Do you know what’s going on with your hair?
Like, you may have a thick mane of hair but where’s the volume? Or hair that’s oily and dry at the same time and how do you balance that out? And no matter how much conditioner you use, your hair doesn’t absorb any of it.
Truth bomb: just because your hair is thick, doesn’t mean it’s dense. Just because it’s thin, it doesn’t mean it’s fine, too. And just because the scalp’s oily, it doesn’t mean the ends can’t be dry.
It's so confusing. Figuring out your real hair type isn’t always easy, but it can make all the difference between limp, straw-like hair and OMG-worthy hair.
Here’s all you need to know to figure out your real hair type once and for all:
1. Hair Texture
Hair texture is the size of your strands. Their diameter. The thicker it is, the stronger your hair is.
To figure out your hair texture, do this quick “strand test.” Take a single strand of hair in between your fingers. Can you feel it? If it feels like you’re holding nothing, you have fine hair. If you can feel it a little, it’s medium. And if you feel a thick strand, your hair’s coarse.
Here’s what these results mean:
Fine hair: very delicate and easy to damage, it prefers conditioners lighter in silicones and leave-ins. Anything with a heavy texture will weight it down, and too many silicones will build up and dry it out. Once a month, use a hair protein treatment, like Pure Protein Filler Treatment, to reinforce and repair any damage (super important if you dye your hair or curl/straighten it regularly).
Medium hair: strong and elastic, with minimal damage. You can use both light- and heavy-textured products but go easy on the oils. Deep condition regularly and do a Pure Protein treatment every 4-6 weeks to repair any damage.
Coarse hair: the strongest of all hair textures but less elastic than medium-textured hair. It can be prone to dryness. Heavy oils and masks work best for this texture because they deeply moisturize it without weighing it down. A monthly Pure Protein treatment can also benefit coarse hair by assisting with moisture retention.
2. Hair Density
Did you know you can have a thick head of fine hair - and vice versa?
Truth bomb: hair texture and hair density are two different things. Hair texture is the diameter of your hair. Hair density is how much hair you have.
Personally, I have fine hair, but I like to describe myself as having a high thread-count. Fine hair, but a lot of it! You can have a lot of hair with a fine diameter or sparser hair with a coarse diameter. Yes, hair can be tricky like that.
So how do you measure density?
The hard way: you count the number of strands in a one-square-inch section of your scalp.
The easy way: stand in front of a mirror and grab a handful of your hair. If you can see your scalp through that handful, your hair is thin. If you can’t see it at all, it’s thick. And if you’re in the middle, it’s medium.
Knowing your hair density helps you choose the best hair care products and hair style for you:
Thin, low-density: thick-textured products weight it down and make it oily. Stick to lightweight, volumizing products. Opt for hairstyles that don’t show a lot of scalp, like braids and twists.
Medium density: prefers lightweight, leave-in conditioners. Choose hairstyles that are simple and rounded and allow your hair to fall naturally into place.
Thick, high-density: go for thick gels and creams that help you maintain the shape and texture of your hair. When you go for a cut, ask for layers.
3. Hair Porosity
Hair porosity is the ability of your hair to absorb and retain moisture. It can be affected by external factors, like chemical treatments and harsh weather.
As a rule, the more open your cuticle layers (the protective coating around the hair shaft), the more porous your hair.
Here’s a quick test to measure hair porosity: wash your hair, squeeze all the excess moisture until it stops dripping and feel it as it’s still wet.
If it has a rough, straw-like texture, you have low porosity hair. If it feels sticky, like you’ve not rinsed all the product off your hair, you have high porosity hair. And if it just feels wet, you have medium porosity hair.
What does these results mean?
Low porosity: your cuticles are tightly shut and let very little moisture in and out of your hair. It needs lightweight products enriched with emollients like shea butter, jojoba oil and coconut oil that coat your strands, adding moisture and shine. This type of hair is also prone to build up from protein-rich products so use these in moderation (once a month).
Medium porosity: cuticles allow moisture in but not out. This is what you’re aiming for. Medium porosity hair is very low maintenance. Go easy with styling tools and chemical treatments and deep condition every 10 days or so to keep it healthy and strong.
High porosity: cuticles allow moisture in easily and let it evaporate just as easily. This type of hair is very damaged, dry and prone to breakage. Use heavy butters and leave-in conditioners regularly to create a waterproof barrier that prevents too much moisture from evaporating out of your hair. Bi-monthly protein treatments will help to strengthen the hair, sealing the cuticles down a bit, and will give those conditioners something to "stick" to.
4. Scalp Sebum Production
You’re probably very familiar with this. It’s all about how much sebum (your scalp’s natural moisturizer) your scalp produces on its own.
You can tell by checking out your hair the day after you’ve washed it. Is it super greasy? Your scalp is oily. If it’s starting to flake, it’s dry. And if it looks the same, it’s normal.
Most people have a combination of an oily scalp and dry ends so if this is what you’re seeing, you’re not going crazy.
What do these different hair types need?
Oily scalp: shampoo every other day, rinsing twice to remove any excess oil. Use dry shampoo in between washes to minimize the oil. Stay away from rich conditioners. Opt for lightweight conditioners and serums instead.
Normal scalp: wash hair only when you need it and condition afterwards. A normal scalp is very low maintenance.
Dry scalp: look for moisturizing shampoos that both cleanse and condition hair. Do a pre-shampoo treatment with argan oil the night before washing your hair and finish off with a leave-in conditioner. Make hair masks a part of your weekly pampering routine.
We hope this helped you figure out your real hair type and pick the right products to keep it soft and luscious.