You have your genes to thank for the shape of your hair and for that very reason, altering hair shapes can only be achieved on the surface. The shape of the hair follicle and the angle at which each strand sprouts out of the scalp determines if you have straight or curly hair. Hair has been cast into four general types of texture. Have a look at them to understand what type your hair might fall into and how to take care and maintain it better.

Hair Type 1 – Straight hair: This type has a round shaped follicle and falls straight from the scalp. The natural scalp secretions easily reach to the ends of the hair giving it the most sheen and lustre. This type of hair is also low in porosity, which means the cuticle cells lie flat and it has high ability to retain moisture once absorbed. Straight hair is stronger and less prone to breakage and damage. Use lighter oils, liquid water based shampoos and conditioners to care for this type as heavy creams and butters can weigh it down, making it oily. This hair may need frequent washing to cleanse out excess oil.  Use warm water to open up the cuticles and allow the goodness of hair products to get in and seal it with a cold rinse each time. Use products that don’t cause a build up and help in adding volume especially if your straight hair is too fine in density.

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Hair Type 2 – Wavy hair: This type has an oval shaped hair follicle making the stands form an “S” shape. If you have this type of hair, you may notice that while it has sheen at the roots, the ends are drier. This is because the natural sebum secretion doesn’t reach the ends of the strands. Wavy hair may be slightly more porous, porosity varying from person to person. In a humid climate it becomes a magnate to water and swells up causing frizz. Most products meant for curly hairs are good to be used on this type. This type of hair is stronger than curly and kinky hair. For hair care regimen, include a hydrating mask once a week to keep your mane moisturised. Wash with warm water to open up the cuticles and rinse with cold water to seal in the conditioning treatment applied.

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Type 3 – Curly hair and Type – 4 Kinky Hair: The hair follicle is elliptical or flat in shape leading the strands to form ringlets in type 3 and tight coils in type 4. When wet, if your curly hair falls straight or gets wavy then you have Type 3, but if it retains its tightly coiled-up form, then you have a Type 4 hair. Curly and kinky hair types appear dull and extremely dry as natural scalp secretions aren’t heavy enough to make past all the curves and bends to the ends of the strands. Much to your dismay these two types are climate dependant and are prone to easy breakage and appropriate care is essential to help keep them hydrated and in style.

Hydration is the key to caring for these two types, as they tend to be high in porosity and hence lose out moisture easily so limit hair wash to not more than once a week. To combat dryness, avoid using harsh chemical treatments or heat styling tools that weaken the strands. Avoid sulphate shampoos as they lift up cuticles and strip out moisture. Vigorous rubbing of cotton towels to dry hair also causes static and friction, not helping our cause. Instead try wrapping a microfiber cloth to soak up and then air dry.  Oil based leave in conditioners, serums, hair butters and masks all work great on curly and kinky hair. If your hair is extremely kinky (afro-like), daily moisturising with a serum or oil is highly recommended. A cold water rinse will help add shine to the strands as the cuticles will lie flat allowing for light reflection.

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