How to determine your hair type once and for all?
Think you know your hair type but can’t seem to find products that work? Much like understanding your skin type is vital for curating an effective skin care regime, accurately determining your hair type is crucial. Still, many people maintain a misconception when it comes to their hair, as it can be more difficult to determine than diagnosing your skin as dry or oily. The fact of the matter is that hair types are much more complicated. Need some help? Let’s get to the root of determining your hair type, once and for all.
The obvious categories of thick, thin, curly, or oily barely scratch the surface of what makes up hair types. Just like you, your hair is unique, and truly understanding the type of hair you have means putting time and money into products and treatments that will actually work for your hair and help you make the best hair care decisions.
Here are a few factors to consider in determining your hair type.
Diameter of hair strands
The best place to start in determining your hair type is to begin by measuring the diameter of a single strand of hair extensions. Take one strand of hair between your fingertips. Don’t feel anything? This is a sign of fine hair. If you do feel the lone strand, your hair is of medium width, and if it feels thick or textured, your hair is likely coarse.
Another strand test includes taking one single strand and laying it on a flat surface. If it’s barely visible, it is fine. If it looks textured and thick, Vietnamese hair is coarse. Anything in between is medium. Setting a single strand of hair next to a piece of thread can also help you gauge the diameter or width of your hair; if it’s about the same width, your hair is medium. If it is thicker than the thread, your hair is thick. Similarly, if it is thinner, your hair is fine.
People often confuse diameter and hair density to be one and the same, but this is far from the truth. A person may have a thin hair strand width but have a thick amount of hair. Essentially, hair density refers to how much wholesale hair you actually have – the number of strands themselves and not how thick each one is. Thin diameter does not always equal thin density, nor does medium diameter equal medium density. More often than not, people will have differing densities and diameters.
The method to determining your hair density is simple; take a handful of hair from the front of your head and gently pull it to the side. Is a lot of your scalp visible between the bunches of strands? If so, this means you have thin density, if you can barely see your scalp at all, your hair’s density is thick. Anything in between is medium density.
CHOOSING HAIR PRODUCTS ACCORDING TO THE DENSITY OF YOUR HAIR
Hair density and diameter are key factors in helping to determine the type of products to use. For instance, someone with dense hair and coarse hair strands will need smoothing, anti-frizz products, while someone with thin density hair and coarse hair strands will need volumizing products, to make the hair look fuller.
Have you ever tried stretching out a hair strand before? This is a simple way to determine the elasticity and strength of your hair. If the hair strand snaps immediately after trying to pull it between your fingers, your elasticity is low, whereas if you’re able to stretch the strand, your hair’s elasticity is high.
Hair elasticity is a healthy hair indicator and helps determine how well your hair can hold any styling. High elasticity hair is better able to retain shape such as curls, waves, or other hairstyles easily, whereas low elasticity hair may need more product to hold styles, or may not be able to hold shape for very long. With low elasticity hair, it’s important to look for strengthening products and treatments like hair masks to prevent breakage and reinforce your strands.
Chemical treatments with hair dyes or perming always cause some damage to the hair, no matter how healthy, thick and luscious your strands may be. Before undergoing another chemical treatment, try a porosity test. Porosity is your hair’s ability to absorb moisture and product and can also help you determine the type of chemical treatments your hair can withstand.
THE POROSITY TEST
For the porosity test, fill a bowl with water and place a single strand of hair in the bowl. If your strand sinks to the bottom it has high porosity and is absorbing all the moisture. If your strand remains under the surface but floats above the bottom of the bowl, your hair is well-balanced and is of “normal” porosity. If the strand of hair floats above the surface of the water your hair has low porosity and does not absorb moisture easily.
HAIR WITH HIGH POROSITY
Hair with high porosity means there may be tears or damage around the cuticle, this can be caused by chemical hair treatments or heat styling, among other factors. It also means the hair can easily and quickly soak up product, meaning you usually need to apply more to feel or see its effects. Even with highly porous hair, it may absorb product quickly, but doesn’t necessarily mean it is hydrated or properly nourished. With highly porous hair, it’s best to avoid heat styling and treatments high in chemicals that can continue to dry out the hair. Instead look to hair masks, oils, and products that will provide moisture and help repair the damaged cuticles.
HAIR WITH LOW POROSITY
For hair with low porosity, the cuticle lays flat on the outside blocking water or moisture from being absorbed into the strands. If your hair takes longer to dry or products seem to build up into the hair instead of blending in, these are signs of low porosity hair. To get the most out of products, try applying them while the hair is damp and ensure products are evenly distributed to prevent build-up. People with low porosity hair may find they may need more than one chemical treatment when coloring, straightening, or curling their hair, but repeating several chemical treatments can be heavily damaging. Make sure to use products for blonde color hair, for example, and moisturizing treatments to help lock the style in, but also maintain the health of your hair.
HAIR EXTENSIONS ACCORDING TO YOUR HAIR’S POROSITY
Whether for low or highly porous hair, hair extensions are a chemical-free way to experiment not just with color, but with different textures, lengths, and styles. Oscar Hair’s Balayage and OmbreHair Extensions are clipped-in and are the fastest, easiest, and safest way to play with color with your natural look while also adding length and fullness in just minutes. Experiment without the damage for a refreshed look or sun-kissed dimension, a perfect option as we move into warmer weather!
HAIR PRODUCTS ACCORDING TO YOUR HAIR’S POROSITY
Coarse hair has a lot of texture and therefore, it is usually prone to frizz and dryness as this hair type does not retain water very well. For coarse hair, use moisturizing shampoos and conditioners, especially ones that contain Glycerin as this ingredient helps to hydrate the single drawn hair strands and lock in moisture. Using hair oils – especially those made of coconut or argan oil will also help to tame frizz. Look for sprays or serums with anti-frizz labels to help finish off your looks.
For thin hair, it’s best to look for products that will help prevent breakage or shedding as well as stimulate growth and promote thickness. Looking for shampoos and conditioners with ingredients such as Vitamin E, biotin, and amino acids will help promote thicker, healthy hair.