When customers ask us for product recommendations based on their hair type, they may default to describing their curl pattern – the numbers “1” through “4” and letters “a” through “c” format that many of us have become accustomed to. Did you know that curl pattern is just one aspect that determines a person's hair type? And it’s not even the most important! In fact, we think that curl pattern is the least important when it comes to deciding on a product or a technique that’s best for your hair.
So, if curl pattern isn't that important for picking products and techniques, what is? The answer: porosity, density and texture. We’ve previously done a post on porosity, which refers to the hair’s ability to absorb hydration. In this post, we’ll cover the two other attributes of a person’s hair type and why they matter: density and texture.
Hair density refers to the amount of hair that a person has. It can be measured by the number of individual strands growing out of each square inch of your scalp. While many people use the words “thick” or “thin” to describe this aspect of hair, thickness is actually something totally different (we’ll get to that later). Every curl pattern can have high density or low density hair.
High density hair means that there are a lot of strands per square inch of scalp and hair appears very full or voluminous. A telltale sign of high density hair is that you may need to part your hair into many sections during styling or for even product application. Low density hair means that there are not a lot of strands per square inch of scalp. Hair may lack volume or need to be teased and fluffed to achieve a fuller look. With low density hair, you can often style or apply products in larger sections. Medium density is in between high and low density. On average, people typically have about 2,200 strands of hair per square inch of scalp.
Hair texture is the correct terminology that refers to the thickness of hair. It is measured by the width of each strand. Hair can range from coarse (thick) to fine (thin). Hair texture is separate from curl pattern, which is the shape of the curl. Every curl pattern can have a coarse, medium or fine texture.
Coarse hair is the thickest and most resilient texture. It is the most resistant to heat, chemicals, dye and breakage. Coarse hair also typically holds hairstyles the best. Fine hair is the most fragile since it is the thinnest. It might become easily weighed down by heavy products and is most prone to breakage. Medium textured hair is in between the two.
You can determine your hair texture by visually examining the thickness of your individual strands of hair, feeling how thick it is between your fingers, or understanding how your hair responds to heat and chemicals.
How Density and Texture Impact Your Hair Routine
Along with porosity, knowing your hair density and texture helps you determine the best approach for product selection and styling.
For example if your hair is fine, you may opt for lightweight stylers, like the Ease Leave-In Conditioner and Hy-Fresh Conditioning Spray, and avoid chemical processing and heat styling to minimize breakage. If it is coarse, you may use thicker creams, like the More Moisture Cream.
If your hair is high density, you may choose to apply your styling product in more sections to ensure it is evenly distributed. If it is low density, you may use methods to tease and fluff your hair that give the most fullness to your look.
For more recommendations based on your hair type, check out our Product Guide.