How to identify your hair type


By Nina Christmas, Creative Director
Huetiful and Huetiful Salons

Nina BW Photo Website


Have you ever heard the question, "what is your hair type?" Among many "Hair Naturalistas", it is a popular question. This article is designed to help demystify hair typing and help you identify both what your hair type is and what hair care frustrations you might have based on your hair type. Of course, these can be generalizations as hair care regimens are dictated also by diet, hereditary factors, styling habits, and external environment (cold, high temps, humidity, wearing hats, swimming, etc.).


Curl Pattern


I love to encourage my clients to lay their wet hair strands on the screen of the phone or tablet and compare curls to this picture. Many have the misconception that all curly hair is "4c" and is dry and unmanageable. We learn during this comparison that our strands fit other categories and some single strands may have more than one type. 


All hair types with proper cleansing and conditioning are manageable and can be styled to the desired look with the best product selection. One hair type is not better than the other. You just need to know what your hair type is and how to best manage your particular hair type.


Generally speaking, the curlier your hair or the higher the number/letter, the more moisture and hydration you will need. That's because our hair is naturally moisturized by sebum. Sebum is the oil naturally secreted by your scalp. That oil travels down the hair and helps keep the hair strand moisturized. The curlier your hair naturally is, the harder it is for your hair to naturally stay moisturized.


This is why straight fine hair tends to be oily and requires nearly daily shampoo and cleansing while super curly hair tends to lack oil and requires moisture and hydration but doesn't require daily cleansing.


So, generally speaking, hair care frustrations related to lack of moisture and hydration will typically happen with hair type 3 and 4 and curl pattern b & c. As professional cosmetologists, we take that input as well as all of the external factors and determine the best way to care for your hair as well as which products might work better or worse on your hair. After seeing thousands of clients, we have a very good idea as to how to not just style...but also maintain your unique hair.


NOTE: It is totally possible to have more than one hair type throughout your head of hair.


Here are tips for managing your hair type.
Shampoo weekly. Every other week at the least. Using a hydration and moisture based shampoo will rehydrate and make the hair manageable. Hair with a lower number will be naturally straighter. The straighter your hair, the more you might need to shampoo because oil or will easily travel down and throughout your hair strands. This is also true for those who are more active.

Detangle during the shampoo: Your shampoo should make your hair soft enough to comb through. If you feel like your hair is drying out, you may need to consider a shampoo with a lower pH level. Consider shampoos that are "sulfate free" when your hair is dry. The sulfate free shampoos tend to have less surfactants (which is a fancy way to say less detergents).

Condition with every shampoo: after opening the hairs' cuticles with shampoo, your hair is ready to receive the ingredients of the conditioner. The higher the number or letter on your hair type, the more oil you will generally need in your conditioner. That's because curly and coarse hair tends to allow less oil to travel down the hair strand to the ends.

Steam: The best method to infuse hydration and conditioner to the core or "cortex" of the hair.


When you understand your specific hair type(s), you will start to understand what products and hair care regimen might be best for you.  


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