One of the most frequent questions that I get asked over email and DM is “What’s my hair type?” Hair typing is one of the most complicated and misunderstood concepts in the natural and curly hair communities. I’m going to attempt to break it down for you in these next two blog posts. This first post will focus on the different aspects of curly hair typing. The second post will help you choose products that work for your specific hair type. Ready to get started? Let’s go!
There are 4 components that make up your hair type:
- Hair Structure
The most commonly known facet of hair typing is its Texture. This basically refers to the natural shape or pattern of your strands. This system was created by Andre Walker and is widely recognized throughout the industry. If you’re unsure about which category you fall into, leave your hair free of products and let it air dry the next time you wash your hair. If it dries straight without a bend or curl, then your hair is straight (type 1). If it dries with a slight curve or “S” shape, then it is considered wavy (type 2). If it dries with a defined curl or loop pattern, it’s likely curly (type 3) while tight curls, spirals, or zig-zag patterns are considered coily or kinky (type 4).
In a nutshell, Porosity is your hair’s ability to retain moisture. High porosity hair has raised cuticles and absorbs moisture easily where low porosity hair has closed cuticles and need more coaxing in order for moisture to be absorbed.
The 3rd component of hair typing is density. Simply put, hair density is the number of individual strands per square inch on your scalp or how thick or thin a collective group of hairs is. You can have high, medium or low density hair. To determine your hair’s density, tie your hair back and measure the circumference of your ponytail. If it’s less than two inches, you have low density hair, if it’s two to three inches, you have medium density hair and if it’s four or more inches thick in circumference, you have high density hair. If your hair isn’t long enough to pull back into a pony, just take a closer look at your scalp. If you can easily see it without touching or moving your hair around, you likely have low density hair. If your scalp is somewhat visible from the top of your head, then you have medium density hair. And if your scalp is barely visible then you have high density hair. (Credit: purewow.com)
The final component of your hair type is its structure. This refers to the actual thickness of the individual hair strands on your head. Generally, your hair can fall into three categories: fine, medium, and coarse. An easy way to tell which category your hair falls into is to take a single strand and lay it down on a plain, flat surface. Next, cut a piece of sewing thread about six inches long (choose a similar color to your hair if you can) and place it next to your strand of hair. If your hair appears thinner than the sewing thread, your hair is fine, while if it seems thicker, it’s likely coarse. Anything in between them would be medium.
our guide on how to maintain wavy hair
Although taking care of wavy hair may seem easy, just like other natural textures, it comes with its fair share of struggles (ahem, low to no volume for starters.) While no one routine will work for everyone, we want to share some tips on how to take care of wavy hair so you can achieve the glorious beachy, defined, voluminous waves of your dreams!
Re-evaluate your product stash
The first step on your wavy journey is to take a look at the products you’re using. If you find that your products are full of heavy silicones and drying sulfates, this is probably the time to ditch them. Heavy, or even overly-moisturizing, products are going to weigh down your waves and make it difficult to get that definition and volume you’re looking for. Instead, switch to something with lightweight moisture (like Low-Poo Delight and One Condition Delight) so you don’t have to sacrifice moisture for weighed-down waves.
As with any natural texture, you are going to want to deep condition. Unlike curly or super curly hair, you may not need to deep condition as often. Usually 1-2x a month should do the trick.
For styling products, you’re going to want to think about what you want from your waves and see if you have stylers that could help achieve that. If you’re looking for definition, are you using a gel? If you want volume, have you tried a foam or a mousse? If you want added texture and body, have you tried a cream? The list can go on! Figure out what you want and what works best for you and take it from there.
Apply your styling products…the right way
While there are many methods and techniques to applying styling products, the real star of the show for wavy hair is scrunching. Scrunching your styling products into your waves will help evenly distribute the product and actually help encourage wave definition.
If you’re looking for added volume, pop in some clips at the roots while your hair is still damp and remove them once your hair is completely dry. Viola! Easy va-va-voom volume.
Make sure you’re adding in your products while your hair is soaking wet so the waves can clump properly. Once they’re dry, scrunch out the cast to reveal defined waves!
Air-dry vs. diffuse
Whether you choose to air-dry or diffuse is really up to you! Just like product routines, drying techniques work differently for everyone. If you do choose to diffuse, make sure to keep it on low heat and low speed to avoid any unwanted frizz.
Leave any questions you have about maintaining wavy hair below and check out our products for waves here.