Table of Contents:
I. Determine Your Hair Type
II. Straight Hair, or “Type 1”
III. Wavy Hair, or “Type 2”
IV. Curly Hair, or “Type 3”
A. Don’t Add to the Breakage
B. Keep the Moisture
C. Ditch the Tools and Let Your Hands Work Their Magic
D. Seek Professional Help
V. Coily Hair, or “Type 4”
A. Products Meant for Type 4 Hair
VI. For the “None of the Above” Hair Types
VII. All Hair Deserves Proper Care
An important step in our self care routine includes nourishing our precious locks to preserve the integrity of our hair and keep it looking its best. Unfortunately, hair care is not a one-size-fits-all process, and the best way to maximize your results is to tailor your routine to your specific hair type. What is meant for our friends' hair may not be the best option for us. Here we will explore the different ways to keep our hair looking and feeling healthy.
Summary: Understanding your hair type and the many tips, tricks and products designed to preserve and improve the health of your unique hair.
Determine Your Hair Type
The categories for hair type can be attributed to long-time Oprah Winfrey stylist, Andre Walker. Everyone's hair grows with different patterns, textures, and lengths. All hair comes with a level of porosity, which is the ability to take in and retain moisture. Hair porosity and hair type go hand in hand, and the best way to understand your hair needs starts with understanding your hair type.
Straight Hair, or “Type 1”
If your hair dries naturally straight without a wave in sight, it is considered type 1 hair. The individual strands can be fine (thin), medium, or coarse (thick). Some people envy those with type 1 hair, and admire its ability to effortlessly shine and remain frizz-free. Although this hair type may be the easiest to maintain, it also tends to become oily rather quickly, which leads to excessive washing. Since straight hair is known to produce more natural oils, a gentle shampoo to add balance will keep your strands in check. To prevent over-washing, a dry shampoo for oily roots is recommended in between washes.
Wavy Hair, or “Type 2”
Much like the other types of hair, type 2 has its own subsets that don’t necessarily fall under type 1 or type 3. Not straight, not curly, but definitely wavy. Type 2A hair is fairly straight from the roots to around eye level, and then gets wavy down to the tips. It is best to avoid products with heavy styling creams, so you don’t weigh down those very loose, fine waves.
This hair type also begins its “S wave” shape further down from the roots. It is usually medium-thick consistency and starts to become more prone to frizz. To tame the frizz and combat dryness, use a lightweight oil before styling.
Waves of the 2C type are usually consistent from root to tip, and have the most defined S wave in the type 2 category. Just like their relatives 2A and 2B, 2C hair can be tricky to manage. Using a wide-tooth comb rather than a brush will prevent breakage, a common issue associated with type 2 hair.
Curly Hair, or “Type 3”
Curly hair can be defined by the presence of a barrel in each curl, and the type 3 subsets vary depending on the curls tightness. Regardless of the curl type, brushing through them causes them to lose their definition and is the quickest way to getting a head full of frizz. While we don’t want frizz, we do want to remove tangles. Luckily it’s possible to achieve manageable, healthy curls with the evolution of hair products available and styling techniques from the pros. Most of the following tips will apply to all curly and coily hair types
Don’t Add to the Breakage
Avoid pulling your hair back as often as possible, as this can cause your curls to lose their formation over time. Excessively pulling your hair back also leads to hair loss and breakage at your hairline.
Keep The Moisture
This is especially necessary for 3B hair, as the moderately-tight curls are known to be extra frizzy. Using a curl-defining cream can help lock in moisture and keep those curls intact, with the added benefit of maintaining untangled, soft hair.
Ditch the Tools and Let Your Hands Work Their Magic
For the 3C curls out there, known for their super-tight and ultra-bouncy magic, your hands are your best friends. Forget about running a brush through these strands, their springy definition will stay put with a good leave-in conditioner. After washing, use your fingers to run it through your hair before drying. This will prevent the bristles from unraveling your curls and gives you the control to evenly distribute the product throughout.
Seek Professional Help
Curl connoisseurs agree, the best haircuts are from the curl specialists. These hair professionals went through additional training to provide the best services for unique hair. Getting regular haircuts is one of the best-known tricks to keeping your hair healthy. Curly haired folks search far and wide for these experts, as part of their technique involves cutting each curl individually. DevaCurl has become pioneers in curly hair care, as they have a wide range of products specifically formulated for curly hair. Not only that, but they train stylists all over the country and help you locate a certified pro near you.
Coily Hair, or “Type 4”
Type 4 hair is also known as coily hair, and differs from the curly classification based on the tightness of the curl. Type 4 hair, and even type 3 hair, is known for its body and fullness, a long sought-after quality when it comes to hair. Picture the inside of a curl fitting snug and wrapping around the width of a chopstick. That’s the best way to explain type 4A hair. It is similar to 4B hair, which has a zig-zag shape to it, and 4C hair, which is the tightest curl shape. Regardless, type 4 hair is the most fragile and the most prone to breakage. That is why it’s extra important to lock in moisture and carefully style to avoid breakage.
Products Meant for Type 4 Hair
Since type 4 hair requires the most maintenance, be sure you’re using products designed to nourish your hair. When caring for type 4 hair, it is important to remember not to comb too aggressively or often, as this can lead to damage. Hair products are a must to preserve strength and definition. Everyone has their own preference on products, especially when it comes to consistency. A good, lightweight leave-in conditioner can still provide rich moisture with the added benefits of detangling and de-frizzing. If you’re looking for something thicker to ensure moisture-locking benefits, a pudding-like cream will do the job, and help stretch those curls prone to shrinkage.
For the “None of the Above” Hair Types
Just because you’ve lost your hair on top doesn’t mean you should skip out on scalp care. Even if you have no hair at all, it’s still best to avoid using body wash in that area, as it can leave you with a very dry scalp. If you have short, sparse, or fuzzy little hairs, use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner to avoid flakes. Always remember to protect yourself from the sun by wearing sunscreen or a hat.
All Hair Deserves Proper Care
Just like how we care for our skin, we should be including steps to keep our hair in great shape. The curlier the hair, the more need for moisture and protection. Whereas straight hair tends to quickly produce more natural oils, calling for less intense nourishment. Some styles offer protection and a way to avoid daily maintenance, but could lead to more breakage and potentially thinning hair.
If you have concerns about hair becoming thinner or falling out, your best bet is to contact an expert. Dr. Feinberg at the Hair Restoration Center of NY and NJ can evaluate your individual needs and address your concerns related to hair loss. You can request a consultation at your convenience.