There are many factors that determine your hair type. These include hair density, diameter, porosity, curl pattern as well as elasticity. In this post, I will be bringing light on the different hair types, and how you can identify yours.
I think it is important to determine your hair type so you know and understand for instances where you are shopping for hair care products or trying out hair styling tools.
Having knowledge is power, since the more informed you are the better the choices you make. So, you want to always make the best choices for your hair, I speak more about this in my “How to Effortlessly Grow Healthy Natural Hair”. (Do Check It Out)
To determine your hair type, Be sure to above all do these tests on clean hair.
Your hair density refers to how much hair (in terms of the number of individual hair strands) you have on your scalp. There are three levels of hair density, any of which can be determined with an easy mirror test.
How to Determine Hair Density
Infront of a mirror, grab a big section of your hair and pull it aside. The extent to which you can see your scalp in the mirror determines your hair density.
- Thin Density: If you can easily see your scalp, you have thin hair density. That means your hair is scantily placed.
- Medium Density: If you can see your scalp partially from underneath your hair, you have medium hair density.
- Thick Density: If you can hardly see your scalp, you have thick hair density.
The diameter of your hair refers to the width of an individual hair strand. This is the utmost accurate way to determine your hair type. There are three levels of hair diameter any of which can be determined by doing the strand test to understand if your hair is fine, medium or thick.
How to Determine Hair Diameter
Hold a single strand of your hair between your thumb and index fingers. Alternatively, you can also compare your hair strand to a sewing thread by placing a hair strand along the length of a thread.
- Thin Hair: If you can barely feel the strand between your fingers, you have thin hair. In some cases, the hair strand can be so thin that it is not even visible. Alternatively, if the hair strand is significantly thinner than the thread, you have thin or limp hair.
- Medium Hair: If you can feel the hair strand slightly, you have medium hair. Alternatively, if it is more or less the same thickness as the thread, you have medium hair.
- Thick Hair: If you can distinctly feel the hair strand, you have thick hair. Alternatively, if it is just as thick or even thicker than the thread, you have coarse or thick hair
Please note that hair density differs from hair diameter. You can have thin hair with more density, and vice versa.
Porosity refers to your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. The higher the hair porosity, the more moisture and product it will absorb. On the other hand, the lower the hair porosity the less moisture and product it will absorb. Knowing the porosity of your hair can be very helpful in choosing the right products for your hair.
How to Determine Hair Porosity
Submerge a single hair strand in a cup of water to determine the level of hair porosity.
- Low Porosity: If you have low porosity, your hair strand will float on the surface.
- Medium Porosity: You can find the strand floating in between the water and slightly balanced if your hair has normal porosity.
- High Porosity: If the hair strand sinks to the bottom, you have high hair porosity.
More Information on Hair Porosity
- Low Porosity Hair: This means, your hair takes a long time to dry. Your hair cuticles have fewer pores, which minimize your hair’s capacity to absorb water. The water tends to remain on the surface of the cuticle, and products used often get settled on top of your hair rather than sinking in.
- Medium Porosity Hair: This hair type takes in the correct amount of moisture. It does not require a lot of maintenance and can hold any hairstyle effortlessly. Hair with normal porosity is less prone to damage.
- High Porosity Hair: There are high number of pores in the hair cuticle which result in high porosity. When you have highly porous hair, it is “never” hydrated enough. Hair with high porosity is also more prone to damage as it can readily absorb any chemicals from products. It also gets frizzy and rough more easily. Your hair may also dry up quickly after you wash it.
Hair Curl Pattern
This is basically how your hair looks. There are four types of hair patterns, curly, wavy, straight, or kinky. The test is done by mere observation.
Type 1: Straight Hair
This hair type stays straight irrespective of any amount of manipulation. It typically lies flat from the roots to the tips. Its texture is soft and silky.
Straight Hair Behaviour: Besides being soft, you can also see a high amount of oil secretion in this naturally straight hair type.
Type 2: Wavy Hair
Wavy hair type is neither straight nor curly. It falls somewhere between the two. In wavy hair, you can observe a slight curl pattern at the lower end of your hair. Type 2 is divided into three sub-types:
- Firstly, Type 2A is thin wavy hair,
- Type 2B is medium wavy hair and
- Finally, Type 2C is thick wavy hair
Wavy Hair Behaviour: It can hold hairstyles very well. Its texture is quite rough, and its diameter is thick.
Type 3: Curly Hair
If your hair strand follows an ‘S’ pattern you have curly hair. This hair type has definite curls that stay curly irrespective of any amount of straightening. It has higher density compared to wavy and straight hair. Type 3 is again divided into three sub-types:
- Firstly, Type 3A has loose curls,
- Type 3B has medium curls and
- Finally, Type 3C has tight curls
Curly Hair Behaviour: curly hair is more prone to frizz and can get tangled quickly. It is also resistant to straightening (effort is required).
Type 4: Kinky Hair
Kinky hair looks coarse and rough but is actually quite fragile and soft. The curls resemble a ‘Z’ shape. Kinky hair has high density with extremely tight curls. This hair type is also divided into three sub-types:
- Firstly, Type 4A is soft
- Type 4B is wiry
- Finally, Type 4C is extremely wiry
Kinky Hair Behaviour: It is easily prone to breakage and damage if not cared for.
Hair elasticity refers to the extent to which a single hair strand can stretch before returning to its normal state. It is also a strong indicator of hair health. Hair with high elasticity has a good amount of shine and bounce and is regarded as the strongest of all hair types. You can easily doing the strand stretch test when determining hair elasticity.
How to Determine Hair Elasticity
To find out the elasticity of your hair, you need to pluck a wet hair strand and stretch it as much as you can.
- Low Elasticity: Hair that snaps/breaks almost immediately after stretching has low elasticity.
- Medium Elasticity: If your hair stretches to some extent before breaking, it indicates medium elasticity.
- High Elasticity: If your hair strand stretches a long way without breaking immediately, it indicates high elasticity. Hair with high elasticity (when wet) can stretch up to 50% of its original length before it breaks. Often, coarse hair is highly elastic
Please note that you can strengthen your hair using natural hair masks and hair oils.
Knowledge is Power
That is how to determine your hair type done! Now that you are better informed about your hair type, go on and explore the right kind of products and hair care routine for your crown. Identifying the right hair type is half the battle won. Once you do that, taking care of your hair becomes easy.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
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