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Discover everything you’ve ever wanted to know about textured hair, including how to decipher different hair texture types.

What Is Textured Hair and How Do You Care for It? Here’s What You Need To Know

Discover everything you’ve ever wanted to know about textured hair, including how to decipher different hair texture types.
What Is Textured Hair and How Do You Care for It? Here’s What You Need To Know

When it comes to the health of your textured hair, there's nothing more important than creating a haircare and styling ritual that caters to the unique needs of your strands. If your current routine leaves your hair lacking, we're here to help. We know better than anyone that understanding your texture can turn a good hair day into a great one.

Read on as we dive deep into the world of textured hair, breaking down precisely what it is, the difference between hair texture and hair type, and the tools you need to embrace and enhance your hair's natural texture.

What Is Textured Hair?

While technically all hair has some texture, textured hair is a term often used to describe strands with a natural curl or shape. Strands in the textured hair category can range from wavy to tightly coiled. Hair texture is often attributed to a particular ethnicity or race, but the shape or texture of the hair strand is actually determined by the shape of your hair follicles. Straight hair has a round follicle, while textured hair typically has a more oval or elliptical shape. This elongated shape causes the strand to curl at the root and grow in a specific pattern.

By identifying your texture, you can tailor your regimen to better suit your hair, ensuring that each strand receives the optimal level of nourishment and support.

While your mane's overall look and shape get the most attention, caring for your specific hair texture is the key to hair that looks and feels its best.

Different Hair Texture Types

The term "textured hair" covers a wide variety of shapes and patterns that have been categorized into a typing system. This classification system categorizes natural hair into four main types: Type 1 (straight), Type 2 (wavy), Type 3 (curly), and Type 4 (coily). These types can further be divided into subcategories (A, B, or C) based on the curl or wave pattern. 4C hair refers to coily strands with a tighter curl than 4B hair, for example.

Below, we break down the top three hair texture classifications.

Wavy hair

Wavy hair has a slight bend, falling somewhere between straight and curly. Also known as Type 2 hair, wavy strands can vary from loose to S-shaped waves.

Curly hair

Curly hair (a.k.a. Type 3) is characterized by well-defined, spiral-shaped curls. It can range from loose curls to tight ringlets.

Coily hair

Coily hair consists of strands with tightly coiled curls or zigzag-shaped strands. Coily hair is often categorized into subtypes based on the tightness of the curls: Type 4A, 4B, and 4C.

While these systems can be helpful in identifying hair characteristics, it's essential to recognize that individual hair strands can vary in texture and may not fit neatly into one specific category. It's common for those with textured hair to have more than one texture in their mane. So don't be shocked if your hair has a unique combination of waves, curls, and coils.

Good hair day by @kccurlgoddess.

Understanding Your Textured Hair

Having a good understanding of your hair texture is vital when creating a personalized haircare routine. Knowing your hair texture type allows you to select products and styling techniques that cater to your hair’s unique needs, leading to better-looking, more manageable hair.

While every personalized routine will look a little different, when picking products for textured hair, you want to keep two things in mind: hydration and damage prevention. The twists and turns of textured hair make it harder for the sebum your scalp produces to travel to the ends of your strands, which can leave your mane more prone to dryness and breakage. By understanding your texture, you can take proactive steps to prevent damage and maintain the moisture levels in your hair. This might include minimizing heat styling, using protective hairstyles, and avoiding harsh chemicals that can strip moisture from your strands.

Even though your FYP is filled with DIY tips and tricks that claim to change or improve the texture of your hair, texture is primarily determined by your genetic makeup. As such, don’t expect to magically change your texture. However, there are some factors that can influence hair texture over time. Some of these include age, environment, lifestyle, and haircare and styling habits. By recognizing these factors, you can better understand your hair's unique characteristics and any changes you may see.

Good hair day by @helensofierce.

Haircare for Textured Hair: 3 Tips To Try

While products cannot change your genetic makeup, they can help enhance the appearance of your natural texture so your hair looks and feels its best. Curating a textured hair routine around your unique strands can help ensure that your hair receives the appropriate level of nourishment for strands that look and feel healthier than ever. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when creating a routine for your textured mane:

Cleanse with care

When it comes to hydration, conditioner gets all of the glory, but let's be clear—conditioner would be nothing without shampoo. Shampoo cleanses your scalp and strands of dirt and product buildup and preps your mane to receive moisture from your conditioner. The key is to find a shampoo that will infuse moisture right from the start of your routine. We can't get enough of Mizani's Moisture Fusion Moisture Rich Shampoo, a moisturizing shampoo infused with cupuaçu butter, argan oil, and honey that works for every curl type. Complete your wash day routine with an intensely hydrating conditioner like the Mizani Moisture Fusions Intense Moisturizing Mask.

Pamper your strands with treatments

As we mentioned, textured hair can be prone to breakage. To help combat those effects, swap out your regular conditioner every couple of wash days for a deeply hydrating and repairing hair treatment, like Redken's Acidic Bonding Concentrate 5-Minute Liquid Mask. This ultra-conditioning mask provides deep hydration and deep repair for all hair types and textures. In just five minutes, this mask melts into hair to not only coat but also repair damage deep inside the hair.

Embrace non-damaging styling techniques

It's no secret that heat can wreak havoc on your strands, and this can be especially true for those with textured hair. This means it's crucial to style your hair with care. If you're not ready to give up heat styling, add a heat protectant to your collection. We love Mizani's Style Shifter Society Heat Screen, a weightless spray that helps shield against heat damage from blow-dryers, hooded dryers, flat irons, and diffusers up to 450°F.

While heat protectants are great, we also recommend including a few heatless styles in your styling rotation. There are countless ways to style your textured hair without heat, from two-strand twists and braids to twist-outs. Check out our guide, 15 Heatless Curls Techniques That Are Easy to Follow, if you need some more ideas.

Next Up: Curly Hair vs. Wavy Hair: What’s the Difference?

Header photo credits (left to right): @helensofierce and @kccurlgoddess

Give your textured hair the pampering it deserves, and use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.

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