Hair Types and Hair Maintenance

Whether it is short or long, brown or blond, straight or curly, hair means something. Walking out of your home knowing your hair is fresh and stylish can boost your self-confidence all the way. It is crucial to understand your hair and ensure the best and most consistent results. 

There are four main hair types, each having its own benefits and drawbacks. Because of this, the first step to getting acquainted with your hair is to be aware of which section you fall into.  

Type 1

Straight hair needs the least maintenance out of all the hair types. Nonetheless, there are still ways to keep your hair looking its best at all times. 

Anne Hathaway

Frizz might be straight hair’s biggest foe. While it is natural and quite common across all hair types, frizz can ruin any hairstyle and your day. To minimize it, swap your regular towel with a microfiber one or a clean cotton T-shirt; the roughness of your towel can pull on your strands and prevent them from laying flat, but a microfiber towel and cotton shirt are smoother, so you can dry your hair without causing damage. 

Since the hair strand is straight, the scalp’s natural oils have no problem traveling down the hair shaft. While oil is necessary for the health of your hair, it can become a nuisance after a few days. Shampoo your scalp either every day or every other day to prevent your hair from getting limp and greasy. Oily hair still needs to be moisturized! Simply focus your conditioner and hair masks on the ends of your hair; they are the oldest and weakest part of the strand. 

Avoid using heating tools on your hair every day, instead, find other ways to achieve your styles without using the excess heat from straighteners and curling wands. However, if you must use heat, try blow-drying your hair upside down with a round brush to achieve the most volume.

Take advantage of your low maintenance hair type and experiment with colors and cuts to change up your look! Use celebrities like Lucy Hale and Anne Hathaway for inspiration.

Type 2

Wavy hair is the best of both worlds: you get the versatility of straight hair and the natural thickness and volume of curly hair. 

Shakira

Similarly to straight hair, type 2 hair can be subject to frizziness. To overcome it, be sure to not over-wash or put excess heat on your hair and invest in hydrating products. 

The oils from your scalp cannot travel through the shaft as easily, so your hair can last in one style longer than type 1. However, this does mean your strands will need some TLC. Be sure to moisturize the ends of your hair with a hydrating leave-in conditioner that contains humectants like aloe or glycerin and sealing it in with a light oil like argan or jojoba oil. 

Wavy hair can be flattering in both short and long cuts. Highlighting your strands with a lighter color can create dimension and make your waves stand out even more. Mary-Kate Olsen, Kate Hudson, and Shakira are great examples of the three different tiers of type 2 hair. 

Type 3

Curly hair is fun and flexible when it’s taken care of. Type 3 and Type 4 have almost identical needs and routines. If there is anything to know about curly hair, it is to moisturize, be gentle, and protect. 

You only need to shampoo your hair once a week at most, unless your scalp gets sweaty or you caked on gel throughout the week. Opt for a co-wash whenever possible; this way you can get rid of impurities while retaining moisture. 

Deep conditioners are your best friend. After cleansing, coat every strand with a deep conditioner and detangle your mane. Finger detangling is the most gentle way to get through the tangles, but a shower brush once-a-while is necessary. 

To increase the benefits of your hair treatment, leave it in throughout the day or even overnight. Also, be sure to apply your leave-in conditioner in sections to minimize tangles and to ensure every strand is coated with the product. Finally, seal all your hardwork with your favorite oil as a way to prevent the water in your products from evaporating once it dries. 

Yara Shahidi

Stay away from hairstyles that put tension on your strands. Popular protective styles are mini twists or headwraps. Take your time while detangling. Single strand knots and tangles can be frustrating, but to avoid excess breakage, section your hair and never detangle without product. 

To keep your styles looking fresh, cover your strands with a silk or satin bonnet, or throw your hair in a ‘pineapple’ to maintain your ‘wash and go’. Be sure to keep heat to a minimum; there are many ways to stretch your hair without direct heat. When you do use heat, protect your mane with a heat protectant. Although it’s oftentimes overlooked, keeping your ends trimmed can help you retain your length, and minimize excess breakage and shedding.

Celebrities with type 3 hair are Tia Mowry and Yara Shahidi. Watching other Youtube influencers like Bri Hall and BiancaReneeToday share advice and do their routines can be helpful, too.

Type 4

Kinky curls are notorious for tangling, shedding, and drying up; this can make a simple shampoo and conditioner become a pre-poo with detangling session, shampoo, conditioner with a second detangling session, deep conditioner, twists and set– this is just a third of the routine, hence the term “wash day.” However, there are routines you can follow regularly to maintain your coils and avoid a dreary wash day. 

It is recommended to shampoo your hair less but moisturize more using intensive deep conditioners, leave-ins, and butters. Coily hair gets dry often, and most shampoos contain ingredients that strip the hair of its natural oils. If you do need to cleanse your hair, focus the shampoo on your scalp rather than the ends of your hair. 

Invest in silk or satin bonnets, scarves or pillowcases. Other fabrics pull on the fine strands of coily hair and lead to breakage, and cotton has the tendency to soak up all moisturizers and oils you use in your hair, so silk is your best friend. You can even find satin-lined beanies and hoodies to protect your hair outside of your home.

Isimeme Edeko (Halfrican Beaute)

Lastly, to retain length faster, it’s important to keep your hair in a protective style as often as possible. You can get as unique and creative as you want with your style, but the sole purpose of a protective style is to keep your strands shielded from outside elements. Whether you prefer twists and buns, or a wig and box braids, make sure the style is not pulling on your edges; also, avoid leaving your hair in one style for an extended amount of time, unless you are going for a matted mane or an extra-long wash day. 

Be sure to love your hair while in a protective style my oiling and massaging your scalp, and keeping up with trimmed ends in between styles.

Celebrities with type 4 hair are Macy Gray, Skai Jackson, and Viola Davis, and if you are in need of more hair advice lookout for Halfrican Beaute and LavishlyBritt on Youtube and Instagram.

Understanding your hair type is only one aspect of hair maintenance. Factors like hair porosity, density, and chemical or heat damage can affect your hair’s response to products and routines. At the end of the day, your hair needs to be cared for, however, you can do so in whichever way you prefer. Always remember your hair is your crown, but it’s only one part of your appearance.