So you're done washing and styling your hair the way that you always have, but it still doesn't look right. Your hair is somehow both flat and frizzy, it looks both oily and dry, and it's not holding a style. What gives?
Do you know what your hair type is? If not, you might be taking care of your hair all wrong! If your hair is looking dull, limp, or otherwise "off," it might be a sign that your products or methods are for the wrong hair type.
But what are hair types anyway? How can you find yours, and what are the differences?
Let's talk about it! Read on to learn all about how to manage every hair type.
What Do the Hair Types Mean?
Did you know that your hair type is mostly determined by the shape of your hair follicles? If you have round follicles, your hair will be straight. If the follicles are asymmetrical or ovular, you'll have wavy, curly, or coily hair.
It's possible for your hair type to change over time, but this is uncommon. Hormonal shifts can cause your hair to change its type, which is why people who are pregnant or who have recently given birth may discover that their hair is suddenly straighter or curlier than it was before.
You can also artificially change your hair type with curlers, straighteners, or chemical products, but this won't change the shape of your hair follicles.
Hair types come in four primary categories: straight, wavy, curly, and coily.
1. Straight Hair
Straight hair has no real "curl" or texture throughout the entire head. From root to tip, the hair falls flat (or sticks straight up) unless you use styling products. This isn't to say that straight hair can't be bouncy, thick, and voluminous, but it just won't have any curves to it.
Most people with straight hair can get away with minimal hair care products. Even affordable store-brand products usually work well enough without causing damage. People with straight hair also don't have to worry as much about bleaching and dyeing their hair.
That said, many people with straight hair (especially thin hair) are prone to oily hair. Because of this, it's a good idea to shampoo more often than people with other hair types. To avoid using harsh products too often and causing your scalp to further over-produce oil, keep some dry shampoo on hand.
People with straight hair should also avoid heavy gels, creams, or hair oils.
Straight hair should dry fairly quickly (as long as it isn't too thick). You should still avoid using heating products too often if you want to avoid damaging your hair, so opt for towels and air-drying instead.
2. Wavy Hair
If you have wavy hair, there's definitely some texture to your hair, but it may still be flat around the roots, and there won't be any clearly defined ringlets. Some people who think that they have wavy hair actually have curly hair, they just aren't using the right products, but this isn't true for everyone.
If you're a 2A, your hair will be straight (or almost straight) until it reaches the tops of your ears. Then, waves and curls will start to form. You may struggle with volume.
Wash and style your hair with your head upside-down to increase your volume. Avoid heavy curling products and stick with lightweight mousse or sprays.
If you're a 2B, your hair will likely also not curl until it hits your ears. From that point, the curls will look "curlier," and they'll have some bounce to them. As with 2A, style and wash upside-down for some extra volume.
2C waves start from the root and continue down. They're looser than curls, but they're still prone to frizz. Use mousse and a good diffuser to stop frizz in its tracks.
3. Curly Hair
Curls are more defined than waves but not as tight as coils.
People with 3A curls will have loose loops. They look almost like waves but with a bit more shape. As with all curls, you should never brush 3A curls while they're dry.
Again, these curls are prone to frizz (as are all curls).
Curl shaping products, like gels and curl butters, can add extra definition and moisture. Let your hair air-dry if you want your curls to maintain their shape without any frizz.
3B curls are ringlets. They start at the root, and they can give your hair a round shape. It's helpful to thin them out from time to time. Curls like this need extra moisture, so avoid using sulfate products and consider using a leave-in conditioner.
3C curls are the tightest curls. They bounce if you pull them down and let them spring back. This is a beautiful hair type, but it can be hard to manage.
"Plop" your hair or allow it to air-dry instead of using a blowdryer (even with a diffuser). Instead of using a comb, try finger-combing instead.
4. Coily Hair
Coily hair is made up of extremely tight curls. These curls are delicate, and they're prone to dryness, so make sure that you're using plenty of hydrating creams, gels, and conditioners. All coily hair has similar care needs.
4A coils are a bit springier than 3C curls, but they look similar. 4B coils are more angular, and you may find that they grow "out" or "up" more than down.
4C coils are a bit different. They're more fragile than the other types, and they require even more moisture. Hair masks are great for anyone who has this hair type.
What's Your Hair Type?
Based on this quick guide, which of the hair types sounds most like yours? Has your hair type ever changed? Do you need to switch up your hair maintenance routine?
All different types of hair are beautiful. Knowing your hair type will help you keep your locks in great condition.
Speaking of keeping your hair in good condition, have you bought a TurbieTwist microfiber towel or wrap yet? You can dry your hair damage-free. Check out the shop today!