Hair type 101

Hair type 101There are about as many hair types as there are people, but since we don’t all have our own on-call hair care specialists, we’ve narrowed them down to two main categories – the moisture content of your hair, and its texture – and show you how to handle them.


1. DRY
Dry hair often tends to look like unwashed hair and is usually rough and thin. It normally grows thicker near the scalp and gradually thins out at the ends. Your hair is easily susceptible to damage, tangles, split ends and breakage.
WHAT TO DO: Cut back on heat styling (blow-dryers, flat irons, curling irons and hot combs can all cause dryness) and use a mild shampoo and conditioner that won’t strip your hair of nourishing oils. You may also benefit from using a deep conditioning treatment once a week, using something like Pantene Pro-V Intensive Restoring Mask, R59.99 or Schwarzkopf Gliss ultimate repair anti-damage mask, R79. Trim split ends regularly, and consider only washing your hair every second day as shampoos can be drying.

You’re smiling. Your hair is not too dry, not too oily, but juuust right. Go celebrate.
WHAT TO DO: Keep an eye out for signs of dryness or oiliness, and remember that using too many chemicals on your hair can push it into the dry category. Use a nourishing and/or moisturising treatment twice a month, and make sure to get the ends trimmed regularly.

Is your hair limp, greasy and difficult to style? Does it need to be washed frequently? Bingo – you have oily hair. Oily hair develops when our sebaceous glands are secreting extra sebum, making the hair greasy. This hair type tends to catch dust and dirt easily on account of its greasy nature.
WHAT TO DO: Choose a shampoo formulated for oily hair, but make sure it doesn’t contain protein, silicone, cetyl alcohol or stearyl alcohol, which can damage your hair, and make sure to wash your hair every day. Don’t apply styling products to the roots of your hair, as hair spray, hair gel and mousses may form a film on your skin, clogging your pores and producing breakouts along your hairline.


1. Straight
Your hair hangs loose and free, and is usually sleek, shiny and prone to oily build-up.
WHAT TO DO: A good conditioner will help keep your hair healthy and will make it easier to untangle after shampooing. If you have dry hair you will need to use a moisturising conditioner like John Frieda Root Awakening Nourishing Moisture Conditioner, R99.99. However, if you have oily hair you should use a basic conditioner on your ends only, to help prevent over conditioning. Straight hair can be flat and lifeless, so to give it some oomph, wash hair with a volumising shampoo (try John Frieder Full Repair Full Body Shampoo, R99.99 or Pantene Full & Thick Shampoo, R32.99) and towel dry it, then apply some volumising mousse – Revlon Flex Firm Mousse is a firm favourite, R33.00 – to the roots. Flip your head upside down and blow-dry.

2. Wavy
If you fall into this category, your hair forms a loosely shaped ‘S’ when wet. The texture of your hair can vary though, from thin to thick to coarse.
WHAT TO DO: For a lightly tousled look, work some Tresemme INSTANTREFRESH Dry Shampoo, R62.99 through your hair to create volume. Then work a little texture balm into the strands – though be sparing as too much will weigh your hair down. Flip hair upside-down and scrunch hair using a spritz of spray gel. Viola!

3. Curly
This is a tighter curl and has a more defined ‘S’ shape when wet. The texture is fuller and tends more towards ringlets, so you’ll need a few products to keep frizz and dryness in check.
WHAT TO DO: You simply cannot over-condition frizzy hair, so you need a heavy conditioner for use every time you wash your hair, and a deep conditioner for use once a week; a smoothing cream and alcohol-free gel to coat the cuticles and lock in moisture; a styling cream to enhance your curls (apply to wet hair and allow to air-dry) or styling spray, such as VO5 Curl Scrunching Spray, R39.99, to reduce frizz.

4. Kinky
Kinky hair types have the most defined curl – more like a zig zag and tightly coiled. This type of hair is the most fragile so be delicate when drying, combing, brushing or exposing to heat.
WHAT TO DO: Use a mild moisturising shampoo with a low PH level when washing your hair, or try a sulphate-free shampoo. Oil has trouble travelling down the twisting strands of kinky hair, which means the ends of your hair can tend to dry out – using a shampoo with sulfates strips even more moisture from your hair, making it prone to breakage and frizz. Also, use a conditioner every time you get your hair wet, whether you’re washing it or not, because kinky hair needs moisture.

Also, ask our stylist to trim your hair when it’s dry rather than when it’s wet – cutting your hair when wet can be tricky since you won’t be able to predict how your curls will react when they’ve dried.


12 Responses

  1. Very informative! Agree that Pantene is a winner for all hair types and especially dry and damaged hair.

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