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Confused about your hair type? Solve this puzzle once and for all

When it comes to choosing the right hair care products, determining your hair type is absolutely essential for knowing which products would work best for your hair. In fact, many of your top hair concerns or problems may stem from simply using the wrong products. By knowing your hair type, you can find the proper balance that your hair needs and end your bad hair days for good. Below is everything you need to know about determining your exact hair type and what that means for your daily hair care routine.

Hair Type

When talking about the shape of your hair, we are referring to bends in your hair. If your hair doesn't have any bends or noticeable creases, then your hair is straight. If there are slight "S" shape bends to the hair, your hair is wavy. Seeing tighter curves, but no spirals? Your hair is curly. Lastly, if your hair has obvious ringlets, you have coily hair.

Hair Structure

The first way to discover what kind of hair you have is by determining the diameter of your hair a.k.a the width of your strands. Now, your hair's diameter has nothing to do with the amount of hair you actually have. It's all about how wide the individual strands are.

To find out the width, start by taking a single strand of hair and laying it flat on a table. If you can barely see the hair or feel it between your fingertips, then you have fine hair. If the hair strand looks thick and appears to be textured, then the hair is coarse. If your hair is somewhere in-between, then you have a moderate or medium width.

Knowing this will help you better determine which types of products you should gravitate towards. For instance, coarse hair has a lot of texture, is prone to frizz, and often doesn't retain water as well as other hair types. In order to hydrate those strands and ward off frizz, those with coarse hair should use more moisturizing products.

Scalp Moisture

Want to know if your scalp is greasy consistently or just acting crazy on certain days? Knowing the level of scalp greasiness can help you understand how often you need to wash your hair. It can also help you pick products like clarifying shampoos and conditioners since oily hair tends to build residue faster.

To figure out the level of greasiness of your scalp, you need to wash your hair thoroughly before hitting the bed and let it air dry. Once you wake up, do a patch test on your scalp. A patch test involves pressing a tissue against your scalp, especially near the crown of your head and behind your ears. The amount of oil deposited on the tissue will determine the level of oiliness of your hair.

  • Oily Scalp

If there is a heavily greasy patch on the tissue, you have greasy hair and scalp. This means you need to wash your hair 4 to 5 times a week.

  • Normal Scalp

If there is oil deposited on the tissue from only specific regions of your scalp, it indicates a combination scalp. Often the hair behind your ears and the temple region secretes a high amount of oil.

  • Dry Scalp

There is no oil deposited on the tissue. This indicates a lack of hydration. Use products that can add and retain moisture in your locks.

Hair Porosity

Porosity refers to your hair's ability to absorb moisture or product. Knowing how porous your hair is can help you determine what kind of chemical treatments your hair can withstand as well as what type of products you should be putting on your hair. An easy way to determine your hair's porosity is by placing a single strand of hair into a bowl of water. If the hair sinks to the bottom, your hair has a high porosity as it's absorbing all the moisture. If your hair floats on top of the water, your hair as a low porosity and doesn't absorb moisture easily. Lastly, if the hair floats somewhere in the middle of the water, it has a normal porosity meaning that it is well balanced. Hair with high porosity typically absorbs moisture too quickly because of gaps or tears around the cuticle. Those damaged areas cause it to release moisture at a high rate, making it dry and brittle. For these hair types then, it's best to avoid heat styling and harsh chemical treatments that can continue to dry out the hair. Instead look for nourishing hair masks, oils, and leave-in treatments that will provide extra moisture and help seal the cuticle to prevent future damage from occurring.

Low porosity hair types, on the other hand, are those where the cuticle lays flat blocking water or moisture from being absorbed into the strands. For these hair types, the biggest concern is typically product buildup, which is why it's recommended you apply products while your hair is still damp to help ensure they're more easily absorbed and distributed.