thicker than the thread tend to be of a coarse or thick structure.
Density refers to the number of hairs on the scalp – in general, the more difficult it is to see the skin of the scalp, the denser it is.
Lighter finer hair requires a light touch – so avoid rich, heavy products. The opposite applies to thicker, denser hair which can benefit from thicker formulas.