Hair can develop in several different fiber shapes like waves, curls, coils, crimps, and twists. At the “root” of a woman’s hair—whether curly or straight—is her genetics. DNA plays the most prominent role in the shape of the hair follicle which is ultimately responsible for the different types of hair that people can have. Round follicles produce straight hair, oval follicles produce wavy hair, and S-shaped follicles make curly hair. However, the way you care for your hair should be informed by the type of hair you have. Continue reading below for the best advice on caring for your hair based on your hair type!
No Curls - Straight Hair Types
While straight hair can be thick or thin, most people who have thin hair also have straight hair. The best way to care for straight hair is to start with your shower routine. Women who have straight hair, and especially fine hair ought to use mild shampoos to prevent damage. These women often get great results from using a sensitive chamomile shampoo or even baby shampoo.
Along with your shampoo, you should pick the right conditioner. If you have naturally dry hair, you should use a moisturizing conditioner. However, if your hair is oily, then use a mild conditioner for your hair and only on the ends. Keep a wide-toothed comb in your shower to eliminate tangles before you wash the conditioner out.
Wavy Hair Types
Naturally wavy hair can look incredible when styled correctly, but getting to that perfect style can feel like a maze full of dead ends (or split ends?), and wrong turns. The first thing women with curly hair should consider is the type of shampoo they’re using. Make sure that you look for shampoos made for wavy hair and advertise adding texture, bounce, or definition. Next, you’ll want to make sure that you’re not shampooing too often as this can cause unwanted frizz.
If you plan on using a conditioner, look for a conditioner made for waves or curls. When you’re done conditioning, use cold water to wash the conditioner out. Finally, let your hair dry naturally. If you blow your hair dry, you run the risk of generating an excess of frizz and static. In between showers, you will want to use a dry shampoo on non-shower days if your hair is oily. These tips–especially shampoo and conditioner–are generally applicable regardless of whether your hair is type 2A, 2B, or 2C. However, 2Cs should be more conscious of brushing with wet hair as this can easily cause knotting and hair loss.
Curly Hair Types
While wavy hair tends to have undulating S-shaped patterns, women with curly hair have tight, corkscrew-shaped hair patterns. In the shower, it's best to use shampoos and conditioners that are sulfate-free and alcohol-free to prevent excess frizz and static. Those with curly hair should look for leave-in conditioners with natural ingredients and oils. Additives like chia seed and linseed extract are excellent for curly haired women.
The biggest rule for women who have curly hair (regardless of subcategory) is to minimize or eliminate exposure to hot instruments such as blow dryers and straightening irons. If you must use your hairdryer, make sure that you’re using it on the lowest heat setting possible. This will help minimize any damage, frizz, and static electricity.
Women with type 3a curls should take special care not to overuse styling products. The best styling strategy for type 3a hair is to leave it natural. Women with type 3b curls also work best with a “less is more” approach. Brushing and straightening can often lead to more damage, so allowing your curls to be full and beautiful is the best strategy. Finally, 3c curls can often feel dry so be sure to apply conditioner to the middle and end of your tresses.
Coily Hair Types
Coily hair is full of vitality, bounce, and volume. The soft, spongy texture of this hair type can range from soft to coarse depending on the individual. Women with coily hair have very tight S-shaped or even Z-shaped follicles.
The main problem that women with type 4 coily hair face is excess dryness. The tightly wound coils make it difficult for the hair’s natural oils to travel down the hair strand. This dryness can cause excess frizzing, especially towards the middle and end of your hair. Because of the dryness, it’s best to avoid shampoos with parabens and sulfates which strip your hair of conditioning oils. Women with coily hair, especially type 4c hair should take full advantage of conditioning hair masks to keep their hair as supple and conditioned as possible.
Type 4a hair should rarely if ever be straightened and, if you do straighten it, should be generously conditioned. Type 4b and 4c hair tend to have problems with tangles and should undertake the detangling process with extreme care. First apply pre-shampoo (AKA, pre-poo) starting with the roots and ending with the tips. Then use a wide-tooth comb or your fingers and slowly work your way down your hair.
Finally, drying your hair should be as heat-less and friction-less as possible. Squeeze out excess water from your hair and once it’s no longer dripping wet, simply let your hair air dry or use a blowdryer on the coolest setting.
Every hair type has its own unique challenges and benefits. The key to keeping your hair healthy and strong is to learn as much as you can about the way that your hair and your body works. The suggestions here are for the average woman with a given hair type. If you have especially dry and straight hair, there may be something that you can learn about conditioning in the advice for women who have coily hair. At the end of the day, the right thing to do is whatever works best for you.For women who want to add more volume to their hair or who are looking for the best hair care products, VOLOOM offers a wide array of volumizing and hair care products as well as our patented volumizing hair irons, which help you add more, longer lasting volume to your hair.