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What Are the Different Hair Types, and How Do You Determine Yours?

What Are the Different Hair Types, and How Do You Determine Yours?

Different hair types, for what they are, are defined by distinct criteria. Mainly their nature and structure. It can change depending on lifestyle, environment, and the way the hair is treated. Learning to know the nature of your hair is essential to give it the appropriate care it needs. What are the different hair types and how to tell what your hair type is? We will explain it all to you.

Why Determine Your Hair Type?

Each hair, hair structure and hair type are unique and different. They need to be cared for to keep it strong and healthy. In order to provide the right care and create a customized hair routine or to choose the appropriate hairstyles, it is important to better understand what the different hair types are as well as the condition of your own hair and scalp. To find out what your hair type is, there are 3 elements to take into consideration:

1. The amount of sebum produced;

2. The thickness of the hair;

3. The degree of waviness of the hair fiber.

Criterion 1: The Nature of the Hair.

The nature of the hair is linked to the quantity of sebum that the scalp produces. It is a complex mixture of lipids secreted by the sebaceous glands to moisturize, protect and lubricate the hair fiber. The nature of the hair is thus determined according to the speed with which the sebum is secreted following a shampoo. There are 3 different hair nature types:

  • Dry hair: This type of hair secretes a very small amount of sebum. The hair is therefore split, fragile, brittle and dull, so that it tends to tangle. The lack of sebum can also lead to itching, dandruff and an irritated scalp.

  • Normal hair: This type of hair has a balanced sebum secretion, which means that it starts to oil up after 2 – 3  days of washing. This hair has no particular problems. It is light, soft, shiny, flexible and easy to comb and detangle.

  • Oily hair: This type of hair has an excessive production of sebum. It re-greases quickly, usually within a few hours or the day after shampooing. Hair is sticky, heavy, flat and may be prone to dandruff.

  • Oily hair with dry or mixed ends: This hair type has excess oil at the roots, while the lengths and ends are dry. The hair re-greases quickly at the roots after washing, and the lengths are difficult to detangle.

Criterion 2: The Structure of the Hair.

Your hair type is also defined by the thickness of the individual hair. There are 3 different hair structure types:

  • Fine hair: It is hard to see and is less thick than a sewing thread. If you try to hold one between your fingers, you will have a hard time feeling it. Moreover, when viewed in sunlight, fine hair looks transparent. However, it is easy to style and dries very quickly. On the other hand, it can be fragile and tends to get greasy easily.

  • Medium hair: It is as thick as a sewing thread (90 micrometers). In addition, this type of hair is easy to style.

  • Thick hair: Thicker than sewing thread (110 micrometers). In sunlight, thick hair is visible, unlike thin hair. It is strong, withstands chemical treatments and heat well, but on the other hand it is heavy, complicated to style and takes longer to dry.

Criteria 3: The Shape of the Hair.

A detailed hair classification method was developed by the famous American hairdresser André Walker based on hair shape. This classification system consists of observing how your hair reacts when it is not washed. It considers three criteria: the texture, thickness, and shape of the hair, symbolized by a number and a letter. Each number, from 1 to 4, identifies the type of hair (straight, wavy, curly, frizzy), while the letter, from A to C, indicates the degree of waviness of the hair fiber. Here are the 4 main hair shape types, divided into 3 sub-categories:

  • Type 1 refers to straight or blunt hair. This type of hair is shiny, resistant, non-dry, ranging from fine to very thick and easy to style. However, it is difficult to work, curl or style.

  • Type 2 refers to S-shaped wavy hair. This type of hair can be fine, medium, or thick, with a shiny appearance, slightly greasy at the roots and resistant. In addition, it is easy to shape (curls or straightening).

  • Type 3 defines hair with large, round, well-defined and very tight curls (curly hair). Knowing that the sebum circulates with difficulty from the roots to the ends, these types of hair are often dry.

  • Type 4 is curly to frizzy hair, also known as “Afro hair”.. This type of hair has very tight or Z-shaped curls that are difficult to straighten. It is often dry, fragile, and brittle.

Tip: For straight hair (type 1) and wavy hair (type 2), it should be observed when the hair is dry. On the other hand, for curly hair (type 3) and frizzy hair (type 4), observe it when it is wet in order to identify its hair subtype.

Tip: For straight hair (type 1) and wavy hair (type 2), it should be observed when the hair is dry. On the other hand, for curly hair (type 3) and frizzy hair (type 4), observe it when it is wet in order to identify its hair subtype.

AHair without the slightest wave, fine, soft but easily tangled. They tend to be greasy because the sebum flows without worrying towards the tip.Rather fine, shiny hair with a slight S-shaped wave on the lengths and a little frizz. It is easy to style and has little volume.Hair with soft, wide, relaxed curls. Curls are more defined on the lengths. They also tend to be brittle, naturally shiny, and frizzy.Soft, fine hair with a spiral wave from the root, stretched out and a slightly defined shape. It is fragile, dry, voluminous and tends to grow upwards.
BSmooth, medium-thick hair. It offers more hold and easier styling.Medium-thick hair with slightly more pronounced S-shaped waves that start at mid-length. May have a slight frizz. Medium-thick hair with tighter, more defined, spring-like curls starting at the roots. Hair subject to significant frizz.Medium-thick hair, dry, slightly Z-shaped waves, with moderately defined curls that are fragile.
CThick hair, resistant to curls and shiny due to the sebum on the scalp, which can reach the ends more easily. Very thick, voluminous hair with well-defined S-shaped curls that begin at the roots. It frizzes very quickly.Thick hair with very tight, corkscrew-shaped curls that form from the root of the hair, and very dense.Fine, dry hair with very tight, Z-shaped curls and no definition.


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