The Ultimate Guide to Hair Care for All Hair Types
Nobody’s hair is the same. By understanding your hair type and its tendencies, you can build a hair care routine that gives you hair that not only looks great but is healthy down to the root. In this guide, you will gain an overview of how to determine your hair type, how you can craft an effective hair care routine, and what products you should include.
The first step to caring for your hair is understanding it.Different hair types have different needs and require specific products and routines to give them the proper treatment. There are four common hair types, each with its own subtypes, that paint a picture of how to care for your hair. To determine your hair type, wash your hair, let it dry naturally, and see how it falls.
What is Type 1 Hair?
Type 1 hair is the straightest hair type, as it has no natural curl to it from the root down to the end of the strands. Because it is the straightest, type 1 hair allows for the scalp’s natural oil, called sebum, to travel through the hair, making it more likely to be oily and shiny than the other hair types.
Type 1 hair also tends to be thinner than other hair types. Because of the thin, straight texture of the hair strands, this hair type can be difficult to style.
Although all forms of type 1 hair feature straight hair, the strands can vary in thickness,from fine to coarse. As a result, there are three subtypes:
Type 1A hair has the thinnest hair strands of all hair types, thinner than a sewing thread. Type 1A is also the rarest hair type. Because of the thin strands, it is often oily and difficult to style.
Type 1B hair is thicker than 1A but less coarse than 1C, about the size of a sewing thread. Although still straight, it does have some texture to it.
Type 1C hair has the thickest hair strands of all three type 1 subtypes, giving it the most volume compared to the other two. Type 1C hair may even have a slight wave to it. Its thicker texture also makes it more likely to hold different styles.
Do I Have Type 2 Hair?
If your hair dries in a natural “S” shape or has a bit of a curve to it, then you havetype 2 hair. Type 2 hair is referred to as wavy hair, and it is more voluminous and better at holding styles than type 1 hair. Those with type 2 hair can get the best of both worlds as it is easy to either straighten or curl.
Like type 1 hair, type 2 hair has three subtypes that depend on how thin or coarse the strands are.
Type 2A hair is the easiest to comb through with the least frizz, as it features some waves but is flatter than the other two subtypes. 2A hair starts straight from the roots but becomes wavy as it reaches the end of the hair strand.
Type 2B hair is wavier and more voluminous than 2A and is highlighted by a clearer “S” shape. Like 2A, this subtype starts straight from the root, but it is wavier from the middle of the strands to the ends.
Featuring coarser hair strands and longer waves, type 2C is the most voluminous and is highlighted by the tight “S” shapes. Subtype 2C is often mistaken for type 3 because of its strong, almost curly waves.
How to Tell if You Have Type 3 Hair
If your hair naturally dries into voluminous curls with a tight “S” shape or even a “Z” shape, you havetype 3 hair. Although it can be difficult to style, it has a naturally lively appearance. Since type 3 hair features compact curls, it is often drier than types 1 and 2. The three subtypes are:
Type 3A curls are looser curls that resemble tight waves in an “S” shape. This subtype has thinner hair strands, making it easier to style than the other subtypes.
About the width of a marker, type 3B hair has tighter curls with thicker hair strands.Because these curls are stiffer, they are more susceptible to damage and breakage, meaning you should avoid brushing.
Type 3C hair has the tightest curls out of the three subtypes, making them resemble coils around the thickness of a pencil. With such tight curls, it can be challenging to tell the differencebetween type 3C hair and type 4A hair.
Type 4 Hair
Lastly, hair that dries in a narrow “S” or “Z” shape tighter than curls and forming tight spirals or coils are consideredtype 4 hair. Type 4 hair features stunning natural beauty at a price, as these dense coils can be difficult to style, keep hydrated, and care for properly.
Type 4A hair has tight ringlets that spiral down the strand. Type 4A is thinner than 4B and 4C but shouldn’t be straightened, or you risk breakage. Like all 4A hair, they are difficult to keep hydrated because sebum does not work through as easily.
This subtype has more of a zig-zag shape than 4A hair, forming the letter “Z” more than “S”. This shape is often frizzy and benefits from hydrating treatments.
4C hair features the tightest possible and springiest coils of all hair types. As a result, it can easily tangle or become frizzy.
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Washing Your Hair
Washing your hair is a vital part of your hair care routine, but it is not always a straightforward process. When caring for your hair, it is important to wash your hair with the right products and keep a balanced washing routine that depends on your hair type.
How Often Should I Wash My Hair?
Although many people feel they need to wash their hair every day to keep it clean and healthy, that is not the case. In fact, washing your hair too often can be detrimental and even damaging. Overwashing can strip out your hair’s natural oil, leaving it dry and more prone to breakage. Therefore, you should limit how often you wash your hair based on your hair type.
Those with straight, thinner hair types should wash their hair most often because they are more likely to be oily. Still, you rarely need to wash your hair more than 3-4 times per week. Meanwhile, thicker, curlier hair types can go even longer between washes since the oil takes longer to work from the scalp through the strands. Those with type 3 hair typically only need to wash their hair once a week, while type 4 hair can wait as long as two weeks between washes.
Of course, these timelines can vary depending on how your hair looks and feels on a day-to-day basis. Regardless of your hair type, you may need to wash your hair more often if you:
Have extra oily hair
Work in an environment with dirty air
Sweat a lot
Spend considerable time outside
How to Choose the Right Shampoo
When you do wash your hair, it is crucial that you use the right shampoo. Tochoose a quality shampoo, you need to look at the ingredients label.
Unfortunately, many shampoos containharsh ingredients that can be more harmful than helpful. For example, sodium lauryl sulfate is a common detergent that makes your shampoo sudsier, but it can dry out your hair and even irritate your scalp. Other ingredients can have similar effects, including preservatives like parabens and alcohol, all of which make your shampoo seem more effective without actually being good for your hair.
With so many shampoos focused on presentation, you have to sort through them to find good ones. The best shampoos are plant-based and rely on natural ingredients to provide important nutrients to your hair. Natural ingredients like charcoal and apple cider vinegar can clean your hair naturally while providing nutrition to increase your hair’s strength, shine, and volume.
Effective shampoo formulas also include moisturizing ingredients, like almond or argan oil, to reduce the drying effects that washing your hair can have. Look for shampoos that support your hair type, asstraight hair may benefit from gentler shampoo, and curlier hair types may need a strongclarifying shampoo.
Depending on your hair care routine, dry shampoo can be helpful, but you shouldn’t rely on it too much.Dry shampoo contains starch or alcohol that works to absorb the oil in your hair, making it look cleaner. By absorbing the oil, dry shampoo allows you to go longer in between washes. However, dry shampoo does not actually clean your hair.
There are some risks to using dry shampoo too often, like dryness and breakage. These risks are especially high with alcohol-based products. If you use it too often, it can also lead to build-up on your scalp and cause irritation. Generally, you should avoid using dry shampoo more than once or twice a week. Most importantly, remember that dry shampoo is not a replacement for washing your hair with water.
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Conditioning Your Hair
Your hair needs to maintain a certain level of hydration to prevent damage and breakage, like split ends. Conditioning is a great way to support moisture retention in your hair, but you should know how to fit conditioning properly into your routine.
How Often Should You Condition Your Hair?
Conditioner helps to soften your hair and keep it looking shiny and healthy. You should condition every time you wash your hair. Conditioning after a wash helps to nourish and hydrate your hair while closing up the hair’s cuticles.
Not conditioning enough makes your hair more prone to dryness, damage, and frizz. However, you can condition your hair too much. If you have thin or straight hair, then conditioning regularly can leave your hair looking oily and greasy. Conditioning too often can even weigh down your hair, leaving it dull and hard to style. Thin, straight hair types should limit conditioning to two to three times a week.
On the other hand, if you have thicker, curly hair, then your risk of over-conditioning is not as high. In this case, you may want to condition more regularly or consider deep conditioning once a week. Pay attention to your hair to see whether you may be over- or under-conditioning.
How Do I Choose the Best Conditioner?
To choose the best conditioner, pick one with proven moisturizing, hydrating ingredients. As with shampoos, you should avoid harsh parabens, silicones, and sulfates and go fornatural ingredients. The following ingredients are excellent options to find in a conditioner:
These ingredients help to coat your hair strands to seal in moisture and increase your hair’s flexibility. For thin or straight hair, choose a light conditioner that uses light ingredients like jojoba oil or argan oil. Curly or oily hair types can use heavier products for extra moisturizing power, likecoconut milk, olive oil, or avocado oil.
Another potential addition to your routine isa co-wash. Instead of using a shampoo and conditioner to clean your hair, you can try a co-wash by just using a conditioner. A co-wash helps you to remove some of the dirt and pollutant build-up in your hair without stripping it of all its natural oils. Altogether, co-washing is a great way to spread out the time between using your shampoo for hair types more prone to dryness.
Consider co-washing as much as once or twice a week to keep your hair hydrated. Of course, don’t rely on co-washes too much, or you will end up with oily hair, as they do not clean as deeply as regular shampoo. Still, they are an excellent addition to a strong hair care routine, especially for type 3 and 4 hair. As with any new routine, see how your hair responds and adjust the frequency based on whether your hair seems dry, oily, or just right.
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Additional Hair Treatments
Sometimes your hair needs additional support to maintain its natural luster and hydration, and conditioning isn’t the only way to boost your hair’s health. Incorporatingother treatments like hair masks or oil treatments can provide additional benefits and leave your hair with a healthier appearance and texture.
Should You Use a Leave-in Treatment?
A leave-in treatment, also known as aleave-in conditioner, can be a strong supplement to an effective hair care routine, offering several benefits. Leave-in conditioners help to seal moisture into your hair longer. As a consequence, they can also help to make your hair more flexible and resistant to damage, especially when they haveeffective ingredients. Leave-in treatments are excellent for drier hair types and individuals who have more time between washing.
Consider using a leave-in treatment as much as once a week. However, if your hair is still excessively dry or seems to be easily damaged, you can try using it more often for better results. Curly hair types can try using a leave-in treatment as often as two to three times a week. If you have thin, straight, or oily hair, then you can probably get by without a leave-in treatment.
Are Hair Masks Healthy for Your Hair?
Hair masks are healthy for any hair type and can be added to any hair care routine. This treatment penetrates deep into your hair strands and scalp to provide excellent hydrating and nourishing powers, allowing vitamins and minerals to reinforce and repair your hair and give you shiny, voluminous strands.
Incorporate a hair mask into your routine by applying it after a wash, occasionally replacing your conditioner. Then, let it sit for 10-15 minutes so the nutrients can absorb, and rinse with lukewarm water.
Hair masks make an effective replacement for deep conditioning. All hair types should consider using ahair mask once a week. If you have dry or damaged hair, then you can double it to twice a week. As with conditioner, using a hair mask too often can lead to oily, greasy hair.
What's a Hot Oil Treatment?
Like a hair mask,a hot oil treatment allows valuable nutrients to penetrate deep into your hair follicles. Oils like castor oil and almond oil contain powerful vitamins and antioxidants that can help nourish your hair to keep it strong and voluminous. The oils help to coat your hair strands to keep them hydrated, flexible, and resistant to breakage. Oil treatment is as good for your scalp as it is for your hair, trapping moisture and protecting your roots.
To include this treatment into your routine, heat up a small amount of oil to just above body temperature. Apply the oil to clean hair and massage it into your hair strands and scalp. Wrap your hair in a towel and let the oil absorb into your hair for about 30 minutes or overnight, then rinse it out. Make sure to use a nutrient-rich oil, likeWOW 10-in-1 Hair Oil.
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Hair Care Ingredients
The ingredients in your hair care products are crucial to healthy, thriving hair. As you search through product labels to add products to your routine, you should know what ingredients to look for so you end up with lustrous, lively strands and a healthy scalp.
What Are Good Natural Ingredients for Your Hair?
Choosing the right natural ingredients can help you supportyour hair’s growth and thickness, making it stronger and more voluminous. To boost your hair care, include any of the following in your routine.
Almond oil contains essential fats and vitamin E, which reduces inflammation.Sweet almond oil is also rich in additional vitamins like A, B1, and B6 and has strong moisturizing powers for your hair.
Moroccan argan oil supports softened, moisturized hair by coating the hair strands while providing valuable omega-6 fatty acids.
Similar to argan oil,castor oil helps lubricate your hair shaft to make it more flexible and less likely to break. It may alsopromote hair growth.
Coconut is full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Includingcoconut in your hair care routine helps promote a healthy scalp, moisturize your hair strands, and support lustrous, shiny hair.
What Are Good Natural Ingredients for Your Scalp?
Caring for your scalp properly is just as important as caring for your hair strands. After all, your scalp houses your hair follicles that are responsible for growing healthy hair. Although all the above ingredients aregood for your scalp, there are a few that really provide your scalp with the extra support it deserves.
Activated charcoal is remarkably clarifying. This ingredient helps to remove dead cells, dirt, and oil build-up from your scalp for better hair growth.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is rich in antioxidants and has antimicrobial properties, meaning it is excellent for cleansing your hair follicles. Containing other vitamins like vitamins B and C, apple cider vinegar helps balance your scalp’s pH and leaves you with strong, lustrous hair.
This natural remedy is great for your hair and scalp, as its enzymes can help repair damaged cells and soften the hair.Aloe vera is also wonderful for soothing a dry or irritated scalp.
Tea tree oil
Like aloe, tea tree oil is soothing and excellent for the scalp, helping to tackle dryness anddandruff. High in antioxidants, tea tree helps clean the scalp and can even improve circulation.
Onion black seed oil
Onion black seed oil can support the health of your hair follicles and potentiallypromote hair growth. Since it is rich in fatty acids, it also helps seal in moisture and provides valuable nutrients.
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Important Hair Care Routines
When it comes to your hair, all of the small things matter. Even if you follow an effective hair washing, conditioning, and treatment routine, you still risk negatively impacting the health of your hair by practicing different habits and routines, from styling to walking outside. Avoid falling forhair care myths with the correct information.
Brushing Your Hair
Brushing your hair is one of the most important hair care routines, and you should do it at least twice daily to prevent tangles that can lead to breakage.Routine brushing also helps to keep your hair from getting too dry, as it helps to work the natural sebum from the scalp down to the ends of your hair strands.
Brush your hair at least twice daily — once in the morning and once at night. Avoid brushing dry hair because it can get snagged on the brush and lead to breakage. If you have type 3 or 4 hair, you should stick to using a wide-tooth comb instead of a brush, or you can gently run your fingers through your hair. Either option allows you to avoid ripping through your hair strands.
Can I Use Heat Styling Tools?
For many, heat styling tools are a common part of a daily hair care routine. Although you may enjoy crafting your hairstyle using a curling or straightening iron, these tools can be very detrimental to the health of your hair. The high heat of styling tools can damage your hair or leave it brittle and dull.
Even using a blow dryer out of the shower is not worth its potentially negative effects. Blow dryers can dry out your hair and scalp, especially after your shampoo washes out your natural oil.
Rather than turning to a blow dryer, allow your hair to air dry or turn to analternative method to dry your hair. Similarly, try to steer clear of using a straightening or curling iron. If you need to use these tools, apply a protectant to your hair and limit your use to no more than once a week at a low setting.
Nighttime Hair Care Routine
You don’t have to be awake to risk damage to your hair. While you sleep, your hair is pressed up against your pillow as you toss and turn throughout the night. This combination is far from desirable, as you can wake up with damaged, broken hair.
Toprotect your hair at night, use a silk pillowcase, brush your hair beforehand, and either tie it up loosely with a fabric scrunchie or use a fabric wrap.
Morning Hair Care Routine
Your routine at night sets your morning routine up for success. Start your day by brushing your hair to keep it neat and untangled. Then, you can either wash your hair or add in a leave-in treatment, depending on your weekly routine. Otherwise, you can jump into styling it. Try to avoid using tightly tied-up styles too often so you can protect your roots.
How Does the Weather Affect Your Hair?
The weather outside is the daily factor that you have the least control over. However, how you respond to it can make a significant difference.Winter hair care is a challenge. With such cold, dry air outside, it is difficult to keep your hair from drying out. The same can be said for challenging dry summers in a desert climate.
Therefore, you should plan to adapt your routine during the winter months. Adding in an extra hydrating treatment or two each week can provide the relief your dry hair needs. For extra protection against dryness, add two to three drops of hair oil to coat your strands, which can seal in moisture before you leave the house and expose your hair to the elements. With the dry air, you need a powerful formula with an abundance of nutrients likeWOW 10-in-1 Hair Oil.
Color Treated Hair
If you are the type to spice things up occasionally, you need to pay special attention to caring for your colorful hair in your routine. In order to maintain vibrant color and healthy hair, you need totreat it properly both during and after the coloring process.
To color your hair correctly, start by shampooing to remove dirt and open the cuticles. Then,dye the hair while wet to allow for better absorption. After coloring your hair, wait 48 hours before shampooing, andlimit shampooing to around three times a week to minimize fading.
Give your hair some time to recover between color treatments. Coloring orbleaching your hair too often can lead to excessive dryness and damage. It is best to wait at least four weeks before dyeing it again. Otherwise, you may see dry, brittle, damaged hair.
In caring for your hair, be sure to use products that are safe for color-treated hair. Choose natural clarifying shampoos and hair care products that won’t lighten your hair. At WOW Skin Science, our shampoos are safe for color-treated hair, like ourApple Cider Vinegar Shampoo orCoconut Milk Shampoo.