How to Determine Your Natural Hair Type
One of the keys to grow hair faster is to determine your hair type and to work with, rather than against it.
Knowing and embracing your hair type can help you to better care for it, can make your life a lot less stressful (toss out that flat iron or stop going for relaxers), and can allow your hair’s natural beauty to come shining through.
First classifier – Straight or Curly
The straight ones
- 1a – stick straight
- 1b – straight but with a slight body wave, just enough to add some volume, doesn’t look wavy
- 1c – straight with body wave and one or two visible S-waves (e.g. nape of neck or temples)
The wavy ones
- 2a – loose, stretched out S-waves throughout the hair
- 2b – shorter, more distinct S-waves (similar to waves from braiding damp hair)
- 2c – distinct S-waves and the odd spiral curl forming here and there
The curly ones
- 3a – big, loose spiral curls
- 3b – bouncy ringlets
- 3c – tight corkscrews
The really curly ones
- 4a – tightly coiled S-curls
- 4b – tightly coiled hair bending in sharp angles (Z-pattern)
Second classifier – What (most of) your individual strands look like
- F – Fine: Thin strands that sometimes are almost translucent when held up to the light. Shed strands can be hard to see even against a contrasting background. Similar to hair found on many people of Scandinavian descent.
- M – Medium: Strands are neither fine nor coarse. Similar to hair found on many Caucasians.
- C – Coarse: Thick strands that where shed strands usually are easily identified against most backgrounds. Similar to hair found on many people of Asian, Hispanic or native American descent.
Third classifier – Your overall volume of hair
Put your hair in a ponytail with as much hair as possible in it. Don’t bother with the way it looks – the goal is to have most/all of your hair in there. If it means it sits smack dab on top of your head, put it there.
Measure the circumference of the ponytail. If you have bangs and/or you can’t get all of your hair in there adjust according to how much of your hair you have measured.
- i – thin (less than 2 inches/5 centimeters)
- ii – normal (between 2-4 inches or 5-10 centimeters)
- iii – thick (more than 4 inches/10 centimeters)
TIP: If you are having difficulty determining the thickness of individual hairs, this might help:
Take a strand of hair from the back of your head. Roll the strand between your thumb and index finger.
Fine Hair: Your hair is difficult to feel or it feels like an ultra-fine strand of silk.
Coarse Hair: Your hair feels hard and wiry. As you roll it back and forth, you may actually hear it!
Medium Hair: Your hair feels like a cotton thread. You can feel it, but it isn’t stiff or rough. It is neither fine or coarse.