What's Your Hair Type?

What's Your Hair Type?

Hair care jargon can be really confusing. If you have ever stumbled upon a curly hair forum you will see waves of people chanting about their type from 1As through to 4Cs or about their hair porosity being low or high. But why does this matter? Knowing your hair type can help you with caring for your hair and knowing what it needs. It also makes it easier to find people with hair like yours so you can take and give relevant advice. That is how we group our hair tribes which you can join here.

I personally have a mixed curl pattern with some areas, (particularly the back) of my hair being tighter than the rest. While you may not fit completely into any single category, having a rough idea will help you to find routines online that will simplify your life. From Pinterest to YouTube, Blogs and Instagram, so much information is out there, so this knowledge will help you to know what is right for you. Here is how you can find out your hair types.

The Hair Type System

The most infamous hair typing system was formulated by Andre Walker, who broke down the different textures of hair into 4 memorable categories, each with 3 or 4 subcategories. But why does it matter if your a 2A or a 4C you might be wondering or how can you even be sure which hair type you are? 1 = Straight hair, 2 = Wavy hair, 3 = Curly Hairy and 4 = Kinky/Coily hair. The letters beside each number define the hair density a = fine/thin hair, b = medium thick, c = very dense/thick coarse hair.

Type 1 - Straight

  • Oiliness and limpness
  • Easily weighed down ( so don't use too much product)
  • Prone to frizz

– Dry texturizing spray
– Dry shampoo
– Volumising products

Type 2 - Waves

  • Looser waves and defined 'S' shape
  • Easily weighed down ( so don't use too much product)
  • Prone to frizz

– Use sulfate free shampoos and silicone free conditioner
– Lightweight wave defining products
– Smoothing serums

Type 3 - Curls

  • Bouncy ringlets to tight corkscrew curls
  • Voluminous but subject to shrinkage
  • Prone to dryness

– Refrain from using heat as this can dry out and damage hair
– Moisturising leave-in conditioners and gels for definition
– Regular deep conditioning

Type 4 - Coils

  • Coily and kinky with less curl definition
  • Tight curls increase shrinkage
  • The most fragile hair type

– Regular deep conditioning
– Detanglers and defining products
– Apply oil to your scalp to help retain natural oils

Knowing your hair type can help you to find people with curls like yours. They will be able to give the best advice and techniques for you to try out.

Hair Porosity

In the same way its important to know your hair type, it is necessary to know your hair porosity level, to get the most out of your curl routine. Hair porosity simply refers to your hair's ability to absorb and retain moisture, and there are three levels on the porosity spectrum: low, normal or high.

If your hair has been damaged through chemical or environmental factors, then it may become overly porous.

Low Porosity

  • Tightly bound cuticle layer that lays flat and tends to repel water.
  • Challenging to absorb moisture, but easy to retain.
  • Shiny and hair can be thin.
  • Hair takes a while to get wet once in contact with water and water can roll but takes a long time to dry.

– Use lighter oils like Jojoba oil, Argan oil and Baobab oil.
– Don't overload your hair with protein treatments.
– Try and use products with humectants that draw moisture into the hair e.g sodium lactate and glycerine etc.
– Steam your hair before applying a deep conditioner to help raise the cuticle and use warm water when styling your hair.

Medium Porosity

  • A looser cuticle layer.
  • Moisture is easily retained and absorbed.
  • Stands up well to styling, colouring, and chemicals.
  • Hair gets wet once in contact with water and dries in a fair amount of time.

– Maintain a balance between moisturising haircare products and protein hair products.
– Wash your hair with a sulphate-free cleanser to prevent your hair from being stripped of its natural moisture.
– Avoid alcohol-based gels and other alcohol-based products because they strip your hair of its natural moisture.

High Porosity

  • Very loose cuticle layer that stands up.
  • Looks dull and dry and may tangle easier.
  • Tends to be frizzier.
  • The cuticle is raised high so moisture enters quickly but also escapes quickly.
  • Hair gets wet easily once in contact with water and dries quickly.

– Practice the LOC method to help seal in moisture.
– After washing your hair run it under cold water to help close up your cuticles.
– Use denser oils like hemp seed oil, castor oil and macadamia nut oil.
– Regularly use leave-in conditioners and moisturisers to retain moisture and prevent dryness.
– Deep conditioning is key!
Think of your hair cuticles like the pores on your face. High porosity hair is similar to large open pores and low porosity hair is similar to tightly closed pores.

Hair Density

Density refers to the number of strands on your head. High density means you have a lot of hair strands. When you refer to someone's hair as "thick", it is normally in reference to their overall hair density.

The average person has about 2,200 strands of hair per square inch on their head so it is quite hard to determine the hair density. A better indicator is to check whether you can see your scalp when your hair hangs loose and isn't moving. If you can see your scalp easily, then you most likely have low density hair.

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