What's Your Hair Texture?
I sure do hope you are alive and well and kicking and happy and getting-on-with-life-as-best-as you can! :-)
I'm bursting with loads of excitement today! I've been holding this news in for a while now, but it's time to let you know that I'm now a contributing writer at NaturallyCurly.com and CurlyNikki.com!!!! I'm still gidddyyyyy!!!! Both of these megasites are the most credible sources on natural haircare! *Gasp!* When I started out my hair journey, I found their communities really supportive! I'm deeply honored that they reached out to me and asked me to be part of their contributing team!!! So deeply humbled!
As I was doing some research for an article on my first CurlyNikki/NaturallyCurly article, (read it here), I came across a really interesting aspect of natural haircare that I had never (ever) shared on my blog: Hair Texture!
Let's take this one bit by bit, shall we?
The natural hair community is very fun, multifaceted and, I daresay, orderly. We like to be able to understand our hair according to tried and tested metrics, just as much as we are adventurous D.I.Y'ers who like to have our hair on our own terms.
You've probably heard of hair typing systems. Read a little more about hair types in this post I wrote a whiiillleee back! Hair types are categorizations based on curl patterns. Strands with tight curl patterns and kinks and coils along their shaft are placed within the type 4 category, while looser free falling waves and curls are often placed within the type 2-3 category.
Not all heads of hair have just one hair type, you might find that your nape has type 3 hair while your crown has type 4 hair! It's perfectly normal! Hair typing simply allows you to understand your hair structure better so that you can take care of your hair properly (products, styles, etc).
However, hair can also differ according to its width.
"Slooww down! Width?" (I hear you say through my computer screen! :-) )
Yes honey, width. See our strands can be fine, medium or coarse.
Here's how to determine your hair texture:
The String Test
1. Take a piece of cotton string - ideally one that you would use for sewing a garment. (Because, this is 1950 and I own a sowing machine that I use to make curtains?! Haha!)
2. Take a few strands of shed hair and place them right next to the piece of cotton string. Compare the width of your strands to the width of the string.
3. If your strands are thinner than the string, then you have fine hair. If your strands are the same width as the string, then you have medium hair and if your strands are thicker than the string, then you have coarse hair.
What's the difference between fine and coarse hair?
What is coarse hair?
Coarse hair is generally described as hair with a large circumference. It has three distinct layers known as the medulla, cortex and cuticle. All curl types can have coarse strands. Hair texture is determined by genetics, just like your curl pattern is! Coarse hair generally has a coarse feel, but it is least prone to damage from mechanical processes due to its thick shaft. Coarse hair also "survives" chemical processes and is less prone to damage: think of all those girls that would walk out of the salon with a thick luscious head of permed hair, while yours would fall limp! Smmmmhhh!! *rolling my jealous eyes!* Hahaha! (See pics here!)
Is coarse hair the same as “kinky hair”?
Based on our definitions above, no. Kinky hair, as in type 4 and coily, can be coarse – this simply means that strands with a tight curl pattern can also have a wide circumference. Alternatively, wavy type 2 hair can be coarse, meaning that strands with a lose curl pattern can have a wide circumference.
Is coarse hair the same as “thick hair”?
Hmm. Tricky one. The term “thick” is often used to refer to the density of one’s strands. This simply means, the number of hair follicles on one’s head. If you have lots and lots of hair follicles, you might have a full head of hair with very fine strands. Alternatively, you might have very few follicles, but strands with a wide circumference, meaning that your hair doesn’t look scalpy.
That said, the answer would be no. Coarse hair simply refers to the width of the hair strand while thick hair is an ambiguous term that could refer both to the width of the strand and the density of hair on one’s head.
What is fine hair?
The term “fine hair” refers to hair that has a small circumference or that has a small diameter. Fine hair is mainly a dependent on your genetics, and all hair types, regardless of their curl pattern can have fine hair. Fine hair is easily weighed down by heavy creams; it might appear full when washed but fall limp when straightened; it takes to chemical processes easily and is easily damaged; and lastly, it is very fragile.
Is fine hair the same as “thin hair”?
(I know all this terminology can be confusing, but hang in there!) No, fine hair is not necessarily “thin hair”. The term “thin” hair refers to hair density and not hair width. Thin hair means that one has few hair follicles per square inch. A fine haired naturalista can have a very full mane consisting of strands that are small in diameter.
I know that that this post has been jargon heavy...! But take time to sweep through it one more time and I'm sure it will make a little more sense!
Have you figured your hair texture yet? What do you like or dislike about it? Share your tricks and tips with me too - I know you have loads up your sleeve!!
Love and Sunshine!