All You Need to Know About Hair Texture

Woman combing her hair

When choosing a hairstyle, there isn’t a single thing more important to consider than your hair texture. Just about everyone has experienced either first hand or knows someone who has hair that is straight, wavy, curly, or frizzy/kinky. While this quad of adjectives does describe hair’s texture, these attributes are more-or-less changeable. On the contrary, understanding the attributes of your hair’s width and pattern, which are (for the most part) unchangeable, can help you truly understand your hair’s texture. No matter what shape hair holds – straight, wavy, curly, or frizzy/kinky – there is the possibility that is one of the three following widths of texture: fine, medium, or thick/coarse.

These width descriptors – fine, medium, thick/coarse – aren’t used to explain how the hair feels in your hands, rather it describes the thinness or thickness of each individual piece of hair. The standard measurement which is used to determine the width of texture is the thickness of a piece of sewing thread. If a single strand of hair is thinner than a piece of thread, then it is labeled as fine; If a strand of hair is the same width of a piece of thread, it is medium; if a strand of hair is thicker than a piece of thread then it thick/coarse.

So, what does this all mean? Well, a few things really; knowing the width of your hair can help you figure out why your hair “acts” a certain way, and knowing these common hair behaviors can help you style your hair so that it’s always looking its best.

Fine Hair
Typical behaviors of fine hair include not holding styles (i.e. curls) for very long, is easily weighed down by heavy product or too much product, often looks thin, and has a tendency to break easily. While it might not always seem like it, individuals who have “fine” hair texture actually have more hair than those with thick hair. Those with fine hair may also notice that their hair gets oilier faster than others. If you find that achieving volume is a struggle, you should try out either a texturizing powder or a dry shampoo. Both products contain ingredients that absorb oils and bond to the cuticle of the hair, giving it a temporary thickness without weighing it down like most products.

Medium Hair
Typical behaviors for medium hair include the ability to maintain style; a tendency to cover the surface area of the scalp; and it’s typically resilient to breakage. Those with medium hair will find that because their hair is less prone to breakage that it can hold just about any style. One thing that individuals with medium hair may struggle with is dehydration or dryness of the strands. To cure and prevent dry hair you should use a leave in conditioner after washing and get into the habit of using a conditioning mask on a semi-regular basis.

Thick or Coarse Hair
Typical behaviors of thick/coarse hair include a dense, full appearance; the ability to maintain styles with little hair spray; a high heat tolerance; and it is often unwilling to take to chemical hair color. Those with thick or coarse hair may never need extra-hold hairspray, but they do need some sturdy hair elastics. Unlike fine and medium hair, thick or coarse hair contains three layers: the cortex, the cuticle, and (the additional layer) the medulla. Although the medulla is filled almost entirely with air, it’s the protein in its composition that gives it the extra strength. If you find that your hair is resilient to hair color, talk to your stylist about a color compositing shampoo which will prevent the color from fading.

Adding Volume to Thin Hair

Woman with thin hair

Any girl with thin hair knows that the classic fixes, such as sleeping with your hair in a braid or adding in some curls, don’t seem to get the job done. If you feel like you’re at your whit’s end with your thin hair read through the tips listed below of methods you should take in order to successfully add volume to thin hair.

Wash Your Hair on a Regular Basis
Those who have thicker, whether curly or straight, are able to wash hair locks less often simply because their hair has the natural tendency to be drier; Skipping washes for them allows the hair’s natural oils to linger down and condition the hair. However, if you have thin hair the oils manage to slide right down your strands. Not only does this make thin hair look ultra greasy and grimy, but it also weighs the hair down. Prevent the weight of oil buildup by giving your hair a good scrub once daily.

Allow Your Hair to Dry Completely Before Heading Out
When you begin your work day with partially dried hair, you will likely notice it looking thinner as the day progresses. This is because the water remaining in the hair is weighing it down as it dries, once it’s fully dry it will look dull and lifeless. Let you hair look alive and full throughout the day by letting it dry completely, once it’s dry, take a few moments to run the brush through your hair from different angles to infuse some fullness into those locks. Begin by brushing all your hair to the left, then to the right, flip your head upside down and give it a good brush through, then finish off with a final up right brushing.

Blow Dry from a Different Viewpoint
Save your arm workout for the gym; Give those arms a break and flip your head upside down when blow drying. This saw you are literally setting the cuticle in the most voluminous angle possible. Of course, gravity will take over and your hair will fall down, but it will have the extra lift you’ve been looking for. Keep that lift heightened throughout the day by scrunching some high-quality moose into your damp roots before blow drying.

Try a Non-Volumizing Product
Just because something isn’t specifically marketed as a volumizer doesn’t mean it won’t add volume. One product that any thin-haired gal should try at least once is a texturizing spray. Of course, you should do your research before you buy a specific product; Make sure that the product is high quality or produced by a reputable beauty company, also be sure that you are grabbing a texturizer that is lightweight – you can do this by reading reviews of the product.

With the above tips in mind, here are few things that should always be avoided when adding volume to thin hair.

Don’t Condition Your Roots
It may seem strange to only condition the mid-to-lower hair shaft, but of you have thin hair then your roots don’t need that extra moisture. Not only does your hair get enough nourishment at the root from the natural oils, but any additional oils and silicones in conditioner will weigh your roots down even more.

Use Hair Product Sparingly
While in theory, it may seem like the more volume enhancing moose added to your locks will give you a more voluminous look, but this is not the case. It’s okay to use product, but only use enough to allow it to do its job. Using too much product will only weigh your hair down more.

woman with thinning hair

Treating Thinning Hair

Treatments for thinning hair are everywhere–in magazines, on the Internet, on TV–and oh MAN are they on TV–with infomercials that drag on and on. You know, if you’ve ever been sleepless and up while channel surfing–you’ll be likely to find a handful of topics that are always being dissected by those chatty hosts of late night infomercial employment. You’ll find an assortment of vacuum cleaners and flooring shampooers, makeup foundations, diet and workout products, the latest thing from the folks at “Snuggie,” and those retro music compilations. Oh-and the various tactics that all claim to prevent and restore hair loss–they’re eternally airing somewhere, to someone, with too many people ignorantly buying into the promise and buying the product. If you’ve begun to take note of an increase in the volume of hair in your brush or comb–or in the sink or drain, before you pick up the phone to call that 800 line, here are some more down to earth, and effective methods of treating thinning hair that just might be the ticket.

Who Develops Thinning Hair?
Everyone sheds hair, every day, and at certain times, a bit more than at others. At least half of all women generally begin to notice losing more hair around the age of 50. This could be from changes in the hair’s density, hair falling out from a fewer number of productive hair follicles, or the individual strands of hair becoming finer. Unfortunately, hair, just like everything else, ages. Fortunately, there’s something you can do about it. And even for someone whose hair has already thinned to a somewhat unacceptable degree, there are numerous ways in which the loss can be effectively concealed.

Before You Invest a Fortune
There are always the surgical treatments like hair transplants, and laser therapy has proven to be highly effective in many cases, but before going to such extremes, there might be solutions you can find that will be ideal for your thinning hair, saving you money and time. Here are a few solutions for any degree of thinning hair:

  • Minoxidil: Think of Minoxidil as fertilizer for your hair. It’s been around long enough, been well-researched and has been found to effectively increased the circumference of individual strands of hair in users, thereby increasing the hair’s density and even the growth rate of that hair. There are some great products to choose from that are very affordable and easy to use.
  • Anti-dandruff Shampoo: No, we’re on the same topic–but there are research results which point to how pyrithione zinc–a standard component of anti-dandruff shampoo formulations–may increase hair growth.
  • Coconut Oil: The regular application of oil to hair improves its tensile strength, improving the cuticle by smoothing it and repairing lifting that occurs from regular hair brushing and styling.
  • Extensions: Investing in some real-hair extensions that match your own hair offer a great way for those special occasions when you really need to display the hair volume you used to take for granted. No one has to know but you, and these can be styled along with your naturally growing hair, for a voluminous head-full of flair, for any occasion.