A Look at the Different Hair Types and how to Take Care of them

Our hair plays a huge role in our appearance. Sadly most people are not aware that they have a unique hair type? Even though your hair may belong to a particular category, it may hair still exhibit unique qualities that distinguish it from the rest. There are four main types of hair, numbered from one to four. Hair types are categorized based on their texture ranging from straight to curly hair.

So how do you actually know the category under which your hair falls? It’s simple, just wash your hair comb it and see what happens. Airs dry your hair and see if they form curls, if they will tighten or fall away. Before we take a look at the four main type of hair lets first understand the differentiating factors exhibited by different hair types.

Factors to Consider When Classifying Hair into Categories

Hair texture

This is the main distinguishing factor when it comes to classifying hair texture. Since it is quite challenging to ascertain your exact texture if you have no knowledge, it is best to consult a hairstylist to determine your texture or you can do a simple test at home as described below.

Simply cut a sewing thread that is equivalent to your hair in length. After this pull a string from your hair. Remember to do this when your hair is dry and devoid of any styling product. On a white background place the strand that you have pulled besides the sewing thread. Use the thread as a point of comparison. If your hair is thinner than the thread, you have thin hair. If it is of the same thickness then your hair is of medium texture and so on

Hair density

This is another main feature that differentiates one hair type from another. To determine how dense your hair is, stand in front of your mirror and hold your hair right at its parting point. When you do this what quantity of strand is covering your scalp? Are you able to see your scalp when you do this? When much of your scalp is not visible that means you have thick density, when you can see a small portion of your scalp then you have medium density. But when you are able to view almost the whole of your scalp then you definitely have thin density. To validate this it is important to do an even test on your hair, and not just on one spot

Porosity

This simply refers to your hairs natural ability to absorb and retain moisture without any additional help. This is arguably one of the most important features you need to understand about your hair. Porosity is also extremely important because how much moisture your hair retains will determine its health.

To test for your hair’s porosity simply pull a strand of hair from your head and place it in a bowl of water to float. Be keen to see what happens thereafter. If your hair remains on top then that means that it has low porosity. If it takes a while before it sinks then you have medium porosity. Lastly hair with high porosity will immediately sink the moment you place it there.

Elasticity

Elasticity is another aspect of human hair classification. Elasticity varies from one hair type to another and therefore it’s important to know your hair type based on this. To determine your type perform a simple exercise on your dry hair. Hold your hair and pull it from both ends. Stretch it gently so that you may be able to note how the hair stretches. The objective of this test is to be able to know how much a stretch your hair can take before breaking.

A hair type with high elasticity will take a while to break. In the same breath medium elasticity hair reaches a certain level of stretch before breaking. When it breaks immediately then your hair has very weak elasticity. Now having looked at the differentiating factors in hair types, let’s look at the four main types of hair:

1) Type 1 hair: straight and free falling

Now this is a very common hair type. It’s straight like a bone. Its loose and free, has little and sometimes no curl at all and hangs down. Although it’s easy to wash type 1 hair have the tendency to have oily scalps. This type is very hard to damage and also has difficulty in curling. This owes to the fact that the sebum in this type of hair spreads from the scalp to the ends without kinks or curl

Type (II) Wavy hair

Its texture ranges from straight to curly hair and may become fizzy. This hair type can be tamed and easily styled. However, the medium and coarse type can be hard to style

Type (III) Curly hair

Also known as the S shaped type. This is because of the pattern the hair has that resembles the letter S and sometimes the Z shape. This type of hair is always dense, depends a lot on the climate you are in and is prone to damage. If you have a curly hair and you don’t take proper care of it, it’s likely to lose its curly appearance

Type (IV) Kinky hair

Kinky hair has a tightly coiled curly pattern and is very fragile and dense. When wet this hair tends to shrink since it has fewer layers of cuticles as compared to other hair types. Because of this feature this hair type is extremely susceptible to damage.

Finally, it is important to know the category under which your hair falls. This will be of great help when you want to determine the best way to take of your hair. Your lifestyle together with the way you take care of your hair will assist your growth cycle and also help reduce hair loss risks

Hair Care Tips that Work for All Hair Types

Avoid scalding hot water and only wash your hair with lukewarm water

While scalding showers every now and then can be extremely relaxing, hot water is not a good idea on any hair type.  This is because hot water will most likely strip your hair of all the natural essential oils and moisture leaving your hair looking extremely dull and dry. Every time you wash your hair ensure that the water is lukewarm and not hot. This kind of water will leave your hair clean without being too harsh and damaging.

Condition your hair gently and rightly

Chances are you already know how important a conditioner is but the question is, are you really using it in the right way? It is best to skip applying conditioner near the roots and instead focus on the mid-lengths to the end/edges. Use a wide-toothed comb to help de-tangle your hair while the conditioner is in it. For your conditioner to work it must be a follow up to a moisturizing shampoo.

Be extremely thorough when rinsing product from hair

The last thing you need when trying to grow or maintain long and healthy hair is more build up. Rinse out the remaining product and ensure that your hair is completely clean and free from any remnant product. An old cotton T-shirt is the best way to squeeze out the excess water, it is less harsh as compared to a towel. While a towel seems like the obvious and most popular way to remove water from hair, it is not the best choice because it is rough and can cause breakage especially to the ends of your hair and sometimes cause split ends.

Before heat styling it is best to protect your hair

Although it is not advisable to expose your hair to heat often, there is no doubt that we all love how our hair looks and feels after a heat styling or blow-dry session. Excessive heat should be avoided at all costs. Anytime your hair is going to be exposed to heat you need to first and foremost use a protective product.

Blow-dry your hair using a brush

If you are a new to taking care of your hair alone then blow-drying will not be the easiest skill to master but you will have more success and less breakage if you use a brush with round edges.  Ensure that you are brushing your hair in the same direction for a smoother result that is free from fizz.

Only straighten and curl dry hair

Picture what happens when you drop some water into a frying pan, then consider if the same thing happens to your hair. Wait until your hair is completely dry before you expose it to heat to avoid breakage and weakening your hair strands. As a rule of thumb, never use a blow dryer when your hair is still wet, this is a sure way to destroy your hair.

Finally protect your edges

The edges at the front of your hair are the weakest part of your hair. They are vulnerable to breakage and this leads a premature receding hair line. Protect your edges by avoiding styles that are too tight and also keeping the edges moisturized at all times.

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