Caring for Different Hair Types: Which Hair Category Do you Fall Into?
Hair is a huge part of our everyday self-care routine. But just like we all have different skin types, we also have different hair types, which can make it difficult to know the best way to care for them. Each hair type has its own rules and schedule for properly maintaining it and keeping it healthy. Luckily for you, if you’re unsure of your hair type and how you should be taking care of it, we will be breaking it down in detail for you!!
- You can define each category of hair firstly through appearance - all the way from straight to tightly curled hair.
- A breakdown of each hair type, along with their subcategories, will help you know how to care for it on every level.
- Learn how to maintain each different hair type and keep it looking shiny and healthy all year round.
It seems to be that over half the population identifies with having Type one, straight hair. Having this type of hair means that you have no natural curl, and that it falls without a wave from root to tip. Although straight hair isn’t super complicated it can still be coarse, thick, thin, in which it is further classified into subcategory 1a, 2a, and 3a.
1a. Perfectly straight
Type 1A hair tends to be 100% straight and is usually thinner than the other subcategories. You may feel that your hair lacks volume, and it can be hard to style due to the pin straightness of it.
1b. More volume and a slight “puff”
Type 1B hair tends to have more volume and a slight bend to it, but is overall pretty much straight. The medium texture of it allows for longer holds of different styles, but it can also lead to oilier hair without the proper use of products and tools.
1c. Thick and coarse
Type 1C hair is classified by a full head of very thick hair. Due to the thickness of each stand, this hair type can sometimes show a slight wave to it. If not treated properly, however, type 1c hair can appear very dry and frizzy in certain conditions.
How to care for all straight hair
Even if you’ve been lucky enough to have semi low maintenance hair in the spectrum of all the different hair types, type one hair can still have its own struggles. Maybe your hair doesn’t hold styles well, or get super oily super fast.
Many stylists recommend using a hair moisture mask that can hydrate and help add volume to your straight hair to allow styles to be held longer. Here are a two stylist recommended hair masks for straight hair:
Another way to care for straight hair and keep down the frizziness is to use serums, rather than blow dry. According to Function of Beauty, blow drying straight hair, especially fine straight hair, can be extremely damaging and create brittle and dry hair. Using serums that are rich in vitamins and oils can help create thickness, limit frizz, and prevent it from looking greasy or unwashed.
If you have natural loose defined beachy waves–I’m jealous! This hair type is generally associated with having looser curls or waves at the top of the head, and becoming more defined towards the tip.
2a. Lose undefined wave
Type 2a hair has a gentle look to it, with the roots typically remaining straight and then the hair getting wavier towards the midpoint to the ends. Hair stylists recommend that you boost the base with a mouse or gel to help define the waves, and keep them from falling.
2b. Curls from midpoint to end
These curls are way more defined and typically S-shaped. Type 2b can easily create simple beachy waves with a spritz of salt water and some moose to fluff up!
2c. Wavy from root to tip
Type 2c hair has the most defined wave out of them all, and is often paired with thick S-shaped curls all the way from the root to tip. Many stylists recommend using a diffuser to help eliminate the frizz and style the waves better.
How to care for wavy hair
With wavy hair, you want to avoid brushing through the hair to avoid breakage. However, there are many detanglers and leave-in conditioners that are made just for my wavy hair people!! Here are some option of great detanglers:
- Oribe Priming Lotion Leave-In Conditioning Detangler
- Supershine Light Moisturizing Cream
- Oribe's Curl Gloss
Since this hair type isn’t super curly, it can be tempting to straighten your hair. My suggestion from all the research I have done on this hair type is to avoid using heat products at all costs! This will damage the wave's natural formation and cause deep frizz and dryness. Embrace your natural wave, and know that many people try to create this hair type with heat products!
Curly hair is the type of hair in all the different hair types that springs up and down when you pull on it. Each strand looks like a little swirl, which is beautiful but can be difficult to maintain. Pre warning: with all these subcategories, the most important thing to note is to NOT brush your hair. We will go over other ways to get the tangles out and style properly.
3a. S- shape curls
These gorgeous S-shaped curls are no wider than a candle! They form loose loops and tend to start at root and end at tip.
3b. Tight spiral curls
Picture a sharpie. These spirals have the circumference of a sharpie and are springy and bouncy. They need a lot of moisture to maintain their bounce and can be easily damaged by brushing their hair.
3c. Tight and springy
These curls would perfectly coil around the straws you drink your iced coffee with! Often referred to as “corkscrew curls” these curls need a lot of maintenance and especially no brushing!!
How to care for curly hair
As I mentioned before, WHATEVER you do, DO NOT brush or comb through your curly spirals. Brushing can lead to breakage and damage of the natural curl, creating a frizzy and puffy style we want to avoid! However, brushing leave-in conditioner through your wet hair with your fingers can help give those curls moisture and get out the unwanted tangles.
Another tip for caring for curly hair is to air dry your hair and avoid the blow dryer. Blow drying your hair can cause deep damage to the volume and health of hair. Also, try to avoid tight ponytails when you have curly hair. Pulling back your hair into a ponytail causes the curl to lose its formation, as well as thinning out your hair. Instead, try headbands or even claw clips.
4a. S- shape coil
As we keep moving down all the different hair types, you can see a pattern in how the curl gets tighter. Well, this type can literally fit around a chopstick! According to an Allure hair stylist, this hair type is the most fragile and requires a ton of extra love and moisture.
4b. Zig zag
These magnificent curls bend in a sort of zig-zag shape. If you pull down on one of the strands, you can see that it forms a “Z” and springs up and down.
4c. Tightest and most fragile
These curls are probably the easiest to break if you aren’t careful with them. However, some of the most delicate things in life are the prettiest, if you get what I’m saying… These curls need to be washed with extra moisture shampoos and conditioners to maintain its shine and bold look!
How to care for super tightly curled hair
This hair type may be the most difficult to properly care for due to the delicacy of the curls. Look for deep moisture shampoos and conditioners made for curly haired people. Hair experts suggest rubbing the hair with a leave-in conditioner every day to cure those thirsty locks. You should also apply oils to the tips of the hair to aid with breakage and maintain shine.
Also, this is a BIG one: most hair experts recommend only washing type 4 hair twice a month. Yes, you heard that right, ONLY twice a month. Washing this hair type with shampoo too often will strip its natural oils and cause further breakage and dryness to the hair and ruin the curls!
Overall, every different hair type is beautiful and unique in its own way! I hope that you were able to identify your hair type through these descriptions to provide you with a base for more research on how to properly care for your hair. Whatever hair type you have, I say embrace it!
Written by Emma Carlson