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Do You Really Know Your Hair Type?

Apr 7, 2008
It might surprise you to discover that human hair can be found in 10 different varieties. There are 4 main hair types and each one of those can have up to 3 subtypes. All that variety can lead to confusion when it comes to buying the proper hair styling products.

The first hair type is straight hair which is not easy to style or shape. The reason is the cuticles that form the hair itself are lined up in such a way as to keep the hair straight and stiff. That extra protection is what gives straight hair resistance to styling. If straight hair does get damaged, from being over styled for example, it normally is dry and easily broken.

There are 3 kinds of straight hair; course, medium and fine. Course hair is the thickest and most resistant to being styled. Next is medium straight hair which has lots of body and texture but less so than course hair. Fine hair is the 3rd subtype. It tends to be very soft and shiny although it also can be quite thin.

The next hair type is wavy hair. This hair is not quite straight and not quite curly. The strands of hair typically form S patterns in the waves. This kind of hair can be tough to curl and it may refuse to bounce at all.

There are 3 separate kinds of wavy hair. Just as with straight hair, wavy comes in fine, medium and course. The fine kind is actually able to be straightened or curled in normal circumstances. Medium hair has a harder time with styling and sometimes gets frizzy. Lastly, course wavy hair is very prone to frizzing and is very difficult to style.

Curly hair is our next type. It quite often is 'loopy' and makes a very distinct S pattern when you look and individual strands. It often has a lot of bounce, is soft and can be quite fine. The cuticles are formed smoothly and that yields a less shiny hair than straight or wavy. When wet, curly hair often straightens and oddly enough when the humidity gets high the curls get even tighter and frizz.

When it comes to curly hair, there really are only 2 different kinds; loose and tight. Loosely curled hair can have large often shiny curls when grown long but when cut short it can almost pass for straight hair. Tightly curled hair, on the other hand, forms tight almost cork screw type curls. What is seldom known is that many people with curly hair will have both subtypes at the same time.

The last kind of hair is called kinky hair. It is curled really tight, can be wirey and it almost always is very fragile. Kinky hair is not very shiny but it can have a subtle sheen to it. It is very soft and very easy to break because it has a low amount of cuticles. All of that adds up to hair that is quite difficult to grow long.

Kinky hair only comes in 2 subtypes. First is S pattern hair and second is Z pattern. The pattern refers to how a single strand of hair looks when it is stretched out a bit. S type hair contains a bit of moisture whereas Z type has very little moisture when compared to the other hair types.

Knowing exactly what type of hair you have is important for two reasons. First, it will help you make better choices when it comes to buying the right styling products (shampoo, conditioner, etc). Second, knowing your type well may help prevent you from trying to force something on your hair that is really against what nature intended. For example if you have really tightly curled hair you may not get the best results trying to straighten it with a hair straightener. And conversely if you have course straight hair, you are naturally going to have challenges trying to curl it.
About the Author
Marcy Givens is a hair care enthusiast who felt obliged to learn more about the wild variety of hair care products. She has some useful free tips and secrets for selecting the best Sedu straighteners and Chi flat irons.
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