Texture vs Typing: What’s the Difference?

If someone asked you what was your hair texture, would you be able to answer that question? For most of us, when asked about texture, we would automatically think of the many hair typing scales to give an answer. Unfortunately, these two things are not the same and cannot be used interchangeably when describing the characteristics of your hair.

Knowing the key characteristics of your hair helps you make informed decisions when deciding what products to use and what styles work best for you. Today we’re looking at hair texture, how it differs from hair typing, and why knowing your texture is a key step in tailoring a regimen that is right for you.

“I’ve realized that while most may consider my hair primarily tightly coiled the degree of tightness varies throughout my hair and these characteristics do not fit into a hair typing box.”

Hair Typing

Before we get into texture, we will first take a look at hair typing and see why this “useful” tool doesn’t necessarily provide the information you need when deciding what products to use and how to tailor your personal hair care regimen.

There are several different hair typing systems. The most popular ones break the hair down into 3-4 categories ranging from loose waves to tight coils. Each category is further broken down into subcategories (a-c) that describe the extent of definition and tightness of the wave or curl pattern.

If you’re like me, knowing the information is great, but I can’t fully apply it to my hair. I am constantly going back and forth between sub categories, never being able to fully determine what hair type I have. Ultimately, I’ve realized that while most may consider my hair primarily tightly coiled, the degree of tightness varies throughout my hair and my coils do not fit into a hair typing box.

“Knowing your texture can help you decipher what products, styles, and techniques may be right for you and can ultimately make maintaining healthy natural hair, selecting products, and executing styles that much easier. “

Texture tells you more

A more accurate way to know more about your hair and its properties is by knowing the texture. Hair texture is defined as the diameter or thickness of the hair strand. Texture is broken down into three categories fine, medium, and thick/coarse. Knowing your texture can help you decipher what products, styles, and techniques may be right for you, and can ultimately make maintaining healthy natural hair, selecting products, and executing styles that much easier.

Quick Tip: Want to know your hair texture? Compare your strands to a piece of thread. Strands thinner than thread would be considered fine, larger than thread coarse, and similar in size to thread would be medium.

Fine Hair

Fine hair tends to be the smallest where strand width and diameter is concerned. It is also the most fragile, so caution should be used when chemically processing the hair; as it takes to chemical treatments very quickly and can easily be over processed.  Fine strands are often present among tightly coiled naturals. When selecting alternative styles such as braids or twists, these manipulated strands can often show more scalp.

Medium Hair

Medium hair tends to be average in size with the diameter of the strands falling between coarse and fine. These strands are less fragile and better able to handle chemical treatments and tend to show less scalp when manipulated.

Thick/Coarse Hair

Coarse hair is the largest where strand width and diameter is concerned and is also the strongest. Theses strands will be more resistant to chemical treatments often requiring higher heat, longer processing times, and gels with stronger holds to create your desired styles.

Can you have more than one texture in the same head of hair? Yes! That’s why truly knowing your hair makes a big difference when it comes to tailoring a hair care regimen that is right for you. Stay tuned as we continue to dive into key hair care characteristics that will be beneficial to know while continuing on your healthy hair journey. Until Next week, go BOLDLY!

References

  • The Science of Black Hair: A Comprehensive Guide to Textured Hair Care (Standard Edition: Black & White)
  • Wash Your Damn Hair: Simple Haircare and Styling to Help You reach Your Hair Goals

%d bloggers like this: