There is no such thing as "perfect hair" and I don't think I've met anyone who absolutely loves their hair all the time. Hair is a science and there is so much to learn about growing it, keeping it healthy, fixing it, taming it and so on, that I had to take a couple of super in-depth courses to know all about it! And still learning!
We're all born from a big lovely stewing pot of genes, so you may end up with your grandma's thin hair, your father's hair colour, and your great-great-GREAT uncle's receding hairline, and yet when all combined it looks like nobody else's hair. Because it's not. This is yours, and it's up to you to take care of it and protect it.
And yes, hair is dead (read our previous blog on "fun hair facts") but it doesn't mean there's nothing you can't do about it in order to improve it, right? However, before you try anything it's important to understand what it means to have a particular type of hair, as this will help you understand what makes it look shinier, frizzier, untameable, or even which products can be used that cater to that specific type of hair.
There are basically 4 types of hair: Straight, wavy, curly, and coily. Within these 4 types of hair, there are 3 (or you could sometimes say even 4 or more) sub-types. Let's check 'em out in detail, shall we?
As you can see, the hair types are well-defined by the shape of the hair strand:
STRAIGHT HAIR: This hair type is gorgeous to look at, and most often used in hair promos like commercials and TV spots because it has a tendency to look shinier since light can reflect off of it easier. Yet it has its limitations, as styling it can be a challenge unless you use some strong product on it... ie: good luck retaining an iron's curl! Because the natural scalp oil (called 'sebum') can swoosh down the hair strand easier, not being so interrupted by curls and kinks, it can look shiny and well-moisturized, but it can also look greasier faster than with wavy or curlier hair. So it does have its drawbacks.
Type 1A - This is you if your hair is pin-straight and has no wave or curl whatsoever. It can also be the finest hair there is. You want to use a very gentle hair cleanser and try not to wash daily as this can make your scalp over-produce sebum (oil)!
Type 1B - Your hair can be pin-straight or have a slight "whoop" curl at the ends, but if this is your hair type you most likely have thicker hair (not necessarily "thick" but thickER) and you may find it slightly easier to keep a curl, like when using hairspray and mousse.
Type 1C - This hair type is also very pretty, as it's still straight but can have that 'beachy' look if left to dry on its own, or by using a salt-spray type of styling product. You most likely have quite a bit more hair than the 'thinner 1A' counterpart. How do you like it?
Ah yes, this is my hair type right here. It can look, well, wavy while the top of the hair can be flatter on the head and the ends curlier. This type of hair benefits from having a few layers in the hair cut so that the waves can better be appreciated, otherwise it can look "poofy", big, and can frizz up. I find Type 2 (wavy) hair quite easy to style, do you? Especially if left to dry on its own and then styled with just a few products to tame frizz and help it lift at the top.
Type 2A - There are definite 'S' waves in there, and they are usually loose and more stretched out. With this hair type you can go either way: Straighten it (but don't as it damages it quite a bit!) or leave it and play with the natural waves... Better yet, learn to live with the toussled look and if you must, shower before bedtime and throw in some loose curlers, like grandma used to! :c)
Type 2B - Like type 2A but with deeper, more noticeable S waves in there. The bottoms of the hair don't typically straighten out at the end like they do with type 2A's, but they will curl just that much more. If this is your hair type, try using a bit of product that will leave in, like our TRUU by Nature leave-in conditioner with curl-enhancing features. It's lovely and will support your bigger waves without making them look oily! Less frizz = happier people, right?
Type 2C - This are much larger waves and can have some curls throughout. It usually does not have too much of a flat top and can just look "bigger". If your hair is frizzier don't use any harsh cleansing products and definitely get our TRUU leave-in conditioner with curl-enhancing features! You'll looooove this on this type of hair!
Ah yes, these are definitely curls. If you're not sure whether you're a type 2 or 3, bunch up some hair strands and see: Are they sort-of wavy or definitely a curl in there? If this is your hair type it can look dull (or at least dull-er) as the oils have a hard time sliding down to the lengths of your hair, so some leave-in product or even a good-quality hair oil that works like a silicone alternative (like our Broccoli Seed oil or Marula oil) scrunched in between can make a difference between hair that shines or doesn't, hair that breaks easily because the ends are too dry, or healthier hair that keep growing!
Type 3A - This hair is gorgeous, and more often you will see it in younger children as they run and their curls bounce to and fro... boing! boing! boing! Super cute. Most likely you have thicker hair and when you pull your hair back in a ponytail it's quite the large beautiful thing. If you can stand having shorter hair then all the power to you as it can also look gorgeous!
Type 3B - Like type 3A, but you will most likely have more of a 'corkscrew' type hair strand. It's much easier to identify in longer hair than short, and your hair is probably coarser, yes? You'll need quite a bit of moisture in your hair products, so go for it and don't be afraid to use them! Just don't go abusing showers as your hair does not need to be washed daily and can only make it frizzier.
Type 3C - Now the curls are getting tighter! So a much tighter corkscrew than type 3B, and your hair is probably coarser too, yes?
This type of hair has been given so many names through the years that it's hard to keep up! Also called kinky hair, natural hair, or Afro hair, I think it's the most under-appreciated hair type, as just about every commercial you see on television will feature type 1 or 2 hair (that has of course been over-manipulated by styling!) and it can be so beautiful!
Type 4A - The shape of your S curls is definitely tighter, like little coils. Many people with this type of hair choose to have it thinned out (a hairdresser will essentially 'shave off' some of the coils under the hair to make it look lighter) which I think is unnecessary as it's so beautiful the way it is, but hey, to each their own and experimenting with hair is always fun, yes? If you have this type of hair, like with 4B and 4C, you want to keep it well moisturized in between washes, and then give it a good gentle cleanse to remove any residue or build-up in between.
Type 4B - This cottony-soft hair type can actually be quite fragile, so it should be treated gently while cleansing, and detangling will be a patience-filled process. Many people with Type 4B hair suggest that pulling it back is inevitable however it can also cause early hair thinning at the base of the forehead and sideburn area, so gentle daily scalp massages are recommended in order to keep the circulation flowing.
Type 4C - As you can see by the hair shape, these are quite well-defined Z curlsl rather than S curls. This type of hair is what is most commonly referred to as "Afro" hair, although I can't say I'm a big fan of the term (generalizing by culture is not my thing, as I grew up in South America and there are many tribes with Type 4C that will tell you they have nothing to do with Africa.) But there you go, again, to each their own. If you have this type of hair, what works best for you? I would love to learn more!
Factors that affect hair type
All genes aside, there are some factors that can affect your hair type or make it change.
Your hair type can change as you age and when it's affected by hormones, or even by season/time of year – so in the spring you may find it's straighter, while in the winter as the weather humidity changes, it can be frizzier and wavier. It can change if you're ill, have a disorder, recover from an illness like Cancer and it starts to grow back, when you have babies, change haircare products, as it changes colour when you get older (even curly-blond babies will see darker straighter hair as they grow up).
Makes sense though, right? There are a lot of factors that change hair density, so naturally it will change.
This is one of the things I found most fascinating about hair: So much of it is in the scalp, and due to each follicle health, that we can never underestimate the hair we have now and why we should carefully cherish it... You just never know what will happen to it in the future, so look after it NOW while you can!
Using the most natural products can ensure your scalp is healthy and un-stressed, to support your hair for as long as you live. If you're still using shampoos, conditioners, and styling products from the big box store or your local drugstore, CHANGE NOW! Choose the most natural, clean products you can buy. This is what we're here for.