3 Factors to Help Identify Your Hair Type 3 Factors to Help Identify Your Hair Type
Learn About Texture, Diameter, and Porosity in Cosmetology School Near You
No two heads of hair are completely identical, but in general, all hair can be categorized into one of 12 descriptions.
Professional hairstylists who have completed cosmetology school can identify hair type by touch and sight because they know the factors that determine it.
Three factors combine to determine your hair type:
Why They Should Know It
It’s important to keep hair type in mind during the cutting, styling, and chemical treatment processes, because the type of hair your client has will determine how you go about performing services.
In cosmetology school at Eric Fisher Academy, students learn not only how to identify hair type, but also how to work with it so that it looks and feels healthy and manageable.
Your hair texture is defined as the pattern or natural shape of your hair. Determining your texture requires that you examine your strands in their natural state – air dried without product applied.
If your hair dries straight without any wave or curl, then your texture is type 1, or straight hair. Type 2 hair is wavy, and tends to dry in an S-shape. Type 3, which is curly hair, falls naturally in loops and curls. Type 4 is coily, with tight, spiral curls.
Hair diameter refers to how thick each individual strand of hair is. Determine your hair’s diameter by holding an individual strand between your fingers.
If you can barely see or feel the strand between your fingers – and it’s much thinner than the thickness of standard sewing thread – then you likely have fine or thin hair.
If your hair strand appears the same thickness as the sewing thread, you have thick or coarse hair.
And if your hair falls somewhere in between, it’s defined as medium.
Porosity, a reference to pores, is your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. A hair with high porosity will absorb more product and moisture than a hair with low porosity. Hair with high porosity is prone to damage and frizz.
To determine how porous your hair is, remove one strand of hair – perhaps one that’s already fallen out in your hair brush – and submerge it in a small glass of water. If the strand sinks, it has high porosity. But if it floats, it has low porosity. Hair that neither sinks nor floats, but stays in the middle of the water, has normal porosity.
Hair Type Definitions
Now that you know your hair’s texture, porosity, and diameter, you can determine the exact type of hair you have.
Straight hair is subdivided into three categories:
- Type 1A: soft, smooth, shiny, lacking volume.
- Type 1B: Soft, smooth, shiny, and slightly “bouncier” than 1A.
- Type 1C: Coarse and thick, but straight hair.
Wavy hair is divided into three sub-categories:
- Type 2A: Thin, but wavy.
- Type 2B: Wavy hair with medium-thick strands.
- Type 2C: Wavy hair with thick strands.
Curly hair also is subdivided into three categories:
- Type 3A: Loose curls.
- Type 3B: Medium curls.
- Type 3C: Tight curls.
Like the other hair categories, coily hair can be one of three types:
- Type 4A: Follows a z-pattern in the coil, but is soft.
- Type 4B: Follows a z-pattern in the coil, but is wiry.
- Type 4C: Follows a z-pattern in the coil, but is extremely wiry.
Caring for Different Hair Types
In cosmetology school, you’ll learn how to care for, maintain, cut, and style hair of different types. Not every hair type works well with every hair product or styling tool, so to get the best results, it’s important to know the differences.
For example, Type 1A hair lacks volume, so layers give it more oomph than a cut that is all one length. Type 2C hair is prone to frizz, so using a diffuser for drying will yield the best results. Certain types of coily or curly hair require a leave-in conditioner to decrease the likelihood of breakage. And any Type 4 hair requires intensive moisturization and may need protective styles to stay healthy.
Focusing on Hair Types in Your Cosmetology Career
Some cosmetologists find that they have a passion for caring for specific hair types. Perhaps it is because they have the same hair type, or maybe they just realize they’re very good at it.
There are cosmetology careers in specialty salons for students who find their niche working with specific hair types. In fact, specializing can ensure client retention and attract new ones to your salon.
Prepare for a New Career Starting Today
If styling hair sounds like something you’d enjoy, and you love interacting with a variety of people, then becoming a cosmetologist might be right for you.
To learn more about education and licensing requirements for cosmetologists in your state, schedule a tour of a cosmetology school near you. If you live in Wichita, Kansas, then your nearest school is Eric Fisher Academy.
Our modern facility and world-renowned curriculum are easily accessible in central Kansas. Our world-class instructors and the chance to serve real clients mean our students are prepared for their licensing exams and for launching their new careers in the beauty industry.