Hair Texture: What’s Your Hair Type?

Many people think that “hair texture” is simply how their hair feels. Maybe it feels dry or oily—or maybe it feels so good that you want to run your hands through it all day long. But the truth is that “dry”, or “greasy” is not technically hair texture, it simply describes the state of your hair. Hair texture and hair type for that matter is something you’re born with.

There are three different hair textures and four different hair types. Each hair type can be divided into three subtypes: A, B or C. Once you understand the different hair types and hair textures—you’ll understand what your hair is naturally capable of when it comes to things like having body or holding a curl. Plus, once you know your hair type, you’ll learn how to take better care for your hair.

So, let’s talk about the different types of hair. We’ll go through each hair type below. And,  if you’d also like to learn about what hair structure is, you can read more about that here.

What is Hair Texture?

Hair texture describes the circumference of your hair. There are three different hair texture types—fine, medium and thick. Each hair texture type has its own traits that set it apart from other hair textures and influence the care or treatment it may need.

  • Fine hair is the most fragile hair texture. Each individual hair is thin and only has two hair layers; cortex and cuticle. If you have this hair type, you might find it hard to keep your hair in a style, or it might get oily easily. And, as you probably know, too much product will weigh this hair texture down, making it break easily.
  • Medium hair is what most people have, and is thicker than fine hair. The individual hairs have the same two hair layers that fine hair has, but may also have the third one – the medulla. Medium hair can keep hairstyles better, looks thicker and is more resistant to breaking.
  • Thick or coarse hair has all three hair layers; cortex, cuticle, and medulla. Thick hair gives the impression of a fuller head of hair, and it can hold a hairstyle well. If you have thick hair texture, your hair is more tolerant to heat, styling products, hair dye and breakage than fine or medium hair. But this also means that your hair takes longer to dry and can get frizzy in humid weather.

It’s easier to visualize the different hair texture types if you look at a hair texture chart. With a hair texture chart, you can more easily see how the fine hair type compares to the medium hair type or thick hair type. Unfortunately, the creators of the hair texture chart might themselves not know the difference between hair texture and hair type. Keep reading for a better idea of the different types of hair.

Hair texture and thickness
Your hair texture is something you are born with. The texture of your hair can be fine, medium or thick.

So, What are the Different Hair Types?

Your hair type simply means whether you have straight or curly hair. But, understanding the different hair types isn’t quite that easy because there are several subcategories within the different types of hair.

  • Type 1: Straight hair. Straight hair is often fine hair. It can easily get oily and shiny since the lack of curls in the hair means that the oil from the scalp goes all the way down the hair shaft faster than in curly hair. Type 1A hair is very straight and fine. Most common in Asian people. Type 1B hair is thicker – it is still very straight, but has medium texture so it has more volume. Hair that is type 1C is very thick and coarse, but still straight and shiny so it can be hard to make curls last.
  • Type 2 hair is naturally wavy, with more curl than some types of hair but less than others. It is usually thicker than the first category. Type 2A hair is wavy and can be fine and thin or a little coarser. It normally has s-shaped waves and is easy to style. Type 2B hair is wavy and medium thick. It can be frizzier. Type 2C hair is wavy, thick and coarse. It can get very frizzy and hard to style
  • Type 3 hair is definitely curly. These types of curls go straight when the hair is wet and then go back to being curly as it dries. It is easy to style and has clear springy curls. Type 3A hair is shiny and thick with defined curls. It can also get frizzy. Type 3B hair can also have a combination of hair textures and has tighter curls. Lists over hair types often skip type 3C hair, but it is a hair with very tight curls or kinks.
  • Type 4 hair is very curly or kinky hair. It is often very coarse, but in actuality, it is also sensitive and easily damaged. If type 4 hair is healthy, it should have some shine and elasticity to it. Type 4A hair is soft, with tight and well-defined curls. Hair that is type 4B is also soft and fragile, with very tight and less defined curls. Type 4C has such tight curls that it may not even look curly.

What To Do About Dry Hair

Obviously, each of us is born with a unique hair texture and hair type. You can’t change your type of hair to a different hair type. However, the way your type of hair looks is something you can alter. You might curl, straighten, braid or perm your hair, for example. You can also alter your hair care routine.  Dry, dull or frizzy hair can be helped with various home treatments, like hair masks or products. If your hair is constantly very dry, there may be health factors to look consider, as your overall health affects what your hair looks and feels like. If this is the case, a hair supplement can help you because it contains the important vitamins and minerals your body needs. It will also specifically provide you with the vitamins essential to healthy hair growth.

So Many Hair Terms – Understanding Your Hair Structure

Hair structure and keratin.

Hair structure is not the same as hair texture, which is not the same as hair type – it can be confusing to keep track of all the different terms when it comes to hair health. We will help you sort out the terminology.

Keratin – the Essential Building Block

Every hair on your head is 90% keratin. Keratin is a protein built up by a combination of 18 different amino acids that you get through your diet. Together with collagen (the other protein that hair consists of) keratin forms the hair shaft which is the hair strand itself, as well as make up the hair root and form a protective layer around the hair follicle. Collagen works structurally as connective tissue, binding the keratin together. Each hair shaft has three layers – the medulla, the cortex and the cuticle. This is the hair structure – how each strand of hair is built.

For many people, keratin is best well known as the substance mentioned on shampoo bottles that claim to strengthen your locks. We do not know for sure that applying keratin topically to the hair (through said shampoos) will strengthen the hair. However, it can make your hair shiny and more beautiful, so if that is your main goal, then go right ahead and use them.

What we do know is that it is important to get the right nutrients through our food in order for our hair to remain its strength. So if you do not eat a varied enough diet, or if you are too stressed to have time to eat healthy right now, or if you just want to boost your hair growth from within, a natural hair supplement may be a good idea.

The Layers of Your Hair Structure

The medulla is the inner layer of the hair and is loosely packed and disorganized. The medulla does not really do anything, but its DNA tells us from which species it comes, and from where on the body that hair would have been found.

The cortex surrounds the medulla and contains the main part of the fibrous mass that makes up a hair. This is full of keratin proteins and lipids. The cortex is what determines the strength and elasticity of your hair, and also the individual color and shape.

The outermost layer, the cuticle, is the protective layer of dead cells that you can see. The cuticle is made up of something like shingles that can open and close, letting in different amounts of moisture.

Hair types and structures.
Every hair on your head is actually 90% keratin. The keratin protein forms the hair shaft, and each hair shaft has three layers – the medulla, the cortex and the cuticle.

The molecular structure of hair will vary from person to person depending on their genetics. People with thin hair may not even have a medulla, while thick hair types normally have all three layers. But it can also differ on the same person, with some hairs having all three layers and some only having two.

All people have the same main structure – but it can still look different depending on your ethnicity. For example, African hair tends to have fewer layers of the protective cuticle, which makes it sensitive and prone to breaking. The layers of the cuticle are also more often raised. This lets in more moisture and causes it to get frizzy more easily. Asian hair often has cuticle layers that lie perfectly flat, which is why Asian hair tends to be more shiny and retains moisture very well. Caucasian hair can have a little bit of both and ends up somewhere in the middle.

What is Hair Texture and Hair Type?

Hair texture is different from hair structure as it decides whether you have fine, medium or thick hair. It describes the circumference of each hair strand. The third category to describe the hair is hair type. It defines if your hair is straight, wavy, curly or kinky. The hair types also have their own subcategories and may depend on your ethnicity.

If you have frizzy, dry, damaged or dull hair, there are endless home treatments you can try. For example, a homemade egg mask to boost shine and moisture, a scalp massage with an essential oil to improve hair growth, or a yoga and meditation session to reduce stress.

Your hair structure, on the other hand, is something you are born with and won’t be able to change. However, it can be good to be aware of that certain hairs tend to hold moisture and shine better than others, so if you have a hair structure which is more prone to breaking, it becomes even more important to add moisture to it and to protect it from things that will increase breakage – like too much sun, the use of hot styling tools and not drinking enough water.