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Types of Hair Texture and Their Characteristics

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The texture of our hair is determined by several factors, most prominently genetics. While each person has a unique hair texture, hair is divided into categories. What this does is help hair professionals and companies research and bring products targeting specific categories to market. It also gives everyday people a chance to better understand why their hair is how it is and how to take care of it.

Here are the different types of hair texture, with further explanation on why this is important.

Type 1: Straight Hair

Straight hair is hair that does not curl. It is the most common hair type in the world. Straight hair tends to have the most sheen of all the hair types, is the most resilient, and is the hardest to damage.

It is also very difficult to curl straight hair, which is a downside because the sebum spreads so easily from scalp to end. Straight hair is the most oily hair there is and the most difficult to style because of that.

Straight Hair’s A, B, and C

As a subcategory, there are three types under each of the four hair types, depending on the hair’s curl pattern, density, porosity, width, and length.

Straight hair’s three subcategories are stick straight hair, which is Type 1a; straight hair with more volume, which is more Type 1b.

Straight with body waves and a couple of visible S-waves, usually at the neck or temples, is your Type 1c.

Type 2: Wavy Hair

Wavy hair is halfway between straight and curly. The sheen is also halfway between wavy and curly. This hair type is more likely to end up fried than straight hair. A visit to a professional hair salon can help manage this issue.

Unlike straight hair, wavy hair is much easier to style for the most part, though, for some people, wavy hair can be equally problematic to work with. It all depends on the totality of the hair characteristics and what subcategory a person belongs to. The right hair salon can offer personalized solutions for maintaining beautiful waves.

Wavy Hair’s A, B, and C

Wavy hair can be loose and stretched with S-waves. It’s Type 2a. It can be shorter and more distinct with its S-waves, which is its Type 2b. It can also have distinct S-waves with some spiral curls, which is its Type 2c.

Type 3: Curly Hair

Curly hair is hair that naturally forms as it runs down to look like a repetition of the letter ‘S’ or ‘Z.’ Curly hair is generally quite voluminous, which is a characteristic that is highly sought after by many people.

However, it is very influenced by climate and temperature, is easier to damage, and can get frizzy in the wrong settings. Proper curly hair care is required to keep those curls healthy and well-defined.

Curly Hair’s A, B, and C

Curly hair can have big, loose spiral curls. It’s Type 3a. It can have bouncy ringlets, which is its Type 3b. Curly hair can also be tight and have a sort of corkscrew, which is Type 3c.

Type 4: Tightly Curled Hair

The last type of hair is tightly curled or tightly coiled hair. This is hair that is very, very tightly wound. It is fragile and has a very high density to it. When wet, this type of hair will shrink. It has fewer cuticle layers than other hair types and is more susceptible to damage than other hair types. No hair type is as sensitive as tightly curled hair.

Tightly Curled Hair’s A, B, and C

Tightly curled hair can be tightly coiled S-curls, your Type 4a. It can be tightly coiled Z-pattern curls, your Type 4b. They can also be a little more chaotic, sometimes mostly Z-patterned, more tightly kinked, and less defined, which is your Type 4c.

How Genetics Determine Hair Type

Hair texture is inherited. What type of hair you have is nearly pure genetics. As with other inherited genes, there can be variances in what is passed down from parent to child. For example, two curly-haired parents may not necessarily produce a curly-haired child.

Many genes are involved, and variances are common. How genes interact with each other can also determine hair texture. This is why, examining a whole family, everyone may not have the same hair texture.

How Environment Influences Hair Type

After genes, the environment has a dramatic effect on hair texture. Humidity can make hair frizzy and curly. Cold air turns hair dry and frizzy. Then, there is the influence of age. The more aged a person is, the more grey, thin, rough, fine, and dry their hair is likely to be. This is due to the natural effect of shrinking the oil glands in the scalp.

How your hair is treated and styled also affects texture. Any bleaching, colouring, straightening, and perming can damage or permanently alter your hair’s texture.

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