How To Know Your Hair Type: A Complete Guide
With so many products on the market designed to address individual hair care needs, it’s important to understand your hair type. We have more access to information than ever before about our hair, what we can do to look after it and how best to style it. Keep reading for our fully comprehensive guide on how to know your hair type.
How to Identify Your Hair Texture
One of the key features of your hair is its texture or curl pattern. There are four main categories of hair texture; straight, wavy, curly or coily. Looking at a curl pattern chart can help you get to know your hair type. If you’re unsure, let your hair dry naturally after washing and examine its shape. If it dries straight without a bend, you have straight hair (type 1). If it dries with a slight curve through it, it’s considered wavy (type 2). If your hair has a defined curl pattern or loop, it’s likely curly (type 3), while tight ringlets are considered coily (type 4).
What is Your Hair Density?
Hair density refers to the number of strands on your scalp. Generally, your hair will fall into three categories; high, low and medium. To measure the density of your hair, start by parting your hair in a mirror. If you can see your scalp easily, you likely have low-density hair. Having a partially visible scalp means you have medium-density hair. If you find it difficult to see your scalp, you have high-density hair. Hair density does not relate to how thick or fine your hair follicles are. While genetic factors largely determine hair density, thinning can also be due to stress, hormonal imbalance and damaging products. Here are 6 of the best hairstyles for thin hair and tips to make it appear more voluminous.
How Porous is Your Hair?
Hair porosity matters when understanding your hair type because it informs us how well products absorb into your hair. You can detect the amount of porosity in your hair with a simple test using a sink filled with water.
If your hair floats above the surface, your hair has low porosity. It is difficult for products to absorb into your hair, and you’re most at risk of developing product build-up. This build-up of product on the outer layer can weigh down your hair. Low porous hair is also the least likely to absorb the active ingredients. Applying products to damp hair will ensure that the products are evenly distributed and more readily absorbed.
If your hair floats below the surface of the water, you have medium porosity. Hair with medium porosity is less prone to damage and more likely to hold a hairstyle. With a proper hair care routine, medium porosity hair follicles will benefit from active ingredients and remain hydrated.
Finally, if your hair sinks to the bottom, your hair is considered highly porous. The frequent use of heating tools and harsh products can cause highly porous hair. It will readily absorb products but remain dehydrated and frizzy or rough in texture. Thankfully, while your hair is on the road to recovery, you can tame frizz with these tips.
How Can You Tell If Your Hair Is Oily, Dry or Normal?
When we talk about whether our hair is oily or dry, we’re talking about sebum produced at the scalp.
Signs of a dry scalp are flaking, itching and the ability to go for more than a week without washing your hair before getting oily. For dry hair, look for highly moisturising and hydrating products.
Oily hair is the opposite of dry hair. The scalp will produce so much oil that you typically need to wash 4-5 times a week to keep your hair from looking greasy. Washing your hair too frequently or using cheap products that strip all of your hair’s natural oil can cause your scalp to produce too much oil.
If you can comfortably go a few days without washing your hair , but find your hair getting oily by the end of the week, your scalp is functioning normally.
Sometimes, your scalp will produce excess oil and still be dry, irritated and flaky. This is commonly referred to as combination scalp. It’s caused often by product build-up, or improper washing.
Do You Have Thick or Fine Hair?
Hair thickness refers to the diameter of your individual hair strands. To see if your hair is thick, fine or medium, simply take a strand of hair between your fingers. If you can barely feel your hair follicle there at all, or it’s difficult to see a single strand of your hair, then it’s fine. Fine hair doesn’t hold curls well and can be more difficult to style. If you can feel the strand between your fingers slightly and easily see it, it’s likely medium. If you can distinctly feel your hair and it’s visible from a distance, then you likely have thick hair. To be sure, you can also compare against a sewing thread for reference, anything thicker than the thread is considered thick. Strands that are around the same diameter as the thread are considered medium, and thinner is fine. Medium hair is the easiest to style as it holds for longer than other hair types. Thick hair holds a curl well but can be difficult to style.
Is Your Hair Strong or Brittle?
Other than visible signs of breakage, split-ends and dry, dull hair, you can also test your hair’s elasticity to see if it is healthy or damaged. For this test, take a strand between both hands and pull gently. If your hair breaks immediately with little tension, it’s likely damaged. If it takes a lot of tension to snap the strand, you have strong, healthy hair follicles.
Need More Help With How to Know Your Hair Type?
Here at Twidale, our hairstylists are trained to not only style every hair type for any occasion but can also assist you with building a hair care routine and provide you with product recommendations. If you’ve read through our How To Know Your Hair Type guide and are still confused about what hair type you might have, book an appointment at Twidale. We can inform you of you hair type and the best ways to style, manage and take care of it. Get in touch with us today!