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Understanding Your Hair Type

Understanding Your Hair Type

Would you believe us if we told you the secret to happy, healthy hair is as simple as knowing your hair type and texture? Well, not the whole secret – but it’s definitely the best place to start! Whether you’re rocking ringlets or super straight locks, knowledge is power. And every day has the potential to be a good hair day when you know what you're working with.

There’s a lot that goes into figuring out your hair texture and its tendencies, though. So, lucky for you, we’ve created this go-to guide. For everything you need to know to determine your hair type – and get the locks of your dreams – read on.

What Does “Hair Type” Mean?

We all have a skin type – and we all have a hair type as well. Most commonly referred to as hair curl pattern or formation, your hair type is determined by the shape of your strands, curl pattern (or lack of), and thickness. Like your pores, hair follicles are the holes from which your hair grows. And the more oval-shaped the follicle is, the curlier the locks you'll have. 

Like combination skin, your hair may not even fit perfectly into one category. And that's totally okay! It's very common to have more than one hair texture, especially when wearing your strands au naturel.

How Do You Determine Your Hair Type and Texture?

So, what’s your type? That’s what we’re here to find out! The easiest way to classify your hair is after a fresh wash. Look closely at the shape of an individual hair strand, air-dried and free from any product. This is the time to get the best sense of your hair texture by looking at the tightness and definition of your curls, coils, and waves. Or lack thereof. 

For instance, if your hair has a slight curve but isn't wholly spiralled, you most likely have type 2 hair, or if you have tightly coiled hair but can see slightly defined curls, you have type B hair. Confused? Keep reading and it will soon become clear.

What is My Hair Type?

When you think of different hair types, the first thought that pops into your head is probably thin or thick, straight or curly. In other words, hair in the simplest terms. However, the truth is, there are more than four hair types – in fact, there are 12! Here’s how it works.

Hair classifications are often categorised into four main groups: 

  • 3
  • 4

 Each group is further divided into three subcategories: 

The number describes the shape of the hair, and the letters characterise the size (width vs. diameter) of the strand itself. 

  • A: Wide 
  • B: Medium
  • C: Tight 

Now let’s look at these hair types in detail.

Type 1: Straight Hair

If you have type 1 hair, you have naturally straight locks, which are often on the shinier side (congrats). Because of the lack of curls, natural oil can flow easily from the scalp, which helps your hair get the nutrients it needs. 

  • Type 1A is 100% pin-straight with not one curl or wave in sight. People with this fine hair type may even have difficulty holding a curl. It’s the rarest hair type. 
  • Type 1B is just as straight but has more body-ody-ody! Because of its medium texture, it can hold curls more easily. 
  • Type 1C is typically thick and coarse. This makes it more prone to frizz (depending on the weather and your environment), but it’s still curl resistant.

Type 2: Wavy

Type 2 is a middle ground between curly and straight. This hair type is classified as wavy and has a light curl pattern with an S-shape. 

  • Type 2A is the dream – a solid beach wave, curling perfectly at the tips. 
  • Type 2B is the happy medium between 1 and 3. Not quite curly and not quite straight. In this type, the hair is mostly straight at the roots, falling into more defined S-shaped lengths. 
  • Type 2C has wavy definition that starts at the roots. This hair texture forms a tighter S-shape and is usually thick or coarse, making the 2C crew prone to frizz. 

Type 3: Curly

Type 3 is curly hair with a wide range of curl patterns, from loose waves to tight corkscrews. This hair type needs more hydration to keep the curls looking defined and gorgeous. 

  • Type 3A are loose, bouncy curls with a crisp Shirley Temple spiral from root to tip. Whether you go with or without product, this hair pattern holds shape well. 
  • Type 3B leans on the coarser side. If you have this curl pattern, you’re likely to experience more dryness than your 3A pal. Shrinkage is also typical, which makes hair look shorter than it actually is. How? As your curls dry, they go from a long, stretched-out form to a tight, compact coil resembling a corkscrew. 

Type 3C are densely packed curls that serve volume for days. Often more brittle than other Type 3 mops, this hair type needs a solid haircare regime with a quality deep conditioner or strengthening hair mask

Type 4: Coily

Type 4 is usually classified as kinky hair. It’s characterised by compact coils that are typically tighter than Type 3 curls – but not as defined. 

  • Type 4A hair features an S-shape with delicate and visibly springy coils. This kind of hair requires an immense amount of moisturisation and TLC. Nourishing deep conditioning will be your best friend. (Pro-tip: Try our OG Like A Virgin Super Nourishing Hair Masque!)
  • Type 4B is often referred to as kinky. This hair type doesn't really have a curl or a coil but rather a zigzag pattern with the same circumference as a pencil. 

Type 4C, the final hair type, is almost twinning with 4B, but even more tightly coiled. 4C does best with heavier, creamier products like our Super Hydrating Cream Conditioner.

Hair Porosity

Understanding hair porosity is also an essential factor when it comes to determining what products to add to your arsenal. But what exactly is it?

It’s actually pretty straightforward. Hair porosity is simply your hair's ability to absorb and retain moisture. Sound important? That’s because it is! 

Your hair type goes beyond just looks and feel. It heavily relies on your DNA and the makeup of your hair and its cuticle later, a.k.a, the outer layer of your hair shaft. How your cuticle lays speaks volumes about your hair's ability to hold moisturise. There are three different levels of porosity: low, medium, and high. And other factors, like heat damage, can negatively impact it.

  • Low porosity means you have a tighter hair shaft, so it may take a bit longer to absorb moisture leading to a longer drying time. It also takes a heftier amount of deep conditioner to really penetrate your strands. Depending on the products you use, sometimes it can sit on the hair's surface and build up instead of actually working through. However, you don’t need to worry about that with our products which are packed with super-nourishing, easily absorbed oils!
  • Medium porosity is often referred to as "normal porosity" due to its effortless moisture-retaining abilities. This hair type is closed and flat but can absorb moisture well, making it one of the most effortless to style since it's not as dry or brittle. 
  • High-porosity hair cuticles are open, making them more susceptible to breakage and tangles. Dryness is also an issue as open cuticles make it more challenging for your hair to hold essential hydration. 

How to Determine Your Hair’s Porosity

So how porous is your ponytail? Different hair types all land differently on the scale, with  straighter manes the least porous. The cuticles here are firmly compressed, meaning moisture has less opportunity to escape. On the other hand (or head), wavy and curly hair types are more porous because they are looser. And coily hair is the most absorbent (read: porous) of all. 

To determine your hair's porosity, grab a glass of water and a few strands of your hair and take notes on how fast your hair gets wet. But first, remove all the product from your hair by shampooing and leaving it to dry. Once fully dry, take a few clean strands and drop them into the cup of water, then allow them to sit for a few minutes. 

  • If your hair floats on the surface, you likely have low porosity. 
  • If your hair sinks slowly but eventually flows to the top, you likely have medium porosity.
  • And if your hair sinks to the bottom immediately? You likely have high porosity hair.

Scalp Hydration

Another thing to remember: If your scalp isn’t healthy, your hair won’t be either. So, along with figuring out your hair type, you also need to determine what kind of scalp you have. And here’s a hot tip – the second post-wash day gives you the best idea! When it comes to scalp types, there are three categories: dry, oily, and balanced. 

  • Dry scalps experience itchiness and tend to flake. 
  • Oily scalps can’t skip wash days without noticing greasy flakes, or strands sticking together, within the first two days. 
  • Balanced, or normal, scalps are the dream. Of course, your hair will still get drier in the winter and oilier during summer, but it’s still pretty easy to manage – even if you haven’t washed it in two days. 

So, now you know what type of scalp and hair you have, choosing the right shampoo, conditioner, and hair care treatment is a piece of cake! And, call us biased, but you really can’t go wrong with our one-of-a-kind, botanical-enriched products. 

Nothing combats frizz and pollutants like our Super Hydrating Shampoo; its rich 7-in-1 nourishing formula hydrates hair, restores shine and leaves it smelling like paradise. From there, quench your thirsty strands with our lightweight creamy conditioner packed with good-for-you ingredients, like pineapple, coconut, and avocado oil. No matter your hair type, your strands will be noticeably softer, fuller, and healthier looking after one use.

For an added boost, exfoliate dead skin and rid the scalp of product buildup with our scalp scrub while encouraging growth with an elixir treatment.

Final Thoughts

You must understand your hair type to give your mane the most effective treatment for the best possible results. No matter if your hair is thin, thick, short, curly, oily, coarse, or straight, you deserve the best. Every hair type requires special care, and knowing what yours is will help you kiss lousy hair days goodbye for good.

Looking for more time-saving hair hacks? Check out our blog! 

Edited By: Pip Jarvis and Iris


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