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.

When Is It Time To Wash?

Woman getting a hair wash

Surely you’ve read articles that suggest you should wash your only once every other day. Maybe your sister-in-law told you that the answer to all your hair troubles was to wash your hair just once a week. Perhaps the truth is that although you know that it does more harm than good, you simply can’t even imagine what your hair would be like if you didn’t wash it every morning. You’re not alone. Many women are beyond confused how often they should actually be washing those locks. The problem is that so many women are looking for a one-size-fits-all answer to the question; more specifically a question that is totally dependent on the person asking!

Now, you may already know your scalp naturally produces oils, which you probably see only as the annoying grease that you need to wash out of your hair in the morning. It is often overlooked that these natural oils, which cover your roots at the end of a long day, are extremely nourishing. When you slather on that sudsy shampoo, you are actually stripping your scalp and hair of all these healthy oils. Eventually, one of two things happens: (1) the hair becomes brutally dry, broken and frizzy, or (2) the scalp overcompensates for the repetitive oil loss by producing more and more oils.

Check out the guide below which will give you a better idea of when you should be washing your hair, no matter what type of hair you have.

For those with Thin or Fine Straight Hair
You probably find that your hair is either always falling flat or always feeling oily, simply because your hair isn’t able to maintain volume as easy as other hair types. Washing can be tricky as both over-washing and under-washing can take a toll on your hair. To avoid flat, lifeless hair you should try to wash with shampoo and conditioner about three to four times per week. You are likely to experience the best results when using volumizing and moisturizing hair products. When conditioning, be sure that you are only adding the conditioner in the middle and lower parts of the hair, this way don’t over moisturize and weigh down the roots.

Woman shampooing hair

For those with Thick Straight Hair
People have probably been telling you for years how great your hair was, right? Although it may take an hour (or more) to dry sometimes, you are able to maintain your ‘do’s for days. This is great because it is recommended that people with thick straight hair wash once every other day, at the very most. If your hair is dry due to heat damage or over-washing, switch to a hydrating and repairing shampoo and conditioner.

For those with Tight Curls
It’s likely that you have the driest hair of all three hair types. The simple explanation is that it takes much longer for the natural oils to work their way down a curly strand of hair in comparison to how easily it is to slide down straight strands. For this reason, the best hair days are likely to happen if you give your hair two or three days in between washes. When washing, you’ll want to be sure that both your shampoo and conditioner are ultra moisturizing.

Guide to Your Shiniest, Most Healthy Hair Ever

Woman with beautiful hair

Your hair is your crowning glory, and just like your skin, it always looks its best when it radiates a shine. When your hair is shiny, it shows that it is super healthy, being able to reflect light and create natural highlights that frame your face in the most flattering way. Dull hair, on the other hand, can make you look older, tired, and less engaging. There are a lot of things you can do to improve your hair’s gorgeous shine right now–which will enable it to send those rays of light bouncing back out, no matter what particular texture your hair might be. When your hair’s cuticles are soothed into lying flat (think silky, straight hair) they are best able to send out luxurious luster and radiant highlights from an interweaving of both reflected and refracted light.

Choose Your Treatment Products Wisely
There are some wonderful therapeutic shampoos for luxe, shiny hair. many of these are infused with natural oils, fatty acids, silicones and emollient ingredients that are able to actually penetrate the scalp, so they can get to where they really nourish the hair down at the follicle, where it really matters.

Chill Down
While it may feel like the hotter you can get the water temp for washing your hair–and even bathing–you should know that especially when it comes to your hair, heat can damage it by splintering it at the cuticle, thus ruining any possibility of a brilliance occurring. Your hair will get just as clean if you turn down the water temp for shampooing, and try rinsing with a bit of lukewarm water, followed by a few seconds of cold water at the finish. Then, when drying your hair, the best way is to go au naturel. However, you can use your blow dryer without guilt–just set it on the coolest setting that time will allow, and when using the hotter temps, give your hair frequent periodic blasts of the cool shot function throughout the session.

Woman shampooing her hair.

Keep it Clean
There’s a lot of advice trending out there about how frequent shampooing can rob your hair of its necessary oils and strip it of a naturally occurring shine. This is mere hype, perhaps perpetrated by the manufacturers of all the new dry shampoos out there. Now, you can certainly impair your hair’s ability to shine by relying on harsh, abrasive shampoos to clean it, but if you use a shampoo that is ideally formulated for your hair type, and it’s lightweight and gentle, feel free to wash it every day, without a shred of guilt.

Gloss Appeal
Have you tried one of the highly effective radiance-remedies that are sold as shine boosters, and shine glazes? These products have no other purpose than to illuminate your hair on a game changing level, being lightweight and colorless. And they have lasting power, as some only need to be applied once a week to sustain their super shiny effects. There are also glossing conditioners you can buy. When it comes to inducing shine, go lightweight, as the weightier conditioners tend to dull your hair more than create shine. There are some super-shine oils you can apply. You just need to rub a few drops between your hands and apply lightly and evenly to get a brilliant shine that will keep on going, till your next shampoo.

Say Bye-Bye to Buildup
Product buildup is easy to occur and is one of the key influencers to destroy shine. There’s nothing like a clean slate to radiate your shine intentions. Clarifying treatments are the way to go, and one of the best is a solution of half water and half apple cider vinegar. Apply this pungent preparation to your hair right after shampooing. You can pour it through your hair in the shower or spritz it on with an atomizer bottle. Leave this on for 5-10 minutes, and then rinse with cool water. The odor will dissipate–so don’t worry. Now, there’s a caveat–if your hair is highly processed or dyed a brilliant color–especially red, ask a color specialist before popping the top of the vinegar bottle.