More and more women are embracing their natural hair textures and most are trying to figure out where their hair fits in the chart of “types” to determine what their hair needs are. The problem with this “hair typing” system is that it only tells you one thing: your curl pattern. To really understand your hair and what it will like and dislike as far as products and maintenance, you’ll need to know more than what your curl pattern is. Here are the characteristics you need to know.
The density of your hair basically means how much hair you have on your head or the number of actual strands you have. So, if people remark that you have really thick hair, that means you literally have a lot of it. If when you part your hair, you don’t see too much scalp, then your hair is likely thick. On the flip side, if you see a lot of scalp when you part your hair, then you have thin hair. It’s possible to be somewhere in the middle and have a head of hair that’s considered medium density.
The Diameter/Strand Width
Another determining factor for hair care is the size/width of your strands or its individual diameter. This is broken down into coarse or fine hair. Don’t worry, you won’t need a microscope for this! Just take a strand of hair and lay it on a flat surface where you can clearly see it. If you can barely see the strand and it’s very wispy, it’s fine. But if the strand has some noticeable texture to it when you rub it between your fingers and appears thick, you have coarse hair.
This often gets confused with the density because some people may have thick strands of hair but not a lot of it. So while they may have thicker, coarser or wider individual strands, their hair is still considered thin. But then you may also have people who have very fine strands but it’s plentiful. Though the strands themselves are fine in size, that person has a thick head of hair.
How does knowing this help? Those with finer strands may benefit more from lighter styling products (for example, a styling mousse for hold instead of heavy gels) while those with coarse strands may need thicker products (butters, oils to seal) to keep their hair moisturized since it may be harder for this hair to retain moisture.
Your hair’s porosity has to do with how well it absorbs water. You may find that, either your hair sucks up moisture quickly and never feels moisturized no matter what you do, OR, you add product to your hair and find that it just sits on top. This all has to do with porosity.
Learn how to determine your hair’s porosity level here! For those with high porosity hair, you may need to use products that will help you keep moisture in the strands longer like an oil or butter, (whatever’s best for you depending on your strand width). If you have low porosity hair, you’ll need help getting your products to penetrate aZxnd be effective. The Q-Redew Handheld Hair Steamer is a “lo-po” girl’s best friend! The steam gently helps open up the hair cuticle to infuse moisture and allows your products to really get in there.
For low porosity hair, you’ll find that styling while the hair is still damp is best for moisture retention and for holding your styles longer. The Q-Redew Hair Steamer can give you just enough moisture during those midweek restyles. For high porosity hair, the Q-Redew can still be of use. You’ll need more moisture than others and steaming will give you the hydration you need when used along with your moisturizing products.
Honorable Mention: Curl Pattern
This is the actual shape of your hair which is what is referred to when you look at the “hair typing” chart. But, as you’ve seen, whether you have S-shaped waves, spiraling curls or tight kinks, there’s so much more to your hair! The “hair typing” system of numbers and letters only tells you what your hair looks like. But knowing your TRUE hair type goes much deeper than a curl pattern!