“What kind of shampoo are you looking for, Ma’am?” asks the supermarket lady.
“A branded one that will give me good results,” you reply confidently.
“Okay, what is your hair type?”
You stand there utterly clueless. If you have been in a similar situation, you have come to the right place. Did you know there are various types of hair? Knowing your hair type can help you pick the right products that can address your hair issues effectively.
There are many factors that determine your hair type. These include hair density, diameter, porosity, greasiness, elasticity, and curl pattern.
There are some interesting techniques that you can use to determine your particular hair type. Let’s dive right in to know more!
1. Hair Density
The density of your hair pertains to how much hair you have on your scalp. The density differs from its diameter. You can have thin hair diameter but thick hair density, and vice versa. Depending on the number of individual hair strands on your scalp, there are three levels of density. To find out which category your hair falls under, you can do the mirror test.
Grab a big section of your hair and pull it aside. The extent to which you can see your scalp determines your hair density.
- Thin Density
If you can easily see your scalp, you have thin density of hair. 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.
2. Hair Diameter
The diameter of your hair refers to the width of an individual hair strand. This is the most accurate way to determine your hair type. Do the strand test to figure out if your hair is fine, medium or thick.
Hold a single strand of your hair between your index finger and middle finger.
- Thin Hair
If you can barely feel the presence of a strand between your fingers, you have thin hair. In some cases, the hair strand can be so thin that it is not even visible.
- Medium Hair
If you can slightly feel the hair strand between your fingers, you have medium hair.
- Thick Hair
If you can distinctly feel the hair strand between your fingers, you have thick hair.
There is another way of testing your hair type by comparing it to a sewing thread. Place a hair strand along the length of a thread. If it is just as thick or even thicker than the thread, you have coarse or thick hair. If it is more or less the same thickness as the thread, you have medium hair. If the hair strand is significantly thinner than the thread, you have thin or limp hair.
Porosity refers to your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. This also extends to its ability to absorb products. Higher the porosity, the more moisture and product it will absorb. Knowing the porosity of your hair can be extremely helpful in choosing the right products for your hair. To determine the level of porosity of your hair, submerge a single hair strand in a cup of water.
- High Porosity
If the hair strand sinks to the bottom completely, you have high hair porosity. Hair with high porosity is more prone to damage as it can readily absorb the chemicals from products. It also gets frizzy and rough easily. Another indicator of this hair type is that your hair dries up quickly after you wash it. A vast number of tears or pores in the hair cuticle results in high porosity. It is often caused due to frequent application of chemical-filled products or treatments. Your hair is never hydrated enough when you have highly porous hair.
- Medium or Normal Porosity
You can find the strand floating in between and rightly balanced if your has normal porosity. This hair type takes in the correct amount of moisture. After washing it, your hair feels wet but not sticky. It does not require much maintenance and can hold any hairstyle effortlessly. Hair with normal porosity is less prone to damage.
- Low Porosity
If you have low porosity, your hair strand will float on the surface. This means, your hair takes a long time to dry. You have less number of pores in the hair cuticle, which minimizes its capacity to absorb water. The water tends to remain on the surface of the cuticle and products used often settled on top of your hair rather than sinking in. After a hair wash, your hair stays wet for long hours and feels sticky. It takes a ton of water to drench your hair.
4. Hair Greasiness
Want to know if your hair is greasy consistently or just acting crazy on certain days? Knowing the level of greasiness can help you understand how often you need to wash your hair. It can also help you pick products like clarifying shampoos and conditioners since oily hair tends to build residue faster.
To figure out the level of greasiness of your hair, you need to wash your hair thoroughly before hitting the bed and let it air dry. Once you wake up, do a patch test on your scalp. A patch test involves pressing a tissue against your scalp, especially near the crown of your head and behind your ears. The amount of oil deposited on the tissue will determine the level of oiliness of your hair.
- Oily Hair
If there is a heavily greasy patch on the tissue, you have greasy hair and scalp. This means you need to wash your hair 4 to 5 times a week.
- Dry Hair
There is no oil deposited on the tissue. This indicates a lack of hydration. Use products that can add and retain moisture in your locks.
- Combination Hair
If there is oil deposited on the tissue from only specific regions of your scalp, it indicates combination hair. Often the hair behind your ears and the temple region secretes a high amount of oil.
5. Hair Elasticity
Hair elasticity refers to the extent to which a single hair strand can stretch before returning to its normal state. It is a strong indicator of the health of your hair. Hair with high elasticity has a good amount of shine and bounce to it. It is regarded as the strongest of all hair types. To find out the elasticity of your hair, you need to pluck a wet hair strand and stretch it as much as you can. Depending on the results, your hair elasticity can be categorized into one of three types.
- High Elasticity
If your hair strand stretches a long way without breaking immediately, it indicates high elasticity. That means your hair is strong, girl! Hair with high elasticity (when wet) can stretch up to 50% of its original length before it breaks. Often, coarse hair is highly elastic.
- Medium Elasticity
If your hair stretches to some extent before breaking, it indicates medium elasticity. Most women have medium hair elasticity. You can strengthen your hair using natural hair masks and hair oils.
- Low Elasticity
Hair that snaps almost immediately after stretching falls under low hair elasticity category.
This hair type tends to be limp and brittle. It requires special attention in regards to the products you use on it. Harsh chemicals diminish the elasticity of your hair. Therefore, it’s essential to choose shampoos that strengthen hair cuticles.
6. Curl Pattern
Stop everything and simply observe your hair. Is it curly, wavy, straight, or kinky? There are four types of hair patterns. Want to know which one defines you? Let’s look at them in detail.
Type 1: Straight Hair
This hair type stays straight irrespective of any amount of curling. It typically lies flat from the roots to the tips. Its texture is soft and silky, and it is extremely shiny. It does not possess any curls. Often, women with straight hair have fine hair. Besides being soft, you can also see a high amount of oil secretion in 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 type, you can observe a slight curl pattern at the lower end of your hair. It can hold hairstyles very well. Its texture is quite rough, and its diameter is thick. Type 2 is divided into three sub-types:
- 2A is thin wavy hair
- 2B is medium wavy hair
- 2C is thick wavy hair
Type 3 Curly Hair
The best way to find out if you have type 3 curls is to check if your hair strand follows an ‘S’ pattern. It has definite curls that stay curly irrespective of any amount of straightening. It has higher density compared to wavy and straight hair. It is more prone to frizz and can get tangled quickly. Type 3 is again divided into three sub-types:
- Type 3A has loose curls
- Type 3B has medium curls
- Type 3C has tight curls
Type 4 Kinky Hair
Kinky hair looks coarse and rough but is actually quite fragile and soft. It is prone to breakage and damage with improper care. Kinky hair has high density with extremely tight curls. The curls resemble ‘Z’ shape. This hair type is divided into three sub-types:
- Type 4A is soft
- Type 4B is wiry
- Type 4C is extremely wiry
Now that you’re better informed about your hair type, go on and explore the right kind of products and haircare routine for your locks. Drop in your queries in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you!
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