As much as women have a wide range of different complexions and undertones, the same goes for the texture and type of our hair. And similarly to skin where you get normal / combination and oily / combination types, you can get different types of hair texture on one head. Hair typing classifies texture from straight to curly.
Type 1 and 2 are generally Caucasian and Asian hair types. Most African and mixed race women tend to have hair that’s curly (type 3) which has a loose but well-defined curl pattern with lots of body and is soft and prone to damage. Or they have kinky hair (type 4) with a tight curl pattern with many bends in the strand that makes it break easily and susceptible to dryness because it’s difficult for sebum to find its way to the ends.
But besides knowing your hair type and texture, you’ll also need to understand whether your hair is generally protein or moisture deficient and whether it’s porous. To find out how porous your hair is, take the water test.
Take a few clean strands of hair and drop them into some water. If your hair is still floating after 3 minutes, you have low porosity hair and if it sinks, it’s high porosity hair.
How to take care of your hair
High porosity hair (usually caused by heat and chemical damage) absorbs moisture easily but is also susceptible to moisture-loss and needs products like leave-in conditioners, moisturisers, sealers and heavy hair butters to hold moisture in. Low porosity hair is more resistant to moisture loss but also to its uptake. This type of hair needs steam treatments, protein-free daily conditioners, and clarifying shampoos to get rid of product build-up, which blocks hydration. Look out for products rich in coconut, argan and jojoba oil and shea butter with humectants that attract and hold moisture. If you have medium porosity hair, an occasional deep conditioning treatment with protein conditioners is adequate.
Other articles you may be interested in:
Getting your hair type right
Hair type 101
Five ethnic hair care products we’re loving right now
The seven worst things to do to curly hair
Trends in ethnic hair