How to Check Your Hair Type: A Comprehensive Guide for Optimal Haircare (2023)

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how to check your hair type

1. The Different Hair Types and How They Vary

Understanding the different hair types is essential for properly caring for and styling your hair. There are generally four main hair types: straight, wavy, curly, and coily/kinky. Each type has its own unique characteristics and requires specific care.

Straight Hair

Straight hair is characterized by its smooth texture and lack of curl or wave. It tends to be shiny and reflects light well. Straight hair can be fine or thick in diameter, but it is generally more prone to oiliness compared to other hair types.

Wavy Hair

Wavy hair falls between straight and curly hair. It has a slight S-shaped pattern that gives it natural volume and movement. Wavy hair can range from loose waves to more defined curls. It is typically more prone to frizz than straight hair but less prone to dryness compared to curly or coily hair.

Curly Hair

Curly hair has a distinct curl pattern that ranges from loose curls to tight coils. It tends to be drier than straight or wavy hair because the natural oils produced by the scalp have a harder time traveling down the spiral shape of the strands. Curly hair also tends to be more prone to frizz due to its porous nature.

Coily/Kinky Hair

Coily or kinky hair has tight coils or zig-zag patterns that create a dense texture. This type of hair often shrinks when dry, making it appear shorter than it actually is when wet. Coily/kinky hair requires regular moisturizing and careful handling to prevent breakage.

The variations within each of these main categories further determine individual’s specific curl patterns and hair textures. Understanding your hair type is the first step in developing a tailored hair care routine.

2. Determining Your Hair Type Without Professional Help

Understanding the Basics

Determining your hair type without professional help can seem daunting, but with a little knowledge and observation, it is possible. Start by understanding the basics of hair types. There are generally four main categories: straight, wavy, curly, and coily. Each category has its own subcategories, which further define the texture and pattern of your hair.

Observation and Analysis

To determine your hair type at home, you need to closely observe and analyze your hair’s characteristics. Look at the shape of your individual strands – are they straight or have a natural curve? Observe how your hair behaves when wet – does it dry straight or maintain its shape? Pay attention to how your hair reacts to different styling methods or products – does it hold curls easily or lose them quickly?

Once you have observed these factors, you can start categorizing your hair into one of the main categories (straight, wavy, curly, or coily) and then further narrow it down into subcategories based on specific characteristics.

Some indicators to consider include the thickness of individual strands (fine, medium, or coarse), the amount of volume your hair has (low, medium, or high), and whether your scalp tends to be oily or dry.

3. Characteristics and Features Indicating a Specific Hair Type

Straight Hair

Straight hair is characterized by strands that have no natural curve or wave. It tends to be shiny and reflects light easily. Straight hair can range from fine to coarse in texture.


– Strands are smooth and sleek.
– Hair lies flat against the scalp.
– Prone to oiliness due to easy distribution from roots to ends.
– Can lack volume and body.

Wavy Hair

Wavy hair falls between straight and curly hair. It has a slight natural wave or bend, giving it a textured appearance. Wavy hair can vary in thickness and texture.


– Hair has loose, gentle waves.
– Can have a combination of straight and wavy sections.
– Tends to be more prone to frizz.
– Medium volume and body.

Curly Hair

Curly hair is characterized by well-defined curls that range from loose to tight. It has a distinct spiral or S-shaped pattern. Curly hair tends to be more prone to dryness and frizz.


– Strands form distinct curls or coils.
– Can have varying degrees of curliness.
– Tends to be more prone to tangling.
– Medium to high volume and body.

Coily Hair

Coily hair, also known as kinky or afro-textured hair, has tight curls or coils that form a zigzag pattern. It is the most fragile and delicate hair type, requiring extra care and moisture.


– Strands have tight curls or coils with minimal definition.
– Can shrink significantly in length when dry.
– Prone to dryness and breakage.
– High volume and body.

By understanding the characteristics and features of each hair type, you can better identify which category your own hair falls into. This knowledge will help you choose appropriate products and develop an effective hair care routine tailored specifically for your unique needs.

4. Factors to Consider When Categorizing Your Hair Type

Factors for Hair Type Classification

When determining your hair type, there are several factors to consider. The first factor is the texture of your hair, which can be categorized as straight, wavy, curly, or kinky. Another important factor is the density of your hair, which refers to the number of individual strands on your scalp. Additionally, you should also consider the porosity of your hair, which determines how well it absorbs and retains moisture.

Other factors that play a role in categorizing hair type include elasticity, thickness, and overall health of the hair. By taking all these factors into account, you can accurately determine your specific hair type and tailor your hair care routine accordingly.

5. Step-by-Step Guide to Checking Your Own Hair Type at Home

Step 1: Observe Your Natural Hair Pattern

The first step in checking your own hair type at home is to observe your natural hair pattern. Start by washing and conditioning your hair as usual and allow it to air dry without any styling products. Take note of how your hair naturally falls and whether it appears straight, wavy, curly, or kinky.


  • Make sure to wash and condition your hair using sulfate-free products for accurate results.
  • Avoid using heat styling tools or chemical treatments before determining your natural hair pattern.

Step 2: Assess Your Hair’s Density

To assess the density of your hair, divide a small section near the crown into two parts and count the number of strands within that section. Repeat this process in different areas of your scalp to get an overall idea of your hair’s density. This will help determine whether you have low, medium, or high-density hair.


  • Ensure that your hair is dry and free from any styling products before assessing its density.
  • Use a wide-toothed comb or your fingers to separate the hair strands for an accurate count.

6. Recommended Products and Tools for Determining Hair Type

Products for Different Hair Types

When determining your hair type, it can be helpful to use specific products that cater to your unique needs. For example, if you have curly or kinky hair, using a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner designed for those hair types can enhance their natural texture and manageability. On the other hand, individuals with straight or wavy hair may benefit from volumizing or smoothing products.

Recommended Tools:

  • A wide-toothed comb: Ideal for detangling and distributing product evenly through different hair types.
  • A microfiber towel: Helps reduce frizz and damage while drying the hair gently.
  • A diffuser attachment for a blow dryer: Perfect for enhancing curls without causing excessive heat damage.

7. How Understanding Your Hair Type Helps Choose the Right Hair Care Routine

Catering to Specific Needs

Understanding your specific hair type is crucial in choosing the right hair care routine. Different types of hair require different levels of moisture, styling techniques, and product formulations. For instance, individuals with oily scalps may need to focus on clarifying shampoos and lightweight conditioners, while those with dry scalps may require more hydrating products.

By understanding your unique needs based on your hair type, you can create a personalized hair care routine that addresses your concerns and promotes healthy hair growth.

8. Identifying Combination Hair Types: Can You Have Multiple?

Understanding Combination Hair

Combination hair refers to having different hair types on various parts of your head. It is possible to have multiple hair types, such as straight roots with curly ends or wavy hair at the crown and kinky hair at the nape of the neck. Identifying combination hair types can help you choose appropriate products and styling techniques for each section of your head.


  • Pay attention to how your hair behaves in different areas and adjust your routine accordingly.
  • Experiment with different products and techniques to find what works best for each section of your combination hair.

9. Common Misconceptions or Myths About Determining Hair Type

Busting Hair Type Myths

There are several common misconceptions or myths about determining hair type that can lead to confusion. One myth is that only people with curly or textured hair have a specific hair type, while those with straight hair do not. In reality, individuals with straight hair also have different variations in texture, density, and porosity that determine their unique hair type.

Another myth is that once you determine your hair type, it remains the same throughout your life. However, factors like hormonal changes, aging, and external influences can alter the characteristics of your hair over time.

10. Tips and Recommendations for Maintaining and Styling Your Hair Type Effectively

Tailoring Your Routine

To effectively maintain and style your specific hair type, consider these tips:

  • Use a gentle shampoo and conditioner suitable for your hair type to avoid stripping away natural oils or weighing down the hair.
  • Apply leave-in conditioners or serums to provide extra moisture and protection, especially for dry or damaged hair.
  • Avoid excessive heat styling and use heat protectant products when using hot tools.
  • Experiment with different hairstyles and techniques that enhance your natural hair texture.

Remember, what works for one person may not work for another, so it’s essential to listen to your hair’s needs and make adjustments accordingly.

In conclusion, understanding your hair type is essential for proper hair care and styling. By following the simple steps outlined in this guide, you can easily determine your hair type and tailor your hair care routine accordingly.

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