When you look at a group of people, it is very clear that there are many different types of hair. However, it can be difficult to pinpoint what exactly makes one head of hair different from the other.
The term used to describe your specific type of hair is hair type, and we will soon find out how to know what it is.
What does hair type mean?
Your hair type is the important detail about your hair that differentiates it from other types of hair. Knowing your hair type is key to finding the right products and styling options for you.
Some people only think of the curly hair chart to know what their hair type is, but there are other important elements to know as well – density, porosity, and diameter. If you know all of these elements about your hair, you will know which routines will work best for you and which do not.
Also read: Black Hair Types
How to Know Your Hair Type
Hair Type Chart
The curly hair chart was originally created by hair stylist Andre Walker but was later added onto by others in the curly hair community.
Hair types include: Type 1 which is straight, Type 2 which is wavy, Type 3 which is curly, and Type 4 which is coily.
The hair type is the shape that the curl makes, but the letter specifications represent the width of the curls. The letters range from A-C with A being the widest in width and C being the smallest in width. Type 1 and 2 do not have a curl but are given a letter label based on how textured the hair is within its pattern.
You might wonder what makes the hair differ in curliness. The curl type of hair depends on the hair follicles. If the follicles are more circular in shape, then the hair grows out straighter. If the follicles are more oval or flat on the scalp, the hair will grow out curlier.
Many times, people with curly hair have more than one hair type. For example, someone may have 3a type hair around the edges of their scalp, and type 3b hair going towards the center.
Can you see your scalp clearly? Then you have low density hair. Can you see some of your scalp? Then you have medium density. Can you just barely see your scalp or not at all? Then you have high density.
Curlier hair tends to have higher density because curls take up more space on the scalp. Fine hair can contribute to lower density. There are several factors that go into high or low density, but any hair type can have either three.
If you have lower density, your goal may be to volumize your hair – so you need to find products that increase volume. If you have higher density hair, you may want to decrease volume – so you will have to find products that clump your hair together or lay it flat.
Density also contributes to the shape of your hair, which is important to know for styling purposes. For example, if you have higher density, curly hair, you may want to consider cutting layers into your hair to change its shape.
Are you the type of person whose hair takes very long to dry? Or are you the person who’s hair dries in about 10 minutes? Either one is because of the hair’s porosity.
The porosity of your hair is its ability to absorb and retain moisture. So if your hair soaks up moisture quickly, it also releases moisture quickly. You can have high porosity hair or low porosity, medium porosity is somewhere in between these two.
High porosity hair absorbs the most moisture because the hair cuticles are literally spread wide and gaping with holes. Moisture easily enters high porosity hair, but it also leaves the hair just as easily – leaving the hair frizzy and prone to tangling.
Due to moisture quickly leaving, high porosity hair can stay dry if not consistently moisturized. You can find out if you have high porosity hair if you take a strand and place it in a clear cup of water. If the strand sinks down to the bottom, then you have high porosity.
Also, if you rub your finger along a strand of your hair, and it feels very bumpy, then that is another indication of it being high porosity.
Medium porosity hair has cuticles that are not as porous as high porosity hair and takes in a balanced amount of moisture, as well as emitting it.
This kind of hair usually is easy to maintain because it does not dry out quickly, or is hard to absorb moisture. One way to determine if you have medium porosity is if you place a strand into a cup of water, and it only goes down to the middle.
Low porosity hair has strands that are hard to impart moisture into. The cuticles of the strands are very tight for low porosity and can leave the hair dry and sticky from product buildup. When the hair does absorb the moisture, it is hard for it to escape.
One way you can determine if your hair is low porosity is by placing a strand in a cup of water, and it floats at the top. Low porosity is also smooth as you run your fingers along a strand of hair.
The diameter of your hair refers to the actual width of an individual strand. The strands can vary from fine, medium, and thick. Any hair type can be fine, medium, or thick. In order to determine what the diameter of your hair is, rub a strand of hair between your fingers.
If you can barely feel the strand between your fingers then you have fine/thin hair. If you can feel the strand slightly, then you have medium hair. If you can definitely feel the strand, then you have thick hair.
The Final Word
Knowing all aspects of your hair will give you more of an advantage to bring the best out of it. No two heads of hair are the same, so find out what makes you different.
Knowing the details of your hair will also help you keep it healthy. There are ways you can improve the state of your hair if you know where to start.