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Hair care is an important part of self-care. Your hair is prone to damage due to exposure to harsh environmental conditions, chemicals such as bleach, artificial hair colors, and heat styling products. Thus, it becomes necessary to follow a proper hair care routine to preserve the health of your locks. (1)(2)
Different people have different hair types, and each hair type requires specific and suitable products and routines. (3)
What Are the Different Hair Types?
The “hair type” of a person is determined by a series of factors: their ethnicity, the coil of their hair strands, and the shape of their hair follicles. (4)
Type I – Straight hair
Straight hair is the most common hair type and is the easiest to care for. It holds more amount of oil or sebum in its strands and is thus usually softer and more manageable. (5)
Straight hair is further divided into three types depending on the thickness of the hair strands: fine straight hair, medium straight hair, and coarse straight hair.
Type II – Wavy hair
Wavy hair lies somewhere between straight hair and curly hair. Wavy-haired people have a very soft natural curl that is often described as “waves” by hair care experts.
It is again divided into three types: fine, medium, and thick wavy hair.
Type III – Curly hair
Curly hair refers to hair that has prominent curls that look like loops along their length. Curly hair is usually thicker than other types of hair and is prone to frizz and dryness if not cared for properly.
Curly hair is divided into two types: loose curls and tight curls.
Type IV – Kinky hair
Kinky hair has tight coils throughout its length. The coils give the hair a characteristic “raised look.” The hair tends to be fragile and breaks easily.
Kinky hair is common among African-Americans (although it also occurs in other ethnicities) and is generally referred to as “natural hair” among them.
Hair Care Tips for Straight Hair (Type I)
Straight hair is usually softer and easier to manage as sebum travels easily due to the lack of curls. Here are a few tips for maintaining straight hair:
1. Choose the right shampoos
Since straight hair retains more oil, it tends to get greasy or limp if not washed properly. Opt for shampoos meant specifically for oily hair.
If you have thin straight hair, opt for volumizing shampoos to add some bounce to it. (7)
2. Use the reverse washing method
“Reverse washing” refers to the process of applying conditioner before shampoo when washing your hair.
While it may sound like a strange concept, reverse washing is recommended by hair care experts for people with fine hair or greasy hair. It helps keep the hair soft and moisturized without weighing it down. However, there is no scientific evidence behind this claim.
How to perform:
Apply a small amount of hair conditioner from the roots of your hair to the tips evenly. Let it absorb for 3–5 minutes before applying shampoo and washing it off.
3. Use dry conditioner
According to hair care experts, dry conditioners and blow-dry lotions are ideal for people with straight hair as they help keep the hair nongreasy and glossy. (1)
4. Avoid overbrushing, excessive perming, and too much heat
Straight hair usually tends to be thinner than other hair types. Thus, it is necessary to care for it accordingly by avoiding the overuse of hairbrushes, combs, harsh chemical products, and heat styling products.
5. Change your hairstyling pattern
Use some dry shampoo or texturizing spray while styling your hair to absorb excess oil. This keeps your hair from becoming too greasy.
6. Get a layered haircut
You can add layers to your hair to give it the perception of volume. Layers help add a bouncy look to the hair and can keep them from looking limp or dull.
Hair Care Tips for Wavy Hair (Type II)
Here are a few useful hair care tips for people with wavy hair: (5)
1. Use the right shampoo
Wavy hair tends to get frizzy very easily. Hence, it is important to use moisturizing shampoos and other suitable hair care products to avoid frizz and dryness.
2. Detangle your hair
Wavy hair tends to knot or tangle easily. It is essential to know how to properly detangle your hair if you have wavy hair.
Never attempt to detangle your hair with a hairbrush or narrow-toothed comb. Always use a wide-toothed comb on your hair. It is best to detangle your hair in the shower after applying hair conditioner to avoid hair breakage.
3. Apply deep conditioner to your hair
Wavy hair needs more moisturizing than straight hair. Deep conditioners penetrate deep into the hair shaft and hydrate your hair from the inside out. They help reduce and control frizz without making your hair too greasy.
4. Use a leave-in styling serum
Apply a few drops of hydrating serum to your hair and scalp after a hair wash. Massage for a couple of minutes to let it get absorbed deeply. Leave-in hair serums go a long way in reducing frizz.
5. Air-dry your hair
Avoid the use of heat styling products such as hair straighteners and blow-dryers as they tend to dry out the hair. Air-dry your hair using a soft cotton towel instead. (1)
6. Use a silk pillowcase
Sleeping with a silk cap or silk pillowcase reduces friction between your hair and pillow and prevents frizzy hair in the morning.
7. Style your hair properly
Apply a small amount of styling mousse after a hair wash to keep your hair from drying throughout the day. You can also apply a few drops of hair oil to the hair tips and at mid-length to keep them manageable.
Hair Care Tips for Curly Hair (Type III)
Curly hair is thicker than straight or wavy hair and generally requires more moisture. (8) Follow these measures to take care of curly hair:
1. Use oil
Hair oils keep your curls soft and moisturized. Coconut oil, olive oil, and jojoba oil are all traditionally used to maintain healthy hair. (9)
2. Use moisturizing and sulfate-free shampoo
Sulfates tend to dry the hair and strip them of its natural oils. Hence, always opt for sulfate-free shampoos. Choose hydrating shampoos with moisturizing ingredients such as aloe vera and coconut milk.
3. Do not overcleanse your hair and rinse with cold water
Curly hair is prone to drying, and therefore it is best to avoid shampooing it too often. Use mild moisturizing shampoo once a week for best results.
4. Apply a leave-in conditioner after conditioner
Curly hair tends to get frizzy and dry easily. Hence, using a conditioner when washing the hair may not be enough.
Apply a small amount of leave-in conditioner after your shower to keep your hair moisturized and well maintained throughout the day.
5. Style your hair properly
Always detangle your hair only when they are wet to prevent hair breakage. Apply a few drops of hair oil or leave-in conditioner after washing your hair to prevent dryness.
6. Go for the right haircut
Foundation cuts are a go-to trend among curly-haired people. A foundation cut helps define your curls and gives them a flattering appearance. Long bobs or clipper bobs go well with fine curls.
Hair Care Tips for Kinky Hair (Type IV)
Type IV or kinky hair is tightly coiled and is generally coarser and thicker than other hair types. If you have kinky hair, follow these hair care tips:
1. Use a hair mask
Kinky hair tends to be dry. Thus, it is important to regularly apply deep-conditioning hair masks to keep your curls healthy and hydrated.
2. Use moisturizing sulfate-free shampoo
It is best to use shampoos that are free of sulfates as they tend to dry your hair and make them frizzy. Always chose moisturizing shampoos and never forget to use a conditioner afterward.
3. Treat your hair gently while brushing
Always be gentle on the hair when brushing them. Use a wide-bristled brush rather than a narrow-bristled one and do not use excessive force.
4. Style your hair properly
Avoid blow-drying your hair as this causes the curls to dry up and become unmanageable. Instead, towel-dry your hair with a soft cotton towel and apply a leave-in conditioner after each hair wash.
5. Go for the right haircut
Most people with kinky hair prefer to keep their hair longer as it is tightly coiled and “looks” shorter than it actually is. Nevertheless, it is important to trim your hair regularly to avoid split ends and other hair issues.
Extra Care and Tips at Home for All Hair Types to Treat Hair Problems
Here are a few additional measures you can take to maintain the health of your hair:
- Do not pull, twist, or pick at your hair a lot.
- Always use a wide-toothed comb to comb and detangle your hair.
- Avoid tight hairstyles that put excess strain on your hair, such as tight ponytails and buns.
- Avoid the use of heat styling products as much as you can.
- Consume a well-balanced diet to ensure your hair gets nourished properly.
- Avoid too much stress as it can lead to hair fall.
DIY homemade hair masks
Here are some quick and easy hair masks you can whip up at home to pamper yourself:
1. Egg mask
Eggs are the richest source of protein in diets. Apart from that, they are rich in sulfur, zinc, vitamin D, etc. All these nutrients help promote hair growth and thickness. The rich protein content of eggs helps deep condition and soften your hair.
How to use:
- Whisk an egg white in a bowl till it becomes foamy.
- Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to it.
- Apply the mixture to your hair and cover it with a shower cap.
- Wash it off after half an hour.
2. Green tea mask for curly hair
Green tea is filled with antioxidants and is a great ingredient to use to moisturize your hair.
How to use:
- Steep a green tea bag in 1 cup of water and let it cool down.
- Apply this tea to your hair.
- Wash it off after 10–15 minutes.
This green tea mask is an instant hydrating trick and keeps your curls soft and manageable.
3. Coconut milk to condition your hair naturally
Coconut milk (1) contains loads of essential fatty acids and is a natural moisturizer.
How to use:
- Apply some coconut milk to your hair.
- Wash it off after half an hour.
- Coconut milk helps add moisture to the hair strands and prevents frizz throughout the day.
Check the Porosity of Your Hair to Treat Your Hair Accordingly
Hair porosity is a term used to describe the hair’s ability to retain moisture. Hair porosity can generally be high, medium, or low, and it determines how moisturized and soft your locks are.
Hair care experts recommend a simple test known as the “float test” to determine the porosity of your hair.
To do the float test:
- Run a few fingers through your hair and gently pull out a single strand.
- Fill a cup with water and drop the hair in it.
- If your hair strand sinks to the bottom immediately, you have a high level of porosity. If it sinks slowly, you may have medium hair porosity. A hair strand that floats without sinking has a low level of porosity. (6)
Each person’s hair is unique, and what works for some may not work for others. It is essential to figure out your hair type and the hair care routine that works for you.
In addition, consuming a healthy diet and managing stress go a long way in improving the health of your locks.