Do you know your hair texture? If not, it’s time to find out. If you want more good hair days with less effort, you first need to understand the texture of your hair. Knowing your hair texture can help you select products that will actually work for you. And it will help you choose a haircut that works with your natural hair type instead of against it. That means less styling time for you, and less heat and over-styling damage for your hair.
Ready to learn your hair texture? Keep reading!
The Roots of Hair Texture
Have you ever wondered why some people have curly hair and some people have straight hair? Scientists believe that the amount of curl in hair is determined by the number of disulfide bonds between of the proteins that make up the hair shaft. Straighter hair has fewer disulfide bonds, while curly hair has many.
Individual hairs are made up of keratin protein, built from the amino acid cysteine, which contains sulfur atoms. When the sulfur atoms in cysteine pair up, they form a disulfide bond. As the sulfur atoms bond, they take the surrounding proteins with them, causing the hair strand to bend. Many disulfide bonds force hair to bend into a curl.
The curl pattern of your own hair is caused by the shape of your hair follicles. Round hair follicles don’t allow for many disulfide bonds, resulting in straight hair. On the other hand, flat hair follicles grow curly hair. The flatter the follicle, the more disulfide bonds in the hair strand, and the curlier the hair.
Hair follicle shape is determined by genetics. If your parents have curly hair, you’re likely to have curly hair as well.
How to Categorize Hair Types
There are many ways to classify hair textures, but the most popular is the Andre Walker Hair Typing System. Andre Walker created his system in the 1990s to market his own hair care products, but since then, it has become the most widely adopted system used to classify a wide variety of hair textures. We’ll use a simplified version of this system to discuss hair textures here, but keep in mind that there are many other ways to classify hair types.
To find your hair type, first wash your hair and let it air dry without adding any product. Then, read on to find which of the following descriptions sounds most like your hair!
Hair Types: Explained
Type 1: Straight Hair
Straight hair is shiny and reflective with little to no curl or bend. Straight hair is the most resilient of the hair types, but it’s also generally the most difficult to make and hold a curl.
To counteract straight hair’s tendency to fall flat and its general lack of volume, use a volumizing shampoo and conditioner like Toppik Hair Building Shampoo and Toppik Conditioner. These products will cleanse and moisturise hair without weighing it down.
Straight hair also is prone to greasiness, since the sebum on the scalp can more easily travel down a straight hair shaft. For this reason, we recommend using a dry shampoo like Batiste™ to absorb excessive oil between washes.
Blunt haircuts work well for women with fine, straight hair. While layers work best to add movement to thick, straight hair.
Type 2: Wavy Hair
Wavy hair types have bend and undefined curls. Wavy hair usually can be straightened or curled with ease, but it can be very prone to frizziness. On the other hand, some wavy hair can lack volume because it falls heavier, laying more closely to the head.
Cutting wavy hair short tends to make it look curlier. So for both women and men, if you want more relaxed waves, opt for longer haircuts.
Type 3: Curly Hair
Curly hair has a more pronounced “S” shape with bouncy spirals. It’s more prone to dryness and damage, so it requires special care to prevent dullness and breakage.
Like wavy hair, curly hair will get even curlier when at shorter lengths.
Type 4: Kinky or Natural Hair
Kinky or naturally curly hair types have a zig-zag shape, are tightly coiled, or may have no discernible curl pattern at all. This hair type is the most fragile and most prone to damage. So it requires a lot of extra TLC to minimize breakage and allow it to grow to longer lengths.
Natural hair also needs plenty of moisture to stay healthy, so keep a high-quality, deep conditioning hair mask or rich hair oils on hand for regular (think at least weekly) use. The edges around the hairline are particularly prone to breakage and thinning, so use Toppik Hair Building Fibers to fill in any sparse areas at your edges or cover scalp show-through.
Naturally curly hair is very versatile and can be worn countless different ways such as braids, twist-outs or wash-and-go styles. Experiment with your look and have fun!
We hope that understanding your hair texture will help you to learn how to care for your hair and love it. You’ll save a lot of time (and money!) by embracing your natural hair texture and rocking your own unique look!