Identifying your hair type is important for its care, maintenance, treatment and styling. Surprisingly, not many of us know the type of our own hair. This results in choosing the wrong kind of hair products, which are not meant for our hair type, and hence we do not get the desired results.
The first step to identify your hair is to identify your skin type. The scalp shows the same behavior as your skin. If you have dry, normal, oily, normal to dry or normal to oily skin, your scalp also follows the same pattern. Hair types are usually the same as skin types; but they are further classified as straight, wavy, curly, thick or thin.
Normal hair is shiny and a balanced secretion of oil from the glands is in the scalp. Dry hair is prone to damage and tends to break out because of insufficient oil secretions from the glands. This type of hair is coarse and rough and requires proper conditioning. Oily hair has a highly active oil glands, which secrete a lot of oil.
Oily hair is also shiny but it needs frequent washing; otherwise, the oil glands clog due to dirt and can even attract bacterial infections.
Human hair can be straight, wavy or curly. Variations occur in each type of hair type, and this is the reason why every human being has different hair from his fellow beings. To identify the hair type, one should wash the hair with normal shampoo and allow it to dry without using a towel or hair-dryer. Once your hair is dried completely, you are ready to identify your hair type.
Your hair is one or combination of the following patterns:
1. Flat and straight
2. Little body but no wave
3. Two or three waves but overall straight
4. Loose waves
5. Distinct waves
6. Slight curls
7. Lots of loose spiral curls
8. Bouncy curls
9. Tight curls
10. Tight S-shaped curls
11. Tight S-shaped curls falling in a zigzag pattern.
The things to remember while analyzing hair are:
• Texture is the measure of the circumference of the strand itself. Based on this it can be determined whether the hair is coarse, fine or medium. Coarse type is stronger, rough and heavy but can turn out to be resistant to coloring, or straightening, it has a diameter of more than 100 microns. Fine hair although easily manipulated is the most susceptible to chemical damage.
• Density means how much hair you have on your head. This has nothing to do with the texture one may have. It does affect the style you should have. Somebody who has a larger volume can afford to try out a variety of styles but people with less volume have limited styles as their option. You can find out whether you have thick or thin hair by the time it takes to dry; if it takes less than an hour then it is thin but if it takes longer then it is thick.
• Porosity refers to the moisture your hair can absorb. If your hair feels rough when dry and rubbery when wet then you have hair of high porosity otherwise it is normal.
• Elasticity means how much your hair can stretch while wet.
• Wave pattern means how a strand is shaped; whether it is curly or straight or slightly wavy.
There is another way by which hair is normally grouped like:
• Oily hair is greasy in feel since the amount of sebum produced here is more; hence it often has the problem of dandruff.
• Dry hair often has problems of itchiness and flaking and also breaks easily.
• Normal hair is the healthiest hair where it has shine but not due to grease.
• Combination hair will have oily and dry both types at a different area of the head. Normally the ends are dry and the head is greasy.
Once you determine the type and extent of wave or curl in your locks, you can move on to the next step. Find out the thickness of a single strand of your coat and of your overall curl. For this, take a clean single strand of your coat and hold it in front of your eyes.
If it is barely visible or felt with your fingers, it is fine hair. The medium coat is visible and felt easily with your fingers but it is still soft like a cotton ball; coarse hair is thicker, definitely visible and feels slippery and wiry when held between fingers.
To identify the overall thickness of your coat, gather your hair in a ponytail and measure the circumference. Thin hair will measure less or equal to 2 inches; the normal coat will be between 2-4 inches; and thick hair will be 4-4+inches.
Knowing the exact type of your hair can lead to healthy and beautiful hair with appropriate maintenance and care.
Professional Hair Care Advice
Many of us tend to get hair care advice from the professionals. They exert a lot of effort into its care and maintenance. With the apparently infinite options available these days, it can be a challenge to find the best products that will provide you with the best treatment. Here is a little advice they may give you.
The first thing that your professional stylist will tell you is to moisturize your on a regular basis as part of hair care advice. In doing this, it helps to care for dry and dull hair which causes problems for lots of us every single day. After shampooing, you can moisturize by massaging in some conditioner, paying particular attention to your scalp.
Leave it on for a few minutes and rinse thoroughly. There are also new kinds of conditioners that do not require any rinsing. Most leave-in products are usually in spray and cream form.
We have all heard, ‘You are what you eat’ and this applies to the health of every follicle on your head. The quality of your hair will be improved significantly if you make a few healthy modifications to your daily diet. Increasing your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables is a good start.
If you combine this with drinking water every day and reducing your consumption of junk foods, you will soon notice positive changes to your locks.
Trimming your hair regularly — ideally, you should take off half an inch once every two months, to keep it in excellent form. This will make sure that your hair is always free of split ends, and will also promote healthy growth.
Products and Treatments
You also have to remember that everyone has very different hair types. So you must be mindful that even though a particular product works well for you; does not mean that it will do the same for me and vice versa. In order to figure out which products are right for you, you have to consider your own type, as well as your current hairstyle.
There are thousands of products available in beauty shops and online stores, so you don’t have to worry about finding a few things that will work for you. However, you have to resist the temptation of applying too many different kinds of creams, conditioners, sprays lotions and potions.
Instead of improving your look, this will only make your tresses rough, dry and greasy.
Using the expert hair care advice offered to you in salons or beauty departments is one step towards your own beauty care routine. Only you truly know what feels right for you.